A very proud people with an extreme devotion to the Hindu faith, the Alambadi Kurichchan of India live in the forested areas of Kerala state in southern India. Thought to be the first migrants to the Wayanad hills, they also settled as the first farmers of the western region. The Kurichcha speak Kurichiya; many also speak Malayalam. Their name, Kurichcha, comes from the word “kuri,” which is the sandalwood they put on their foreheads and chests.
The Kurichcha claim to be superior to all of the other Hindu castes, including the highest class, the Hindi Brahman, which consists of priests and scholars. This belief is partly because their society does not tolerate the destitution of any of its members; thus, there are no beggars among them. Along with this comes their need to stay “pure.” If outsiders touch their hut, they will burn it down. After traveling, they will not enter their homes until they have bathed. They do not eat food or drink water that has been touched by non-Kurichcha. When visiting neighboring villages, they do not eat. If they do, they will become outcasts.
Interestingly, the Kurichcha have traditionally been a matriarchal society. Today, they are the only Indian community outside the province of Assam to continue this system.
One of the most powerful members of the Kurichcha tribe is the sorcerer. The sorcerer, who also acts as the village herdsman, is elected during a ritual performed before the idols. When a man goes into a trance and performs a frenzied dance, it is believed that he is to be the next sorcerer. Despite this traditional practice, however, the Kurichcha are one of the most devout Hindu groups in India today. Their supreme being is Shiva, the god of the hunt. However, they worship a variety of gods and demons.
Few Christian missionaries work with the Kurichcha. Pray for open hearts and open minds. Pray the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will break into the long-held tradition of Hinduism.
For more information on the Alambadi Kurichchan of India, visit:
(Information compiled from www.joshuaproject.net)
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