16 July 2007

Lord Ayyappan Grove

Kovil Kaadus (temple forests) are found in every village settlement in Tamil Nadu including Tiruvannamalai District. These temple forests are regarded as the abode of the Mother Goddess and the guardian spirits of the village such as Aiyanar, Muniswarar, Karuppuswami and Veeran who are powerful and can fulfill wishes. The pictures below are of a local Lord Iyappan sacred grove. As well as being very popular throughout Tamil Nadu, Lord Iyappan’s most famous shrine is located at Sabarimala, Kerala. To find out more about the beautiful story of Lord Ayyappan go here.

The existence of sacred groves in India most likely dates back to an ancient pre-agrarian hunter-gathering era, and their presence has been documented since the early 1800s. Believing trees to be the abode of gods and ancestral spirits, many communities set aside sanctified areas of forest and established rules and customs to ensure their protection.

These rules varied from grove to grove but often prohibited the felling of trees, the collection of material from the forest floor, and the killing of animals (other than sacrificial). Presiding deities administered punishment, often death, to individuals who violated the rules, and sometimes to the entire community in the form of disease or crop failure.

Deities in Sacred Groves are can be of an extremely primitive nature and are often portrayed in the form of an anthropomorphic slap of stone, a hero stone, sati stone, a trident or even irregular lumps of stone serve as the deity in some places.

In Tiruvannamalai District there is currently listed a total area of 1847.41 hectares of land (4,565 acres) dedicated to sacred groves.

For more information on Sacred Groves at Tiruvannamalai District go here.

1 comment:

Andrew Cort said...

How very beautiful. And what a wonderful reminder that daily life can be imbued with sacredness and beauty. The lack of such reminders leads to such dreadful results.