"I fold my hands before the lord, the maintainer of this creation, in the form of this light. I adore this light, which destroys all the pains resulting from my omissions and commissions
Light is considered as a symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity and abundance in the Hindu religion. Light brings brightness with it and removes the darkness. In every Hindu home a lamp or ‘diya’ is lit daily in the morning or evening or both morning and evening. The light in the lamp symbolizes knowledge the highest truth in the most simplest way. It removes darkness, which symbolizes ignorance. The Lord is the 'Knowledge principle' who is the very source and illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is considered as the Lord Himself.
The wick in the traditional oil lamp symbolizes ego and the oil or ghee used symbolizes our negative tendencies. When we are lit by self knowledge, the negative tendencies (oil) melt away and finally the ego (wick) perishes. In the course of its burning, the flame of the lamp which burns upwards, reminds one of acquiring the knowledge which would guide one to higher ideals.
Folklore Museum exhibits in front of you a variety of rare lamps made of Stone, bronze, Silver & Brass lamps.
NILAVILAKKU: Nilavilakku is a lighted bell metal traditional lamp used commonly in Kerala, South India. Nilam in the Malayalam language means ground and Vilakku means lamp.The young girls belonging to the Hindu community place the lighted nilavilakku in front of the house as dusk creeps in. Nilavilakku is lighted during all ceremonies and is believed to be auspicious. It is the most common type, seen all over, is a slim floor-standing metal column surmounted by a spike that rises from a circular receptacle for coconut oil, and using cloth or banana plant fibro wicks. Every classical theatre performance keeps a large lamp burning centre-stage, all night. While performing Kathakali, Krishnanattam, Chakyarkoothu, Ottam Thullal a large lighted nilavilakku is placed on the stage.
KUTHIRAVILAKKU: A very beautiful lamp which is made on the principle of gravitation by our old blacksmiths even before the theory of gravitation formulated by Sir Issac Newton. The speciality of the lamp is that in whichever direction you turn it, it will return to its original position and remain absolutely horizontal, thus ensuring that no oil is ever spilled.
AARARTI LAMP: An Aarti diya, used at the time of prayer, is different from the one used to light the sanctum sanctorum. The Aarti diya usually has a handle attached to it for holding it. The arrangement of the lamps is also artistic and varies according to place and occasion.
KALIVILAKKU: A tall and massive brass lamp fed with coconut oil is set in front of the actors at the centre of the stage. Before the advent of lighting facilities, Kathakali and the like used to rely entirely on the oil lamp placed at the front end of the stage. Customarily, it had to be "having height about a metre, so that it can brighten the face of the artist posing properly in front of it." The lamp is made of bronze and burns coconut oil. The wicks are made from strips of cloth, rolled firmly. The lamp has two wicks, the thicker one facing the stage and the other one facing the spectators.
KAVARAVILAKKU: These lamps are placed before the deity in the "garba griha". Kavara means branches. Folklore Museum exhibits the biggest Kavaravilakku with 9 branches.
KARPPOORA AAZHI AARTI: Aarti being performed with Camphor has a spiritual significance. Camphor burns itself out completely without leaving a trace. Camphor represents our Vasanas, unmanifest desires. So also if we were to take refuge in the Lord, obtain knowledge, these desires will get burnt out. Al though the camphor burns itself out, it emits a nice perfume. On a human plane it means that we should sacrifice ourselves to serve society, in the process spread the perfume of love and happiness to all.
LAKSHMI VILAKKU: The lamp is considered a woman and is symbolic of Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and is referred to as Deepalakshmi. The Kamakshi is an oil lamp with a small statue of Kamakshi Goddess on it. Some people use oil in the lamp, some use ghee (clarified butter
THATTU VILAKKU/ STEP LAMP: As the name indicates this lamp have different steps or layers. It is made of bronze. Oil is put inside every thattu and is litted. Thattu Vilakku are very beautiful oil lamps used in temples.
KUTHU VILAKKU: Kuthgu Vilakku is a kind of lamp which is carried in temples during Seeveli / Elephant processions. It have a long handle and the person carrying the lamp walk in front of the diety to show the way.
HANGING LAMPS Hanging lamps in the shape of pigeons or birds wherein the chain is hooked.Hanging Lamps are made of bronze and are very heavy. These kinds of lamps can be seen in traditional Kerala houses
SAMBANDHA VILAKKU: In earlier times among the Namboodiri caste in Kerala only the eldest son was permitted to marry with a view to maintain the integrity of ancestral property. The remaining males contracted Sambandhams with Nair ladies . When Namboothiri is inside the home Sambandha Vilakku is litted and placed outside the home as an indication that the Namboothiri is inside the home
DEEPA STHAMBHA: Pillar of lamps or multi layered lamp post in front of the temple which are lit up during the temple festivals & stand metres high.The main deepa sthambham at Kerala Folklore Museum was from Guruvayoor temple which is 150 years old. Deepa Sthambham can be made in Bronze, Gold or Stone. Folklore museum exhibits stone & bronze deepasthambham from different temples. The special atmosphere of temples is also enhanced by innumerable lamps which always glow and the devotees ensure the replenishment of the oil by regular offerings.
CHIRATHU: The wall of the outer prakaram (OUTSIDE WALL OF TEMPLE )is fully is lined with columns of lamps. It can be clay, stone or bronze lamp. It is litted on dawn before deeparadhana.
CHANGALAVATTAM: This is a lamp used in temple processions. The lamp itself have an oil storage space with a spoon attached to it by chain. The lamp is made of bronze and is very heavy.
(Lead me from ignorance (darkness) to wisdom light)