Cherupuzha (Kannur)

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Cherupuzha is primarily an agriculture-centered city close to the Kudag forest. Cherupuzha town, which is the headquarters of the panchayat, is located about 30 kilometers east of Payyannur in Kannur District of Kerala, India.

Until the mass migration of people from southern Kerala, in the 1950s to 1980s, Cherupuzha was a sleepy little village with a few shops and a rundown movie theater. The influx of farmers from the southern districts, mainly Kottayam, dramatically changed the fortunes of Cherupuzha and provided the impetus it needed to become the lively little town it is today. The proliferation of cash crops such as rubber, pepper, ginger, and cashew helped in uplifting the local economy.

Cherupuzha in the 1970s had an upper primary school (JMUP School), a church (St. Mary’s Church), couple of little nursing homes (St. Sebastian’s and Konduparambil), and a Masjid. Today it boasts several educational institutions such as St. Mary's High School, St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Archangels public school, and hospitals in addition to graceful places of worship like the reconstructed Jerusalem Marthoma Church Cherupuzha, Little Flower Baptist Temple Kokkadavu, St. Mary’s Forane Church, St. George Malankara Catholic Church, Ayyappa Temple (known as the Sabarimala of North Malabar), Salafi Masjid, Juma Musjid, and Assembly of God Church and best Computer Educational Center Cyberking since 2003 with 11 years of service to the new generation. By the late 1980s, Cherupuzha became the nerve center of trade and education east of Payyannur. It is well connected by road to Payyannur, Alakkode, Thirumeni, Chathamangalam, Thabore, Pulingome, Chittarikkal, Malom, Neeleswaram, Kokkadavu, Rajagiri, Kozhichal and beyond.


Cherupuzha and its surrounding areas was ruled by many royal dynasties in the past, including the Mooshika Dynasty of Ezhimala, Chirakkal Dynasty of Kolathunadu, Tipu Sultan of the Kingdom of Mysore, before it became a part of the British Raj. The original inhabitants of the area were primarily Hindus. Later on this region gained a sizable Christian and Muslim population. The economy was agrarian with strong feudal system - Janmi-Kudiyan system - permeating everyday life.

Feudal overloads or Janmies owned much of the land, which was leased by the farmers or Kudians who paid a portion (normally 2/10th) of their produce as "pattam" for the 'privilege' of working the land. Generally the lease was for a period of 12–16 years. Farmers were not allowed to cultivate permanent crops, dig wells or cut down the trees on the land. If any permanent crop such as pepper was planted on the land, the income from the crop went to the landlord after six years, depriving farmers of any income from such cash crops. Janmies gave 10 cents of land to farmers to build a house.

This region also has a sizable number of people belonging to tribal communities such as Mavilar, Pulayar, and Vettuvar who lived by hunting animals and collecting edible roots and fruits from the plentiful forests in the area. Under the Janmi-Kudiyan feudal system, tribals were treated much like slaves.

Early Farming Methods[edit]

Until the early 1950s, this region used outdated agricultural practices and depended on the monsoons for its irrigation needs. Agricultural land lay fallow after harvest. At the beginning of the next growing season, the bushes that cover the land would be cleared and the plant material burned to prepare the land for the next cycle of rice cultivation. This method, known as punam krishi allowed people to grow staples like rice and black gram.


A lack of basic transportation; roads and buses, plagued the area. Initially, the only available bus service was from Peringome which is about 10 kilometers from Cherupuzha. Anyone who needed to buy supplies from the nearby larger town of Payyannur had to ride a bullock cart or walk to get to Peringome. Presently KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) is running Super Class Services through Cherupuzha to various destinations like Bangalore(Payyanur-Bangalore Super Express Air Bus), Kattappana (Cherupuzha-Kattappana Super Fast), Kottayam (Konnakkad-Kottayam Super Fast), Kottayam (Parappa-Kottayam) Super express Air Bus, Pala (Konnakkad-Pala) Limited Stop Fast Passenger) Kumily (Konnakkad-Kumily) Limited Stop Fast Passenger etc.

