Vagurani Palla Karuppu
Karuppu (black ) or Karupannachami is a very popular village God in Tamil Nadu. Some people believe that this God has come to Tamil Nadu from Kerala and call it Malayala Karuppu. Palla Karuppu is one such God in the Vagurani village, which is 20 km from Madurai.
It seems once upon a time two people of the village went to repair the irrigation channel to their field. On the way from a bush of Sangam plants they heard a girl crying loudly. They both requested the girl to come out. But the girl sad, “Give me some cloth to cover myself. Then I would come out.’. One of the cultivators had an extra dhoti and he gave it to her. When she came out, they asked her , who she was. She told them that she was a goddess and had come there along with her brother. The villagers refused to believe her. Then she told them, “Go to the village potters house. He will have only one pot which is not burnt. Bring that here.”. When they went to the potter’s house they found that only one of his pots was not burnt. They brought the pot to her. She asked them to make a fire and kept the pot on it with water and new raw paddy. The husk from the paddy got separated. The girl introduced her bare hands in to the boiling mixture and stirred the rice then the villagers recognized that she indeed was a goddess. Then she took her original form and asked them to sacrifice a gat for her then and there. They sacrificed a black sheep. One of the cultivators drank the raw blood from the sheep. He belonged to Dali caste of Pallan. The villagers built a temple for the Goddess “Velai Amman” and her brother Karuppu. But since he was being worshipped by a priest of Palla caste, The God was called Palla Karuppu. Other communities look after all other work related to the temple.
Though Velayi Amman was first found, more Importance in the temple is given to Palla Karuppu. Except for the festival days, The Palla Karuppu temple would be open only on Tamil New year’s day, First of Adi month, Deepavali, Thiru Karthikai day and Pongal day. Offerings on other days are offered only at the gate of the Palla Karuppu temple.
While worship for Palla Karuppu is done by a male priest that for Velayi Amman is done by a priestess. On the day when the temple is open, A big ditch with burning fire is dug before the temple and the both the priests walk over the burning fire. They then answer questions about future from the devotees. The villagers do not take any important decisions without the consent of Palla Karuppu. Festivals are also decided after getting his consent. They assemble before the temple and ask him, if a lizard makes sound from the right side of the temple, people think that the God has given his consent the festival is conducted normally after 90 days. Once he gives sent people strictly follow the following rules:-
1. No lady will wear new cloths till festival is over.
2. They would not wear bangles during the time.
3. They do not also decorate their hair with flowers during the time.
4. No loud speakers are permitted in the village
5. All people eat only vegetarian food during the time.
The festival normally starts on a Wednesday. The vessels for worship are normally kept in the house of the male priest who lives in the near by Vadakkathanpatti village .One day before these are brought in a ceremonial procession. They used an unfired pot and prepare pongal in it . The priestess stirs the boiling Pongal with bare hands. After the festival the vessels for worship are taken back to the priest’s home.
If Palla Karuppu agrees some time a festival in which a sheep is sacrificed is also carried out in Vaikasi month. It seems that for more than 40 years he has not given permission.