The Grandeur of Heritage

Sep 01, 2015
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Thavanoor Mana, the ancestral home of Nambuthiri family of Thavanoor in Malappuram Dt, is one of the best maintained Ettukettu in Kerala and the family still adheres to their cultural ethos and values.

The ancestral home of Nambuthiris – the Brahmins of Kerala is known as Mana or Illam. They were feudal lords of yesteryears and the richness and pomp is aptly reflected in these homes ordained by the rich architectural tradition of Kerala. But with the disintegration of the joint family system, many of these magnificent homes went under the hammer, due to the lack of financial support, family ties or change in life style. Even now quite a number of these traditional homes still stand proudly in all their glory. One such aristocratic home is the Thavanoor Mana, the home of the Nambuthiris of Thavanoor in Malappuram Dt. It is one of the best maintained Ettukettu in Kerala and the family still adheres to their cultural ethos and values.

Family history

The family name 'Thavanoor Mana ' is derived from the place they hail Thavanoor, an idyllic village on the banks  of River Nila (Bharathapuzha). According to Parameshwaran Somayajippad the senior most member of the family who resides in the main portion of the Mana, their ancestors  had   settled in Cheriyaparappur, a place on the opposite (west)  bank  of  Nila and there was one Kalam (an enclosure for  stocking and threshing paddy) at Thavanoor. Due to the local political undercurrents they had to shift to the present place, some 4-5 generations back.  The Thekke Pathayappura (granary complex situated south of main structure) in the compound is the oldest structure in the compound and Kalappura (the building in Kalam used for camping & storing grains) is the oldest structure in the compound. The Zamorin, the King of erstwhile Kozhikode Kingdom had ages back conferred a title “Chumaran'to the head of this family.

The Ettukettu

The main part of the Mana is 'ettukettu', which is designed and divided into eight blocks having two open courtyards inside the building. The entrance (patio) is a spacious open hall, which is a specialty of this Mana. The bigger courtyard measures about 15ft X 15 ft square. The four blocks around this is known as Thekkini (southern block), Vadakkini, Kizhakkini and Padinjhatti all having specific functionalities. The main entrance is from a side into Padinjhatti which consists of several rooms. Thekkini is a spacious hall used for conducting the ritual art 'Kalamezhuthu' as an obeisance to the family deities.

The deities are installed in a corner room. Many religious rituals meant to be observed by Nambuthiris are performed in the Vadakkini. The second inner courtyard is smaller, and is surrounded by the Kitchen, store room and a well which can be accessed through an opening from the kitchen etc. There are rooms provided on top of (first floor) Padinjhatti and Thekkini. The second floor is attic with spacious hall. An additional Kitchen with dining space and a well was constructed later. Now Parameshwaran Somayajippadu and one of his brothers reside in the two portions of the main building with their families.

There are three Pathayapuras in the compound, including the Thekke Pathayappura, which were constructed during different periods. All of them have two floors and additional facilities like Kitchen, Well, Modern toilets, etc and these were given to the three brothers of Somayajippadu. The compound also consists of two ponds and a small Padippura (Gate-house to the compound). Ettukettu and Pathayappura-s are constructed in traditional style with laterite walls, wooden frames and tiled roof. In some areas, granite has been used for pillars and flooring.

Vedic tradition

By tradition, the male members of the family can involve in the Vedic rituals like Somayagam, Athirathram etc. Parameshwaran Somayajippadu  had participated in many Yagams.  In the Somayagam that held in 2007 at Panniyur in Palakkad Dt, he along with his wife Ramani Pathanaadi took the lead role and hence  were honored with the titles 'Somayajippadu' and 'Pathanaadi'. After this Yagam, the 'holy fire' from the Yagam is consecrated and preserved in Vadakkini and daily rituals are conducted.

The cultural and architectural features of Thavanoor Mana are a valuable asset to the Heritage of Kerala. The Thavanoor Mana is at Thavanoor, about 10km from Kuttippuram, in Malappuram Dt.

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Very good information Like to subscribe gor one year

Thank you Sir. Pls see http://www.welcomekeralaonline.com/content/magazine-0 OR email : welcomekeralamagazine@gmail.com

Very good information Like to subscribe gor one year

Knowledge is supreme..Nothing more to add

Knowledge is supreme..Nothing more to add

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