Kodungallur Kovilakam

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The King of Cranganore (Kodungallur) Photo by Fedor Jagor, Ethnologisches Museum, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin,c.1860

Kodungallur Kovilakam (Malayalam: കൊടുങ്ങല്ലൂര്‍ കോവിലകം), refers to palace of royal family of the late medieval Kingdom of Kodungallur (Cranganore), in the modern-day Kerala state, India. Kodungallur was a feudal principality subordinate to the rulers of the Kingdom of Cochin since the later half of the eighteenth century until the time of Indian independence. 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 Chirakkal Kovilakam and at Puthen Kovilakam.

The Chirakkal 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 Venmani Achan Namboodiribad, Kerala's 'Guru Kulams' or the famed centres of learning were for many decades centred on the Kodungallur 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 Vellarappilly, Alwaye, as the only son. Achan married Sreedevi Antharjanam in 1838 and had one son, Venmani Mahan Namboodiripad. Later, he married Kunjikutti Thamburatti of the Kodungallur Kovilakam. He had two children from this marriage – Kunjikuttan Thamburan and Kunjunni Thamburan. Achan died at the age of 74. Venmani Mahan Namboodiripad also lived for several years in Ernakulam, Thripunithura, Kodungallur and Kottayam. It was at the Kodungallur Palace that Mahan found his calling as a poet. Kathollil Achuta Menon: After his primary education at home, he was sent to the Kodungallur 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]


  1. ^ "Circuit Tours, Experience the history, Muziris Heritage Site, Project, Kerala, India".
  2. ^ http://www.advaitin.net/Ananda/KnowledgeBeforePrinting&After.pdf
  3. ^ "www.keralahistory.ac.in".
  4. ^ "Kodungallur Kunhikkuttan Thampuran".
  5. ^ http://menon.ca/yesterday%27spoets2.htm
  6. ^ http://kshathrajalakam.org/Kshathrasandasam-Jan-March09.pdf pages 15–17
  7. ^ http://www.reachinformation.com/define/Mani_Madhava_Chakyar.aspx Mani Madhava Chakyar getting first major recognition came from His Highness Bhattan Thampuran of Kodungallur Kovilakam
  8. ^ Mani Madhava Chakyar#Awards.2C titles and honours
  9. ^ "Translation of Mahabharata".

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