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Pisharody (also spelled Pisharodi, Pisharadi, Pisharoty, or Pisharoti; colloquially known as Sharody) is a sub-caste of the Ambalavasi caste in Kerala. As Vaishnavites Pisharodys were traditionally caretakers of Hindu temples, with temple related jobs (Kazhakam) and hence clubbed under Ambalavasis (ambalam = temple, vasi = resident in Malayalam). Most Pisharams (Pisharody households) are situated near Vaishnavite or Bhagawathy (Hindu Goddess) temples.


The Pisharodys belong to the Narayana Dasa Gotram, based on the folklore that the earliest Pisharody was a patron saint who later took on the title Shri Swamy Narayana Dasa, and brought his disciples (Budhdhist/Jain origins) to merge with the Vaishnavaite school of thought in the post Adi Shankaracharya period in Kerala.


Etymologically, the word owes its origins to the saintly antecedents of the community. Bhikhshuvar (monk/mendicant) + Adikal (reverential addressing / honorific suffix) = Bhikhshuvaradikal, later corrupted to Pisharodikal and pisharody ( pishara itself being a term for a younger sanyasi). There is also another theory behind the origin of the name Pisharody. According to this, Pisharodys are descendants of a group of Namboothiris who intended to be Sanyasis. During the process of initiation to sanyasam, the aspirants are referred to as "psharas" in Sanskrit. However, the group could not complete the process to become sanyasis. By then they had discarded almost all rituals usually performed by Namboothiris and hence they could not return to their original cast. Thereafter this 'Pshara' group and their descendants were called as psharody, later coloqualized into Pisharody, Pisharady and Sharoty. Pisharodys do not wear the sacred thread nor can perform puja in temples as per the tradition. They do not cremate the dead, instead bury as if the person has been a sanyasi and attained samadhi; The last rites are oriented towards "Vishnusayoojyam".

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