kaLiyATTaM at ve~Nkil cherikkal koTTaM, OtayammATaM, cheRukunnu, Kerala
PoTTan, GuLikan and KuRatti theyyam

An eye witness report

A. Purushothaman

[The photos of teyyam performances at ve~Nkil cherikkal koTTam on 2nd and 3rd April 2010 were taken by Madhu, Appolo Studio, Cherukunnu.]

ve~Nkil cherikkal koTTaM, OtayammATaM, P.O.cherukunnu - 670 301, kaNNUr district celebrated the annual kaLiyATTaM during 2nd and 3rd April, 2010.

2nd April 2010

ve~Nkil cherikkal koTTaM is the koTTaM of nirichchan taRavAT (pulaya community). The koTTaM is located at otayammaTaM where the paddy field begins.

Members from ten branches (pattillakkAr) assembled at kArakkATan taRavAT, located at pATi, on 2nd April, 2010 at 7.30 am.

The komaram handed over the lighted traditional lamp to the present chief (known as tantri) of nirichchan taRavAT. The tantri carried the lamp from pATi to ve~Nkil cherikkal kotTaM as a procession

procession in the morning
procession in the morning
procession in the evening

accompanied by two cheNTa players, komaram and an olakkUTa (umbrella of palm leaf), beautifully decorated with tender leaves of coconut tree (kuruttola) along with the members of the branches of taRavAT. The tantri carried the lamp to the koTTam (bhagavati temple).

(At this time, brahmin priest was present at the koTTaM, to conduct a gaNapati homaM).

In the evening, at about 5.30 pm, a light (dIpaM) and a wick (tiri) was brought by the tantri from cherukunnu annapUrNeshvari temple as a procession as in the morning. This time the tantri was wearing a red cloth band (resembling the sacred thread worn by brahmins) across his shoulder and chest. The lamp was carried in a pot of mud. The tantri carried the lamp to the koTTam (bhagavati temple) as in the morning.

tantri carrying the lamp in a pot entering the koTTam
All of them then went to the pond (kuLaM) of the nearby otayammATaM temple for taking bath. After taking bath, they turned towards the temple deity and paid obeisance. Carrying a lighted olachchUTTu (bunch of dried coconut leaves tied together and lighted) and shouting Ohoho (probably as a warning to the upper caste people to stay away, as in olden days, due to untochability) loudly, all returned to the koTTaM.

Then following were sung by tallariyal lakShmaNan (tallariyal lakShMaNan, mutukuTa harijan colony, P.O. PaTTuvaM 670 143, kaNNUr Dist) accompanied by three others. Three of them, including lakShmaNan used tuTi, hung over their shoulders and the fourth, a che~Ngila: varaviLi, iruLuM veLichchavuM, tuTishAstraM, arishAstraM and gaNapatistuti.

At 8.30 pm, the first teyyam, puRappATu of dharmadaiva~Ngal, the first teyyaM was performed.

At 10 pm, the kalashaM is taken as a procession from kArakkATan taRavAT at pATi accompanied by shi~NkAri meLaM (vinAyaka vAdya saMghaM). Shri lakShmaNan informed that, during the procession, the story of amR^itamathana is recited (kalashaM = madhu = amR^ita).

3rd April 2010

The toRRaM song of poTTan theyyaM was sung by lakShMaNan and others.

By 4.30 am, melari is kept ready as a heap of red ashes and burning wood in the field adjacent to the koTTaM. At one side, huge logs of wood are kept burning.

5 am: poTTan teyyaM (kolakkAran: rameshan).

poTTan teyyam at melari
receiving blessings from PoTTan teyyam

After preliminary rituals, and circumambulating the melari three times, poTTan lies down in the melari. Two people pull him out. This is repeated several times. poTTan then goes to the burning logs of wood and is pulled out.

Lying down, leaning on the burning melari, poTTan calls out eLangIle (meaning nambiars) and the representatives of four castes. They come forward and poTTan talks to them.

poTTan lies down in melari and the logs of wood several times and is pulled out.

At 7 .00 am guLikan teyyam. The toRRaM song is sung by lakShMaNan and others. guLikan runs around the border of the koTTaM. guLikan goes inside the building. He even climbs on the terrace! He climbs on to the wall of the well in the koTTaM. He goes to a spot in the field and returns. He climbs on a stool and revolves.

At 7.30 am all of us paid obeisance to poTTan teyyam and sought blessings. At 8.00 am kuRatti teyyaM. (kolakkAran udayan)

guLikan teyyam
kuRatti teyyam
kuRatti teyyam

After dressing up, kuRattiyamma circumambulates the koTTaM and pay obeisance to poTTan and guLikan. Then the kuRatti teyyaM receives kuRi and tiri from the tantri from the bhagavati temple in a plantain leaf and comes to the kurattiyamma maNDapaM.

The toRRaM song is sung by lakShMaNan and others. (The first part was not sung due to time constraint as explained by lakShMaNan later).

guLikan and kuRatti teyyam
poTTan, kuRatti and guLikan teyyam
poTTan and kuRatti teyyam

After the toRRaM song, kuRattiyamma performs a dance.

Going to the bhagavati koTTaM, kuRatti says: Am I not the one who removed the mAraNaM of pa~nchapANDavanmAr?

kuRatti and guLikan circumambulate the koTTaM.

kuRatti, guLikan and poTTan circumambulate the koTTaM.

poTTan teyyam
guLikan teyyam

9.00 am viShNu mUrti

10.00 am cheRiya bhagavati and valiya bhagavati

(We did not watch the last two teyyaMs)

April 7, 2010

teyyam performers:
Pottan - Rameshan
Gulikan - Bava
Kuratti - Udayan

For more information consult the following: