Wayanad's Cultural milieu
Wayanad offers the visitor and the research student great opportunities for studies in its culture and heritage. Because of its geographical location sandwiched between Tamil and Karnataka (Kanarese) cultures Wayanad has been the melting pot of Jain, Shivite and Vaishanavite Hindu lifestyles, worship and festivals.
Your author and correspondent yesterday (June 23, 2014) made a visit to a festival site noted for its religious fervor and legendary roots. 20 kms from the township of Mananthavady (see map on the home page) downhill is the temple at Kottiyoor. Famous for its annual pilgrimage commemorating the 'Daksha yaaga' millions of people throng to the river banks for the duration of a month long festival of rituals. The rituals are performed at the self incarnated Shiv Linga surrounded by a body of water flowing from the mountain springs nearby. The right and left wings of the Bavali river are the focus of ritual dips the pilgrims perform. Offering good foamy flows for the adventurous rafter the river has copious flows of frothy fresh water inviting the avid swimmer. The ritual worship of the Shiv Ling has earned the place yet another fame as Dakshin (Southern) Kashi (Benares also known as Kashi and Varanasi)
According to the managers of the temple the place till now attracts only crowds of worshipers from Kerala districts. As reputation spreads Kottiyoor is sure to rival other places of pilgrimage such as Guruvayur and Sabarimala in the near future.
The temple managers complain the lack of support they receive from the local and state governments. They lament the lack of basic infrastructure such as accessibility, amenities for pilgrims and so on. As mentioned elsewhere on this website tourism as a serious segment of enterprise is still nascent at best in Wayanad and its surrounding areas. Opportunities abound for the serious tour planner and land developers who would be careful and passionate in their purpose to preserve the ecology and heritage of the place.
This correspondent witnessed scenes of tortuous heights of devotional rituals usually offered at Shiva temples. A young boy in his twenties with help from friends was seen supine while rolling himself circumventing the shrine characteristically filled with ankle-deep flowing soothing water body. Months if not years of ritual rigor (vrata) must have gone before his cherished visit to the shrine! May the Lord of the Universe bless the boy with many more years of worshipful service to Him!
Legend has it that the Lord moves his abode from the precincts of the permanent temple on the southern shore of the Bavali river over to the northern shore normally a dense forest. The July festival season of rituals invite Shiva the presiding deity to move to the festival site in sankalp (resolve divine) to ceremoniously reenact the Daksha yaga lore held still in awe and reverence by the devout believers.
Yet another temple in wayanad famous for its Vishnu temple and rites of passage devout Hindus perform at the pond nearby is in Thirunelli.