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marianne Parassinikadavu - A travel report by Marianne
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Parassinikadavu,  India - flag India -  Kerala
6249 readers

marianne's travel reports

Pilgrims and Travellers

  16 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Parassinikadavu is the place to find out about Theyyam, but I did not know where to find Parassinikadavu nor what was meant by Theyyam. Parassinikadavu is a tongue twister and I stumbled over the word each time I asked some one for information.


The tiered roof is supported by pillars and decorated with elephants.
The tiered roof is supported by pillars and decorated with elephants.
After some time I found out that Theyyam is a ritual dance performed by the temple's head priest. Elaborately dressed, he becomes possessed by Shree Muthappan, the temple deity. The ritual ends when the head priest blesses each pilgrim personally.

Theyyam is performed twice daily at 6.30 am and 5.45 pm. All day long devotees assemble in and around the temple. Foreigners are more than welcome to join in.

Parassinikadavu is 20 km north of Kannur in Kerala. It is a pilgrim's place and devotees come to the Hindu temple to be blessed. Although Kerala is referred to (by the tourist board) as God's Own Country, Hindu temples are out of bounds for non Hindus, but Parassini Madammpura temple is an exception.

Regular local buses leave Kannur bus station every 30 minutes. They zigzag round motorcycles, taxis and auto rickshaws up-hill along a bumpy road. They end at Parassinikadavu bus station, a large parking plot.

The quickest way to get to the temple is to leave the bus station at the back, turn left, pass small shops and two schools. Go down the steps that lead to the bazaar lined with kitsch devotional souvenirs. Walk straight on and you will get to the temple entrance.

Favourite spots:
Inside is a wooden shrine guarded by bronze temple dogs. Dogs are considered sacred.
Inside is a wooden shrine guarded by bronze temple dogs. Dogs are considered sacred.
Parassinikadavu is a very small place and apart from the Theyyam there is not much to do. We walked up and down the bazaar, inspected one souvenir stall after another, and bought some Shree Muthappan souvenirs: a tiny framed photograph and a ring with a seal showing his picture, both genuine plastic.

The temple itself is not very beautiful. It is a square concrete structure. The tiered roof is supported by pillars and decorated with elephants. Inside is a wooden shrine guarded by bronze temple dogs. Dogs are considered sacred. That's why dogs and puppies wander about the temple. They are also the first to be offered the Prasad, which is the blessed food shared among the devotees.

The temple borders the river. We sat there and watched the devotees going down the ghats, stone steps leading to the river, and perform their ablutions. We were not required to so. From here we had a good view of the exterior, and especially the tiered roof, adorned with elephants.

What's really great:
The head priest donned a huge headgear and on the sound of rolling drums went into a trance
The head priest donned a huge headgear and on the sound of rolling drums went into a trance
Before the ceremony all pilgrims eat a free meal: brown beans with coconut served on a banana leaf followed by tea.

Some pilgrims donate money at set rates: the most expensive thiruvappana at Rs 13,25 (€26)and the cheapest is vilakum malaat Rs 1 (€0,02) but no one seemed to be able to tell us what the words meant.

A loud roll on the drums and shrill ringing of bells announced the arrival of the head priest. He donned a huge headgear and on the sound of rolling drums and shrill ringing bells he went into a trance. He then blessed the crowd and afterwards each pilgrim individually. The whole performance took an hour

We were here two days and because there was nothing else to do we went to the temple ceremony twice. The second day there were far more pilgrims than the first day and the priest shortened the part in which he was in trance because there were more people waiting for him to be blessed. That's why I think he doesn't get into a trance but simply pretend

Sights:
There cages were far too small, or too much in the sun. I most pitied the owls.
There cages were far too small, or too much in the sun. I most pitied the owls.
Once we had been to the temple ceremony, walked up and down the bazaar there was nothing else to do. That's why we walked down the main road some 3 km to the Snake Park. It is a small zoo, and I felt sorry for the animals in their tiny cages.

The showpiece was an air-conditioned glass cage that housed two huge pythons. Next best (from the snakes point of view) was the snake pit, cooled by four fans.

All other animals were treated as third rate animals. There cages were far too small, or too much in the sun. I most pitied the owls, there was something wrong with their eyes because the birds were kept awake all day.

There were frustrated monkeys and there was an indolent mongoose. The peacocks, budgerigars and geese looked none too happy. The entrance fee of Rs 15 (€0,30) is far too low to help towards the upkeep of the place.

Accommodations:
Thai Resort has round bungalows, with two circular rooms
Thai Resort has round bungalows, with two circular rooms
No shortage of Pilgrims lodgings. These are simple rooms, sometimes only with mattresses on the floor. When we went into the first one we saw, we were asked to wait.

