Kanjirottu Yakshi

Kanjirottu Yakshi (Sreedevi) is a folkloric vampire. According to the myth, she was born into an affluent Padamangalam Nair tharavad by name Mangalathu at Kanjiracode in Southern Travancore (now in Tamil Nadu). Being a ravishingly beautiful courtesan she had an intimate relationship with Raman Thampi, son of King Rama Varma and rival of Anizhom Thirunal Marthanda Varma. According to the story, she was murdered by her servant and she turned into a Yakshi, (a class of mythical beings in Malayalam folklore) waylaying men with her beauty and drinking their blood.[1]

Mangalathu SreedeviEdit

Sreedevi was a courtesan who had as her clients the high and the mighty. But she was infatuated with Raman who was one of her many servants. Raman, a Pondan Nair (palanquin-bearer), was a fair, tall, well-built and handsome young man. She and her brother Govindan used to ride on Raman's back to nearby places. A predatory sadist, Sreedevi enjoyed torturing Raman physically and mentally. She did everything possible to separate him from his wife.

In course of time, the unmarried Govindan and Raman became bosom friends. They often shared the same room. Sreedevi was not quite comfortable with the growing fondness of her brother for her lover. But she did not act.

Sreedevi hatched a plot and liquidated Raman's wife. Once Govindan was travelling on Raman's back when the former revealed the details of the plot. Days later, Raman strangled Sreedevi to death when they were sharing a bed. Govindan winked at the crime and protected his beloved friend.

Sreedevi was reborn as a vengeful Yakshi to a couple at Kanjiracode. She grew into a bewitching beauty within moments of her birth. Though she seduced many men and drank their blood, her heart was set on the handsome Raman. She told him that she was willing to pardon him if he married her. Raman flatly refused. The Yakshi channelised all her energies in tormenting him. Devastated, Raman sought the assistance of Govindan, who was a great upasaka of Lord Balarama, for a compromise. He said that the Yakshi could have Raman for a year provided she conformed to three conditions. One, she must agree to be installed at a temple after one year. Two, after many years the temple will be destroyed and she must then seek refuge (saranagati) in Lord Narasimha to attain moksham. Three, she must pray for Govindan and his relationship with Raman not only in their current birth but also in their subsequent births. The Yakshi swore upon 'ponnum vilakkum' that she would abide by all the three conditions. Thus the compromise worked.[2]

Kanjiracottu Valiaveedu TempleEdit

A year later, the Yakshi was installed at a Temple which later came to be owned by Kanjiracottu Valiaveedu. The members of Valiaveedu started worshipping this Yakshi besides their Guardian Deities, Lord Ramanuja (Sri Krishna accompanied by Sri Rukmini) and Lord Balarama.[3] Devotees used to offer Pongala to Yakshi Amma on Pooram in the month of Meenom and on the first Fridays in every Malayalam month except Meenom.[4] The Temple does not exist any more.

Kanjirottu Yakshi and Sri Padmanabhaswami TempleEdit

After taking refuge in Lord Narasimha of Thekkedom, the Yakshi is now believed to be residing in Kallara B of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. As Princess Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi observes, "Disturbing her peace would be a disaster especially if her current quiet temperament reverts to the menacing nature that was once hers."[5] The enchanting and ferocious forms of this Yakshi are painted on the south-west part of Sri Padmanabha's shrine.

Sundara LakshmiEdit

Sundara Lakshmi, an accomplished dancer and consort of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, was an ardent devotee of Kanjirottu Yakshi Amma.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kaimal, Kesava. 'Thekkan Thiruvithamkurile Yakshikal'. Srinidhi Publications, 2002.
  2. ^ Nair, Balasankaran. 'Kanjirottu Yakshi'. Sastha Books, 2001.
  3. ^ Nair, Balasankaran. 'Kanjirottu Yakshi'. Sastha Books, 2001.
  4. ^ Nair, Balasankaran. 'Valiaveedu Charithrathil'. Sastha Books, 1999.
  5. ^ Bayi, Aswathi Thirunal Gouri Lakshmi. 'Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple' (Third Edition). Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 2013.