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Azhvanchery Thamprakkal or Azhvanchery Samrat was the title of the senior-most male member of the Brahmin (Namboothiri) feudal lords of Oriparambil Mana in Guruvayur and Azhvanchery Mana in Athavanad, present-day Malappuram district, Kerala state, South India. The honorific "His Holiness" may be used. The Azhvanchery Thamprakkal owned a bulk of land in Athavanad: The name Athavanad is derived from them: Azhvanchery Thamprakkal vazhum Nad. The Azhvanchery Thamprakkal was often considered as the supreme religious head of the Namboodiri Brahmins of Kerala; his blessing was needed for every Raja formally crowned.
The ancestral home of the Azhvanchery Thamprakkal is in Athavanad.
Azhvanchery Thamprakkal were a great patron of mathematics and astronomy. In the famous Brahmandapuranam by poet Thunchath Ezhuthachan, Azhvanchery Thamprakkal had been mentioned as Netranarayanan. Thunchath Ezhuthachan
Title of Thamprakkal which literally means Emperor (having originated from the Sanskrit Samrat and later corrupted into Thampran) came to be used to refer to the Brahmins of Azhvanchery Mana family after one day, while returning from the coronation ceremony of Kulashekhara Perumal with a golden cow, the Thamprakkal was stopped on the road by Pakkanar, a person of low caste who said that his caste, not Brahmins, had the exclusive right to take dead cows. The Thamprakkal, affronted, sprinkled water on the golden cow and brought it to life. The low caste man exclaimed "You are indeed a Thamprakkal" and since then the title has stayed with the family.
The Thamprakkal had four privileges within the Namboodiri caste and otherwise:
- Bhadrasthanam: The chief seat in any assembly
- Sarvamanyam: Universal respectability
- Brahma Samrajyam: Sovereignty over all Brahmins
- Brahmavarchas: Highest authority in Vedic learning
The opinion of the Azhvanchery Thamprakkal was considered supreme in deciding matters relating to religion, caste, society etc. The family otherwise are Adhyan Namboodiris and use the surname of Namboodiripad.
- Travancore State Manual, Volume II by V.Nagam Aiya, page number 249.
- Census Report of Travancore, 1901 which mentions the Azhvanchery family and their special status with details.
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