The Velichappadu or Komaram (oracle, or revealer of light) is an integral part of the rural life of Kerala. The Malayalam word Velichappadu literally means “the one who throws light on any problems”. Believed to be a representation of the deity in a temple, oracles often belong to a particular family. Dressed in red and adorned with heavy ritual ornaments and garlands, they often carry heavy hooked swords. The deity is believed to speak as the Velichappadu dances, delivering the frenzied forecasts. There are both male and female Velichappadus.
Traditionally the Velichappadu makes his or her appearance in the temple after performing a puja (religious ritual). Once in trance with the spirit of deity, he moves in and out of the temple courtyard. This frantic movement is referred to as thullal and is usually accompanied by beatings of drums and cymbals. The Velichappadu makes his predictions in this state of ecstasy in a manner which is often vague and difficult to decipher. During the thullal he also cuts his forehead with his sword and offers the blood to the deity as a symbol of unshakable faith.