Roads in this area were initially built to transport timber from neighboring areas. Until 1949, people depended on these roads. In 1949, primarily because of the farmers’ agitations and the Munayankunnu firing incident, a new road was built from Vellore to Pulingome. This road was built to facilitate the movement of Malabar Special Police (M.S.P) in an effort to contain the Communist movements led by leaders such A.K Gopalan and E.K Nayanar.

Rivers in this area lacked passable bridges. The only bridges were rudimentary suspension bridges secured using iron cables stretched across the river. Even these were scarce. In rainy season, people had to use rafts made of bamboo (Pandi) for crossing rivers. This unwieldy raft was used by the students of the area to cross rivers to get to schools and back.

Migration from the South[edit]

The famine after World War II and the misrule of Sir. C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer incited a large scale migration of people from Travancore (South Kerala) to this area. The migration continued well into the 1970s and 80s. A vast majority of these migrants were Christians who had a completely different social and agricultural background. These hard working people brought new agricultural practices to this area. They introduced cash crops like rubber and daily staples like tapioca to the region.

The migrants also brought a new attitude to the region, one that challenged the established Janmi-Kudian feudal system. The migrants bought large tracts of land outright from the Janmies and putdown permanent crops heralding an era of prosperity for the area. The immigrants, despite their cultural and social difference, soon became an integral part of social fabric.

Healthcare Facilities[edit]

In earlier times, traditional physicians (Vaidyars) took care of the sick. There were well known physicians in the area whose expertise in Ayurvedic medicines saved countless people from complex problems including snake bites. Later a government rural dispensary was set up at Pulingome. Another major hospital in the area was St Sebastian’s Hospital which was set up in 1966 by the Medical Sisters of St. Joseph. Combined with the Konduparambil Nursing Home (now defunct), these institutions helped save hundreds from the ravages of malaria, which was prevalent in the area.

River Tejaswini of Cherupuzha[edit]

River Tejaswini, also called Kariamkode, which is comparatively small among 44 rivers of Kerala. It originates from Brhmagiri Hills of Coorg forest in Karnataka, enters Kerala near Pulingome, flows through the districts of Kannur and Kasargod and meets the Arabian Ocean, near Nileswaram as a part of Valiyaparamba Backwaters. Tejaswini, which is 64 km long, do have a rafting stretch of 20 km with plenty of rapids extending up to class-3.

Other Towns Near Cherupuzha[edit]

Satellite towns include Pulingome, Padichal, Chittarikkal, Alakkode, Kozhichal, Thirumeni, and Chathamangalam. These population centers are well connected to Cherupuzha by road.

Pilgrim Centres in Cherupuzha[edit]

St. Mary's Forane Church[edit]

St. Mary's Forane Church is one of the oldest houses of worship in Cherupuzha. This church, belonging to the Archdiocese of Tellicherry, was established in 1951 to take care of the spiritual needs of the Christians who migrated from South Kerala to Cherupuzha and the surrounding areas.

For a profile from the Archdiocese of Tellicheri, go here.

St. Mary's is a prime example of the communal and social harmony that Cherupuzha has enjoyed over the past decades. As a beacon of hope to all, this church has always had the full cooperation of the surrounding community: Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. In fact, over the years, people of all communities celebrated the annual parish festival (perunnal) with the Catholics by decorating their buildings and contributing to the festival atmosphere.

St. Mary's is about a kilometer from the Cherupuzha town. In fact, most vehicles plying the Cherupuzha payyannur route make it a point to seek blessings at the grotto of Mother Mary on their first trip.

St.Jude's Chapel and Shrine, Chathamangalam(Near Thirumeni)[edit]

St. Jude's Church, Chathamangalam is an emerging pilgrim centre in Cherupuzha area. It is located at a distance of 10 kilometers from Cherupuzha via Thirumeni. The foundation stone of the church was laid by the present Cardinal of the Malankara Catholic Church,who was the Vicar General of the Bathery diocease then. Since the church is dedicated to St. Jude, the mediator for impossible matters, it attracts huge number of pilgrims. Situated at the convergence of two iconic hills in the area by name Thevarkunnumala and Alumbumala, the landscape near to the church is spectacular.

