Sree Muthappan, the Hunter God of Kerala is the God of common people and is mainly worshipped in the North Malabar region of Kerala and Coorg region of Karnataka. Muthappan and Thiruvappan are considered to be manifestations of Shiva and Vishnu respectively.
Muthappan is the principle deity in the Parassinikadavu Sree Muthappan Temple and unlike other Theyyams which are seasonal Muthappan Theyyam is performed every day at Parassinikadavu Temple. Fish and toddy is used as an offering to Muthappan, and people of all castes, religions and nationalities are permitted to enter the temple and take part in the worship.
The ritual performers of Muthappan Theyyam belong to the Vannan community of Kerala. The puja rituals and rites for Muthappan are performed by the Thiyya community.
Though Muthappan is worshipped as a single deity, it actually represents an integrated or uniformed form of two Gods. Vishnu (with a fish-shaped crown) and Shiva (with a crescent-shaped crown).
Myth or Story
The Naduvazhi (landlord) Ayyankara Illath Vazhunnavar (a Nambudiri Brahmin) was unhappy, as he had no child. His wife Padikutty Antharjanam was a devotee of Lord Shiva. One day in her Dream she Sow Lord Shiva. The next day while returning from the nearby river after bath she sow a child lying on the floor. She took him home and after and she and her husband brought him up as their child.
The boy used to go for hunting with his bow and arrow to the nearby jungle and take food with backword communities. The Vazhunnavar warned him against this as this is against the Namboodiri way of living but he never stopped it. Ayyankara Vazhunavar decided to take the matters in his hand and admonished him. The boy revealed His divine form (Visvaroopam or Viswaroopa or Cosmic All-Pervading Form) to His parents. They then realized that the boy was not an ordinary child but God.
He then started a journey from Ayyankara. The natural beauty of Kunnathoor detained Him. He was also attracted by the toddy of palm trees.
Chandan (an illiterate toddy tapper) knew that his toddy was being stolen from his palm trees, so he decided to guard them. While he was keeping guard at night, he caught an old man stealing toddy from his palms. He got very angry and tried to shoot the man using his bow and arrows but fell unconscious before he could let loose even one arrow.
Chandan’s wife came searching for him. She cried brokenheartedly when she found him unconscious at the base of the tree. She saw an old man at the top of the palm tree and called out to Him as “Muthappan” (“muthappan” means grandfather in the local Malayalam language). She earnestly prayed to the God to save her husband. Before long, Chandan regained consciousness.
She offered boiled grams, slices of coconut, burnt fish and toddy to the Muthappan. (Even today in Sree Muthappan temples the devotees are offered boiled grams and slices of coconut.) She sought a blessing from Him. Muthappan chose Kunnathoor as His residence at the request of Chandan. This is the famous Kunnathoor Padi. Kunnathoor Padi is believed to be the original seat of Muhappan.
After spending some years at Kunnathoor, Sree Muthappan decided to look for a more favorable residence so that He could achieve His objective of his Avataram. He shot an arrow upward from Kunnathoor. The shaft reached Parassini where the famous Parassini Temple stands today. The arrow, when it was found, was glowing in the Theertha (sacred water) near the temple. The arrow was placed on the altar. Since then, Lord Sree Muthappan has been believed to reside at Parassinikkadavu. When thiruvappan traveled through the jungle he reached puralimala near Peravoor and met another muthappan, Thiruvappan called him cherukkan (meaning young boy in Malayalam) and accompanied him .this second muthappan is called as Vellattam.this theyyam carries round shaped throne made of hay. Now thiruvappan is called as muththappan and the second muthappan is called as Vellatam
Sree Muthappan is always accompanied by a dog. Dogs are considered sacred here and one can see dogs in large numbers in and around the temple.
There are two carved bronze dogs at the entrance of the temple that are believed to symbolize the bodyguards of the God. When the Prasad is ready, it is first served to a dog that is always ready inside the temple complex.
Muthappan Temples are very popular among the people of Northern Kerala. Several Muthappan temples are seen in Kannur and Kasaragod districts in Kerala and Coorg district in Karnataka and several temples are built by the migrated devotees in Coimbatore Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahemadabad and also in Gulf countries. Also adjacent to every railway station in North Kerala there will be a Muthappan Temple and this is called Railway Muthappan.
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