The Kannangattu Bhagavathi Theyyam captured the essence of the Devi with such perfection that for a moment when I first looked at the performance, I almost forgot to use my camera. Through the entire dance, where the Theyyam went around the Kavu, whirling to the soft beats of the drums, I sat mesmerised at the grace and power that was ever-present. There was also something extremely enchanting about this Theyyam’s eyes, in that they seemed to have found the Goddesses’ grace somehow. For all the legends that speak of invoking the deity, this was the Theyyam where I actually felt the presence of the energy embodied.
The Theyyam wore a rectangular waist adornment and his headgear was proportionally large covering his entire body. He held the temple’s ritualistic weapons of the deity – a sword and shield – and his eyes shone with a power that embodied the spirit of the goddess.
Legend/Story: Kannangattu Bhagavathi is a form of Goddess Durga, that heralded Krishna’s avatar. At the time of Lord Krishna’s birth when Devki and Vasudev were held hostage by Kansa, Goddess Durga took the form of a baby girl born at Nanda’s home. When Lord Krishna was born, the babies were exchanged to save the prophecy of Kansa’s death at his nephew’s hand. Kansa, as he came to kill the new-born, the baby girl flew out of his hands and assumed her real form as Bhadrakaali. This legend is enacted in the Kannangattu Bhagavathi Theyyam performance.