Procedure for Irumudi Kattu or Palli Kattu or Kattu Nirai

15th September 2019

Irumudi Kattu or Palli Kattu or Kattu Nirai

 

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Irumudi Kattu means two packages. The front pouch is meant for Lord Iyappan, this pouch contains the Ghee coconut (Nei thengai) and all the pooja items needed when we reach Sabari mala. The back pouch carries all the items we will need on the way for ourself. The front pouch cannot be opened until we reach Sabarimala, the back pouch can be opened on the way. The most important item carried in the irumudi kattu is the ghee coconut (Nei thengai). The ghee coconut symbolizes the devotee himself who is carrying the irumudi. It is said the coconut represents ones body and the ghee represents ones soul. You carry yourself to be offered to Iyappan and carry back what is gives back to you. That is  the reason you offer the ghee for Iyappan Abishekam and put the empty coconut in the burning fire. You can carry your ghee coconut and also of others from your family. They have to fill the coconut during the Irumudi kattu.

There is also another reason why people carry ghee in a coconut. It is said ghee is taken to offer to Iyappan and to keep it from spoiling we seal it in Coconut. These are the two meanings I have come across.
Irumudi as said before is two packs. It can be made of a single piece of cloth from which each side can be made as a carrying pouch by tying it. More often we use Irumudi bags that is readily available. This has two pouches from the same cloth with the opening facing each other. When you buy your Irumudi bag, also buy the coconut bags along with it if it is not sold along with the Irumudi bag. These are small cloth pouches which can be fastened using the rope that runs along its rim.
If your Irumudi Kattu is performed by a temple or by your guruswamt, please check with them on what items you need to get, as they will have most of this ready. Here is the complete list of items you will need for the Irumudi kattu along with why you need them:

Mun Mudi (Front pouch):

1. Coconut for Nei thengai (Ghee coconut): This has to scrapped and polished. One of the eye has to be cleared and also dig in to the pulp with a sharp object until you can have the water drained out. This has to be done few hours before the Irumudi kattu as the coconuts have to be dried before filling the ghee.
2. Ghee: For filling the Ghee coconut 
3. Rice: To be filled by the person carrying the Irumudi. While filling the rice, you also need to put the money that you are offering to Iyappan. After filling the rice, the ghee coconut is dropped in the bag.
4. Beetle leaves and Beetle nuts
5. Turmeric powder
6. Vibudhi (Sacred ash). This will be used to form a heap on which the camphor will be lit to open the ghee coconut. This Vibudhi will then be taken back home as prasadham.
7. Rose water (Paneer)
8. Sandal wood paste or tablets or powder
9. Honey (One small bottle)
What you do after opening the munmudi?

Mun Mudi can be opened only after the darshan. Mun Mudi has to be opened by a Guruswamy only. If you are going alone, ask for a Guruswamy to open it for you if possible. People will definitely help you. You empty the vibudhi in a plate. You then have to light the camphor. You need to have this camphor going till you end the pooja. Carry enough camphor along with you. You will need only one place for one group.

You then have to start breaking the nei thengai and empty the ghee in a container in which you will give it to the temple. You will then collect the coconut in a towel or a separate container. You need to throw this in Agnikundam, the fire that you will see next to the 18 steps.

Beetle leaves, Beetle nuts, Turmeric, Kungumam is for Malingapurathu amman. You will offer all that in the Malangipurathuaman temple.

Paneer you will see people slashing on each other. Which is accepted unless you dont bother much. In Malangapurathu amman temple you will also roll one coconut around the temple and leave it there and should not break it. First timers have to do this ritual. Others can do it if interested.

Pin Mudi (Rear pouch)

10. 2 coconuts: One has to be broken before climbing the 18 steps on the side of the steps itself. The next has to be broken while starting back from Sabari Mala. It marks the end of the visit and to head back home.
11. Rice (is also used to balance the weight between mun mudi and pin mudi)
12. Avul (Pressed rice)
13. Jaggery
14. Raisins (Dry grapes)
15. Agarbathi
16. Camphor
17. Kumkum
12. Kalkandu (Sugar tablets)

What you do after opening the Pin Mudi?

You empty the rice and money content. You will offer it to the respective hundial. Agarbathi, Kumkum and Aval are for Malangugapurathu amman. Camphor is for performing the Poojas.

You take a small quantity of rice and raisins back to you home with which you prepare and offer pongal as prasadham. 

