Muchilot Bhagavathy Theyyam | The story and photos
Muchilot Bhagavathy is a popular deity in North Kerala. This Theyyam is also one of the most spectacular. During Muchilot Bhagavathy Theyyam festivals, it is a common practice to supply food to the devotees. Muchilot Bhagavathy wears highly ornamental headgear and costumes.
The Muchilot Bhagavathy temples at Cherukunnu and Kannapuram organize the performance every year. However, in some other Kavus (temples), the Theyyam is performed at an interval of 12 years or more. Muchilot Bhagavathi Theyyam is mainly performed at Muchilot temples. These temples are managed by the Vaniya community (a Hindu sub-caste). Theyyam is a ritualistic art form performed in the northern parts of Kerala. You can read more about Theyyam here.
The legend of Muchilot Bhagavathy
Muchilot Bhagavathy is one of the most popular theyyams. Some believe that Bhagavathy was a young Brahmin girl who had been expelled from her community. Some scholars had accused that she was not a virgin. That accusation led to her expulsion from the community. You can read more about that here.
The innocent girl was traumatized by this experience. Hungry and forlorn, she walked northwards. She finally reached Karivellur Shiva temple where she stood on burning coals and prayed to Lord Shiva. A Vaniya boy saw this. He was carrying a pot of oil. The Brahmin girl requested him to pour the oil on to the burning coal. He was reluctant but she insisted that he should. He did so and the girl immolated herself in the ensuing fire.
When he reached home he was surprised to discover that the empty pot was again filled with oil. When he looked into the well, he saw the reflection of the girl in the water. He realized that the girl was no ordinary girl. His community decided to build a Kavu (temple) in the honor of this Brahmin girl. Since these miracles happened in the Muchilot province where the Vaniya community lived, they called her Muchilot Bhagavathi.
There are numerous Muchilot Kavus in North Kerala. In addition to Muchilot Bhagavathi, other theyyams are also performed in these temples.