Prathishta / Presiding Deity : Anthimahakalan (Siva)
Upadevatha / Sub Deities : xx
Anthimahakalan Kavu is a famous Shiva temple located at Chelakkara in Thrissur District. Lord Shiva in the form of 'Anthimahakalan' is the main deity. Goddess Kodungallur Bhagavathy and Lord Ganesh are the presiding deities.
Lord Siva’s incarnation of Kiratha, Lord Anthimahakalan (also known as ‘Anthymalan’)is the ruling deity of this holy temple and as memorising the name, it is called ‘Anthimahakalan Kavu’ (the temple of Anthimahakalan). Even though usually the ‘Kavu’ is known for ‘Devi’ temples, here the main deity is Lord Anthimahakalan, the Kiratha incarnation. On the right side there is Kodungallore Bhagavathy also being installed. Here the Bhagawathi is in ‘Kali’ form and is all and the performance done as guided by Anthimahakalan as Lord Sree Krishna in Mahabharatha. Here the major festival is called Vela. In addition ‘Kalam songs’ (column songs) , Pathamudayam Vela, Navarathri Festival, Reinstallation Day are celebrated.
The Vela Festival will be declared on the ‘Durga Yamam’ i.e. 18 Nazhika passed on the 1st of the Kumbam month (usually 14th of February –depends on date fluctuation). From this date onwards till the end of Vela, there are certain customs to be followed by the people of the ‘Thattakam’ area. One should not leave the area and if so, he should return for the Vela. Tree climbing, head loading, house repairs, boundary wall making…etc are told not to be done.
Pangarapilly, Kurumala, Thonoorkara, Venganellur and Chelakkara are the five ‘Deshams’ (villages) included in the ‘Thattakam’ of Lord Anthimahakalan. These villages have the right to conduct the Vela festivals. There are Northern Side and Southern side Velas and celebrated alternatively. Historically, it is told that the Southern Vela managed by ‘Thekkan Nambidies’ and Northern Vela by ‘Kavalappara Nairs’. Prior to that it was managed by Thekkan Nambidies only. Due to any reasons, the Vela should not be ceased and for that reason, Thekkan Nambidies requested the more powerful and royal Kavalappara Nairs to join them and for operational reasons it was decided to celebrate in alternative years. But in 1102(Malayalam Era) the Thekkan Nambidies handed over the conduct of Vela to Cochin Devaswom with the surrender of required land and till 1114 Kavalappara Nairs continued the Vela. But in that year they too surrendered the land and handed over the conduct of Vela to the Devaswom. From 1114 it is being conducted by Devaswom.
As the Kavalapara Nairs are more noble and of King Status the Northern Vela will enter the temple first and then only the Southern Vela can enter. Even now the Vela is being conducted as Northern and Southern Vela. Till very resent the Northern Vela was from Vadakkan Kotta(Northern Fort). Now for better coordination it starts from ‘Kadukassery Temple’.
On the 3rd of Kumbaham, after digging the ‘Thirumuttam’ the pole hosting(pole for ‘Pandal’) is done. For southern Vela it is at ‘Mallissery Kavu’ and Northern Vela at ‘Kadukassery’ Temple.
After ‘Thirumuttom Kila’, the next Wednesday ‘Pullu Vela’ (grass festival) and Saturday ‘Paru Vela’ (bamboo festival)celebrates. The required grass and bamboo for the Pandal will be brought from that day. After that each Deshams starts ‘Parayeduppu’ program. Traditionally it stats from the home of Thekkan Nambidies .
The killing of ‘Darikan’, the symbol of evil , is the main function of Vela celebration. These functions are done at the 64 pillar pandal. For Northern Vela it is at Kadukassery Temple and in Southern it is at Mallissery Kavu. Out of the 64 pillars 60 are for the Pandal and 4 for the ‘Pattu Kottal’ for declaring Vela.
Then the Vela is being declared on the first Saturday of the month of Meenam with prayer fore conducting the Vela without problems and the ‘Kalamezhuthu’ starts. (Drawing Kalam)
The Kalamezhuthu is being performed by ‘Kallattu Kurups’ of Pangarapilly and they hold the rights for all rites. After the Elayath’s pooja at Mullathara, Kalam Pooja is performed and then the Kalam is being defaced or erased. This is being done for 6 days. Simultaneously ‘Darikan Vadham’ is also chanting.
