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Parassini Sri Muthappan

Centres of Sri Muthappan worship are generally called `madappuras’. But Padi is an exception. There, it is called Devasthanam. Some of the other important centres connected with Sri Muthappan are Puralimala, Arichal Madappura, Punthalottu Madappura, Kanniath Madappura and Parassini Madappura. It is believed that the Lord took rest at Punthalottu Madappura after His pallivetta, and then devas showered flowers on Him.

Parassini Madappura is the most popular among all Madappuras. At present, after Kunnathurpadi, Parassini Madappura is considered to be the most important centre of Lord Sri Muthappan. Devotees from far and near visit this pilgrim centre round the year. Thiruvappana and Vellattam on almost all days, scenic beauty, easy transport, annadanam, free accommodation and above all its direct link to Sri Muthappan make this centre very popular.

Parassini is in Chirakkal taluk. It is 20 km from Kannur and 10 km from Taliparambaa. Parassinikadavu is four-and-a-half km from Dharmasala bus stop on Kannur-Thalipparamba route.

History

While reading pattola at Parassini, the history of Muthapan in connection with Parassini is described. When Thiruvappana reached Puralimala, the Lord decided to find a suitable place for "nithya utsavam and aarattu". His glance reached up to Kannapuram (Kadalodu Kannapuram nokkikkandu). Thiruvappana sent an arrow from Puralimala. That arrow pierced on a `kanjiramaram’ (nux vomica tree) at Parachingakkadavu, named after a thorny shrub `parachinga’. Valappattanam river flows by the side. Present place name, Parassini was derived from Parachinga. A `Vannan’ who was fishing in the river saw a shining arrow on the tree. He got plenty of fish on that day. The Lord’s arrow with a divine hallow aroused an unknown feeling in him. He sensed something divine and informed the Kunnummel Tharavattu Karanavar who belonged to the Thiya community. He erected a `madappura’ there and started worshipping the Lord. The `Karanavar’ offered toddy and `Vannan’ fish as `payankutty’. The `Vannan’ who chanced to see the arrow began donning the divine crown of Sri Muthappan during `Thiruvappana’ and `Vellattam’ and the `Karanavar’ became the first `Madayan’.

Old Order Changes

As the kaleidoscope of history spread over a century tilted, set patterns of social set up gave way to new order.

The exit of British rule brought yeomen changes in the national level. Princely States gave way to States and the Union of India. Kerala Land Reforms Act brought about drastic changes in the `janmi (landlord)-kudiyan (tenant)’ relations. With the dawn of the Temple Entry Proclamation, an upsurge of social interaction began. The so-called underprivileged gained self-respect and self-confidence, paving way for a quantum leap forward. Nationalisation of forests also played a vital role in shaking the foundations of the hitherto unchallenged upper echelons of society. In many cases, landlords were turned into landless and vice-versa.

Once Karakkattedam had sway over vast acres of land. Records say that it had around 3,50,000 acres of land directly and another 1,50,000 acres indirectly, including devaswoms. Until 1960, Karakkattedam was considered to be one of the biggest landlords. During British period, Karakkattedam was entrusted with the powers to collect taxes. Both the Kerala Land Reforms Act and Nationalisation of forests affected its edifice.

Karakkattedam was heading the Chuzhali Swaroopam having control over all other edams and vast acres of land. Temples spread over Payyavur, Eruvassi, Ellaringi, Chengalai, Irukkur and Kalyadu villages come under Chuzhali Swaroopam.

Parassini Madappura had connections with Kadamberi Chuzhali Bhagavathi temple. When the consolidated powers of Chuzhali Swaroopam diminished due to above said factors, many areas, temples and institutions began to function on its own. There are umpteen rituals and customs to prove the solid bond between them. But none could resist the inevitable social changes that swept the landscape of Kerala. And, under it swept many customs, rituals and the bond once existed. Now only nostalgic memories remain.

To start with there were 308 madappuras, 108 asthanams and 75 podikkalams at Puralimala. Whenever a podikkalam or a madappura was installed, it never cut the umbilical chord with Kunnathurpadi.
Now the situation has changed. Podikkalams and madappuras are mushrooming, perhaps on account of the strong desire of a devotee or as a thanksgiving gesture for a prayer fulfilled. And all of them are now working independently.