Pulingome Makhaam[edit]

Pulingome Makhaam 5KMtrs away from cherupuzha is a famous pilgrim centre of Muslims. About 1300 years ago, two holy men who had come for religious propagation were buried here. They were residing at Kadayakkara, near Pulingome. Every year Uroose festival is celebrated here in the month of March. Thousands of people of different caste and creed from north Kerala and Southern Karnataka reach this sacred place for Uroose festival. Mass dining of more than ten thousand people will be held as a part of the festival.


Kripalayam Retreat Centre is a famous Christian pilgrim centre in north Kerala. It is located at around 1 km from Cherupuzha Town at kakkayamchal. On Tuesdays special prayers are being conducted. Large mass of people used to attend in these prayers.

Cherupuzha Sree Ayyappa Temple[edit]

Cherupuzha Ayyappa temple is about 500 meters from Cherupuzha on Thirumeni Road. Hailed as the Sabarimala of North Malabar, the Cherupuzha Ayyappa Temple is a premier Hindu pilgrim centre of North Malabar.

The temple originated as a Bhajan madh. In 1984, the first temple was built with cooperation from people of all communities. On July 28, 1984, the temple was sanctified into a mahakshetra during a ten-day mahotsava. Ubadeva temple annexes dedicated to Kshetra, Maha Ganapathi, Nagaraja, Sree Vishnumurthi, Sree Raktachamundi, Sree Muthappan, Sree Pottandaivam temple are situated around the main temple complex. There are five ubadeva temples here: Sree Ganapathi, Sree Nagaraja, Sree Muthappan, Sree Vishnumurthi, and Sree Raktha Chamundeshwaree and Sree Pottan Daivam.

The Temple Mahotsava is held every December 10–17 or 11-18 with much fan fare. Along with the devotional facets of the mahotsava, temple arts and entertainment bring together people of North Malabar. In addition to mahotsava, Kalliyatam is held on Shivaratri and the day after.

Cherupuzha Sree Ayyappa Temple is located atop an evergreen hill that accentuates the natural beauty of the temple. The Temple is widely acknowledged as the Sabarimalai of North Malabar, having the full divinie presence of the Great Sabari Mala itself.


Kottathalachi Mount is a famous Christian pilgrim centre in north Kerala. It is located at around 2500 feet above the sea level. On Good Friday of 1958, the holy cross was installed at “Kottathalachi Mala” by Fr. Mathew Mannuramparambil. Since then the first Sunday after Easter is being celebrated here by thousands of pilgrims every year. At present there is road facility till the base of the hill.

Kottathalachi is known as the “Malayattoor of Malabar”.

St. Joseph’s Church Pulingome[edit]

St. Joseph’s Church was built in 1954 by the Christians who migrated from Travancore. The church in its present form was built in the eighties. Kottathalachi mala is within the purview of Pulingome parish.

Baptist Church Kokkadavu[edit]

A peaceful place to share your problems and meditate in a devotional atmosphere.


At the convergence of the rivers Kaveri (or Cauvery), the underground Sujyothi and the Kanike, the Bhangandeshwara temple at Thalakaveri has a distinct Kerala touch. Thalakaveri is in Madekere district in Karnataka state and is about 30 km away from Cherupuzha. Most of the route is through dense Karnataka forest. The forest road leading to Thalakaveri (Bhagamandala) has no regular transport facilities. People usually take a long walk through the forest which is one of the great features of this pilgrimage. Every October 17, on Tulasankranama, hundreds of people from Kannur and Kasaragod come here to witness the waters of the Kaveri gushing out from its source. It is believed that Goddess Kaveri appears in the form of a spring at Thalakaveri, which is what causes the upsurge at the source.

Because of the three rivers, it is also called Triveni Sangama. The serene temple has intricate carvings and a copper roof. A dip at the Triveni Sangam nearby is supposed to revive sagging spirits. For this is Thalakavari (meaning Head of the Kaveri), the origin of one of the seven sacred rivers. The source of this long river, which passes through two states, is on the top of the hill called Brahmagiri. It is 1535 metres above sea level.

