Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai gets non-Brahmin as priest

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The famous Godess Meenakshi Amman temple here has got a non-Brahmin as archaka (priest), twelve years after the Tamil Nadu government passed an order The new priest, belonging to a backward caste, was among the 206 people who had undergone training conducted by the ancient temple administration, official sources said. The state government had passed an order on May 23, 2006 allowing appointment as archaka any Hindu possessing the requisite qualification and training in temples. The G.O was challenged by an association of priests in the Supreme Court which had on December 16, 2015 upheld the order. The Meenakshi Amman temple has appointed the priest with conditions which included that he could be suspended if he violated the Agama rules, a manual for worship of the deity, rituals and construction of temples. The man had applied to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board, which administers a large number of temples in the state, for the post and got selected after an oral interview. An undergraduate in Tamil literature, the priest was a spiritual person interested in Hindu religion and was devoted to Lord Shiva, the sources said.