The Vaniyas living in North Malabar revere Muchilot Bhagavathi as their guardian deity. They also refer to her by the names Eezhala Bhagavati and Mannaḷamma.
Muchilot Bhagavathi Theyyam
Theyyam is a traditional art form performed in the northern parts of Kerala. To learn more about Theyyam, you can read about it here.
Muchilot Bhagavathy holds a significant place among the revered local deities in North Kerala. The annual Muchilot Bhagavathi Theyyam festival involves the distribution of food to thousands of devoted devotees. The exquisitely adorned form of Muchilot Bhagavathy captivates with its remarkable aesthetics. Cherukunnu and Kannapuram witness the annual performance of Muchilot Bhagavathi Theyyam, while in several other Kavus, this sacred ritual takes place over intervals of 12 years or more. The Muchilot Bhagavathi, a magnificent Theyyam, is primarily worshipped and enacted at the ‘Muchilot Kavu,’ established by the ‘Vaniya’ community. Various legends surround the origin of Muchilot Bhagavathi.
Muchilot Bhagavathi Story
Muchilot Bhagavathi manifests boundless knowledge and prosperity. Numerous narratives contribute to her mystique. Some devotees said she emerged from Lord Shiva’s sweat during his celestial dance, the Tandava. Another widely adopted tale describes her as a virtuous Brahmin maiden, well-versed in the profound teachings of the Vedas. Her unmatched ability to engage in compelling arguments and counter-arguments distinguishes her.
On an important day, Peringellur Mootha Gurukkal, a knowledgeable Brahmin, and his disciples directly challenged the local ruler, the Naduvazhi, to a discussion on the Vedas. Seeking an advantage, the Naduvazhi enlisted the assistance of the talented Brahmin girl. Her flawless arguments and counter-arguments left the Gurukkal astounded and consumed by envy towards her intellect. Recognizing their imminent defeat, the Gurukkal and his disciples devised a plan to trap her.
They directed two questions towards her: “What is the most excruciating pain?” and “What is the greatest pleasure?” Unaware of their deceitful tactics, the Brahmin girl failed to perceive their hidden agenda. In her innocence, she openly replied that “labor pain” represented the most excruciating pain, while “erotic pleasure” stood as the greatest pleasure. Their intentions were fulfilled precisely as intended. Intrigued by her confident responses, the Gurukkal interrogated how she could assert such convictions, questioning how, as a virgin, she possessed firsthand knowledge of either. Seizing an opportunity, They claimed that she was not a virgin.
Expelled from her house, she sought refuge in the temple of Shiva at Karivellur. Overwhelmed by despair, she contemplated meeting him through suicide. Finally, Shiva sends her soul back to Earth with boons, weapons, a golden fan, and jewellery, all meant to bring redemption to the world.
The Brahmin girl transformed into a goddess and descended to Earth. She arrived at Pernijallor and entered the home of Muchilodan Padanayar, where she quenched her thirst from Muchilodan’s sacred well, known as Manikkinar. The goddess adopted the family name of ‘Muchiloden’ and requested Muchilodan to construct a temple for her within one of the rooms of his house. In due course, this Brahmin girl was revered and deified as Sree Muchilot Bhagavathi.