Various Types of Theyyam
|There are 456 theyyakkolams. Among this 112 are very important and famous.
Some of them are listed below.
The performance of Vishnumoorthi Theyyam includes complicated rites and rituals. It is the most popular part of the Vaishnava Theyyam. The reverberations of the drumbeats can be heard from very far distances.
This fascinating piece narrates the story of Palanthai Kannan, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The Vishnumoorthi Theyyam in ottakkolam (only one kolam) enters the pyre. The act is called Agnipravesham. The devotees stand around him with prayers. Four people take kayar [rope] from Vishnumoorthi and become Kayattukar. Their duty is to protect agricultural land from cattle. With the kayar [rope] and vadi [rod] they roam the area from Karyamkode to Thalachai and catch cattle with the rope or drive them away using the rod.
Sree Muthappan Theyyam
Muthappan Theyyam is unique in that it is performed around the year whereas the other Theyyams are performed seasonally (the season lasting October to May). Muthappan temples are present in hundreds of places in North Malabar. Each of them tells a story of its own. Among the Muthappan temples, Kunnathur Padi and Parassini Kadavu have attained the most fame. The rituals in the Muthappan temples are done by the Thiyya community of Malabar.
Gulikan is a local form of the Hindu god of death, called Yama. Gulikan in Hindu scriptures are credited as the most important warrior of lord Shiva. The intricate and fascinating dance steps of Gulikan stands apart from that of the other Theyyams. It is generally believed that everyone including the gods are afraid to look at Gulikan. On one occasion, Shiva was walking with his wife Parvati who expressed to Shiva her fear of looking at Gulikan. In a rage, Shiva turned to Gulikan and threw him to the ground. This is sometimes enacted during the performance of a Gulikan theyyam. In every Kaliyattam, the performance of Guligan Theyyam is inevitable. Among the Guligan Kavus, the most famous and most powerful one is situated at Nileshwar popularly known as the Benkanakavu [Venganakavu]. The prosperity of the people in the neighbouring places is believed to be on account of the presence of the God Guligan in Benkanakavu.
Padikuttiyamma is believed to be the mother of God Muthappan. She is believed to have taken care of Muthappan for years. She was given the status of goddess when Muthappan became god. The Theyyam Padikutti Amma has been performed in the famous Palaprath Temple, at Kodallur. Kodallur is a place near Parassini Kadavu that attained fame as a result of the performances of the Padikutti Amma Theyyam in the Malayalam month of Meenam every year. Sree Padikkutti Mahadevi Temple is a famous temple of Padikutti Amma at Eruvessi.
The uniqueness of Muthappan Antithira is that it is performed only once in all the Muthappan temples of North Malabar. The decoration resembles that of Vettakorumakan in the front and that of Muthappan in the back.
Puthiya Bhagavathi is the main deity of many shrines in Kannur including Thalikavu situated in Kannur. She appeared from the homakunda (the sacrificial fire) when the Rishis (saints) started a homa in order to cure the smallpox of Lord Shiva. In the performance Puthiya Bhagavathi is accompanied by Padakulangara Veeran and Veerakali. Puthiya Bhagavathy is performed in Koovapratthu Kaavu Kavinisseri and in the Morazha Koorumba Kaavu in Pazhangottu, Matul, Thavam.
In some Kavus the Theyyam festival is conducted at intervals of 12 or more years. These kinds of festivals are known as Perumkaliyattam. In 2008, Perumkaliyattams were celebrated in temples such as Ramanthali Muchilot Kavu, Kalayikode Muchilot Kavu and Mandur Padinjatta Thiruvarkat Bhagavathy Temple. From 19 to 24 February 2008 Perumkaliyattam was held in Kenamangalam Kazhakam, Pallikkera near Nileshwar.
In Agi Kandakaran Theyyam lighted torches are are attached around the waist of the performer. This Theyyam is performed at Swamimadam in Kannu Veedu Kapadapuram, Valiyaparamapa Kasaragod in Kerala. This Theyyam is performed in the early morning in the Temple. It is also performed in Pattare Sree Paradevatha Kshethram in Kozhikode district on march 12th at the same time.
Once the Nileswar Raja was frightened by an invading force from Karnataka. He and his followers prayed to the Koroth Nāga Bhagavathy, Kuttichathans [Sasthappan] and Bhairavan. The Gods acknowledged the appeals of the devotees and sent Padamadakki Bhagavathy. It is believed that upon seeing the Padamadakki Bhagavathy, the invading troops became unconscious and the Goddess thus averted a battle. Koroth temple is the venue where the Padamadakki Bhagavathy Theyyam is performed yearly in memory of the incident.
Manakott was a powerful Nair tharavadu (household in Nileswar. Once there lived a woman who restrained herself from the stringent rules of caste system that existed at that time. She was educated and wanted to challenge the system. While she was carrying a child, she broke the caste law by drinking water from a pot made of areca nut leaf being used by an outcast. Annoyed by this incident the head of the family killed her. The murder of a pregnant woman created a lot of problems in the Tharavadu and it finally ceased to exist. Later the villagers came to the conclusion that the assassinated woman must have emerged as a Goddess who they called Manakkott Amma. Her Theyyam is performed every year in the Vairajathan Temple, Malappacherry in Nileshwar in the month of April.
Kuttichathan is a widely acclaimed theyyam throughout Kerala. It is the theyyam of Bhrahmin caste. Kuttichathan theyyam is considered to have originated for Lord Shiva in Vishnu Maaya. Though there are lot of chathans known, three of them are prominent and standout from the rest. They are Karim Kuttichathan, Poo Kuttichathan and Thee Kuttichathan. Popular belief is that Kuttichathan would carryout any kind of wish to those who make chathan happy through continuous prayer from the heart.
Mandhappan was a great warrior in whose memory KathivannurVeeran is performed. He was born to a Thiyya family in Mangad near Thaliparamba. The couples Kumarachan of Methalliyillam and his wife Chakkiyamma had no children. They made offerings to Chuzhali goddess and Mandhappan was born even in his youth Mandhappan refused to steer clear of his silly games. One day Kumarachan broke Mandhan's bow and arrow and threw them out. Mandhappan became very angry and left his native village and went to Coorg, where his uncle was residing. There he got a warm welcome and uncle gave half of his properties to Mandhan. There he married a girl named Chemmarathi. At that time kutakas started a war against malayalans. Mandhan and his friends participated in that war and defeated kutakas. But unfortunately he lost one of his fingers with a ring on it, Mandhan returned to the battle field to get back his ring, enemies saw him coming alone and killed him. Chemmarathi killed herself by jumping into mandhappan's funeral pyre. A great excellence is needed in the martial art of Kalaripayattu in order to perform the Kathivanur Veeran.
Some more types of Theyyams are listed below: