Eerattingal village here appears quaint but all its modesty does not help betray the Panthirukulam legacy that fills the place with an unsurpassable aura.
The village has nearly 20 families with 150 members. All of them claim they belong to a single family tree being descendents of Pakkanar, one among the Parayipetta Panthirukulam , a legend that is ingrained in the cultural psyche of Kerala.
The legend propagates the idea of a casteless society through the story of a Brahmin called Vararuchi who married Panchami, a Dalit woman, and had 12 children with her. The children were brought up by families of different caste. Pakkanar, the legend says, is one of the children who was brought up by a backward Paraya family.
Eerattingal has a temple dedicated to Pakkanar situated right in the middle of the village. It attracts both believers and people curious about the legend. “During his days, Pakkanar invoked many deities of immense power like Chathan, Odiyan and Bhadrakali. All such forces are still being invoked in the temple. Daily, devotees across the State reach here to perform rituals like Muttarakkal,” says Sreekandan Pakkanar, the main priest of the temple.
Many people believe the temple helps them remove obstacles in life fast. “Like Pakkanar, our families used to weave bamboo baskets, mats and cages. But the profession is being abandoned due to the lack of availability of bamboo. Educational level among our people is increasing and there are many aiming for government jobs,” he says.
But any such modern intrusions will not tamper with the Pakkanar legacy that the village flaunts proudly. Pakkanar Thottam is a popular festival of the Panthirukulam , which is celebrated in alternate years in the month of Kumbham (February–March) in the village.
The Panthirukulam legends are spread in entire Thrithala region. The Brahmin household of Mezhathol Agnihotri, one among the Panthirukulam and hence the brother of Pakkanar, is near the village. “People curious of the vibrancy of the legend are visiting us to get details often,’’ says Chandran Pakkanar, brother of Sreekandan Pakkanar.