Grama devathas
  • I was very much interested in 'grama devathais' or
    more appropriately called 'Nattar theivangal'. Due to
    the fact that I grew up worshipping Aiyanar and our
    gathered, aiyanar worship is worshipping a glorious
    anscestor who has done something good for the
    village/town/city which helped. For example, the 'Om
    Cherma temple' in Eral near Tuticorin. This is on the
    banks of Tamiraparani and is has a samadhi of
    Chermakani who saved Eral. Then the temple for
    'Arunchunai katha Aiyanar' near Tuticorin. There is no
    temple I've seen in tamilnadu which has a more
    beautiful location than this temple. Although the
    deity is Murugan inside, there is a huge statue of
    'Arunchunai katha Aiyanar' in the red sands. I have
    discussed the story in one of the entries in my blog
    in Nov-Dec 2005( Then
    there is the 'Karkuvel Aiyanar', the numerous Sastha
    temples, the 'Muppanthal amman' in Nagerkoil (you can
    read a bit of the story in Nanjilnaadan's 'Nanjil
    naatu vellalar vazhkai'), the pandi koil in Melamadai
    near Madurai(very near to our house in Madurai). And
    of course, the mother of all, the Kannagi temple. It
    is fascinating to read the stories and the reasons for
    worship. Sometimes, its fear or sometimes respect etc.
    But inevitably I think its basically a way of
    worshiping an illustrious anscestor. There is a novel
    by So.Tharmar called 'Koogai' which talks about the
    worship of 'Koogaisamy' (blind owl) by the lower
    castes in villages near Kovilpatti. Born and brought
    up in Madurai, I lack knowledge about the northern
    districts that are discussed extensively here. But for
    me, nothing beats the red sands, palm trees with
    beautiful ponds, calm beaches and tall Aiyanars who
    inspire much awe and wonder in the villages from
    Kovilpatti to Tuticorin to Thiruchendur to
    Kanyakumari. Infact, me and my wife has dicussed even
    buying a home in the banks of Tamiraparani near a
    village called 'Thaneer Panthal'(talk of poetry in names).

    "'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir,' said Alice, 'because I'm not myself you see.'"
    -Alice in Alice In Wonderland

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