It is commonly assumed that Veeramakaliamman is Kali, a Hindu Goddess. However, she is an ancestor called Veeramma, who is worshiped as a deity in many countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Perhaps the most popular temple is the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in Singapore, where she resides as the primary deity.
|Superbly decorated Veeramakaliamman Statue in Singapore|
|A woman devotee rolls on the floor in Veeramma Kaliamman temple, India|
|Veeramma Kaliyambal temple in Batticaloa, Srilanka|
|Women devotees in Veeramma Kaliamman temple in Kokkuvil, Sri lanka|
|Veeramma Kali Amman Statue in Moreh, Manipur, India|
First, they made her a carry a pot of burning charcoal with her bare hands. While they thought this would burn her hands and she would tell the "truth", she carried the fire pot happily. The villagers were shocked to find out that hands were unharmed. Next, they impaled her nose and tongue with spears. When they removed the spears, Veeramma did not bleed or show any signs of being hurt. Finally they ordered that she be whipped until she confesses. She stood happily until the whipper's hands were tired.
|Priest carrying fruits in Veeramma Kaliamman temple, India|
That night, the villagers put her body in a pot (muthumakkal thazhi), and buried her. However, in the next few days she started appearing in dreams and in front of people who were walking alone. First born children started disappearing and were found killed on her burial ground. She appeared on her brothers' dreams and asked for first born children to feed on them. The terrified villagers brought in a priest and he made her apparition appear.
|Priest in a trance (veriyattam) in Veeramma Kaliamman temple - Manipur, India|
1. Anyone in the potter community must create a Veeramma temple as soon as they reach a new destination. If they did not, their first born child would die.
2. Once a year, all the villagers must punish themselves by carrying fire pots, whipping and self impalement. This was retribution for the same torturous activities carried out on her.
3. A chicken or a goat must be sacrificed in her temple, when a family has their first born child. This will save the child from harm and quench Veeramma's thirst for blood.
4. Food and Broth (Koozhu) must be distributed freely in the temple, every year.
|Priest carries a fire pot with bare hands - Manipur, India|
|Idol at Veeramma Talli temple in Vuyyuru, Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Veeramakaliamman temple in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, India|