Maa Bhadrakali is a quite ancient mythological deity. The entire Indian tantra literature is full of prayers and hymns for mother. Bhadra means blessed or auspicious, kali has many meanings such as relating to time and also means blackness.
The Sanskrit word ‘Bhadra Kali’ can be translated to Hindi as ‘Mahamaya Kali’. Bhadrakali is the popular form of Devi worshipped in Kerala as Sri Bhadrakali and Kariam Kali Murti Devi. In Kerala she is seen as the auspicious and fortunate form of Kali who protects the good. It is believed that Bhadrakali was a local deity that was assimilated into the mainstream Hinduism, particularly into Shaiva mythology. She is represented with three eyes, and four, twelve or eighteen hands. She carries a number of weapons, with flames flowing from her head, and a small tusk protruding from her mouth.
Maa Bhadrakali is considered as the consort of Lord Shiva in the form of Rudra. These is also a legend that she is the consort of Virabhadra, who was born of the wrath of Rudra. According to Tantra Rahasya, she arose from the North fae of Shiva, which is blue in color and has three eyes.
It is believed Bhadrakali protects the practitioners of Kalarippayattu, a traditional martial arts form. In Malabar, it is believed that all the victories of Thacholi Othenan and other martial artists were due to the blessings of Bhadrakali of the Lokanarkavu Temple, also known as ‘The Shaolin Temple of Malayalees’.
Some communities, like the Kodavas and Nairs, worship this deity as family deity. They worship certain weapons at their temples which they believe to be the weapons used by the goddess. Bhadrakali is also the tutelary deity of the Nadar community of Tamil Nadu.
Famous temples of bhadrakali who is worshipped more in south India.
Warangal Bhadrakali Temple in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. Bhadrakali (Maha Kali Mata) was the principal deity of the Hindu Kakatiya kingdom of Warangal (Oragallu or Ekashilanagaram) that ruled most of Andhra Pradesh during that period.
Thiruvarkadu Bhagavaty Temple in Payangadi, Kannur, Kerala is the first and foremost Bhadrakali Temple at a place believed to be the fortress of Darukasura.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Thrissur, Kerala; is one of the oldest temple in India built during the Sangam age. Mahodayapuram (Kodungallur) was the capital of the Chera Empire which ruled Kerala.
Kalarivathukkal Bhagavathy Temple, Kannur, Kerala; the fierce form of Bhadrakali, as the mother of the martial art Kalaripayattu.
A temple of Bhadrakali is found at a place called Bajna at a distance of 36 km from Ratlam city in Malwa region. This Bhadrakali temple is of the period of Parmara rulers and known as Garhkhankhai mataji.
Kerala has a tradition of folk artist rituals and dances associated with worship of Devi in the form of Maa Bhadrakali. The dance forms are:Theyyam, Theeyattu, Padayani, Poothanumthirayum, Mudiyettu, Kuthiyottam, Kettukazcha.
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