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PULIYAMPILLI BHAGAVATHY HEARSAY

(Compiled in Malayalam by Late Mr.N R Mohandas Nedumpurath)

The Cheranadu kingdom that stayed prosperous and glorious for thousands of years was devastated by a flood that occurred in 1341 AD accompanied by a severe earthquake. The port of Kodungallore was completely destroyed. Numerous islets and islands were formed between Cochin and Kodungallur. Thus Nedungad, formally known as ” Nedumnadu” came into existence as one of the islets. This group of islets and islands belonged to Perumpadappu Swaroopam extended from the river Bharatapuzha in the north to Muvattupuzha in the south with it’s long beaches of Chertalla, Cherai, Chettuva etc.. To the south places extending up to “Deshinganadu” (present day Kollam) also belonged to Perumpaddappu Swaroopam as sub-principalities. This expanse of land consisted of many clusters of temples. The administration of these lands were centred around these temples. In effect they were small and independent administrative principalities. Among them the most prominent one was Elangunnappuzha, consisting of five and half Deshams under it’s jurisdiction. Nedungad was considered to be the half Dhesam out of the above five and half Dheshams.

The most popular hearsay about the Deity of Puliyampilli Bhagavathy, the protective Goddess of the area is as follows:

During the flood of 1341 AD the Deity’s Yoni idol which was displaced by the flood was collected and reinstalled according to the accepted rituals and practices by the then famous Kuttalakkat Mekkat Thirumeni. Since then the Goddess of Puliyampilli Bhagavathy was worshipped as the area’s own protective Goddess.

The Namboodiris of Kuttalakkat were devotees of “Bhadrakali” and they were the descendents of the Puliyampilli Namboodiri who installed the Deity there. The same potency of the Goddess was sustained even after the reinstallation.

The concept of roofless ‘Kavu’ was later changed into a temple by the Goddess’ command that was made evident to the ardent devotee, Mekkat Thirumeni. The natives were entrusted with the protection of the temple as well as the maintenance of the temple rituals and practices. Mekkat Namboodiri also appointed the householders of Komarappilly to discharge all administrative duties of the temples as their right. Till the last leg of the twentieth century the Namboodiris of Kuttalakkat themselves were in charge of temple poojas. Later the rights to do the Pooja in the temple were transferred to “Vezhapparambu”.

It was mentioned earlier that the Goddess, Puliyamppilli Bhagavathy was the Goddess of “Kalari” (training centre for Martial Arts). Once some soldiers started in a boat for combat without worshipping the Goddess of the temple and without taking her permission. Surprisingly the boat sank in the middle of the lake. Although the soldiers swam to the shore, their boat and their weapons were lost in the lake. To their great surprise their boat and weapons gradually reached the place where they were resting. During the incident it was said that the oracle in the temple declared that the Goddess would never support injustice and people should use their swords only when they face an attack.

For hoisting the flag and the ceremonial bathing of the idol and all other rituals in connection with the festival of Elangunnappuzha, a prominent representation from Puliyampilli was unavoidable. Till the day of lowering the flag there was a condition that nobody should go away from the premises of their own homes on account of being safe and climb the coconut tree for cropping coconuts. One of the village chieftains ignored this custom and ordered gathering coconuts from the coconut trees. The one who climbed the coconut tree broke the loop around his ankle and fell down. All who witnessed this were stunned and while they were watching the worker who fell down, he got up by himself without anyone’s help despite his steep fall. The worker felt as if he fell into someone’s protective hands. When the village chieftain who made the one to climb the coconut tree turned around and looked, he saw his own house on fire. Though this incident took place many years ago, those people who belong to the caste of the coconut tree worker (Vettuva) still render their whole hearted service and co-operation to the Goddess’ festivals ever since.

At the behest of the ruler in charge of Travancore, Keshavadasa Dalawa, after conquering North Parur and Alwaye troops were deployed from Ezhikkara targeting Nedungad at night. When the boat carrying the troops of soldiers reached the middle of the lake diametrically opposite the Puliyampilly temple a strong wind blew the boat back to the place from where it started. The people of the village who were fast asleep came to know of this incident only when the oracle of the temple loudly announced what happened. But for this Godly intervention Elangunnappuzha also would have been lost for the Perumbadappu principality. Speaking geographically, it is difficult to conceive the idea of having State like Kochi with a central area of about 20 miles missing.

Chittalil Kurup who was a famous practitioner of mystic ritualism, was closely associated with the Diety like a close friend of the Goddess. It is said that this person and the Goddess used to even converse with each other. Once Chittalil Kurup for his self aggrandisement transcended the path of righteousness (Dharma) against which the Goddess always warned him. Never did the Goddess forgive him for this sin. Instantly the man was afflicted with small pox and before he reached home he was completely covered by the blisters of the fatal disease. It is said that this individual dug a pit for himself and attained Samadhi in that.

There were many people who experienced the appearance of the Goddess directly. When people were in great distress the Mother Goddess reached by their side for redressal. The Goddess is far above the concept of caste and religion and she remains benign to all.

The natives of the region have formed a trust in the end of 20 th centuary putting together all the remaining wealth of the temple in order to ensure the proper management of the temple affairs as well as to ensure its safety according to the changed situations of time. The trust is named as Puliyampilly Kshethra Kshema Trust.

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