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Now, a shrine for Kayamkulam Kochunni

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One of a kind: The priest before Kochunni Nada at Edappara Maladevar Nada Temple.
One of a kind: The priest before Kochunni Nada at Edappara Maladevar Nada Temple.

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

A shrine dedicated to highwayman Kayamkulam Kochunni is attached to Edappara Maladevar Nada Temple near Kozhencherry.

PATHANAMTHITTA: A shrine dedicated to Kayamkulam Kochunni, Muslim highwayman who lived in the early part of 19th century, attached to Edappara Maladevar Nada Temple near Kozhencherry is perhaps the only one of its kind in the country.

Kochunni who lived in the Central Travancore region of the erstwhile State of Travancore was said to be a famed highwayman who robbed the rich to help the poor and the needy.

Legends about his exploits have almost become part of the folklore in the modern God’s Own Country.

Resembling the legendary Robin Hood tales, Kochunni’s feats as highwayman inspired many film and television serial-makers. Kochunni died in jail in 1859.

Local people have strong faith in Kochunni Nada at the temple and they offer candles, incense sticks, ganja, country-made liquor, betel leaves, pan, arecanut, tobacco, etc. to propitiate the deity, says K.K. Podiyan, office-bearer of the temple administrative body.

M.R. Narayanan, 58, is the present Ooraali (priest) who performs the rites at Kochunni Nada.

According to him, the shrine dates back more than one-and-a-half century, attaching claim for its installation to his grandfather’s grandfather.

Legend has it that an Oorali belonging to the Kurava caste at the temple was instrumental in installation of the shrine.

It says that the Ooraali, while returning from Oachira, happened to hear a plea from the sky as he was resting under a ‘pipul’ tree at Kayamkulam.

Having power to ‘communicate’ with the ‘spirits’, the Oorali perceived it as a plea from Kochunni’s wandering spirit seeking ‘asylum’ or a ‘seat’ at a suitable place.

The Oorali offered a seat for the spirit at Edappara Maladevar Nada Temple and installed it on the temple complex, later.

The annual festival at the temple is during Vishu in the Malayalam month of Medom.

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