Kozhikode: ‘Azhimuri Thira,’ a form of ritual dance by the ‘Bhagavati,’ was performed in its full grandeur at the Edavanakulangara temple festival at Arikkulam near Koyilandy here at 4.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Hundreds of people watched as the Bhagavati danced to the tunes of drum beats on the specially erected wooden crossbar structure which bend to both sides. ‘Azhimuri Thira’ is the sequel of ‘Azhinottam Thira’ which portrays the Bhagavati’s attempt to coerce the Asuras with an intention to kill them.
The specially erected wooden structure (Azhimuri) consists of four coconut poles erected on the ground and nine poles of arecanut trees fit horizontally, forming 50 wooden windows. The Bhagavati Thira climbs on each of the window, makes a noise and looks at the God’s idol in the temple on the opposite side of the structure. The Thira then moves her hips according to the drum beats and bends the wooden structure to both sides. The pace of the bend will increase according to the drum beats. It is an exciting sight to watch the structure bending and touching the ‘Elanji’ tree on both sides of the Kavu with the Bhagavati dancing on it.
After an interval, the Thira will change its attire from Bhagavati to Bhadrakali and continue the act. In between, the Thira will come down many times and run towards the temple. “The story of Azhimuri Thira is taken from Devi Mahatmyam. The structure keeps bending without break. Each wooden window has its own size and measurement,” said Sukumaran Chalayil, a folklore researcher and retired teacher. Only the members of ‘Munnoottan’ (a revered title) family can perform the Azhimuri Thira. Rineesh Vilayatoor has been doing the job for the past five years.