Mavelikara Royal Family (R. Sasidhara varma, Mannoormadam Kottaram, Mavelikara):-http://mavelikarapalace.blogspot.com/2009/12/mavelikara-royal-family.html
In the relentless march of history the glittering monarchs of the past - Their Majesties, Their Royal Highness and the like - have made their exit from the political map of the country.
A drawing of Tellicherry published in 1736, showing the fort as it appeared some years earlier. Today they are seldom remembered or mentioned. Politically they are of no importance.But the rich cultural legacy left by such royal dynasties is highly impressive.
They enriched our culture by their own substantial artistic and literary contribution besides inspiring and encouraging talented men of letters to enlarge and enrich the cultural fabric of the country.
Kadathanad was one such illustrious royal house which occupied a place of prominence. The Polarthiries who ruled Kadathanad and the martial arts known as Kalaripayattu which produced redoubtable warriors made the land well known though South India.
Kadathanad K.P.C.G.M. Kalari Sangam :-
In fact Kadathanad was the chief center of Kalaripayattu. Glorious descriptions of both are found in the traditional folk songs knownas Vadakkan pattu.
Kadathanad lay sandwiched between Korapuzha
in the south and Mahe in north.
Showing the 1730's Fort
Its eastern and western boundaries were the Kuttiadi mountains and Arabian sea respectively.
The territory known as Kadathanad we in the present Vadakara taluk
in Kozhikide district. Its capital was Kuttipuram Kovilakam which formed the present Kunnummel block in the present Nadapuram panchayat.
The break down of the ancient matriarchal system and the introduction of land reforms dealt a death blow to the stable financial foundation of the royal family.
Consequently the families dwindled in importance and lost its original glory and greatness.Euphoria gave place to nostalgia and the present heirs can relieve their past grandeur only in their sweet reminiscences of the bygone past.
The Polathiri Fort, a stronghold of the royal family was near the Polur Subramania Temple
Zamorine the ruler of Kozhikode could not extend his sway this far for his seat known as Nediyiruppu lay of the south of Kakkayi Puzha. Hence with the obvioius objective of extending his kingdom he attacked the Polur Fort.
The battle lasted forty eight years.
Zamorin won the battle. The Polathiris escaped capture and reached Muttungal where they settled down with permission of Kolatiri who magnanimoulsy offered them shelter. Thus the erstwhile Kadathanad Kovilamam emerged in Muttungal with the new title Muttungal Kovilakam.
There after took place a bifurcation into two branches, The Onchiyam Kovilakam and the Purameri Kovilakam.
A prince of the Kadathanad Kovilakam married a lady from the Polathiri family and their children came to be known as Kings of Kadathanadu.
This dynasty lasted long. Its members were called Vahunnavar. They ruled the kingdom as the chieftains of Kolathiri.
In 1750 they assumed the title Rajah instead of traditional title Vazhunnavar.
Hamilton who visited Vadagara in 1703 describedthe kingdom as a load of pepper and warriors superb. Kadathanad has a powerful naval force and the kong was known as the Lord of the Sea.The merchant ships paid tribute to the king.
Vadagara was an important port. The patron godess was 'Loganarkavillama' whose beautiful descriptions are found in the folk songs.
When the Portuguese
came to Kerala and tried to establish supermesy over the sea,naval encounters between them asn Kadathanad became frequent.
In 1725 French
under the leadership 'De La Bu' and capture Mahe. There after there was several battles between French and Kadathanad.
In 1740 in the battle field near Peringattue, Kadathanad defeated the French
However in the next year fortune favoured the French.'
who have established themselves at Tellicherry intervened and it is reported that they brought the warring sides together and affected a pact.
In 1766 Hyder Ali attacked Kadathanad.
Unableto face the invation, Kadathanad army fled away.
The land was plundered, enormous wealth was collected and the king was compelled to give Hyder Ali a substantial sum of money.Hyder Ali went back to Mysore leaving a division of his army here.
But the king defeated them and regained his kingdom
.Hyder Ali came again with a larger force, dethroned the king and installed his Ilamura as the king.
However he returned to Mysore when he was promised a substantial tribute by the new ruler. In 1788 when Tippu Sulthan
invaded the country,
the king which his family sought shelter in Travancore with the connnivance of the English.Tippu took over the adminstration of Kadathanad. He apponted Sardar Khan and after him Arshad Beghal Governers of Kadathanad.
In 1790 on the asurance of safty assured by the British the king returned to Kadathanad.
He entered into a pact with the English agreeing to take a united stand against Tippu with the fatal defeat of Tippu the whole of Malabar came under the British who gave Kadathanad to its legal owners accepting an annual payment of Rs.30,000/-. Later accepting a portion of the income the king offered Kadathanad to the British.
