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For the 1961 film of the same name, see Unniyarcha (film).

Unniyarcha (or sometimes spelled Unniarcha) is a popular legendary warrior and heroine mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal, the old ballads of North Malabar. She is a popular character in Kerala's folklore. She is believed to have lived in northern part of Kerala, India during 16th century.[1]


Attummanammel Unniyarcha was from the famous Puthooram Veedu a (Thiyya) family of Malabar.[2] She was the sister of Aromal Chekavar and Unnikannan (another legendary warrior). She was trained in the arts of the kalari, and an expert at wielding the urumi, a flexible sword used in kalaripayat. She saved the women of her village from being forcibly kidnapped by a Moplahs (Muslims). [3] Unniyarcha spurned Chandu (or Chanthu) Chekavar's love for her, which led to the murder of her brother Aromal by Chanthu. Later, Aromalunni, the son of Unniyarcha, took revenge against Chanthu.[4] Unniyarcha is praised for her bravery and beauty ngs and chronicles have to this day kept the legend alive.

In popular culture[edit]

The legend of Unniyarcha has been made into films such as Unniyarcha (1961), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989), and Puthooramputhri Unniyarcha (2002).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of Malayalam Literature: Folk literature
  2. ^ History of Malayalam Literature: Folk literature
  3. ^ Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra; Madhavananda (1980) [1953]. Great Women of India. Vedanta. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-0-87481-111-7. 
  4. ^ Ayyappapanicker, K. (2000). Medieval Indian Literature: An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. p. 316. ISBN 81-260-0365-0.