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Kalakat Illam Temple In Kannur – Theyyam – Kaliyattam - Thira Festival

Kalakat Illam Temple is located near Purakkunnu near Perinthatta – Payyanur in Kannur district, Kerala. The main deity worshipped in the temple is Karimkutty Chathan – a powerful Mantra Murthy – and Goddess Bhagavathi (Devi or Kali). The annual theyyam, kaliyattam – thira festival in the temple is held in Malayalam Dhanu Masam – Dhanu 26/27/28 - January 10/11/12.

The important theyyams performed in this temple are Karimkutty Chathan (കരിങ്കുട്ടി ചാത്തൻ), Uchitta Bhagavathi ഉച്ചിട്ട ഭഗവതി, Kakkara Bhagavathi (കക്കര ഭഗവതി), Raktha Chamundi (രക്ത ചാമുണ്ഡി), Vettakkorumakan (വേട്ടക്കൊരു മകൻ) Oor Pazhassi (ഉർ പഴശ്ശി), Vishnumoorthi (വിഷ്ണു മൂർത്തി), Gulikan (ഗുളികൻ), Bhairavan (ഭൈരവൻ), Uchakutti Chathan (ഉച്ചക്കുട്ടി ചാത്തൻ), Karuval Bhagavathi (കരുവാൾ ഭഗവതി), Pottan Theyyam (പൊട്ടൻ തെയ്യം), Kurathiyamma (കുറത്തിയമ്മ), Thai Paradevatha (തായി പരദേവത) and Sree Bhootham (ശ്രീ ഭൂതം).

Karimkutty Chathan here is a wish fulfilling deity. If he is propitiated in the correct manner through devotion, he fulfills the wishes of the devotees.

Kalakat Illam is the house name of a family of Brahmins in Kannur district. This family of Brahmins is gifted with powers of sorcery (Manthravadam and Thanthram, or Tantra). The term Tantra here, refers to the method of practices carried over based on certain beliefs on divine energy and its link to the human microcosm. The Tantriks (one who practices tantra) or the Tantri of Kalakat Illam practice only the Dakshina Maarg of the centuries old Tantra Shastra in their rich cultural traditions (Shastra means a science which gives teaching, instruction, or command). Apart from performing Manthravadam they are also Tantriks of various temples in Northern Malabar. They hold the Tantrik rights of temples like Deva-prathishta, Kalasham, Sree Bhootha Bali, other important rituals and poojas in a Hindu Temple.

The book titled Kerala Mahatmyam, mentions about the illam in the chapter Manthrika Nayanam. It is said in the book that the Namboothiri of Kalakat Illam was brought from Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu by Parashurama. It is reported to be one of the seven Illams created by Parasurama, members of who are delegated to perform the divine rituals in temples and exorcism. They have the power of healing the mental and physical ailments through the power of mantras and poojas.

The tantric practices are made based on a science which was scripted on thaali ola or palm leaves by the ancestors of this Illam. Many of the ancient, palm leaves are still preserved at Kalakat Illam.

Gurussi or Guruthi is offered to the deity in the first night of the start of Kaliyattam – theyyam festival. Guruthi is an offering to Goddess Bhagavathy to seek her blessings. This ritual along with traditional lamps, pandams (fire at tip of a long broad stick) and Chenda-melam is an awe-inspiring sight. The Guruthi tharpanam is performed in a huge vessel which is filled with a mixture or turmeric, burning lime and water which gives a blood red color.