You can step on the sacred 18 steps in Sabari mala only if you are carrying a Irumidi on your head. Irumudi has to be carried only if you have completed your 41 days of fasting. If you are not carrying a Irumudi, you can take a different steps that runs on the side to reach the shrine. You can still visit the shrine without the Irumudi Kattu. Here is a link that can shed some light on the fasting period,
Traditionally pin mudi was meant to carry eatables and other things we need for the journey.With change in  time and availability of things on our way, we are packing the pin mudi also with things we will need in Sabari mala alone. In the olden days people have to carry all their rations for days on their pin mudi.
Along with the above mentioned items also buy and keep 3 coconuts. One is for breaking outside your house when you start from home, the next is after reaching Kanni Mula ganapathy temple in Pamba. The last one again outside your house when you return back.
The entire trip has a spiritual meaning of leaving everything to Iyappan and taking back what he gives and sends us back. That is what we keep chanting Swamiye Saranam Iyappa. After leaving everything and living a Sanyasi life for the 41 days, we then take back what is important to us back in to our life and leave what we will not need depending on what we learn from the 41 days.
All that I have shared is what I have learn from various articles on the web, what I have heard and practiced myself. If there is any mistake, please point it to me, I will make any corrections needed. Swamiye Saranam Iyappa.

This one is well written and will take you through the journey as you read,
Other references and credits:

31 comments on “Procedure for Irumudi Kattu or Palli Kattu or Kattu Nirai”

  1. Hi Swami,

    we are with a group of 5 members with 2 are first time and 2 are 2nd time. We didn't have guruswamy in our team. Is that compulsary to take and lift of irumudi by guruswamy? Please clarify.

  2. Hello Swamy,

    Can you please help with information about the coconuts that we carry and what exactly needs to be done with each of them, cause last time we had been in a group and this is just my second time along with a cousin and even he is not really very sure.

  3. Hi, only nei thengai needs to be prepared, others go as it is in to the irumudi kattu. Nei thengai had to be drained, filled with ghee, then sealed using a cork. It is best to have this performed by a guruswamy.

    Regards,
    Hari Prasad S

  4. Thank You Swamy for you response but like you have mentioned in your response others (how many coconuts and what needs to be done with each) that is what I was trying to ask the first time as well, and thank you in advance 🙂

  5. You will need 3 coconuts. One outside your house when you start the journey. Second has to be broken before climbing the 18 steps on the side of the steps itself. The next has to be broken while starting back from Sabari Mala. It marks the end of the visit and to head back home.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Regards,
    Hari Prasad S

  6. After you reach Sabarimala you need to empty the ghee in the coconut in a container. You need to give it in the temple for neiabishegam. The temple in return will give some ghee back in the same container to you. If you are not able to give the ghee and take it from the temple or you are not able to be present during neiabishegam, you can donate the ghee to containers available around the temple. It will be used for neiabishegam, but you will not get the ghee prasadham back from the temple.

    If you are in a group, the vessel in which you had given the ghee to the temple is considered auspicious, as it makes its way just inches to Iyappan. Few groups may have a lucky draw or will have a bid to give away th vessel to one person. The bid money is spent on food for the group. There are cases where it is given to a kanniswamy. It totally depends on the group and the guruswamy 😉

    Regards,
    Hari Prasad S

  7. That was really useful information and one last question and please don't mind, as per tradition the rice carried in the irumudi was to be used to cook during the walk through the forest but now since most do not take that route what exactly do they do with the rice and other essentials.

  8. You would offer the rice in the rice offering container which will again be kept in the temple premises. You will bring back a small amount to your home, this will be used to prepare sweet pongal and be offered as prasadham.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Hari Prasad S

  9. Hello Swami,

    This article is very good but some more information that you can add to this would be helpful cause I have looked up online but have not been very successful.

    For the Irumudi Kattu you have mentioned 12 items that will go into it but what would we have to do with each, like example you have mentioned about Vibudhi (Sacred ash). This will be used to form..... back home as prasadham) so just like that I am sure there is a purpose for each and it needs to be used/opened at a certain place or temple, would be really helpful if you can take time out to list that out for each of the items. I might be asking for a little too much but I want to be sure I do it correctly when I go to Sabrimala this month, thank you in advance.

  10. I have updated this article with the procedure and the explanation for the items as much as possible after consulting another Guruswamy. Let me know if anymore changes are needed. I will be happy to make them.

    Regards,
    Hari Prasad S

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