Offerings

Offerings to God here are unique. Vecharingad (a mix of plantain, rice, pepper, turmeric and salt), roasted fish, toddy and coconut pieces are the favourite ones. Offer of toddy is important. "Kallum kaliyattom, villum villattom" are favourite for Him. Even during the prohibition period, Madras High Court allowed madappura to collect toddy from three coconut palms. For `karimkalasam’, arrack was used. After prohibition, tender coconut water is used instead. Foreign liquor is not banned here. In and around the sanctum sanctorum here, hordes of dogs are seen. They move in gay abandon and are considered to be the blessed ones of the Lord. Some devotees give puppies to the `madappura’ as offering. In `thottam’, even the names of the four wild dogs that followed Sri Muthappan are mentioned. After removing the `payankutty’ offered to Sri Muthappan for `malayirakkal’, the first offering is given to dogs. At the time of the `pallivetta purappad’ of the Lord, He offers coconut pieces to them.

Festival

On all `sankranti’ days, Namboodiris do poojas here. Ganapati homam and `sudhikalasam’ are conducted. During the month of Kanni, Ganapati homam is conducted with 64 coconuts. Sri Muthappan centres are perhaps the rarest of temples where non-Brahmins and Brahmins do poojas for the same Lord. Temple opens at 5.30 a.m. After many rituals, begins the dance of Sri Muthappan to the accompaniment of percussion instruments. After that the interface with the Lord begins. The utterances of the Lord are termed as `panippad, velipad’ or `arulappad’. It may last till 8.30 a.m. Vellattam begins around 5.30 p.m. and last till 8.30 p.m. On all days, before the Malayala sankramam, Vellattam begins at 3 p.m. and ends around 5 p.m.

In the Malayalam month of Thulam 9 (October), `Puthari’ (new rice) is given to Sri Muthappan. The annual festival here is from Vrischikam 16 (December). Whoever comes to `madappura’ is given tea and white gram or pounded rice as `prasadam’. Free noon and night meals are also given. Hence Parassinikkadau is known as the Dharmasthala of Malabar. Parassini Madappura is doing yeomen services in the field of art, especially `kathakali’, by maintaining Sri Muthppan Kathakaliyogam. Madappura is running a school and gives free food and accommodation to school children. People from Malabar, especially army men, who come during vacation or on leave make it a point to have `darsan’ of Lord Sri Muthappan. You can seldom find a vehicle without the picture of Sri Muthappan in Malabar. That is the reverence HE commands..

All Peruvannans are not permitted to don Sri Muthappan headgear at Parassini madappura. It is the right of the sons and nephew of Kundathil family. The eldest of the family tree is called "Janmari". Kannan Peruvannn is the present "Janmari", though he is not physically fit to don the Sri Muthappan attire. There are twenty theyyam artistes at `madappura’. Sri P P Balakrishnan, 43, a history graduate, is the senior most among theyyam artistes at Parassini . He had begun donning the attire at the age of 17. He had received Pattum Valayum from Kodallur Thampuran in the year 1979 and became Peruvannan who became eligible for the Divine dance of Thiruvappana. Son of the late Kanna Peruvannan, who was well-versed in this field, Balakrishnan is an authority in the rituals and legend of the Sri Muthappan tradition.

The percussion instruments at Madappura is a treat to the ears. There are ten artistes belonging to the Malayar community. The festival at Parassini falls on the 30th of Malayalam month Kanni. The Lord Sri Muthappan and Vellattam come with all splendours. Decorated parasols accompany them, marking the majestic look of Sri Muthappan. After that there will not be Thiruvappana and Vellattom till the 8th of Thulam. Only `payankutty’ is offered at the `madappura’. On Thulam 9, Puthari Vellattam is performed. From then onwards to Vrischikam 14, only Ucha Vellattam is performed. There is another festival in Vrischikam. On all Malayalam Sankrama days there will be `Sudhi’ and Ganapathi homam by Brahmin priests.

There will be Koottakkaliyattam on a day fixed by astrologers on Meenam 2. There will be an array of theyyams of Vayanattu Kulavan, Elladathu Bhagavathi, Chamundi, Pottam theyyam, four theyyams of Kudiveeran, seven theyyams of Dharmadaivangal. On Makaram 21, there will be Chuvannamma Kottam where theyyams of Chuvannamma, Thaiparadevatha, Kariathan, Pulloor Kannan and Karan Daivam appear. At Parassini the `Malakayattal’ and `Malayirakkal’ are performed at a time. This is unique since Parassini has Thiruvappana and Vellattam on all days and once after the Malyirakkal, the devotees should have the presence of Sri Muthappan till the next Divine dance.


Mr P M Mukundan, Madayan is the trustee and general manager of the Parassini Madappura. The elder member in the ancestral home of the family will become the Madayan. All rituals and poojas for Sree Muthappan are done by the Madayan. P.M. Mukundan was designated new ‘Madayan’ (hereditary chief priest) of the Parassini Muthappan Madappura March 7, 2009 after P.M. Bhaskaran Madayan, 82, died on Dec 21, 2008