Narambil Bhagavathy[edit]

Narambil Bhagavathy originated from the famous Rayaramangalam Temple. The Theyyam was performed in the Kodakkal Koroth Tharavadu, Ramanthali, Muchilot temples, etc. as a Goddess with fiery anger against evil. At Narambil Tharavadu near Cherupuzha, the Theyyam has been performed peacefully. There is an interesting myth behind the origin of Narambil Bhagavathy.

One story says that this Amman (mother goddess) was originally a "Vana Durga", or "Forest Goddess". She was worshipped by a poor young lady who was married (by arrangement) to a very cruel and much older man who treated her terribly (a sad circumstance that many village girls may be scentenced to).

The young woman was nevertheless patient and longsuffering, with her only solace being her own devotion to Narambil Bhadrakali. At one point, this woman gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. After observing the proper post-partem protocols, this young lady went to take her newborn to Devi's temple, both to thank the goddess and bless the child. When she returned home, her cruel husband began to rage that his dinner was not ready, and he beat her savagely.

Bhagavathy, sensing what was happening, took her most terrible form: she was wreathed in flames and cobras, with a rutting elephant in one ear-ring, and a roaring tiger in the other. Her fangs were long like a lion's, her tusks curved like a boar's, and her three eyes blazed with brilliance. She had the sun and the moon in her hair, and 500 serpents woven into her braids. She rushed into the house and tore the evil husband into pieces, finally garlanding herself with his entrails (or, in some versions, tossing them into the boughs of her sacred tree).

A messenger from Muchilottu Bhagavathy arrived on the scene to calm the goddess down. She advised her to become peaceful, wash her face, and come to eat with her sisters. The people were much afraid, especially the young wife of the evil man (now deceased). Narambil Bhadrakali was moved by compassion, and so assumed a kind, peaceful form, transforming the dead-man's entrails into a flowering vine. She kept the young lady and her child with her as companions, and settled in the area as a goddess who would protect the weak from oppression.

Other religious centers in and around Cherupuzha[edit]

Edavaramba Vishnumurthy Temple, Kariyakkara Ara of Pottan Theyyam, Muchilottu Bhagawati Temple Vilakkuvettam, Chunda Thattummal Vishnumurthy Temple, Temple of Lord Shiv Ayannur,Kamballur Bhagavathi temple,Pulingome SankaraNarayana Swami Temple, Meenkulam Sreekrishna Temple

Roads, Bridges and Transport[edit]

The Major attraction in Cherupuzha is a hanging bridge in Tejaswini river (also known as karyamkode puzha) which connects both Kasaragod and Kannur districts. All the other roads in this area were built by the people themselves. The roads, Cherupuzha-Pulingome – Kottathalachi, Edavaramba – Koombankunnu, Kariyakkara – Koombankunnu, Vazhakkundam – Churappadavu, Chunda – Vilakkuvettam and Umayanchal – Kottathalachi are examples of the collective effort of people of Cherupuzha and Pulingome. Another important road in the area is Cherupuzha-Thirumeni road which is of a length of 7 kilometers. From Thirumeni, one can reach to its outskirts like Chathamangalam, Thabore, Muthuvom and Korali.

Both private and public transport buses are available from Cherupuzha to Cannannore, Calicut, Cochin and Bangalore.

Construction of the proposed Ezhimla-Payyannur-Cherupuzha-Pulingome -Thalakkaveri-Vagamandalam-Bangalore road is underway. A new bridge has already been constructed over Pulingome river near Cherupuzha, connecting Kerala and Karnataka. Talks are on between Karnataka, Kerala and central Governments on this project. If this road became a reality, the distance to Bangalore and Mysore would be reduced by more than 60 kilometers also 120 kilometers between Kannur and Bangalore. we

How To Reach Cherupuzha[edit]

Cherupuzha is 71 km from Kannur and 30 km from Payyanur. Buses ply from Kannur and Payyanur to Cherupuzha very frequently. The nearest airports are at Kozhikkode and Mangalore in Karnataka state. A new airport is proposed at Kannur.


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