Saturday, December 25, 2010


Each temple in kerala has its own Utsavam (festivals) which forms the fourth important activity of any great temple. The number and size of the festivals depends on the fame and wealth of the temple. Some of the temples of minor importance have only one festival and the number of days on which it is celebrated will be limited. In Sarkaradevi temple, which attracts large number of pilgrims and has its own sources of income, the celebrations are on a large scale and are spread over several days. The chief Utsavam in the temple is the festival of kaliyoot, which false on the Malayalam month of kumbham (March).
Kali, the Mother of Goddess is the deity of farmers. It is evident from the inclusion of the fictitious interpretations of agricultural art traditions in the rituals of the art form of Kaliyoot. Kaliyoot is the dramatic presentation of the genesis of Bhadrakali and Darika the representatives of good and evil respectively, their confrontation and later the extermination of Darika in devotional terms and with rhythmic footsteps.
The fact that the Kaliyoot is a synthesis of older agrarian art tradition is  further established by  the time chosen for performing Kaliyoot after Makara Koithu (the Malayalam month of Makaram corresponds to March and in the season of the second harvest season in kerala. Koithu is a Malayalam term for harvest ) and that Kali appears under the guise of a pulaya (the pulaya caste is the traditional agricultural labouring community in Kerala.) girl in the Kali drama.
The object of Kaliyoot festival is to offer the elementary harvest to the Amma (the divine Mother), the defender of the land.
The ritual art of Kaliyoot was originally celebrated in North Malabar to propitiate Goddess Kali was brought to Travancore and that too to the Sarkara Temple by King Marthanda Varma (1729 - 1758). There is a historical legend connected with it.

For expanding the domain of this kingdom, Marthanda Varma Maharaja tried to capture kayamkulam province several times.(A.P. Ibrahim Kunju, Rise of Travancore, A study of the Life and Times of Marthanda Varma (Trivandrum:1976 ). All his efforts were in vain and he felt disappointed. But he did not give away his ambition. His one and only motive was the defeat of  Kayamkulam Raja. With the unyielding desire he was forced to make another arrangement for a war. On his way to Kayamkulam it is said that he chose the big ground near the Sarkara temple to take rest.
Learning the arrival of Maharaja in their mace, that leaders of the place or Karakkar and Kalarigurukkals (The grand teachers of military techniques at the Kalari.) assembled together to have a glimpse of the Maharaja. Hearing the Raja's stories of defeat at Kayamkulam, they suggested that the only way to his triumph was to offer a Kaliyoot to Sarkaradevi. In conformity with their suggestion the Maharaja decided to offer Kaliyoot to Sarkaradevi.

Rituals and ceremonies connected in nine-day performance related to Kaliyoot

It is believed that there is a basic text titled Kaliyoot Mahathmyam (It is said that the text composed by Kannassa Panicker.) authored by Kannasa Panicker ceremonies connected with Kaliyoot as a devotional offering.
After the construction of the stage for the chief performance the pernu and the invoking of the spirit of the Goddess into lamps, the chief rites of the first days begin.

The rites of 1st Day

Kurikurikkal and Vellattam are conducted in the first day of Kaliyoot festival. It is a function which arises a question, is that how much money and rice were collected for the purpose of Kaliyoot festival. After that, they wrote Thaaliyola (Thaaliyola is a leaf of the Halipot palm used for writing.)with the help of Narayam (Narayam is an iron style to write with). This function is called the Kurikurikkal. It calculated the day of Darikavadham. This function is conducted in Nalambalam at nine o' clock in the morning.
In the royal period, the King sent Thevaram Nadathippukar or the administrators of the temple for kurikurikal ceremony. But now the kurikurikal is given the main priest to the ponnara panikkers.
After athaazhaseeveli the divine spirit of Devi is invoked in a Nilavilakku and inot a channeled to a choottukatta in kuthuvilakku. There is a custom that if the three lamps unexpected an existinguished the fire should be brought from sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Trivandrum.

Vellattam kali

The Goddess who comes to the 'Kavu' near the Sarkara temple, dressed as a Harijan women is comforted from her tiredness by waving a white dhothi by the Harijan farmers. This is 'Vellattam kali'. This is performed by wearing neat clothes and tying a band on the head by eight of the ponnarappanikers. They dance on the rthyam of the traditional 'Karatika' and 'Chengila'. The subject matter of this primitive keralite dance form is the praise of the Goddess. This is followed by the 'Kurutholayaattam. These rituals are repeated all the eight days.
The 'Kurutholayaattam' rituals performed everyday is for the entertainment of the refreshed Goddess.

2nd Day - Kurutholayaattam.

Kurutholayaattam explains the secrets regarding the creation of the universe, the history of the origin of the earth, sky, water light bimbas and the establishment of Bimbas. During the night before Theyyattam, the Goddess Kali is made happy by reciting the lires of the 'Kalasappattu'. Wearing tender coconut leaves on their wrists the worshippers dance and sing. The dance has no definite steps. This is performed to show that the uncivilized farmers gave great importance to worship and rituals.

3rd Day - Naradan's Purappadu

The explanation of the story of the origin and glory of Darika and informing the people about the performance of Kaliyoot is the motive of Naradans who is sent by the Lord of Kailas Paramashivan. Narada enters as an adviser and observer. This recital is tinctured by a mixture of fun, vulgarity and social criticism.
The questioner and the character are the important ports of this scene. The questioner wears a headband and has a stick in his hand while the characters wears a pointed cap on his head and his dress bring to us the remembrances of the kathakali.
The notable port of these scenes is the mentioning of the social laws of the period when the Devadasi system previailed. The worshippers describe the mansions of the Devadasis and the related incompatibility.
The vulgar words originated from the southern and northern parts are used in the dialogues.
The ancient saying is that the use of vulgar words is to save the crops from natural calamities and to get good harvest.
Through social criticism, the distinction between rice and virtue is evidently shown by Narada.