The manager spoke little English, but made several phone calls. He then made it clear to us that his place was full. This was not true because I saw empty rooms and masses of keys behind his desk. (It is customary to keep your key with you when leaving these lodgings). He directed us to Thai Resort.

Thai Resort is set in a lush garden full of flowers. Accommodation is in round bungalows each with a circular sitting room, a separate bedroom and a small bathroom with a shower and hot water. They are nicely furnished with a sofa and easy chairs and a double bed. The small veranda in front is a good place to sit. It is a quiet place and good value for money. a/c double is Rs 1400 (€28), non a/c, but with two fans Rs 700 (€ 14).

Nightlife:
schoolchildren walk in single file past the temple entrance.
schoolchildren walk in single file past the temple entrance.



No nightlife other than sauntering up and down the bazaar and inspect the merchandise. We retreated to our hotel room where we watched CNN. Quite a treat as we had stayed in many hotels without a television

Hangouts:
the devotees going down the ghats, to perform their ablutions.
the devotees going down the ghats, to perform their ablutions.
Parassinikadavu is dry, no alcohol on sale. That is no problem for us as we find that alcohol and a hot climate don't go together.

Instead we drink tea. There is no shortage of places where to drink tea. Tea is a concoctions of lots of milk and sugar and strong tea. The result is that it is difficult to distinguish tea from coffee as they look the same.

When the tea is too hot, some of the tea is poured on to the sauces and drunk from the saucer. In Europe this is considered bad manners, not in India.

Restaurants:
They were deep fried in the morning and then kept in a glass cupboard.
They were deep fried in the morning and then kept in a glass cupboard.
There are quite a few places that sell meals and snacks. When you order a 'meal' you will get a mound of rice accompanied small dishes with dhal (lentils) curried vegetable and curd (yoghurt).

We went a few times to Hotel Ratheesh. Hotel means restaurant, if a place where you can spend the night is meant the word lodgings is added.

Hotel Ratheesh was an excellent place to eat snacks such as pakora and samosa, a kind of vegetable fritters. They were deep fried in the morning and then kept in a glass cupboard. The earlier in the day the crispier they were.

Other recommendations:
bought some Shree Muthappan souvenirs: a tiny framed photograph and a ring with a seal showing his p
bought some Shree Muthappan souvenirs: a tiny framed photograph and a ring with a seal showing his p
There are no ATMs, no banks and no places to change money.

Parassinikadavu is a pilgrims place that's why shorts both for men and women are frowned upon, as are too much revealing tops.

I asked for permission to take photos at the temple ceremony, which was granted as long I did not use flash. I set my camera at 400 iso and the result is satisfactory.

Published on Wednesday March 22th, 2006


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Tue, May 02 2006 - 04:29 AM rating by danjid

very gud report.. actually de photos r very much alive.. cool ones..
its my first time i m ratin a report.. got no other option .. a full 5

Fri, Mar 24 2006 - 02:18 PM rating by akhila

Parassinikadavu - you have given a clear picture of the place, but what I really miss in this report is the purpose of a visit to a "Non-tourist", purely pilgrim center - not hightly frequented, by a foreign tourist. And any particular reason whay 2 days were devoted to this place. Hence the 4*.
More in your guest book about Parassinikadavu.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Thu, Mar 23 2006 - 11:10 AM rating by jorgesanchez

lovely report Marianne!

Thu, Mar 23 2006 - 01:59 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report ,what i can say is you have noticed even the minutest things
ravi

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 11:45 PM rating by eirekay

Marvelous Report! You really give a feel for this place and the pictures are so well chosen!

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 09:25 PM rating by gloriajames

hiya marianne
another interesting report and i loved the way you write your reports!
btw.. i also loved the colour of the pics! did u buy any indian bangles?
well done,
gloria

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 07:27 PM rating by bear495

Your decriptions of the temple and the ceremony are vivid examples of the interesting locations that remain available to the seasoned traveler. Thank you for an excellent posting.

Russ

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 07:11 PM rating by rangutan

Another good example of a near perfect report. Three things are highlighted bold which shouldnt be; "twice daily at 6.30 am and 5.45 pm" (could change tommorrow), "local buses" (in every city of the world)and "20 km north of Kannur in Kerala" (a map/locals will show) These 3 have no particular importance to the destination at all?
Anyway 4.7 = 5* :-)

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 03:32 PM rating by davidx

Really interesting - I expected some great reports after your holiday and I've not been disappointed.

Wed, Mar 22 2006 - 03:28 PM rating by sajjanka

very nice report i really like it so i awarded 5*

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