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From: krish (
Date: Tue Oct 29 1996 - 10:29:39 PST

There was a querry on bhattara providing Samashraynam.
At least in the old days, the temple hierarchy was well
Bhattars or Archakas were well versed in the temple
prayers and rituals. One used them as intemediaries
to the idols, offering various archanas, abishekas
etc. These have been formalized with tickets sold
at the temple offices nowadays. In the old days,
one just offered a donation on the plate, that
he brought out with the lighted camphor.
The there were pundits or mebers of the Vedha
ghosti, attached to the temples. They preceded
the processions of the Utsavaar or sung the Vedic
hymns in front of the deities. There were 
restricitions on inter-dining between the bhattars
and other groups.
Outside the temple control, were Purohits or
Vadyars who were knowledgable in the rites for the
household. They initiated and led the rituals in
Namakaranm, Anna-prasanm, Aksharabyasam,Poonal,
wedding and Shraddam.  The household need
other Athithis for dining.
The achryas, Jeeyars were Vedantins who could
lecture on the vedic philosophy.
The set-up was more like the college system
producing technicians, engineers and experts.
Nowadys, several of these roles are taken up
by a single person. But it may be difficult to find' a bhattar well-versed in all of these.
Krishna Praba