Friday, September 29, 2023

Vettudaiya Kali Temple, Ariyankurichi – Legends

Vettudaiya Kali Temple, Ariyankurichi – Legends

Vettudaiyar Kali & Vettudaiyar Ayyanar:

As per legend, Ariyankurichi had only Ayyanar temple during ancient times. This temple was located deep inside a forest. This temple was looked after by two brothers namely Kari Velar and Karuppa Velar. They together worshipped Ayyanar and performed rituals. Kari Velar went to Kerala learnt mantra and tantra practices and came back to Ariyankurichi. Kari Velar went inside the forest, cut the idol of Ayyanar from the ground and brought it outside from the forest.

When he was consecrating the idol of Ayyanar, Kari Velar saw the magical words written on the ground and realized that the place where they were consecrating the idol had been chosen by Kali for her penance. Hence, he consecrated a Kali idol also in the temple. As the Ayyanar was cut from his original place, he was called as Vettudaiyar (One who has a cut) and the Kali in the temple was also called as Vettudaiyar Kali. Over the time, the importance and power of Kali grew many folds, and the temple came to be called as Vettudaiyar Kali Temple.

Vettu Patta Udaiyal:

During 18th century CE, the British conquered Sivaganga and killed Muthu Vaduganatha Periyavudaya Thevar, the king of Sivaganga. His widow, Queen Velu Nachiyar, escaped the British forces via Ariyankurichi with the help of his generals Marudu Pandiyars (Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu). The British were hunting for Velu Nachiyar who was fighting the British for freedom. A General called James Smith came near this temple in search of her. He saw a young girl tending the cattle and he enquired about the whereabouts of Velu Nachiyar.

She told him that she knew the place but would not tell him. The general got furious and cut off the head of the girl. On hearing this incident, Velu Nachiyar came here and installed a hero stone in memory of her. She worshipped her and offered her diamond studded Mangalya and several gifts to the temple. As the girl was cut off by the British, she came to be called as Vettu Patta Udaiyal (the girl got cut off) and later came to be called as Vettudaiyar Kali.


When Lord Shiva was meditating on Mount Mandara, Parvati was in a playful mood and covered the eyes of Lord Shiva. This caused the whole universe to become covered in darkness. Even, goddess Parvati became dark. This form of Parvati is called Kali. As she made the world plunge into darkness, she was afflicted with sin. She decided to perform penance in earth to get rid of her sin. At the same time, Chandasuran was troubling the devas, sages, and the humans.

Devas approached Kali and requested her to annihilate the Chandasuran. She agreed to the request of the Devas. She fought him in a bitter war, destroyed his chariot & flag and finally killed him. In gratitude, the devas worshipped Kali with flowers. Then, Kali started her intense penance on Lord Shiva to get relief from her sin. Pleased with her penance, Lord Shiva pardoned her and restored her original form. The place where the devas requested Kali came to be called as Deva Kottai.

The place where Kali appeared before them and accepted their request came to be called as Kandadevi. The place where Kali destroyed his flag and chariot came to called as Kodikulam. The place where she annihilated the demon came to be called as Thiruvethiyur. The place where the devas worshipped Kali with flowers came to be called as Poongudi. The place where Kali performed penance for relief from a sin she committed unknowingly came to be called as Ariya Kurichi (Ariya means without knowing).