India | Kerala

Velichappadu



Velichappadu, known as the revealer of light, is a mediator between the deity and the devotees. ‘Velichappadu’ literally means ‘the one who throws light on any problems.’ Possessed by the deity, Velichappadu (oracle) dances in frenzy at the festivals in Bhagavati temples.

Velichappadu is often seen in a red cloth and a waist-let of jingling bells (aramani). He also carries a sword in his right hand and an anklet in his left hand. Untrimmed long hair, which hangs loose on his back and forehead, is another feature of the oracle.

Velichappadu makes his appearance in the temple usually after performing a puja in the temple. Once possessed with the spirit of deity, he moves in and out of the temple courtyard. This frantic movement is locally known as ‘thullal.’ It is accompanied by beatings of drums and Ilathalam. In this hysterical state he makes his predictions. The manner in which the prediction is made is often vague and difficult to decipher. In between the ‘thullal,’ he also injures himself on the head with his sword.

Velichappadu is a chief character in Kakkarissi Natakom. Velichappadu is an indispensable part of ritualistic ceremonies in Bhagavathi temples of North Kerala.



Updated on 25th September, 2005

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