Maya Kuruvi – Chamayi of Mukkudi
Mukkudi is a village in between Shiva Ganga and Madhurai. There is no proper transport facility to reach this village. The Maya Kuruvi- Chamayi temple is in the eastern part of the village.
Once upon a timer a cobbler couple was living in this village. They did not have any children. Some people advised them to go and pray in the Azhagar temple. They went and prayed the God and slept there for one night. In their dream Mayan (Lord Vishnu) came and told them that he has blessed them with a son. Please name him as Maya Kuruvi.” He chose one cow herd boy and sent him to be born as their son. That boy told him, “I alone cannot go there. Please send some body else for company.” Lord Vishnu agreed. He chose one girl who was making garlands for Rakkachi Amman, who is at the top of Azhagar Mountain and sent her as a girl child to a village called Chithalakudi. Since she was born at midnight, her parents decided to call her Chamayi.
The parents of Maya Kuruvi were cobblers. When they did not get much of that job, they used to go as farm workers. His mother would take Maya Kuruvi along with her. One day when she went to work, she made a hammock with a cloth and hung Maya Kuruvi on a tree branch on a river shore. That day her work was on the other side of the river. She crossed the river and went for work. Mayan wanted to play with Maya Kuruvi and created a huge flood in the river and torrential rain. A five hooded serpent protected Maya Kuruvi from the rain and a sheep gave him milk. Maya Kuruvi’s mother was able to cross the river only after three days. When she came she was surprised to find Maya Kuruvi hale and healthy. When she tried to carry the child from the Hammock, the serpent wanted her to take an oath, that none of their family members would ever hurt any serpent. The sheep wanted her to promise that none of her family members would ever eat the meat of a sheep. Grateful for them, Maya Kuruvi’s mother promised as they asked and went back home with her precious child.
The next day she left the baby with her husband and went out. At that time Maya Kuruvi’s father who did not know about the oath, cut the only sheep they had and cooked the meat and its blood. All the people who ate became blind. Hearing this Maya Kuruvi’s mother rushed back. And then made all of them take an oath, keeping the meat on Kuruvi that will never, ever take sheep’s meat. They all got their sight back.
Maya Kuruvi grew up and became a lad. At that time one hunter brought a bird called “Vallathan Kuruvi”. Maya Kuruvi wanted that bird as a pet. They made a slipper for the hunter and he gave Vallathan Kuruvi as pet to Maya Kuruvi,
Once for the famous Chithirai festival, Maya Kuruvi went along with his parents to Madhurai. Chamayi had also come along with her parents. Both parents met and decided on the marriage f Maya Kuruvi and Chamayi, They also fixed a date for the marriage. When this was going on Maya Kuruvi one day went to take bath in the pond. He kept his pet Vallathan Kuruvi on that shore. That Kuruvi went and sat in a big hole on a tree. Maya Kuruvi climbed the tree. When he was trying to catch his pet, A snake in the hole bit him(according to instructions of Mayan). Some one went and told this to his mother. She rushed there and Maya Kuruvi died keeping his head on the lap of his mother.
When they try to cremate him, some how they were not able to light the pyre. Then his mother in god’s trance told, “The pyre will burn, only if Chamayi comes and lights it.” So they sent word to Chamayi. Chamayi rushed to the place throwing the pot she was carrying on the floor. She requested for fire to light the pyre from several houses. None of them gave her the fire. Then went and asked the king of Siva Ganga. He was convinced about her greatness and gave her fire taken three times by a golden trowel. She tied the fire in her sari and came to the cremation ground. She made the eyes of all people blind for a moment, lit the pyre and jumped in to it. She also threw the Vallathan Kuruvi and the snake that bit Maya Kuruvi in the fire.
Then the people of Mukkudi understood that Maya Kuruvi and Chamayi were gods born amidst them. They started worshipping them. Since their community people were cobblers, these Gods told them to have festival only once in two years. They said in between these festivals, nothing should be spent on their worship. So no temple was built for them. The festival is celebrated in Vaikasi month (May-June). The statues of these Gods are only made then. Maya Kuruvi statue has a Vallathan Kuruvi in his hands and Chamayi has a pot kept in her hip. These statues are made by a Velar family, which lives south of this village
From the village the new statues are brought in the wedding dress. The old statues are removed and the new statues are installed. Around 11 PM, they offer Pongal to the Gods. Then there is lot of merrymaking for two days. On the third day at the spot where Maya Kuruvi and Chamayi was created, hundreds of families offer Pongal. That day and the next day several goats are sacrificed.
Obeying the oath given by Maya Kuruvi’s mother, none of the descendents of the villagers of Mukkudi eat sheep meat. They also do not trouble snakes. It seems wherever they go snakes do not harm them.