Though the Polathiri stood by the British against Tippu during 1791-92, he turned against them later.
The rites and customes of the Polathiris
are similar to those of the Brahmins except their marriage. Kunnamangalam Namboothiris were their spiritual preceptors who instrusted them in matters spiritual and supervised all the rites and ceremonies.
the young men of Kadathanad married only from there arisrocractics families,'Moochilothu' , 'Pookodu' and 'Kurukkattu'. The marriage was called "Pattum Vala" and the bride was known as Kettilamma.The princess were given in marriage only to Namboothiris. They were vegetarians and lived under the same roof on the Kovilakam.
The male members of the royal house were by tradition bounded to assume any on of the names. They were 'Sankara Varma Rajah' , 'Manavarma Rajah' , 'Ravi Varma Rajah' , 'Udaya Varma Rajah' , 'Krishna Varma Rajah' and 'RamaVarma Rajah'.
While the ladies could assume any of the follwing 6 names. They were 'Lakshmi Thampuratty' , 'Madhavi Thanpuratty' , 'Parvathi Thampuratty' , 'Sreedevi Thampuratty' and 'Omana Thampuratty'.
The mode of travel
When the senior most king went out a group of people carrying swords and shields would walk in front of the palanquin. Behind it would walk the Harikkaran holding a dandu, i.e a long rod which looked like a spear and which has silver strips.
A Dandu (Right click pic "open in new window" for bigger pic)
Their official uniform was so designed that it reached up to their knees. They draped it around their body in such a fashion that i made the impression of a red overcoat. Round the waist they wore a broad band of cloth.
Tamil Brahmans were appointed Harikars. Behind the Harikar would be the king and behind him his managers and retinue. The palanquin was an architectural master piece adorned with pictures carved in ivory. The carvings bore ample testimony to the marvelous skill and expertise of the artists from Tanjore in Tamilnadu.
Kadathanad Kovilakam was a complex consisting of Kuttipuram, Purameri, Ayencheri and Exavilath Kovilakams.
Kadathanad Kovilakam was a stupendous mansion speared over one acre plot.
The senior King of Kadathanad lived here.
The big fort on the west and the templeof Kotta Bhagavathi are conspicuous by their absence today.
The altar used for animal sacrifice is still there.
The palatial building, the enormously large kitchen and the three-storied bathroom on the bank of the large pond proclaim the erstwhile affluence and aristocracy of this illustrious royal house. They are the mute witness that saw the magnificent celebrations, elaborate rites, ceremonies and the fabulous feasts and festivities of a bygone era.
The large well near the old dining hall and the large pond are still there, but in ruins. The partition suite filed in 1964 is still pending in the court. It is believed that the Kovilakam lost its glory and prosperity with the loss of the 'Panchaloha Srichakram' which was once worshiped with intense devotion.
A mural work "Sree Chakara" from "Kuttipuram Kovilakam"
(Right click pic "open in new window" for bigger pic)
The senior king ruled Kadathanad from his royal seat at Kuttiparam Kovilakam and its immediate juniors were at Purameri.
senior most princess was officially known as Amma rajah(Mother King). The kings of Kadathanad had made substantial contributions to the cultural legacy of the country. They played an important role in the national movement also. There were poets and poetesses, artists, persons of profound erudition in the court. Being men of high intellectual caliber they encouraged writers who mad the literary and cultural fabric glitter.
In Sanskrit Kadathanad was known as "Ghatolkacha Kshithi".
'Sankara Rajah' who was popularly known as 'Appa Thampuran' deserves special mention for his profound scholarship and extra ordinary divine gifts
. He left an indelible stamp on diverse subjects like astrology, astronomy, magic, mathematics and architecture. He passed away in 1014.
His 'Sadratnamala' has been an authoritative book on astrology. It was this royal person, who after scientific astrology calculation prepared the calender upto the Malayalam year 2000. He also calculated the decimal value of 'pi' upto its 10th decimal point.
Th state Institute of Education has published as book entitled New Astrology which was written by this astrological genius.
It is said that he predicted the exact date of death of the
Great Swathi Thirunal, The king of erstwhile Travancore.
This information is avalible in the book The biography of Swathi Thirunal. He also predicted the fate of his own death which was earlier than that of the king.
The whole expenses in connection with his cremation and other items were sanctioned by Swathi Thirunal. The king honoured him by offering him two 'Veerasrinkhalas'.
Another literary luminary of the royal family was the great poetess 'Lashsmi Thampuratty' who was born in 1845 at Edavalath Kovilakam.
She was well versed in Sankrit and grammer.
