Payyanur Pavithram or Pavithra Mothiram is internationally famous like” Aranmula Mirror “or “Ambalapuzha Palpayasam”. Pavithram is the particular ring worn during performing vedic or holy rituals or during the “pithrubali” (ceremony performed for the well-being of the forefathers or departed souls) in the Hindu tradition. The traditional Pavitram is usually made of “dharba” grass. The formation of Payyanur Pavitram is closely related with Payyanur Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple. According to the legends, Pavitram made of gold was recommended to avoid the inconvenience of making it many times a day for the various poojas and rituals.
Payyanur Pavithra Mothiram is a uniquely crafted ring shaped like a knot and considered being a sacred ornament. Usually, Payyanur Pavithram is being made of Gold and Silver. The Pavithram is to be worn on the right ring finger by the person performing Vedic Karmas. It is believed that this ring will bring luck and grace to anyone who wears it with the deep devotion. The three lines on the top of the ring represents the three vital “nadees”(nerves) of the human body, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The knot between these three nerves together can awake or arose the “Kundalini sakthi” (vital energy of the body) of the human body. It is believed that the Pavithram brings the “Trimoorthi Chaithanyam” ( the vigor or the effect due to the presence of the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).The person who wear Pavithram as well as the Goldsmith who makes it has to have to impose some sort of self control or discipline over themselves. They should be pure vegetarian and shouldn’t take alcohol and should keep way from immoral activities. If wore by women, they have to remove the ring during the period of menstruation.
According to tradition, the Pavithram, before handed over to the customer, is taken to Payyanur Perumal Temple for special poojas and a part of the cost of the ring will be given to the temple as an offering. Payyanur Pavithram is being exhibited in many of the museums of India as well as abroad. It is relevant to mention the name of late C.V. Kunhambu, who was an expert in the making of Payyanur Pavithram and was also a great freedom fighter. Payyanur has a great history of national movement, prominent leaders being, KP Kunhiraman Poduval and Subrahmanya Shenoy .
It was by divine Grace the idea of making the auspicious ring for spiritual benefit of all devotees was dawned in the mind of the Tantri of Payyannur Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple. This occurred in April 1838 (1013, Medam Month, Kollam Era), about 167 years ago, during the period of the temple renovation and reinstallation of the vigraham. This secret technique of making the ring was first conveyed by the Tantri to Chowatta Valappil Kelappan Perunthattan. It became the family tradition and his grandson Chowatta Valappil Kunhambu Sarappu,who was a well-known freedom fighter, became a reputed expert in the making of the sacred ring.
The renovation and reinstallation took place in 1838, some year after the destruction of the temple by the invading armies of Tippu Sultan. After taking the decision to renovate the temple, the people in charge of the renovation went to Iringalakkuda to invite the Tharananallur Nambudirippad, the Tantri of the temple for performing rites. To their disappointment they found that there was no senior member having the knowhow of the rituals and therefore they formally convayed to them the information and returned. However, on knowing this, a little boy of the house, as if inspired by the Divine Will, decided to go to Payyanur and perform the rites. He reached there at the auspicious time and conducted the rites. The legend has it that the boy was miraculously transported to the place on the back of a peacock and thus could reach there right on time and performed the rites and rituals like an expert Tantri. It was this blessed boy Tantri who instructed Chowatta Valappil Kelappan Perunthattaan to make the Pavithra Mothiram in gold and imparted to him the secret technique of making it.
Usually the Pavithra Mothiram is made out of drarbha grass. The main reason for instruction to make the sacred ring in gold is the practical difficulty encountered in making the ring and darbha grass each occasion when the rites have to be performed. It also helped to avoid the regret caused when the temporary sacred ring has to be thrown away somewhere after the use.
As Chowatta Valappil Kelappan Perunthattaan was traditionally associated with the temple, he was instructed to make the Pavithram ring. As instructed he made the ring with extreme care following the secret knowledge conveyed to him and the Tantri was satisfied with his craftsmanship. It was by wearing the ring the Tantri completed the renovation rites. Subsequently his descendants became expert makers of the ring. Late Sri C V Kunhambu Sarap, his grandson, became a renowned craftsman and was honored for his craftsmanship by eminent political and social leaders of the country, who had obtained the sacred ring from him. At present his sons who have inherited the expertise from their illustrious father are carrying ahead the tradition of the best craftsmanship in making the Pavithra Mothiram.