On the 7th day before 10 a.m the Kurup who perform the Kali takes over the ‘Jewellery Box’ consisting Kali’s hair, dress and Jewellery from the Devaswom authorities (It was stored outside the Thattakam prior to this and after the Vela . Now it stores at Pazhayannur Temple Devaswom Office) and kept in the 64 pillar Mandapam with the Thalam and other accompanients. Full measures, Nirapara, copra, rawricepunch(avil), Kadhali Banana,Jaggery, beetle leaves, nuts etc are also being arranged for receiving the ‘Jewellery Box’. That evening the figures of anthimahakalan and Darikan are being made. That day it is not disfigured or erased.
The ‘jewellery box’ is kept with respect in a special room inside the 64 pillar mandapam with lighted lamp and in the evening the pooja of Darikan’s hair, seed measuring, unni purappadu and other functions being performed.
Remembering the Killing of 41Darikans by Bhadra Kali, the 41 Darikans dress is being removed. Then on the Seventh Day, Saturday early morning, in the predetermined paddy field, ( Kali Kandam) war cries were held after climbing on the Royal cart (Ther Thattu) and in the end the Killing of Karakan is being conducted.
After the Killing of Karakan, the gods were immensely troubled by Darikan and they approach the Thrilords…Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara . Due to the result of the destructive poison of ‘Kalakoodam’ is being extricated and thrown into the 18th Pathalam(hell), the 16 handed ‘Bhadra Kali’ was born. The goddess started move along with Vethalam to kill Darikan and Lord Anthimahakalan also accompanied.
The drawing of the 7th day is on the basis of the above hearsay. The Bhadra Kali in the destructive mood with weapons in all the 16 arms for the killing of Darikan, Darikan being laid on the lap. And blessed by Anthimahakalan. This is the peculiarity of the day. On all other days Bhagawathy and Anthimahakalan’s figure were drawn.
On the 7th day, the Vela day, evening the Kurups dress up as Kali, Darikan, and Koyma . Kali disfigures and erases the figures of the earlier night with Kuruthola(Coconut leaves of tender). Then the procession starts with Drum beats and traditional lamps etc and settles in the predetermined place in the paddy fields and Kali challenges Darikan for war and comes to the declared plot and wait there as if in war.
After this all the five villages conduct fireworks display as a token of the war and considered as part of the function. The only difference is that new dimensions are being employed in the display of fireworks. After the fireworks display, the oracle of the Anthimahakalan arrives and leads Bhadra Kali,Darikan and Koyma into the temple. As Bhadra Kali and Darikan should not touch the temple compound with feet, they remain on the cart and carried for three rounds of the temple with Panchavadyam. After that Kali and Darikan proceed to the Kali Kandam and give blessings to the devotees.
After this Kali and Darikan makes war cries and in the end of that , Kali pledges Lord Anthimahakalan and proceed to One and half Kilometer south, place called ‘Oottukkulangara’. Darikan also follows. Again war cries were held and gets down from the cart and destroys both the arts . War cries were held again. And the fearful Darikan begs the Kali and believed that Darikan is being killed here. Symbolically, the ‘Kalasam’ is being poured over the white Melon.
Now the unholy crown and ot
her dresses are taken to the temple for purification and packed in the Jewels Box and handed over to safe keep, now at Pazhayannur. After the Vela, on Sunday evening Anthimahakalan Pattu is being conducted.. It is being done as thanks giving and for pardoning any faults during the conduct of the Vela. Then on the following Saturday, the Devaswom officials gives ‘Kaithenga’ (coconut) to all the people associated with the functions.
An annual festival, Anthimahakalan vela, is celebrated in the Malayalam month of
Kumbham (February-March). Navratri, Bhagavata Sapthaham and Velamahothsavam are
the other main festivals celebrated.
The main offerings are pushpanjali, archana and dhara
Cochin International Airport, 58 km from Thrissur. The nearest railhead is at Thrissur.