Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple
Muthappan Temple located on the banks of the Valapattanam river, in Parassinnikkadavu, a small village about 16 kms from Kannur District, Kerala is one unique temple of scenic beauty and fierce protection by the god. There are many features, of course, to make it unique. Unlike other temples in India where the intermediaries take our prayers to the Lord, here it is through our kalpana where the manifestation of Shiva and Vishnu hear the devotees directly. He’s considered to be the most unorthodox Hindu deity one can find anywhere. The mysterious rituals and practices such as offering dried fish and toddy to the deity and providing the prasadam first to the dogs that are considered to be sacred reveals the non-conformist nature of the temple. The temple is a private one belonging to a family. The entire family is dedicated to the facility maintenance.
The story of the Lord Parassinikadavu Muthappan is interesting too. The traditional story describing the background of the deity is a baby in a basket floating on the river is found by a Brahmin lady Padikutty who nurtured the baby as her own. She was a devotee of lord Shiva and so she considered the child to be a blessing from him. Padikutty and her husband were the landlords also called as Naduvazhi Ayyankara Brahmins. They raised the baby as a brahmin child. But as soon as he grew up, he turned out to be a hunter and offered food to the poor and the needy. And to their agony, he started eating fishes which was completely against the namboodhri brahmin culture. Ayyankara Vazhunnavar and Padikutty, after failing in the way of requesting him earnestly, admonished him. The humiliation made him reveal his divine form also called as Viswaroopam or the cosmic all-pervading form to his parents. His parents surrendered to his fierce form realizing that he’s an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Then the boy started his journey from Ayyankara, crossed many beautiful villages and reached a tribal family. He was then named as Muthappan by the tribes. They worshipped him as a God who helped and protected them.
Puthari Thiruvappana festival is conducted on 1st or 2nd of December and is considered as the first Thiruvappana of the temple year. It’s associated with the harvesting season of that region. The last Thiruvappana of the temple year is on 17th or 18th of October every year. The best period to visit is October-May.
Many people have a strong admiration towards the temple and the place where it is situated. Tourists appear in legion to this temple. Before entering the temple, people go down to the river and clean up themselves. The ritual enactment of both the characters of Sree Muthappan – Thiruvappana and Vellatam is performed daily early in the morning around 5.45 am to 8 am and in the evening around 6.30 pm. After the ritual is over, devotees tell their adversities to the god in its human form and the words Muthappan says brings great relief to the devotees, they say. Fishes are served as prasadam here which is again unique.
Muthappan is believed to be the personification of two figures- Thiruvappana and Vellatam. Though Sree Muthappan is worshipped as a single deity, it actually represents an integrated form of two gods- Vishnu, the protector(with a fish-shaped crown) and Shiva, the destroyer (with a crescent-shaped crown). There are two bronze carved statues of dogs in the entrance of the temple symbolized as the bodyguards of the god. In fact, there are many dogs that are left blithe inside the temple and are considered to be holy as the history says that the Lord Muthappan was accompanied by a dog throughout his journey. Nobody is allowed to hurt or disturb them. An interesting incident is also told enhancing the importance of the dogs inside the temple. Theyyam, a popular dance form of this temple that attracts tourists from all over the world with its charm is performed on a regular basis in this temple. Two members of the family who own this temple perform this dance. Few years ago, the temple authorities decided to give away few puppies belonging to the temple for some purposes. From that very day, the performers were not able to perform Sree Muthappan Theyyam. Only after the dogs were returned to the temple, Theyyam was performed properly they say. They believe that the incident happened to make the people realize the presence and the power of this benevolent protector Muthappan. But now, dogs and puppies are no longer accepted as offerings to the temple.