Weekly Current Affairs: April week-1- kavutheendal ceremony of the Meena Bharani festival
History & Culture
9th Apr, 2020
For the first time in history, the kavutheendal ceremony of the Meena Bharani festival at Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple, Kodungalloor, was observed with just one person.
Sree Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple, popularly known as Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple, is one of the oldest temples in the State. The temple is famous for the annual festival usually falls in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March-April) every year. Kaavu theendal (‘polluting’ the temple) and Bharani paatu are the two significant rituals held as part of the Meena Bharani festival.
- The kavutheendal (polluting the temple) ritual is considered the largest congregation of oracles in the world.
- It is a ritual based on the notions of purity/impurity inherent in Brahminical Hinduism.
According to popular narratives, Sri Kurumba Bhagavathy is identified with Kannagi of Silappathikaramand also with the Kali-Darika story, part of Bhagavathy cult in Kerala.
- The Bharani festival celebrates the birth of Bhadrakali (Hindu Goddess) who as per legend was born from the third eye of Lord Shiva and was the one who went to finish off the demon Darika.
- This is an extremely important festival, especially in Northern Kerala.
- Oracles from across the state gather at the Kodungallur Sree Kurumba Devi Temple to take part in the ritual.
- The sword-wielding oracles clad in vermilion costumes with anklets on their legs and ringing the waist bells perform a mad run around the temple.
- They throw objects inside the temple mainly sticks which signifies the Kavu Theendal.
- Exemplifying the intense devotion, they struck the swords on their forehead before the idol and split blood.
- Symbolically the festival is dedicated to the raw and untamed energy. It also provides an opportunity to the repressed sections in the society to vent their anger.
- The belief is that the goddess accepts all the frustrations and anger. It provides the oracles, most of them belonging to the lower strata of the society, a chance to vent out their anger.
About Sree Kurumba Bhagavathi temple:
- Sree Kurumba Bhagavathi temple at Kodungallur is an ancient shrine which is dedicated to the Goddess in her Bhadrakali form.
- The deity is known as Sree Kurumba and fondly called Kodungallur Amma or the mother of Kodungallur by her devotees.
- The deity here represents the fierce form of the goddess who has eight arms with various attributes in each hand.
- In one hand, she holds the head of a demon Daruka, another a bell, another a sword, next an anklet, among others.
- The temple history dates back from the Chera period. It is believed to be erected by Cheran Chenguttuvan the famous Chera king.
- It is also one of the first temples in Kerala which removed the restrictions of caste and religion, and permitted devotees belonging to lower strata of the caste hierarchy, access for 27 days when other temples barred their entry round the year.
- This was long before even the Temple Entry legislation became effective in Kerala.