Muthappan and Toddy

Muthappan and Toddy / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad  2014 / Archival pigment prints

Muthappan and Toddy / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad 2012 / Archival pigment prints

 

Mid 2012, I had gone to Wayanad to meet my friends. There are few places in Kerala, where one could get good Toddy, a natural alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, date palms and coconut palms. It is also known as kallu (in South India). Toddy, along with fish and meat is offered to Mutthappan, the principal deity of Muthappan Temple, also called Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple, located on the banks of the Valapattanam river, Northern Kerala.  Muthappan is a manifestation of two mythical characters called Thiruvappana and Vellattam. According to the local tradition the presiding deity is a folk deity and not a vedic deity, but there are recent attempts to associate the deity to Vishnu or Shiva. Rituals of the temple is unique in that it does not follow the Satvic Brahminical form of worship, as in other Hindu temples of Kerala. The main mode of worship is the a ritual enactment of both the characters of Muthappan, through a traditional dance known as Muthappan Theyyam. For Malayalees, drinking is a social phenomenon. Their use and abuse of alcohol is immense. Toddy shops and Muthappan, both are very much a part of Northern Kerala culture. In the current political context of Kerala, Toddy appears to be a healthy alternative. HAIL MUTHAPPAN.

 

26th September 2014

Tiruvannamalai

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