Pettathulal, also known as Petta Kettu, is a historic ritualistic dance held annually on the 27th of Dhanu at Erumely, in the district of Kottayam, in the Indian state of Kerala. It is performed during the Mandalam - Makaravilakku period (November, December and January) among thousands of devotees. It depicts the joyfulness of people over the slaying of Mahishi by Lord Ayyappa.[1][2] Two groups actively participate in the thullal, one from Ambalappuzha and other from Aalangadu. The Ambalappuzha group starts their journey to Erumely on the 22nd of Dhanu and a couple of days before the thullal. They visit the Manimala Bhagavathy temple on 25th Dhanu and perform an Aazhi pooja.[3] Before the Ambalappuzha thullal, a Krishna parunth (sacred eagle) flies around in the sky. It is believed that lord Vishnu himself arrives from Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna temple on his mount Garuda to witness the thullal.[4][5]

Pettathullal is a symbolic representation of a community against the uprisings of Adharma or injustice. By slaying the demoness Mahishi, Ayyappa empowered the people by saying that "Unity is the key to social transformation".

Erumely Pettathullal
Vavar masjid at Erumely
Native nameഎരുമേലി പേട്ടതുളളൽ
EtymologyPetta means market and Thullal means dance
GenreRitual dance
OriginFrom the slain of Mahishi by Ayyappa

Ritual edit

Petta Sastha temple, the starting point of Pettathullal

The custom of Pettathullal starts with 'Prayashchitham' or atonement which is done to seek forgiveness for the intentional and unintentional sins committed during the vrata kalam (fasting period) by placing a coin and betel leaf on the holy irumudikettu or travel kit. The next custom is the offering of Pettapanam kettal or Dakshina to Periyaswami. The kanni Ayyappas are instructed to carry a bundle, tied to a stick on their shoulders, which will be filled by vegetables and cereals.[6]

The pilgrims participating in Pettathullal often come in groups and chant "Ayyappa thinthakathom, Swamy thinthakathom". They dress like tribes with their bodies and faces smeared by colours and charcoal, and carry weapons such as sarakkol (arrows) and wooden maces.[7] An important element is that of 'Kanni Ayyappas', where the first-timers to Sabarimala must participate in the thullal by holding a wooden arrow. The thullal is accompanied by instrumental music such as Chenda melam, Nagaswaram, Pambamelam, mantras, and hymns that begin at the Petta Sree Dharmasastha temple (Kochambalam) adjacent to the Vavar masjid.[8]

The pilgrims then proceed to Vavar mosque and are harmoniously welcomed by Mahallu Jamaat committee members.[9] After taking a circuit around the mosque, a representative of Vavar accompanies the group to the Sastha temple (Valiyambalam) about 0.5 km away. The thullal of Alangadu group is held in the afternoon.[10] The Aalangadu group expects a star to twinkle in the sky before the sunset. The festivities end with a circuit of the temple by the pilgrims.[11] They abandon their weapons at the temple roof and bathe in Peeruthodu river. Both groups light camphors at the temple and seek the blessings of Ayyappa to continue their journey to Sabarimala.

References edit

  1. ^ "Erumeli Petta Thullal held". The Hindu. 2015-01-12. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  2. ^ "Only Alangad people can participate in petta thullal - TOI Mobile | The Times of India Mobile Site". The Times of India. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  3. ^ Mathurbhoomi, Sabarimala supplement (2007). The Ambalappuzha sangam. Mathurbhoomi. pp. 59, 60.
  4. ^ "Petta Thullal at Erumely during Sabarimala Pilgrimage Season - Erumeli Petta Thulal". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  5. ^ "Petathullal". Swamy Saranam. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  6. ^ "Erumeli എരുമേലി പേട്ടതുള്ളല്‍: ആലങ്ങാട് സംഘം എത്തി - അമ്പലപ്പുഴ സംഘം ഇന്നെത്തും, Mathrubhumi, Kottayam". Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  7. ^ Foundation, Sreyas (2011-12-24). "The Petta-thullal at Erumeli (22)". Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple Information. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  8. ^ Sree, Ayyappan (2002). Pettathullal. Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram: Siso books. p. 94. ISBN 817797033X – via First edition.
  9. ^ "Petta Thullal | Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  10. ^ "Erumeli Petta Thullal ritual on January 11 - FacenFacts". Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  11. ^ "Erumeli Petta Thullal,Kottayam City Guide Tourist attractions Kerala". Retrieved 2016-11-25.