Thursday, November 12, 2015

Vettakkorumakan, the Exclusive God of Kerala

Hinduism is a rather complicated philosophy and each text or each word mentioned in the religious texts can be interpreted in many ways. In other words, Hinduism does not believe in dictums and it does not insist on a specific method to worship the almighty. It extends freedom to the devotees to communicate with the divine power that is omnipresent and omnipotent. Like in other religions, it is not mandatory for the members to observe weekly prayers or to gather at some specific places to worship. Similarly, Hinduism has mentioned about many gods, even when it insists that there is only one god. According to scholars, these are symbols of certain messages which the ancestors liked to pass to the next generation. One can have real knowledge by understanding and interpreting these symbols in the right way.

Among the various gods worshipped by devotees, you will come across with a god with the name “Vettakkorumakan” who has been worshiped only in Kerala and that too more in Northern Kerala. You will not find any mention of this god anywhere in the Hindu epics or other religious texts. There is a locally approved myth about Vettakkorumakan which depicts him as the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy. It is believed that the words, “Vettakkaran Makan” which means son of the hunter became “Vettakkorumakan”. The legend goes back to the period of Maha Bharath when the Arjuna underwent penance to appease Lord Shiva to derive magical weapons from him.
Arjuna underwent penance as per the guidance of Lord Krishna to please Shiva. His aim was to get the magical weapons, especially the “Pasupathasthra” from Shiva. Shiva and Parvathy appeared in front of him in the disguise of a tribal couple who were on hunting. A quarrel arose in between Arjuna and Lord Shiva in the disguise of a tribal hunter about a rabbit killed by arrows from both of them. Both of them claimed the ownership of the dead rabbit as it has been first hit by their arrows. None of them was ready for a compromise and thus the quarrel became a fight and which turned into a war of magical weapons. At the end of it, Arjuna recognized that the hunter is none other than Lord Shiva and fell on his feet and begged pardon. Pleased with the bravery of Arjuna and his expertise in arrow fight, Shiva presented him many magical weapons along with “Pashupathasthra”. Till here you will find the story in the epic Mahabharatha.
Now the legend, prevailing in Kerala begins from the point where Saint Veda Vyasa put a full stop to this story. It goes like this. After blessing Arjuna, Shiva and Parvathy spent many days inside the forest in the disguise of tribal hunters. There they got engaged in many romantic activities and fun. At the end, Parvathy gave birth to a child who resembles a tribal hunter. They left the child in the forest and went back to Mount Kailash. Before leaving, Lord Shiva has blessed his son with many magical weapons and the capability to fight with anybody in the world. The child has been brought up by one childless tribal couple who were also living upon hunting.

When he became a young boy, he started hunting in the forest. It was more a craze for him so that he went on roughly. Within a short span of time, all the animals in the forest got killed and there were no more animals for him to chase and hunt. Thus he entered the nearby villages and started challenging people to fight with him. Blessed with many magical weapons and with the blessings of Lord Shiva, nobody could defeat him. When the kings and feudal lords failed to contain him, he turned towards hapless people. When the cruelties became unbearable, people went to Mount Kailash and complained to Lord Shiva. Although he was not ready to take back those magical weapons and blessings from his son, he advised the devotees to pray to Lord Vishnu. As an answer to the prayers of devotees, Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of an old Brahmin. He went to Vettakkorumakan (who was known then as Vettakkaran Makan, son of Hunter) with a golden Paricha (a shield used to block the hit with a sword during the fighting) and narrated the special features of the paricha.
Interested with that, Vettakkorumakan insisted the Brahmin present it to him, but the Brahmin denied it. After strong requests, the Brahmin finally agreed to handover the Chrurika on one condition that he should not keep it down. Vettakkorumakan promised the same and accepted the present with his right hand after changing the bow to his left hand. Now with the golden churika in his right hand and as he cannot keep it anywhere because of the promise he has given, he found it difficult to use the bow to shoot arrows. Then the Brahmin changed to his original shape and appeared in front of Vettakkorumakan as Lord Maha Vishnu. He instructed him to go to the place which has been created by his incarnation Parasurama and be there to protect the people from all evil fates. Thus Vettakkorumakan came to Kerala.
After reaching here in Kerala, he met the King of Nilamboor and befriended him. It was Nilamboor King who constructed the first temple dedicated to Vettakkorumakan. This temple located in Nilamboor in Calicut district is still the largest Vettakkorumakan temple in Kerala. Although most of the Vettakkorumakan temples are situated in Northern Kerala, there is one such temple in Thiruvananthapuram also. However, the right for tantra in this temple is for the Brahmin Family located in Calicut district of Kerala.

Major rituals related to Vettakkorumakan is “Kalam Patu”, where the image of Vettakkorumakan will be drawn using five natural colors and will be rubbed off with tender coconut leaves by dancing in tune with songs that praise Vettakkorumakan. Throwing of coconut and invoking the divine power into one’s body are also being performed during this ritual.


  1. good information about this temple. i heard too much. nice details.


  2. Hi Ravikumar. A quick correction. Nilambur is in Malappuram district and not Calicut district.

  3. Is the village called Vettaikuorumakankavu in Palakkad or Malapuram?
    My grandfather Prif V S Krishna Iyer of Scot Christian College in Nagercoil, was born there and raised by his mom as her only child - Pl sahre any details- I like to visit from the US

  4. can you give me some reference on the vettakkorumakan cult, is their any legendary books or epics mentions about this god? please replay

  5. Vettaikorumakan met with Kurumbranad Rajas of balussery and lord settled in balussery kotta. Later others families like Nilamboor has started worshipping.