Vishnumoorthy Theyyam

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An inevitable constituent in a majority of the Kaliyattams is the performance of the Vishnumoorthi Theyyam. And its performance includes complicated rites and rituals. The peculiar drum-beats can be heard up to a distance of 2 km from where the performance of the Vishnumoorthi Theyyam takes place. The enactment involving the Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu by the Koladhari especially thrills the devotees and the spectators as a result of the body movements involved in it.

Story of Vishnumoorthi[edit]

Vishnumoorthy Theyyam

The most popular part of the Vaishnava Theyyam is the depiction of Vishnumoorthi. It is associated with Nileshwar and Jeppu Kudupady - Mangalore. It tells the story of Palanthai Kannan, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Palanthai Kannan, a native of Nileshwar in his boyhood, tried to pick mangoes from a mango tree owned by Kuruvat Kurup. Without considering his age or the thirst for food, Kuruvat Kurup and his bodyguards beat him and drove away from Nileshwar. After that incident, Palanthai Kannan went to Jeppu Kudupady - Mangalore, kunchadka - Sullia and took shelter in a Vishnu temple there. When there, he obtained the blessings of Lord Vishnu and years later, he returned to his homeland, Nileshwar. On the way, Palanthai Kannan stayed one day in Moolapally in the house of a black smith [now near the railway line] and rested in the Kanakkappalli Anikkil Tharavadu [situated near the Nileshwar bus stand, on the Koroth - N.H. Road, and once up on a time famous as a center of martial arts and education]. Then he proceeded to Kundon Kadavu and leaving his Olakkuda [umbrella] and Churika [shield], went to Kadalikulam [a pond near Nileshwar Market junction] for taking bath. Within a short time the news of the arrival of Palanthai Kannan spread in the all across Nileshwar. Hearing the news, Kuruvat Kurup and his men came to the Kadalikulam and killed Palanthai Kannan. The God Vishnu who accompanied his ardent devotee Palanthai Kannan was provoked and destroyed the everything near by Kuruvat tharavad.Kuruvat kurup was frightened and called up an astrologer. He identified the presents of God and advised Kurup to a make a Kettikkolam for lord Vishnu and build a shrine for the God.Kuruvat kurup and his family members build a shrine for the god Vishnu by carrying stones by themselves and also made a Kettikkolam for the God. That time onwards, he became known as the Vishnumoorthi and began to reside in Vaikundeswara Temple, Kottappuram, Nileshwar. Vishnumoorthi theyyam is also believed to be The Narasinha Avatar of Lord Mahavishnu who came to save his dear devotee Prahlada from his father,The Asura king Hiranya Kasipu by breaking the pillar. This Theyyakolam is dancing all major maniyani (Yadava's Tharavadu, Theeyya and Nair Tharavadu). This kolam was worn by Malayan in special community. This Theyyakolam is dancing Edakkad Nadal, the Chalil Vishnu Moorthy temple, Nambiar family Chalil Veluva is following the same Theyakolam in Chalil Vishnumoorthy in Edakkad, Nadal every year in February.Marathakkad sri iver paradevatha kshethram,kuppam,taliparamba on makaram 25 to makaram 28.Kanavath vishnnumoorthy kshethram,kannapuram, mottammal, kannur.Sree Vishnu Murthy temple, Cheemeni ( Cheemeni Mundya )is a famous Kavu of Vishnumurthy .Thousands of devotees visiting there during the period of Kaliyattam. Devotees believe that Bajanamirikkal at Cheemeni Mundya is a remedy for snake bite and skin deceases.This theyyam is also performed in all major Muchilot Kavu as an upadevatha of Muchilot Bhagavathi.

Make up of Vishnumoorthi Theyyam
Thottam of Vishnumoorthi Theyyam

Vishnumoorthi in Ottakolams[edit]

Ottakkolam is very famous in the payyannur area. Kinathil arayalin keezhil and annur kurinji temple are famous for the yearly festival featuring Ottakkolam. In Ottakolams, [meaning only one Theyyam] Vishnumoorthi Theyyam enters into the pyre and returns amongst the midst of the devotees [known as Agnipravesam]. It is repeated several times and it is believed that performing this act 104 times helped the Koladhari to become a Panikker. In April 2008, Ottakkolam was performed in a grand manner in Velu Vayal Ottakkuthiru, Nileshwar with the presence of thousands of devotees after a gap of 47 years. It is associated with Veethuveppu [a rite related to agriculture]. 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 them with the kayar or drive them away using the vadi.

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