I guess they wore their tuft of hair on the front part of the head.

(1) What is the significance of "purvashikha"?

(2) Has this practice now died out?

  • It has not died out. i've seen priests in south indian temples have it.
    – mar
    Mar 16 '20 at 20:01
  • Instead of creating new tags for each and every post, try to see what relevant tags are already existing, use them first, and then if absolutely needed, create new ones ..
    – Rickross
    Mar 17 '20 at 7:38

Sanskrit word of sikha refers to a long tuft, or lock of hair left in the front, on top or on the back of the shaven head of a Hindu male. The injunction comes from Manu Smriti (2.27)

"By oblations to fire… by the tonsure of his head with a lock of hair left on it, by the wearing of the sacrificial thread are the birth characteristics of the three classes"

The position of the tuft varied according to the caste, profession, social standing etc. of the wearer. The side knot was kept by Ksharitya class such as Raja Raja Chola.

Purva sikha (Mun kudumi in Tamil) is a style where the hair is grown long in the front and knotted to the forehead. This hairstyle was practiced by three sects predominantly

  • Chozhiyas, comes under the class of Munkudimi Marayavars

  • Dikshitars (who worship in Chidambaram temple), comes under class of Adi Marayavars

  • Namboothiris (of Kerala).

In yester years, Nairs of Kerala also sported this style.

Based on the Deivathin Kural Part 5 (of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, Kanchi Paramcharya) and the following http://www.ejvs.laurasianacademy.com/SouthernRec.pdf

One can classify the advaitic brahmins (Smarthas) in tamilnadu as follows

Adi Marayavars : They are the most orthodox. They claim to have descended directly from Kailash and sport purvasikha. They manage five temples in Tamilnadu

1)Chidambaram - Dikshitar 2)Thiruvanaikoil (Trichy) - Pandithar 3)Avadaiyarkoil - Nambiyar 4)Woraiyur 5)Tiruvarur

Uchikudimi Marayavars : They have urvat sikha

Munkudimi Marayavars: They have Purvasikha

Chozhiyas believe themselves to be the kin of Chanakya, the legendary minister of Chandragupta Maurya. Adi Shankara’s forefathers are also said to have been chozhiyas.

In addition, there are currently Sama veda chozhiyas, who are settled in the banks of Cauvery. Some of them had adopted Srivaishnavism (famous among those are Periyavachan Pillai, Vyakhyana Charavarti) while others continue to be smarthas.

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