Shree Muthappan is the Hunter God in Kerala, the benevolent protractor who speaks to the devotees through a human medium.
The human medium is severely austere before he embodies the lord & gradually enters into a divine trance.
The dancer is dressed elaborately and distinctively. The basic colors used are white, red & yellow much like an early Kathakali character. Other then a fish shaped headgear, Thiruvappana is also adorned with armlets, upper armbands, breast pieces and tasselled mirror work waistbands, all of which combine to create enormously heavy apparel. The headgear of Vellattam is a layer upon layer of plaited straw decorated with Chekki flower (Ixora javanika) and Tulsi (Basil – Ocimum Sanctum) with many decorative ornaments tied to it. The headgear symbolizes Shiva’s matted locks, goddess Ganga and the crescent moon. He carries a bow-and-arrow in one hand and a sword in the other.
The rhythmic footwork as he hops and swirls appropriately portrays the Hunter God. The brisk movement becomes light and soft at times and then using the sword Muthappan dances with frenzy to the resonant beat of the chenda. This magnificent rendering invokes a deep sense of reverence.
The dancer is offered Paan (folded betel leaves with chunam & betelnut in the middle) and Kallu (toddy). He drinks the toddy in a traditional kerala mug called Kindi. The other offerings made to the lord include boiled rice with shredded coconuts, ghee, black pepper and barbequed fish. This is known as Payyankutti.
The evening rituals include only Vellattam & mornings have both Vellattam as well as Thiruvappana. According to an ancient belief Vellattam is identified with Shiva while Thiruvappana is identified with Vishnu.
This is one of the few temples in India where meat & liquor are offered to the deity. Another important thing here is that there is no restriction on who can enter the temple. People from all religions and caste are permitted
Information courtesy – Parassinikkadavu Shree Muthappan Temple