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Bali Kallukal – Round Carved Stones Around Kerala Temples – Balivattam

Balivattam, or Bali Kallukal, are small round carved stones around the sanctum sanctorum in Kerala temples. They are a must around the sanctum sanctorum and sometimes they are also seen around the main temple. The small stones are cylindrical, hemispherical or dome-shaped. It is found on the Pradakshina Vazhi around the Sreekovil.

These stones symbolically represent the guardian deities – Ashta Dikpalas or the 11 Rudras in some rare cases.

Names Of 16 Bali Kallukal And Their Direction

There are main 8 stones in Bali Vattam and sometimes there are 16 stones.

The names of the 8 main stones (starting from northeast) are Ishan, Indran, Agni, Yaman , Niritti, Varunan, Vayu, and Soman. (They are known as Ashta Dikpalas). 

  • Indra is in east and Varunan is in west. 
  • Yaman is in south and Soman is in north. 
  • Vayu is in northwest and Agni is in southeast.
  • Ishan is in northeast and Niritti is in southwest
The additional 8 stones are Brahma, Sastha, Anantha, Durga, Subrahmanya, Kubera, Nirmalyadhari and Saptamatrukal.

  • Saptamatrukal are represented on the southside in 7 stones. They are sometimes covered in copper sheet.  They are found on the south side behind slightly towards west behind Yaman.
  • Brahma is on the northeast corner after Ishan.
  • Sastha is in the southwest corner just before Niritti.
  • Anantha is in the southwest just after Niritti.
  • Durga and Subrahmanya are in the southeast corner just after Vayu.
  • Kuberan is just behind Soman in east.
  • Nirmaladhari is just before Ishan.

Balipeedam - The Bigger Stone With Designs

Balipeedam that faces the deity before the entrance into main temple is comparatively big. It represents Indra if the deity faces east and Varuna if deity faces west. The Balipeedam in some temples itself has eight small stones around it. 

The name of the deities around the main Balikalu changes depending on the deity worshipped. 

Importance Of Bali Kallukal 

As these stones represent deities, they enhance the positive energy of the temple and do not allow negative energies to enter the temple.

Seeveli or Sreebali is offered to the deities daily in most temples. Majority of temples have 3 Seevelis a day. The utsava murti is taken out from sreekovil for pradakshina around the sanctum. During this time, the priests offer Ahavisu consisting of rice, sesame and flowers to each guardian deity.

Utsava Bali is an important ritual during annual temple festival. The positive energy of the stones are invoked during this time. This is an elaborate ritual.

Rules When Doing Pradakshina And Bali Kallu

Devotees do not touch or stamp on Bali Kallu. A devotee does not cross over it and walks on the left side of it. The stones are on the right side of a devotee while making pradakshinas.

In one of the Upa Devata temples in Vadakkunnathan temple, there is a balikallu on which people stack up small stones. The belief is that if you do so you will always have a house to live in.




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