Kula Deivams or Kula Devatas is a form of worship the Hindus mostly down South India follow, and this has three principal Deities.
- The first is the Gramadevata [the god of the village or town],
- The second the Kuladevata [deity of his family or Gotra], and
- The third the Ishtadevata [personal deity].
Of these the first two are fixed for him at birth and the third he selects for himself from the many deities of the Hindu pantheon. Worship of the Kuladevata is generally performed daily in the family home, dedicated to this deity. Mostly they belong to the Siva or Shakti cult.
According to the legend, it is told that Karuppaswamy is the other image of Lord Shiva and He is given the same importance as given to Lord Shiva. Many hundreds of Boothas are coming under the administration of Lord Karuppaswamy and Boothas are also adorned by His devotees. In every Karuppuswamy temple where Karuppuswamy is the prime God, you will find the gaint Bootha Statues standing on both sides of the temple. Lord Karuppuswamy has different images such as Muthu Karuppana Swamy, Punugu Karuppana Swamy and Sangili Karuppana Swamy,Sonai Karuppanasamy.
It is said that Karuppusamy stands as a guard for the pathinettam padi in Sabarimalai [18 steps of Sabarimalai].
Lord Karuppuswamy is considered to be the guardian God of the village where His temple is situated. According to common belief not only do this Great God scare away evil spirits and protect villagers against evil diseases and ill fortunes but also punishing erring persons. Gods other than Karuppuswamy are Lord Ayyanar and Lord Madurai Veeran. The statues of these dieties are found at the boundaries of villages. It is common to find the statue of Lord Karuppuswamy riding on horse. It is also believed that Guardian Gods like Lord Karuppuswamy ride around villages on horse to protect people and His devotees. He has His peculiar image by having big crown made of cloth, big moustache and bright eyes. He is always equipped with spear and machete to protect His devotees from evil things.
One thing which has through these years always fascinated me, was the concept attached to the worship of one's Kula Deivam.
My Father-in-law was always in the practice of engaging his entire family members with regard to the sacredness in worshipping of our Kula Deivam, which is "Sri Kunniyur Kamakshi Amman Temple" situated in the village of Kunniyur near Manargudi, Tiruvarur Taluk in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu. He made it a point that we as a family, make a visit to this temple at least once a year.
You will find that I have shown in my Website the pictures of the Ayyanaar Koil, very near to our Temple and I am sure you will like the scenic beauty and enjoy reading about this calm, serene village of Kunniyur.
As is said, these Kula Deivams are concidered as the ANCESTRAL God...meaning our fore-fathers and relatives have been worshiping that God for generations. It is the unshaken belief of most of the Hindus that these family deities take care of our and save us from all harships and hindreances. In south India, a temple to a Kula Deivam constructed in one's ancestral village/town, will have it as the main deity [Santum Sanctorium] while other Gods may also be present in the periphery. The Kula Deivam can be formless as well. People who have migrated to other places still see to it that they visit their ancestral village/town and pay their respects by offerings [ animal sacrifices [ this is done only by certain section of people] / donations / charity / breaking coconuts] and feasting or what is termed as "Padayal".
Our Kunniyur Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple is a "Swayambhu" Vigraham. Though it is a small village...the surroundings are beautiful with lush green paddy fields every where and of course, laid with good roads. The temple as you see it, is a small one but the deity inside " Sri Kamakshi Amman" is all-powerful and is sure to bestow all happiness in plenty for all those who visit her and pray for the well-being of one's family.
In our Kula Deivam Temple, we follow the rituals of "Pachai Poduthal" to the Amman -[ a big platain leaf is laid before the God/Goddess and all types of food including vegetables is placed on it and offered to the Kula Deivam ina very grand manner]. This is usually done when there is an impending marriage in one's family or for any good cause that you pray for to the Amman.
I have given details of this in my Website and you may get to know of it. The list given herein is prepared based on the tradition that is followed and maintained by generations after generations.
On account of the approaching Kumbabhishegam of our Kamakshi Amman Temple, a Sovenir is being proposed to be released by the K.B.S.S. Thiruppani Committee of Kunniyur Bakthargal Sath Sangam. In this connection, the Appeal towards your contribution to meet the cost of the printing of the said Sovenir, is being attached in my below mentioned Website. Request those of you who are willing to contribute towards this cause, to kindly send in their contributions accordingly, as mentioned in the Forms.
I am sure my posting and the Website on our Kula Deivam will inspire you all to make a visit to this serene and clam village of Kunniyur in Thanjavur District.
May Sri Kunniyur Kamakshi Amman bestow all Happiness and Prosperity to one and all ..!!