Kodungallur Kovilakam

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Kodungallur Kovilakam (Malayalam: കൊടുങ്ങല്ലൂര്‍ കോവിലകം), refers to palace of royal family of the late medieval Kingdom of Kodungallur (Cranganore), modern-day Kerala state, India. Kodungallur was a feudal principality subordinate to the rulers of the Kingdom of Cochin. Kingdom of Kodungallur was under the protection of the Dutch after 1707 for a few years before returning to its allegiance to the Zamorin. Kodungallur Royal Family had two branches at Cirakkal Kovilakam and at Puttan Kovilakam.

The Cirakkal Kovilakam[1] has two "nalukettu" structures, one larger than the other. The main residential building and two more old buildings, a water tank (known as "padakulam"), the family temple (dedicated to Talattil Bhagavati, a Hindu goddess) and Sarpakkavu are all within the Kovilakam Complex. The Kodungallur Kovilakam was renowned as a "Gurukulam", centre of learning.[2] Scholars from all over present day Kerala state used to come to live in the palaces and study Sanskrit and Vedic science. Eminent scholars[3] from this Kovilakam has contributed to Malayalam and Sanskrit literature[4] According to Kodungallur Kovilakam Venmani Achan Namboodiribad, Kerala's 'Guru Kulams' or the famed centres of learning were for many decades centred around the Kodungalloor Kovilakam.[5] All those who were born there contributed immensely to Malayalam literature.

The leading light among them was Venmani Achan Namboodiripad, born in 1816 at Venmani Illam in Vellarapilli, Alwaye, as the only son. Achan married Sreedevei Antharjanam in 1838 and had one son, Venmani Mahan Namboodiripad. Later, he married Kunjikutti Thamburatti of the Kodungalloor Kovilakam. He had two children from this marriage - Kunjikutan Thamburan and Kunjunni Thamburan. Achan died at the age of 74. Venmani Mahan Namboodiripad also lived for several years in Ernakulam, Thripunithura, Kodungaloor and Kottayam. It was at the Kodungalloor Palace that Mahan found his calling as a poet. Kathollil Achuta Menon: After his primary education at home, he was sent to the Kodungalloor Palace to study Sanskrit under Vidwan Kunjiramavarma Thamburan - and at the age of 16 started writing poetry - composing some 20 slokas in an hour during in-house competitions.

Key members[6] of this gurukula were:

  1. Veena specialist Valia Thampuran (Kunjiramavarma Thampuran). First guru of Kodungallur Gurukulam
  2. Vidwan Elaya Thampuran (Godavarma Thampuran), Contemporary of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma
  3. Sakran Godavarma Thampuran
  4. Vidwan Kunjiramavarma Thampuran
  5. Valia Kunjunni Thampuran
  6. Valia Kochunni Thampuran
  7. Kunjan Thampuran
  8. Cheria Kochunni Thampuran (Kavi Sarvabhouman)
  9. [Bhattan Godavarma Thampuran][7][8]
  10. Bhagavathar Kunjunni Thampuran
  11. Kochikavu Thampuratti
  12. Kodungallur Kunjikuttan Thampuran

Most popular among these scholars is Kodungallur Kunjikuttan Thampuran[9]

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