4th Day - Nayer Purappaadu

The nair is appointed as the protector of the Thullalpura where the rituals of the Kaliyoott are performed.
An extravagant Nair from North who destroyed all his family and wealth by voluptuousness and unnecessary customs came to Sarkara as a refugee. At cast he agreed to serve as the protector of the Kaliyootpura.
While continuing here he established a relation ship with a neighbouring Devadasi. The greedy women catised him and captured all his wealth and got rid of him. This is the subject matter of the story.
The danger of the increasing sexual craze is explained to the natives through this story.
Black beared and pointed cap is the dress of the character while the questioner is class, the same.
Altering the order, comparison of non-comparable things,  pure use of voices in special ways etc., of 'Chakkiyaar Koothu' are the style of presentation here.

5th Day - Iranippara Purappaadu.

Even though the settings of Kaliyoot were completed, what Kaliyoot was, what were its rules and regulations, who the chief administrators were and how the money was to be arised was the problem that distributes everyone. At least everyone took shelter in Paramashiva.
Two Brahmins called 'Olampathi' and 'Ugrapath' were sent by lord Paramashiva to Devi with money and grains for Kaliyoot.
The corruptions, misbehaviour and craze for women, of the Brahmins is in directly made fun of here. The Brahmins supremacy is also experienced.

6th Day - Kaniyaaru Purappaadu

The place where the Kaliyoot is performed is purified by doing chattu is Kaniyaru purappadu.
Two asrologers from north namely Naadya and Kaartha reaching Sarkara is the subject matter knowing about Kaliyoot they came to the conclusion that the Thullalpura and the surroundings of the temple are impure and proper remedy should be done. The purity has to be calling the Malavelans and performing chathu.
This scene ending the first half of the Kali drama is highly criticizing the people who acquire money by cheating. The scenic consciousness of the questioner and character their presenting ability and homour sense are those which give color to the scene.

7th Day - Pulayer Purappaadu

The stories of these six days explained the supremacy, greed and extravagancy of the upper caste. But in the seventh day there is a feast of strong dramatic moment. The voice of the resurrection of a slave generation is heard here.
The artistic form last for four hours ending in the 'Brahma Muhurtha'. This is the voice against the exploitation of the working class.
The 'valiyambathi' (elder Thampuratty and younger Thampuratty) who were the rulers of Attingal Desam looked after the Harijans well. Now the Harijans laments that they are not treated properly today and are also not given proper wages for their works.
The Devi offering first as a divine virgin and  a Harijan women marks the beginning of the art forms of the Harijans.
The Harijans abase the Devi who disappears after meeting the Villuvamangalm sages. Through this, the Harijan asked that 'Adi manka, nee enkupoyadiyo…,koo (interview with vasupillai. Op.cit).This is a turning point of the story. This scene is glorified by the entrance of Lord Krishna accompanied by his wife, Lord Shiva disguised as a drunkard. The pandi Brahmin Purappadu and the subramanga valli parinaya.
The importance of harijans are enhanced by the imagining them as the spirits of LordShiva.

8th Day Mudi Uzhichil

The scenes held in the Thullalpura fill the seventh day are brought amidst the crowd in the eighth day.
The circumstances of about 4Kms around the Sarkara is the stage for Mudi- Uzhichil the legend goes that the anger ridden Devi seeksDarika in all the four directions. The first reap of Makara is given to the Goddess this Day.
The serch of Darika ends by midnight. The goddess fired of the search of Darika is offered a Bali Karma. The Lord Shiva who hears the Perumpara of Darika sents Narada to enquire what the matter was.
Narada informs Shiva that Darika defeated all the 64 sages and the shad mathas appointed by Shiva meditated Shathi and Shakthi appeared the thrikannu of Shiva and entered the bhre mountain as a fire- bowl. The mountain exploded and the angry Bhadrakaali came out attaining the power for 'Darika Nigraha'. This is Mudiuzhichil.

9th Day - Nilathil Poru - Daarika Nigraha

At night the spirit of Devi is retransfer into the idol after that the sanctum santorium will closed.
With traditional footsteps the origin of Devi is displayed in the thullalpura, the superstitious believes and hypocrisy that exist in the society is narrated with harmour and bhakthi in each day in a dramatic way. The dislects in the north and south that brings obscenity.
In the evening five o' clock the day of Kaliyoot Darika and Bhadrakali step down from the Oottupura, after make up (chuttikuthal). The chief priest of the temple give them the holy water and prasada. The man who gaze Bhadrakali was fitted with veerappallu and crown him with Mudiyettu. After this he came Devi. This done in the thullalpura. Darika and Bhadrakali came through the east of the temple. Then Nilathilporu begins.
After that firstly Bhadrakali do the paranettu and secondly Darika and then they challenge for battle. After the vocal music of Ponnaras Mudiyettu and killing of Darika was done. Fruitful banana tree and ash - guard fruit is cut for the destruction. Along with seven times Bhadrakali round the temple and came the thullalpura, where display the Mudithalam. It is for reducing the anger of Darika destruction. After this throw the seeds. The devotees try collects this rice seeds. They carefully place this seeds in their home it will bring all prosperous in the family. In short Kaliyoot is a harvest festival. The historical significance of the festival along with its, sociolodical and cultural contents are depicted.

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