Village deities of Tamils of Sri Lanka
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Village deities are a common feature of the Hindu pantheon of deities. They are known as Gramadevatas. Each Hindu region and caste of India and South Asia has its share of village deities. Sri Lankan Tamils venerate their own group of village deities throughout Sri Lanka, specifically in the Tamil-dominated north and east of the island nation.
List of deities
- Annamar is a deity of the Nalavar and Pallar caste.
- Mutalikal is possibly a caste deity, used by Karaiyar.
- Periyatampiran or "the great master", is a caste god of the washermen.
- Ayyanar, sometimes equated with Sasta is a popular deity in almost all villages.
- Virumar is a caste god of the smiths.
- Kattavarayan is a heroic saviour god.
- Naccimar is a women's goddess often conflated with Mariamman or Ampal, the mother Goddess.
- Sapta Kanniyar take the form of seven virgins.
- Naka Tampiran or "the snake master" is also common deity in most villages. Vairavar is another popular village deity.
- Kali and Kannaki Amman are popular female deities.
The identities of some of above the lesser known deities had been lost and most of them are now identified as Vairavar and Kali. Both are worshipped in the form of Trisulam (tridents). Furthermore, the Saiva revivalism initiated by Arumuga Navalar has enabled many high status Tamils to subsume the village deities within the Agamic pantheon. Within the Jaffna Peninsula, a number of temples dedicated to Kannaki Amman has been converted to regular Mariamman temples.