Introduction / History
The Kurukkal are small Hindu group who live in the southern Indian state of Kerala. They are part of the larger Ambalavasi caste that works as servants in Hindu temples. The Kurukkal consider themselves to be Brahmins, the highest of four castes in the Hindu faith. Other Brahmins often see them as lower castes. The Kurukkal encourage their children to obtain higher education.
The main language of the Kurukkal is Malayalam. Many Kurukkal are educated and speak Tamil, English and Kannada. Their languages aid them in their temple service. Many Christian resources are available in Malayalam including a whole Bible and the JESUS Film.
Where are they located?
The Kurukkal live in Kerala at the far south point of India. They frequently live in or near Hindu temples in both urban and rural settings.
What are their lives like?
The Kurukkal people traditionally worked in Hindu temples. They provided music, drama, dancing and singing for services in the temples. They also administered and cared for the temple. Now the Kurukkal have branched out into other professions like teaching, administration, law, politics, and engineering.
According to a number of sources the Kurukkal had unusual marriage customs. The Kurukkal women would marry more than one man from another group. The Kurukkal men would marry more than one woman from another caste. Lineage was matrilineal, from the mother.
What are their beliefs?
The Kurukkal practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They take pride in their Hindu heritage. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They pay special reverence to Shiva, the destroyer god and Vishnu, the preserver god. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Kurukkal visit and often live at Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
The main yearly holidays of the Kurukkal people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
What are their needs?
Kurukkal need to realize that their Hindu gods cannot get their right with the one, true God of the Bible. Jesus Christ alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Kurukkal people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Kurukkal families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Kurukkal people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
Pray for the lives and culture of the Kurukkal people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.
Text source: Keith Carey