OUR NINE TEMPLES AND THE PULLI SYSTEM
A major and distinctive socio-religious characteristics of our community is our life-long association with one of our 9 ancestral temples. Everyone of us by birth is a member of a temple circle through patrilineal descent. All members of a temple circle are descendants of a common ancestor.
There are 9 temples namely Ilayathangundi, Mathur, Vairavanpatti, Nemam, Iluppakudi, Suraikudi, Vellangudi, Pillaiyarpatti, and Iraniyur. The first three have 7, 7, and 3 sub-divisions respectively. The remaining 6 temples are single temple circle. Thus there are 23 sub-circles in all.
These 9 temples were either built or taken over by our ancestors during the years 707 718 AD.
Marriage within the same temple circle is forbidden. We can adopt a child only from our own temple circle (sub-circle as the case maybe). The members belonging to the same sub-circle are known as perum panggalis and the members from the same temple circle are known as panggalis.
A marriage between two Nagarathars can only be solemnised only after receiving wedding garlands from the respective temples to which the family of the bride and groom belong. When a couple get married their marriage is recorded in a special register maintained for this purpose in the Kovil and with the recording of the wedding the couple become a full pulli in the record of the temple to which the bridegroom belongs. The married couple forms the social unit of the community and is recognised as a bonafide member of the Nagarathar community. Thus the pulli system is a temple based registration of all Nagarathar marriages.