The Smarthas with Vaishnavite marks among Kerala iyers
Migration to Kerala iyers took place due to various reasons and was mainly from Thanjavur and Thirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu. They possibly settled there around 400 years back and built a culture of their own . Their food underwent a great change due to availability of groceries that they were used to in Tamil Nadu . The new recipes that they evoived were a wonderful combination of Tamil Nadu and the recipes of Nambudiris of Kerala . Since the worship in Kerala temples were essentially Thanthra based , they built their own temples wherever possible and the Vedic Pundits who migrated along with them started their own Veda Patasalas and preserved the recitation style they were used to .
Strangely most of the people who migrated to Kerala were iyers. While most of these iyers wore Vibhuthi (a smartha custom) , some of them wore Gopi crescent like Madhwas and some the red Oordwa pundra like the Vaishnavites of Tamil Nadu . It is also interesting to note that the majority of people wearing Oordwa Pundra are from two of the eighteen villages in Palakkad viz Thirunellai and Pallipuram . Even among those who normally wear a crescent with Gopi Chandana , there are a few who wear short crescents and others who wear long gopis. Being very much intersted in the history of Kerala Brahmins , I had enquired from those who wear Gopi and Namam whether they are Vaishnavites and they told they were but followed all the Acharas, manthras and ceremonial dress of Smarthas .For all practical practical purposes except for Oordwa pundra they were Smarthas. Another intersting practice is that , in most of the Vishnu/Krishna/Rama temples managed by the Tamil Brahmins , on special days they summon an Azhvar to do the Pooja . I could not get information as to the village from which these Azhvars came .
I know that among my friends , there are vey many relegious scholars well versed in Smartha and Vaishnavite Customs . I would like to know more about this peculiarity among Palakkad Brahmins .