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Kari Gurikkal Theyyam – Story – Information

Kari Gurikkal Theyyam is a rare theyyam performed only in a couple of sacred places during the annual theyyam kaliyattam thira festival in Kannur region of Kerala. As per information, this theyyam is of powerful warrior and magician who had to knowledge to take forms of various animals. As per Kari Gurikkal theyyam, he was born in the pulaya community and therefore he could not learn kalaripayattu martial art. But he lied about this family and joined all the 18 kalari and became a highly proficient warrior. He also learned black magic and to change form.

Once a local ruler was afflicted with mental disorder and the family of the ruler promised half of their property to Kari Gurukkal if he could cure the ruler. Kari Gurikkal cured the ruler but the family did not keep their promise. The family promised to give the property if he brought milk of a tigress and hair of a nari (tiger).

Kari Gurikkal who knew how to take the form of animals informed his wife that he would be changing form and going to forest to get milk and hair of tiger. To get back to his original form from tiger form, Kari Gurikkal asked his wife to splash grovel water on him and hit his face with a broom dipped in liquid cow dung.

When Kari Gurikkal returned back with milk and hair, the wife got scared seeing the ferocious tiger and did not do as directed by the husband. She closed the door of her house and stayed inside. Kari Gurikkal in anger killed the wife. He had to live in the form of a tiger for the rest of his life.

The local ruler and family got afflicted with mental disorder again and they realized it was due to the curse of Kari Gurikkal. They gave away half of the property and also consecrated a golden murti (idol) of Kari Gurikkal. In honor of the great warrior and magician, a theyyam was decided to be performed annually.

Kari Gurikkal theyyam is performed at Kakkad Pallipram Puthiya Bhagavathi temple (February 9 to February 13) and Pappinisseri Meralivayal Thachan Tharavadu Devasthanam temple (March 31 to April 2) in Kannur.