She was the author of two books, Santhanagopalam and a summery of Bhagavatham both in Sanskrit
. Of the two only Santhanagopalam was printed.
Many of her poems appeared in 'Vignana Chintamani', a literary publication edited by the great Punnassery Nambi, an eminent writer, scholar and an eloquent speaker.
He was Thampuratty's close friend.As it was the fashion among the poets of the time she indulged in all kinds of poetical pyrotechnics like single poems, aphorisms, answering a riddle and filling riders etc. No attempt was made to collect and publish them. She passed away in 1909 at the age of 64.
Udayavarma Rajah of Aayanchery Kovilakam was born in 1867. A King of extraordinary talents he was a great writer and a scholar and an authority in logic and grammar.
Besides Malayalam and Sanskrit he had a working knowledge of English als. He launched his literary career at the age of twenty two and it went on uninterrupted for 18 years. He sacrificed his health and wealth at the altar of literature. His tragic end came at the age of 47. During the short span of life he wrote 40 books. In his history of literature Mahakavi Ullor has mentioned nine of them. Of the 40,
only one namely Rasika Bhushanam Bhanam was in Sanskrit,
where as the others were in the mother tongue. They consisted of original works and translations. Udayavarma was responsible for the
publication of Bhiranga Sandesham written by Raman Euthachan of Appadan Veedu. The poem published in 1984 did not get any attention. In it we come across description of places from Mookambi in the north to Trivandrum in the south.
is another authoritative work meant for those who aspire to become poets. An ancient book on the science of agriculture written in Sankrit was discovered and published by him with a commentary in Malayalam. It appeared in the literary magazine 'Kavanodayam'. A hand book for the students of dance and another on palmistry called 'Hasthalakshana Deepika'
were also published by him. The later contains an elaborate description of the 24 basic gestures with a detailed commentary in Malayalam.
More important that his original works are the publication of ancient and modern works under his initiative. He founded a printing press called 'Janaranjini and printed and published many important works.
In 1896 Tampuran founded the Rajah's High School.
In 1904 he took the initiative in conducting a literary gathering at Brennan College Tellicherry, Kavanodayam was a literary magizine which appeared under his inspiring patronage. Some of the great poets who participated in the literary discussions which he organized periodically, were the great poets like Vallathol, Ullor and Kuttamath. Persuading by him Vallothol started translating Sanskrit classic into the vernacular.
An allegorical poem of 100 verses was authorised by Kadathanatu Ravi Varma Rajah.
The poem entitled Anyapaddesa Sathakam was printed at Sreekrishna Vilasam press at Tanjore
.Kunhi Krisha Varma Rajah of Edavilath kovilakam was a good physician an poet. He was well known as Vaidyan Thampuran. He was written many poems. A.K. Sankara Varma was another poet and scholar in Sanskrit.His wife Thottakkat Gowri Kettilamma established her mark as a profound Sanskrit scholar and this scholar-couple used to communicate with each other in the medium of Sanskrit poetry.
A.K.Krishan Varma Rajah, the Valiathampuran of Kadathanad was a competent ruler and a sincere and loving promoter of family prosperity.
A few name to remember
A.K. Sankara Varma Rajah who died on harness was assistant head master Kadathanadu Rajah School and president, Purameri Service Cooperative Bank.
E.K.Kunhikrishnana Varma Rajah head Master Kadathanadu Rajas High School (Retd)
E.K.Kunhikrishna Varma Rajah head master Durga High School, Kanhaga (Retd)
E.K.Krishan Varma Rajah, Retired D.E.O.
A.K.Udaya Varma Rajah, Seniour Supdt of Post Office, Vellore,(Retd)
The present senior king of Kadathanad is 'Vijaya Krishan Varma Rajah' of Ayancheri Kovilakam,
Elaya Rajah of Kadathanad is A.K.Ravivarma Rajah of Ayancheri Kovilakam.
Veliyamma Rajah of Kadathanad is Mani Thamburati of edavilath kovilakam.
the well known author of the great classic Krishna Gatha and Prof.Vahakunnam the most reupted magician were some of the eminent men who had maintained very close relation with this royal family.
Chembai Vaidya Natha Bhagavathar the doyen of Carnitic music
had stayed at Aayanchery Kovilakam when he was a boy. His father taught music there and quiet naturally the young boy was with him.
Bhagavathar held the family in high esteem and used to speak about the members of Kovilakam in glowing terms. He conducted a musical concert in connection with the marriage of A.K.Ravi Varma Rajah (Present Elaya Rajah) with out accepting any reward.
