|Sree Manappully Bhagavathy temple,Palakkad. Pilgrimaide.com|
Legend has it that the Goddess Bhadrakali was created from the sacred matted "Jada" (locks of hair) of Lord Shiva during Dakshayaga. She is black in colour, with three eyes and four hands, each one carrying Soolam, Kapalam, Gadkam and Khedam. She was created to kill the Asura by the name of Neelan who terrorized people and sages. Lord Parasurama advised the people to pray to Lord Shiva for a solution to Asura's menace. Here Manappulli Sree Bhadrakali Amman is a powerful Goddess. When approached with deep trust and devotion she never fails to get rid of their problems and mental agony and bless them with prosperity and tranquility. Yet another vital fact is she protects the devotees from evil forces. The Prathishta is in ‘Shanta Bhava’ (in compassionate form) . During ‘Chandattam’ ceremony, she turns to ‘Rudra Bhava’(fierce-looking) and becomes ‘Shanta Swaroopini (quiet and composed) ‘after accepting the ‘Kadummadura Payasa Nivedyam’. She never lets her devotees leave the temple without their desires, hopes and aspirations fulfilled.
For numerous families, Manappalli Bhagawathy Amman is a family deity and so when they conduct family functions such as wedding, Grahapravesam (entering the newly built home), etc; they visit the temple first and invoke Bhagavathy Amman's blessings. So are the newly wedded couples who visit the temple after their wedding to be blessed with a baby, peace of mind and family welfare.
In this part of Kerala the staple food is rice and Palghat district is a major paddy producing area and many social and cultural traditions have a close link with paddy cultivation. As in Tamil Nadu, people strongly believe that the Goddess of Kavu (temple) guards them and their ‘Thattakam’(place surrounding the temple). It is quite obvious that they make agricultural produces from their lands as offerings to the Goddess.
|Manappully Bhagavathy temple,Vela festival,srirajnair.wordpress.com|
|Vela festival, Plakkad. Sree Manappully Bhagavathy temple,|
Yet another fascinating aspect of Vela festival is it is strongly believed that the sword with which Goddess Kali killed the Asura is in the temple tank. During the Vela festival, an event depicting Goddess Bhagavathi taking out the sword from the Tank called Velichapadu is celebrated. A devotee, who is believed to be under the influence of Kali will dive into the tank, bring the sword and place it in the shrine of Mother for pujas.
On the Vela day after morning puja Bhagavathi Amman will come out of Srikovil (sanctum) in a procession to get mixed with locals (Desakkar) in response to their Upacharam (invitation). On this particular day, there will be no ‘Deeparadhana’ or the ‘Athazhapuja’. Following day there will be clenching ceremony with santhana Abhisekam (anointing with sandal water). There will be Annadhanam - free feeding of food to the devotees. After several rituals, in the evening the deity will be taken to Moolasthanam behind the temple and will reach the main temple in the early morning. An interesting event is ‘Raavela’ that starts in the early morning. The main feature of ‘Raavela’ is lighting of ‘Kambam’ (pole). ‘Kambam’ represents ‘Lord Shiva's’Jada and lighting it with ‘Karimarunnu’ makes symbolic representation of Bhadrakalis’ ulpathi. After this, Bhagavathy enters the Temple. Kanyar pole is plucked by the elephant, marking the end of the festival.