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Kurampala Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple Padayani Festival And Adavi Ritual

Kurampala Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple is located near Pandalam on the Adoor – Pandalam road in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The padayani festival takes place here once in five years. The last festival was celebrated in 2021 and next will be in 2026. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbham. 

Kurampala Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple History

Legend has it that Palappali Valiachan got the Puthenkavil Bhagavathy from Kodungallur temple (Avahichu Konduvarika).

The Bhadrakali murti in the temple is 6 feet tall. The temple faces east. The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Yakshi and Marutha.

The temple is situated in the middle of a sacred grove (kavu) full of herbs, huge trees and, creepers.

There is a special ezhunellippu after Makara Bharani. A special ritual known as ‘Chottu Pidikkal’ is held by Puthathu Veetukar after the Bharani ritual. After this a person enters the grove or kavu and beats Veekhu Chenda. Pishachas are also called on the occasion (Kukki Vilikkuka). After this 13-day Padayani festival is held. Chooral Adavi is held on the 9th day once in five years.

Chooral Adavi Ritual

Chooral Adavi is observed by devotees after strict penance of 41 days. Nearly 1000 male devotees take part in this ritual.

Wrapping themselves in fresh thorny rattan plants, devotees roll on the ground, bleeding all over. Devotees consider the blood oozing out of their body as an offering to the presiding deity, Goddess Bhadrakali. The ritual is performed for desire fulfillment.

The ritual is reminiscent of the Narabali (human sacrifice) ritual of yore. In the morning villagers make a round with uprooted coconut palm, areca palm and thorny cane and this ritualistic observation are called ‘Thengu, Pana, Chooral Kalippikkal’.

Kurampala Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple Padayani

The Padayani of Kurampala also commences with ‘Choottu vaipu’ and the ritual continues for a period of ten days. On the eleventh day the ritual of Kachikottu takes place and all these days the ritual of Kappoli also takes place in the temple. At Kurampala each day is set apart for one kolam each.

  • Vellayum Kariyum Kolam is staged on the first day of Padayani. In this Kolam, the face of the performer is painted directly with paint. This was the ancient system of kolam making prevailed before the intervention of arecanut sheath kolams.
  • On the second day, Ganapathy and Ganapathy Pishachu kolams are staged.  
  • On the third day, Marutha Kolam (deity of smallpox) performance takes place. 
  • Vadimadan and Thoppi Madan arrive on the fourth day. 
  • Fifth and sixth days are for the performance of Pulli Madan andChettamadan respectively. 
  • On the seventh day, Kaala Yakshi Kolam made of 51 Arecanut sheath makes the performance. 
  • Kuthira Thullal is on the 8th day of padayani.
  • On the 11th day, the performance of Nayattum Padayum is held and is followed by Pooppada on the next day. Kaniyan Purappadu is also performed along with Pooppada. Performance of Kalan kolam is also held on the very same day.

On all these days there will be Thavadi, Valiyamelam and comedy items are repeated. 

The Thavadi dance accompanied by instruments like chenda, Kaimaini, Veeramadaalam, Veekku Chenda, and Thappu is held on the eleventh day.

After that vinodam (comedy items) takes place and at Kurampala Velichappadu and Paradeshi are the main comic interludes. On the 11th day comes the ‘Vellapparadeshi (white dress) and is followed on the next day with two ‘Chuvanna Paradeshi’ (Red dress), and on the 13th day, all these comes together make their appearances to the ‘Kalam’. ‘Kuttiparadeshis’ too appear on the stage on some days.

Some of the other comedy interludes of Kurampala Padayani are Nampoothiriyum Vallyakkaranum, Sarkkarakkudam, Anthoni, Ottupattar, Chaakka, Pulavritham, Kambukali, Kuravarkali, Kunjarikka Maharshi, Pattarum Kalyaniyum, Thangalum Padayum make their appearances one after another.

Another feature of Kurampala is the making of Ambalavum Vilakkum, a ritual of creating a temple model using a banana stem. Once it is done, the Kurampala Padayani festival concludes with the Bhairavi Kolam performance and the special performance is known by the name of Thulli Ozhikkal.