Vettekaaran Pattu

Vettekaran Paattu

Priya Krishnadas                                                         


Vettekaran Pattu, was part and parcel of our summer vacations at the Tharavadu. As children we witnessed it, year after year, mindlessly. It was only now, when the new gen questioned the significance and relevance of these rituals, my quest to understand it began!

 This is not an in depth research paper or article. It was just put together to share some basic info about Vettekaran Paattu , its history, the ritual , the legend and its socio- religious significance with family members. The inputs are from elders in the family, conversations with the Kuruppanmar, the book by Dr. Babu Mundakkad and of course the inevitable Google! The photographs and videos have been recorded by me at the Vettekaran pattu held at Kannambra Nair tharavad 2012.


Customs and Rituals



The Mannathi (washer- woman caste) arrives with the 10 muzham  cloth required for the Pandal and hands it over to the  Kuruppanmar. The cloth can be Kodi (new) or Alakiyathu  (washed).


Kaal Naattal

The space where the Paattu is conducted is called the “Paattu Arangu”. Where the Paattu is conducted annually, it is a specific defined area and it is assumed that the divinity remains here and the place is not cleaned after the Pattu , until the next year. The ritual of the Pattu begins with “Kaal Naattal”.  The East-West facing Arangu is 4-18 kol in length and 3-10 kol in width, the circumference is 16 kol and 8 viral. (the size varies within the prescribed ratio depending  on the space available at the venue.) The four corners of the rectangular space is marked by entrenching wooden (Jack fruit Tree / Plavu) pillars at the 4 corners, beginning with the pillar at the SE corner, the Agni Kon.





The ceiling of the Mandapam or the Paattu Arangu is woven with rope in the South-North direction on the frame or ‘Ezhuka’. The pillars and the roof are then covered with the white cloth. The space thus demarcated is then sanctified. 

Paddy and rice in a banana leaf are placed in the centre of the arangu.

A ‘Vaal Kannadi’ is placed on a Peetam or stool covered with Pattu Vellari (2 ½ nazhi) , Vettila (betel leaves) Adakka (areca nut)  Plantains, Coconuts and or wicks (thiri) are kept as an offering.

The Vaal Kannadi is symbolic of Devi or goddess.

 *These rituals start around 11 am and then they break for lunch. The next segment starts around 2pm. (based on this year’s (2013) schedule)



Koora Idal

The Yajaman (or the devotee who is offering the Pattu) and the Kurup stand facing each other in the east  - west direction respectively. ‘Koora idatte? Koora idatte? Koora idatte? ‘, asks the Kurup and waits for permission from all concerned, i.e, Yajaman, Marar, Shanthi, Kazhakam etc. Once permission is granted the Paattu cannot be cancelled for any reason (not even death in the family). The  Yajaman then hands over the Koora or the Red Silk Cloth. This is then placed on the roof and the Marar blows the conch thrice, signaling the proceedings of the Paattu.

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Ucchapaattu or Ucchapooja

This ritual is performed after the Ucchapooja in the temple. The Tantri or the Namboothiri of the related temple (Viswanatha swamy temple @Kannambra) conducts the Pooja. The pooja starts with a nivedyam to Ganapathi . The two lamps in front of the peedam are indicative of Ganapathy on the right (of the namboothiri) and Vettekaran on the left. The nivedyam is  followed by Marar playing the chenda.  

Vaal ezhunallippu

The sword or ‘Vaal’ is brought in a procession of Kuthuvilakku and Paani (a kind of single beat played on the chenda). In   Kannambra since the Vaal is offered daily nivedyam and poojas within the temple , it is already energized , so it can only be handled by the thantri or the temple priest. It is brought into the pattu arangu and placed on the ground , leaning on the peedam.

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The divinity of the respective god/ goddess is invoked (avahikkuka) onto this ‘Vaal’. The Vaal here is symbolic of Vettekaran .  While the Namboothiri offers Nivedyam he is accompanied by Chenda melam. 

The Uccha  Pooja  then continues with invocations are sung in  praise of Ganapathi, Saraswathi, Shiva and Vishnu 

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The songs are sung by the Kuruppanmar in accompaniment to the Nanduni , a string instrument and the Kuzhi thalam /Chengila.

The Nanduni is a two string instrument made from wood such as Koovalam (Bael tree) or Kumizh. (white teak). The wood is hollowed out before shaping. The upper string is for the drone while the lower produces the melody. The string was originally made of Pothanchittamrith creeper. A mature creeper is cut and softened by boiling it with paddy and then strung to the wooden veena base. Nowadays, the tamburu string is used or the electric cable! ( the kurup affirms that it has an excellent temper which sustains a beautiful shruti! )The string is plucked with a round wooden piece called the ‘vayana’.


Mandapam after the Ucchapaattu and Namboothiri pooja ends.

Sthuthi or song in praise of Vettakaran follows the invocations. The Vazhinada recital   describes the various temples the deity passes through as he comes down from Kailasam to the Paattu arangu. At the end of the recital and the pooja, the ‘Vaal’ is carried back into the temple by the Thanthri , to the accompaniment of Chenda Melam.  


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