Temple Administration 

In ancient periods, King or local chieftains are owned and administered temples. Some of the temples were owned by madams, tharawads or individuals. When the foreigners established their power in the area and powers of local rulers faded away, administration of many temples was also taken over by them. Before the integration of states, Kerala was divided into three region viz. Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. The Malabar region was under the British Government while Cochin and Travancore were the princely states.

In 1790, the British Government came forward with certain regulations to control the administration of temples in Malabar region. The first enactment on these lines was the Madras Regulation VII of 1817. Subsequently, the Religious Endowment XX of 1863 was enacted. Since this Act was found to be a failure, the Government brought out another one repealing the Act of 1863. Later in 1927, the Government passed the Madras Hindu Religious Endowment Act (Act II of 1927) and brought temple administration under their control. After independence, the Congress Government of erstwhile Madras State introduced the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1951 to govern the temples. When the Kerala State was formed and Malabar region formed its part, this Act was made applicable to the temples of that region which includes the present Kasargode district. A Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Board was also came into existence. Later the Board was converted into a Department. Till 2008, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department held control over the temples.In 2008, the Government of Kerala, amended the Act and constituted the Malabar Devaswom Board. Temples situated in Kasargode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad (except Chittur Taluk) districts and Chavakkad Taluk of Thrissur district are under the Malabadr Devaswom Board. However, control and management of Guruvayur temple was vestyed with a Trust led by the Zamorin. Now the temple is under the Guruvayur Devaswom as per the Guruvayur Devasom Act of 1971.



In Cochin, all temples of the region were confiscated from the Yogathiris and Ooralars and brought under the control of the Government in 1762. In 1897 a separate Devaswom Department was formed. This was as recommended by Col. Munro, the British Resident who was later appointed as Dewan of Cochin. On 1st August 1949 the Cochin Devaswom Board was constituted and administration of temples controlled by the Government was transferred to the Board. A large number of temples were still continued as private temples known as Ooranma temples in Cochin region. Jurisdiction of Cochin Devaswom Board extend to Chittur Taluk of Palakkad district, Thrissur district (except Chavakkad Taluk), and Ernakulam district (except Kochi taluk).

The southern region of river Periyar was known as the Kingdom of Travancore. The area spreading from Kanyakumari in south to Paravur-Angamali in north was under the regency of the Maharajah of Travancore. During the reign of Regent Rani Gouri Lekshmi Bai (1810-15) the temples of Travancore totaling to 1471 were brought under the control of the Government. This was also based on the recommendation of Col.Munro, the British Resident. In 1922 a separate department was formed exclusively to look after the matter related to temples. In 1949 the Government of Travancore-Cochin promulgated an ordinance with a view to take away direct control of the Government over temples. Accordingly, Travancore Devaswom Board came into existence. After re-organisation of States in 1956, temples in the Kanyakumari district and Chenkotta taluk became part of Tamil Nadu. Now about 1200 temples of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathnamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam (except Kochi taluk) districts are under the control of Travancore DevaswomBoard.  


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