Valluvanad Vamsam - I

By K.C.Jayarajan Raja

(Sreevidya -- January 1998)

Translated by Sri M.C.K.Raja


Valluvanad Rajavamsam is considered to be a very ancient family of kings. Unnu Neeli Sandesam and Unni Yadi Charithram contain a mention of Vallabha Kshiti (Home of Vallabha), which, by all indications, is likely to be Valluvanad. It extends from Bharathapuzha in the south to Panthalur mala in the north, and Attapadi mala in the east (Silent Valley) to the seacoast in Ponnani in the west. In most records, the hierarchy was called "Arangot Swaroopam".

The beginning

There is a belief that the Valluvanad Rajas are the descendants of the Pallavas of Tamil Nadu which means they are migrants from Tamil Nadu. Between B.C. 300 and A.D.300 the Pallavas, headquartered at Kanchipuram, had a branch ruling from Sreevilliputhur to increase the stability of their kingdom. They were valiant kings.

Bhadrakali and Sreevalli were their family deities. After the spreading of Aryan (a term coined by the British) culture to the South, one young Raja got influenced by Krishna Bhakti. His name was Sreevallabha. When he became the ruler at Sreevilliputhur, he built a big Vishnu temple there. This temple became very famous in due course.

However, the prosperity of the area kept declining. Seeking a way of deliverance, famous astrologers were invited to conduct "Prasnam". The findings of the Prasnam were, that although the temple would prosper because of the presence of Vishnu, due to a small deviation in the rules of temple construction, the Rajavamsam would deteriorate. The solution was for the entire vamsam to leave the place. However, the local devotees of Bhagavathi believed that this was the result of higher importance given to Vishnu than to Bhagavathi.

Soon the Vallabha king and followers (including the entire family) left Sreevilliputhur and travelled a long distance to reach the southern banks of Bharathapuzha and slowly became the rulers of Valluvanad.

Even now the eldest member of this family is called by the title "Sree Vallabhan". The four branches of this family, namely Aripra, Ayiranazhi, Kadannamanna and Mankada are now in Mankada panchayat, Perintalmanna taluk, Malappuram district.

The eldest five males and eldest two females are eligible for "malikhan" (a monthly remuneration to compensate for properties or rights taken over by the British.) Apart from this, the eldest female members of each Kovilakom have their own rights and privileges.

Among the male members the eldest sthani is titled "Valluvakonathiri" and the rest four are "Vellalpadu", "Thachalpadu", "Idatharapadu" and "Kulathur Thampuran" respectively. Another sthani is nominated by Valluvakonathiri and is called "Patinharakkara Thampuran". He has rights over some landed property and privileges. The eldest Thampuratty of the family is called "Kulathur Thampuratty" and the next is called "Kadannamootha Thampuratty.

The old capital of Valluvanad was Angadipuram. Till some time ago, the trade centre of Angadipuram was called Velltangadi. During British rule, the capital of Valluvanad was Perinthalmanna (3km from Angadipuram). Perinthalmanna's importance went up because the treasury, court, subjail, etc were all located there. However, because of the Thirumandhankunnu temple, Angadipuram became a pilgrim centre. (The railway station is at Angadipuram).

Thirumandhamkunnilamma is the Kuladaivam of Vallabhavamsam and Vallukanari is the Trustee of the temple. Legend has it that Maharshi Mandhata did "Tapas" at the hilltop and hence it is called Thirumandhamkunnu. Devi gave darshan to Mandhata at this place and hence the temple has an inseparable relationship with the Maharshi.

Some say the Valluvanad Rajavamsam was established by Mandhata Maharshi. As evidence of the above contention, they cite the rituals of the crowning ceremony of the Raja. In the olden days there was a rule that the Vallukanari had to live a celibate life at the temple with Vratha for 41 days before crowning.(Sarva sanga parithyagi). Even after the crowning ceremony he had to live like a Rajarshi. There are no celebrations, decorations or special dresses for Vallukanari. He is supposed to dress like a Sanyasi. When people prostrate in front of him to receive blessings, he is supposed to give his blessing with his feet. (As in the film Sankaracharya). This system also must have been inherited from Mandhata Maharshi.

The accompanying pattu of Kalam puja by Kurup at Thirumandhamkunnu temple mentions the "Devi who resides in the sword and the garland of Vallukanari". The recitation also gives details of the lands between Kailasam, from where Bhagavathi starts her journey to Thirumandhamkunnu, up to reaching the place. All the lands mentioned are in the present Tamil Nadu and are near Sreevilluputhur. This also proves to some extent that Valluvanad Vamsam came from Villiputhur and reached Kerala before the Sangha Kalam.

After some time Samoothiri became a major force on the western coast and he captured several lands from Valluvanad. Cheraman Perumal (the last emperor of Kerala) told the Samoothiri that he could annexe land by "dying and killing". (Chathum Konnum Atakkikolka). Accordingly, he started conquering the neighbouring kings. Till then Vallukanari was the strongest of the kings and he had the right of presiding over the "Mamanka Festival" held once in 12 years at Thirunavaya. This right was usurped by Samoothiri.

The people of Valluvanad wanted to take back this right. It was with this purpose that the "Chaver pada" was organised (suicide squad). The Raja never compelled anyone to join this "Pata". The people voluntarily came forward to save this right of Vallukanari. The Raja blessed them in their valiant endeavour and prayed for their victory.

During the last "Mamankam" when Vallukanari did not find anybody volunteering for this heroic act, he himself prepared for the Chaverpada. He arranged for a special puja at Thirumandhamkunnu. After the puja when he reached Vadakke nada (the Northern entrance) he found an 18-year-old boy coming to him with 12 of his followers. They obtained the blessings of Vallukanari and proceeded to Thirunavaya for "Mamankam".

This boy fought through the warriors of Samoothiri and reached the "Nilapatuthara" (stage) and swung his sword at Sammothiri. It missed its target and hit a big bronze lamp, putting it out. At that moment Mangatachan struck at the boy and killed him. That was the last "Mamankotsavam". The lamp's going off was considered an ill omen. Later in due course, the entire Malabar area deteriorated in all spheres and reached its present state.