Kaavukal

The sacred groovesthat abodes the Devas and Devatha's are commonly known as Kaavukal, which means a collection of trees. The ancient men installed the idols of their deities in these Kaavukal and started worshiping them.

The ancient tribes who were wandering from place to place without a permanent abode had to face epidemics and calamities of nature, the sufferings and hardships they faced in their transit had sizable influence in shaping their  customs of worship and Poojas. They believed that the sufferings and happiness they came across were all controlled by the invisible powers of nature and they could overcome all hardships and attain happiness by pleasing these supernatural powers. Their customs and rituals of prayers and thanks giving  to their deities may have been the origin of many Poojas and religious rites of today.

Once the folks started to erect their homes and settle down, their beliefs and customs came across drastic transformations. The concept of Kaavu might have originated in this period of time. The belief that certain trees and plants are the favorites of gods and goddesses is still prevalent in some communities.  Pala (Alstonia Scholaris), Chempakam ( Magnolia), Aale (Banyan) Elanji (Mimusops elengi Linn) etc are considered the  favorites of some goddesses, while some others deities prefers Pana ( Wine Palm), Karimpana (Borassus flabellifer), Kanjiram (Nux Vomica), Koovalam (Aegle Mermelos) etc.

Most of the Kovils ( small temples)  where the idols of the deities are installed are roofed. In some  Kaavukal we find idols of Moorthy’s and legendry figures installed on thara ( platform without roof); this include Sila (sculptures on rock), Thookumanjam (palanquins) small metal idols and Peedoms ( thrones).

These Kaavukal as places of worship of local deities has great cultural and social significance amongst various communities. Several rituals and festivals unknown to the outer world are being performed in  these Kaavukal even today.

Most of these Kaavukal are relic patches of ever green forest that are traditionally protected by communities in reverence of their deity. These Kaavukal form important repositories of biodiversity and provide refuge to many plant and animal species of conservation significance. Kaavukal with their composed biodiversity maintains a pristine atmosphere within itself. The “Manikinar” (open well) within the kaavu often serves as the inexhaustible fresh water source of the locality 

Literally speaking these Kaavukal  are the real ecological fortresses of nature