Bhadra kali and Murasappan of Velliyampathi
Velliyampathi is a small village near Perunthurai of Erode district, the temple of Bhadrakali, Murasappan and Kundathu Kali are located here. There is an interesting story as to how these Gods reached here from Natathi village of Thirunelveli district.
Once upon a time Natathi village was populated by Nadars. Many of them were soldiers in the army of Pandya king. Once flood waters entered the Thirnel veli town. The king ordered that one man from all families should help to clear the flood and save the people. But the villagers of Natathi refused saying that they are commanders of his army. From then on the king started troubling them too much. So they decided to go away from the village and started one night with all their materials. In their village they had three Gods- Bhadra kali, Murasappan and Kundathu Kali. They took three bricks representing these gods with them. They had to walk a lot of distance. In two or three places they threw away these bricks and to the surprise next day the bricks came back in to the basket. Later in one place they threw the bricks in to a thorny bush. That day Kali I came in the dream of the priest and told him, “Your man has thrown me in to a thorny bush. You take me out and keep me below the poocha tree in front of you and start worshipping me. I would look after you., the priest did as directed and the people of Natathi village settled in their new home, The Velliyampathi village.
Initially the villagers worshipped only the three bricks. Later hey made idols and started worshipping them. The original bricks are preserved even today. The Bhadrakali faces east and Murasappan her assistant faces north. Outside the temple they have made a gigantic statue for Murasappan. Apart from them Ayyanar, Konnavel perumal, Chappani Nayinar and Anai Thambiran statue are with these two gods.
After consecrating the Kali, it seems the priest went to climb palms to do toddy tapping. As soon as he climbed, it seems the palm was shaked and he was made to fall,. The priest understood that the Kali does not want him to go to any other job. The priest did not understand this but thought that this was done by a called Mundakannan. He started beating the Mundakannan statue with a whip. Later he understood that it was done by Kali and asked her, “Suppose I stay full time with you , how will I make both ends meet.” Kali told him that she would find a way out.
That night Kali went inside the village and placed a human led on his sheep pen. That owner decided that it was the work of Kali and gave one sheep as offering to the temple. This went on for some time. Later the people of the village understood Kali’s intention and started giving regular gifts to the temple so that the priest does not suffer.
Murasappan is also not an ordinary God. Below hid left hand there is a statue of a lady carrying a basket. People call her as Uppukari. She was from Pongupalayam of Thiruppur district and came to this village to sell salt. Once she took rest by keeping her bag of salt in the kali temple. It seems she heard her being called by some body. When she came before Murasappan statue, she was made in to a stone.
The people Velliyampathi village do not take any decision, whether private or public without the consent of Kali. Lots of Offerings of hosiery goods come to this temple regularly.
In the month of Avani (August September) the fire pit (Agni kunda) festival is celebrated. On Thursday night all gods come outside the temple. Next day night ladies offer and worship kali with lamp made of rice flour. Every year Murasappan statue is painted afresh but they never paint his eye. On Saturday , his eye is painted ceremoniously. Then onwards offering of textile and hosiery goods are offered to Murasappan ,who is 22 feet high. The offerings reach to a much greater eight.
That day mid night a pit of 2 feet by 60 feet is dug in front of Kundathu Kai. First they sacrifice a sheep and put it in the feet and the raise the fire. Next day morning the priest with God’s blessings walks on that fire. Later all those people who have told the Goddess that they will walk on fire will do it. After this a buffalo is sacrificed and buried near the fire pit. Next Tuesday ,one more worship is carried out and goats are sacrificed. Later all the offerings to Murasappan are auctioned. Later they offer Pongal before the temple and again sacrifice goat. Its blood is mixed with Pongal and thrown towards the sky.
In the month of Karthigai (November-December) there is a lamp festival to the Kundathu Kali. A light on the pillar before her is lit. It seems it continuously burns for 3-4 days in spite of wind or rain. If it burns well people of the village believe that the year will be prosperous.