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Kali worship in Tamil Nadu and Kerala

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All of us have read and know about worship of Kali in Bengal. how she is envisaged as a Beautiful Mother who grants the wishes of all her devotees. We also know about the Saktha Tantras where Kali is the main Deity.

We in Tamil Nadu and Kerala know that Kali is worshiped by a large section of the population here. In fact we have more Kali temples in Chennai than the entire Bengal. The oldest Kali shrine in India is the Vekkali Amman temple in Uraiyur near Tiruchy. Then we have the Thillai Kali temple, Mathura Kali temple and so many other Kali temples. Kerala has also many temples.

Tamil Nadu is the only place where persons are named after her. Kaliappan, Kaliamma, Kali.

Academic study has been restricted to Kali worship in Bengal. It is surprising that even books in Tamil refer to Sri Ramakrishna's worship of Bhavatharini Kali and not to Thillai Kali.

This is basically due to the absence of written material. Kali worship is neither part of Saiva Siddhanta or the Smartha religion in Tamil Nadu.

But the worship of Kali in Tamil Nadu is ancient. It is clearly shown by "Kakaradhi Kali Sahasranama" which is from Rudra Yamala. This is Kaula Marga Sri Vidya worship of Kali. Shodasi Vidya. Some of the names are kaveri theera Vasini, Tirupurasundari. The flower Arali is mentioned. It is called Kasthuri in Tamil Nadu.

I have been trying to locate some material on worship of Kali in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Written and verbal.

Kālī means "the black one" and also "time" or "beyond time." She is portrayed in Tamil Nadu as the conqueror of time. She dances the dance"Pralaya Thandavam."

Saivism has taken Kali as the consort of Siva and thus a part of Saivism. There is a story about how Siva won the dance competition with Kali. But in the folk Hinduism Kali is an independent Deity.

The images of Kali are more or less uniform throughout Tamil Nadu. But I have not been able to locate a Dhyana Sloka which gives the description of the idol.

You can help me by posting what you know about the Kali temples and her worship. Temples, stories, mode of worship. Anything relating to Kali.

Thank you.

Note: I am being interviewed for a German radio channel used by the academic community. The team is arriving from Germany this week. I would like to include Kali worship in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in my interview.
There is a story about how Siva won the dance competition with Kali. But in the folk Hinduism Kali is an independent Deity.

This story may mean that Siva worship relegated the Kali worship to the background. In Thillai, the original abode of Kali was encroached upon by Nataraja and the female deity was sent to the then border of the town. Some historians say that inside the rahasyam chamber, traces of ancient Kali worship still exist.

That Adi Sankara tamed Akhilandeswari by putting a pair of Thadangams on her ear may mean that the fierce looking Kali was made to look 'sowmya' by hiding her ears. Kali usually wears kundalams of human corpses.
Thank you siganeswarie and vikrama


Now this is the image of Tamil Nadu Kali.

She is depicted with red skin and with a flaming crown from the top of which rears a 5-headed cobra. She has four arms and carries - Udakkai, sword (bottom right), Trisulam (top left) and skull-cup (Pana Patram) (bottom left). She has Dhamshtram (protruding teeth).

Images of Kali from Bengal do not have Dhamshtram.

Is this a standard one? Or are there variations? I thought the portrayed her as Black. Please advise.

I got this image from Wikipedia.
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