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The word contains an added stress on the third syllable, with a longer "a" sound.
The Padamadans ruled over the plains (known as "padam" in the local language of Malayalam, and also in root words of the Sanskrit language). The "madan" or "maadan" indicates a superlative status: one who is in charge of, or rules over, or in divine command of.
Padamadans were not included in the royal families accredited during the formation of the Republic of India and State of Kerala in 1956 as they were not active during the process, yet were one of the minor royal houses in the periphery states adjacent to the major royal houses who ruled the significant territories of Malabar, Cochin, Travancore and others.
These plains of mid-Kerala were quite productive agriculturally. The mountains of Kerala were once dense impregnable forests. Another related etymology of the surname is the clan or family that ruled with force "in command of the armies", "in command of the people", or "in command of the armies of the plains", which are translations of the surname. Family stories passed down through the generations suggest an antiquity of at least a 1000 years. Family stories include references to the inquisition from the west when some family members hid in the mountains to avoid persecution. They also speak of a Chinese emissary sent by the Emperor of China, who stayed in Kerala for several months and showed the Padamadans the benefits of installing Chinese nets and techniques for maintaining (manually dredging) ports in the difficult coastline of this area.