Kalari Legend
 
Kalari Building & deities
Ammavan & Kurathi Bhagavathi
Dharmadaivam
Plans & details of the deities
Dhyana Slokam
 
Ammavan and Kurathi Bhagavathi:
 

In the Ullanat family once upon a time there was a Karanavar who was a great Upasaka and Maantrika.  It is said that he had the Darshan of Goddess Parvathi in the form of a woman of Kurava tribe on the hills of Kalladikode.  (It is the form that Goddess Parvathi took to accompany Lord Shiva when he took the form of Kiraata.  The Goddess is known as “Tvarita” in the Tantrik lore.)  The Goddess Kurathi Bhagavathi accepted to come with the Ullanat Karanavar and to be the Upasana Devata at his home at Athit Bhavanam.  There is another version that the Ullanat Panicker and his friend, the Naduvazhi Nair of Puravur family went to Kalladikode for learning the secrets of the esoteric art of Mantravada.  After spending some days and learning the art they started returning. At the foothills of the mountain Goddess Parvathi as Kurathi offered to come with Ullanat Panicker.  All the Mantric texts in palm leaves were handed over to the Puravur Nair and Ullanat Panicker offered the top of his palm leaf umbrella for the Goddess to ascend. And thus she was brought to Venkitangu by Ullanat Panicker.  (This Puravur Nair, who later became a great Mantrika, is worshiped as Ammavan, a clan deity, in Puravur family also).  The Karanavar worshipped the Goddess with ardent devotion and attained salvation.  And the descendents started worshipping both the Karanavar (Ammavan) and Kurathi Bhagavathi as the deities of the clan.

 

There is also another version that She was invoked and brought by the Karanavar from Ezham, i.e., Srilanka.  The Karanavar, who brought Bhagavathi from Ezham, went to the house of the Menons of Kuzhuppalli family where he rested and kept his belongings.  In order to cleanse himself from the pollution (on account of crossing the sea) the Karanavar took a ritualistic bath in the pond there and then took his belongings and Bhagavathi who was later installed in the Kalari.  But the Saannidhyam (presence) of Kurathi Bhagavathi was felt in the Kuzhuppalli house also and they too started worshiping Kurathi and Ullanat Panicker as their family deities.  From then onwards, the Karanavar of the Kuzhuppalli family participated in the Kalam Puja of Ammavan and Kurathi Bhagavathi.

At the entrance of the Kalari on the left hand side of the veranda there is a wooden bench where Ammavan (the Karanavar) is worshipped and below that there is a square granite slab, which is venerated as the seat of Kurathi Bhagavathi.   Ammavan and Kurathi Bhagavathi are the ‘Kuladaivangal’ of the Ullanat Tharavad. 

 

Kalari Puja was conducted regularly for 7 days every year until the time of Raman Mootha Panicker.  It used to be a grand function for the family to get together and worship the clan deities.  Chennas Namboothiripad and his assistants used to conduct the Tantric ritualistic worship.  But later it was stopped until it was restarted in the recent years. Besides Kalari Puja, Kalam Puja was regularly conducted at Athit Bhavanam earlier with elaborate Kalam of Kurathi Bhagavathi and Ammavan drawn on the floor.  The drawing of Kalam was the right of men from Kuzhuppalli family. Ritualistic fasting was undertaken by the Komaram who used to do the Thullal ritual on the Kalam drawn. A cock used to be sacrificed for the Puja in the Kalam. 

Last Komaram was one Madhavi Amma.  But this was stopped some 50 years ago.  Now the family of Komaram is also extinct.  Many other families too had belief in the divinity of Ullanat Panicker and Kurathi Bhagavathi and worshipped them.  In these families also the ritual of Kalam Puja was performed by Kuzhuppalli Menons only.
The administration of Kalari was given to the Moothamma (Senior Woman Member) of the Ullanat family who used to reside at Athit Bhavanam.  At the time of partition a share was allotted to the Kalari also.  Since that was a land given under Pattam, the same was lost under the Kerala Land Reforms Act 1963.  For some time the Kalari was in a very bad shape without any Puja.  Later, daily lighting of lamp was carried on for some time. A few years ago, a detailed Ashtamangala Prasnam was conducted and with the joint participation of many members the required Pariharas were carried out.  A Prathishta (in the form of a Baanalinga) of the Karanavar who was murdered [Kunhittinaan Panicker, also known as Kutta Panicker (46)] has been installed out side the Kalari compound on the eastern side near the entrance after conducting necessary Santhi Karmas and Pariharas to appease the spirit of that Karanavar.  Last 3 days of the month of December every year has now been fixed for Kalari Puja and with the contribution of members now this annual Puja is being held regularly since the year 1989.  The affairs of the Kalari and the meticulous upkeep of its precinct are now being personally managed by Janardana Panicker (121).