The family had a well equipped Kathakali troup
and a substantial amount was set apart for its maintenance. With its high standard of artistic excellence the troupe flourished for a ling time. Its performance in the whole was excellent and tow different roles performed by its artists deserved special mention They were the roles of Hanuman and Narakasuran.
The sterling performance of Madasseri Sankara Nair as Hanuman at Thiruvangad Sri Rama premple
, when like a real monkey he climbed the ceremonial mast in fromn of the temple still continous to be an absorbing topic of discussion amount the people of Vadagara and adjoining areas. Of course there may be a Little bit who designed the special exaggeration here but it may be an exaggeration of a Truth which probably had a marginal hase. It was the Kadathandu Rajah
who passed away designed the special crown of Hanuman. It is said that he got his inspiration form the round shape of the hat which a French commander wore when he called on him. when the king evinced interest in the hat the french man gave it to him willingly, with pleasure. Modeling on it the king designed Hanuman's round crown which still continues to be used.
Ramunny Nair another great artiste was a member of this troup. The great Kadathakali
maestro Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair
spent his boyhood at Kadathanad. These artists differed from their counter parts in other parts of the country in certain respects like draping of certain items of dress and certain rites and traditional ceremonies. As per the instructions of the Thampuram the troupe moved from temple to temple, from house to house, carrying very huge and heavy woden boxes which contained the numerous light and heavy items of make up. As the royal house lost its wealth, the traditional flame in the \Kathakali lamp became dim at first and then dslow ir was out.
The pictures adoring the walls of the temples of Kadathanad were drawn by artists of no mean calibre. They used only natural colours available in nature. It is a wonder
that these drawings still retain their original glow and shine unaffected by the flight of time. A wall in the bedroom of the Thampuran of Kuttipuram Kovilakam has an impressive picture, Ananthasayanam. Similarlly there were many pictures those of Hanuman sitting with the sages under a full grown Kadali Plantain with a massive bunch of fruit, the Brahman who worships, the Srichakaram, the foreigners standing with bowed heads before the local chieftains etc deserve special mention. They are the relics of a glorious era of pelf, pomp and power that lasted for at least years.
Onam the traditional festival of Kerala was celebrated in Kadathanad on a grand scale. The concept that the god of Onam comes every year is still live. The lord of Onam is a symbol of the great emperor Mahabali. During the Onam days the "Oneswaras"
ringing bells used to move from house to house, holding umbrellas made of tender leafs fo arecanut, donning red shirts, wearing beards mad of dry threads taken from plantain stems and wearing crowns made of Zinc ingrained with peacock figures.
On all the days of Onam there were lavish and sumptuous feasts. Tenants offered bunches of plantain fruits as mark of their love and respect for the king. After the feast there was "Oppana", as song-dance form very popular among the Muslims.
This sportive event was held on the palace court where on other days the king used to hold his court and take legal decisions regarding pending litigations.
Including the Lokanarkavu Temple there were a total of temples under the King. In these temples Brahmins were fed every day. In addition to that there were palace.
William Logan in his Malabar Manual
has observfed that the lands owned by the king were spread over twnety six villages in Perambra and Vadagara. Tha financial crisis consequent upon the land reforms adversity affected the functioning of the temples and other generous activity of the royal house.
E.K.Sanakra Varma Rajah was a man of progressive outlook. It was he who opened the doors of the Lokanarkavu Temple for all the hindus irrespective of cast divisions.
The credit fo putting an end to the reprehensible costume fo annual sacrifice also goes to him. The king of this dynasty gave an excellent account of themselves not only in the cultural and literature fields but in the national movements also.
Many were in the vanguard fo national movement courting arrest and imprisonment.
E.K.Sankara Varma Rajah who was an MLS in the Madras assembly was a proud victim of social boycott for his then unorthodix act of sitting in the same row with the "outcasts" and eating food in their company. He was even barred from perfomming the obsequies of him mother. Being a true Gandhian he bore everybody stoically.
E.K.Krishan Varma Rajah has to spend 6 years in prison fo his active involvement in the political struggle. Probably it was this spirit of nationalism and political
fervor that movivated
Late Koumadi Teacher, daughter of A.K.Rama Varma Rajah to offer her ornaments to Mahatma Gandhi.
At present these Kovilakams are in a state of degeneration
[my request to kerala govt:- please keep these old kovilakams for the benefit of the next generations ;or the the next generations will blame the present generation for the loss---blogger ---bmmann]
Probably this is a part of the general paradigm shift brought about by the unstopabbel passage to time.
The one institution that is functioning well today is the school
E.K.Krishna Varma Rajah alias Radhkrishnan Thampuram is the present Manager
read blog KADATHUNAD RAJA:-http://www.blogger.com/profile/04805082175024587248