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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan



Villages or Important Places.—Payyannur, which, is the northernmost amsam of the taluk, contains, inter alia, the desazos of Kavayi and Payyanur, both of which are of some importance. The former is situated on an island and contains the bungalow of that name which stands at the frontier of the district. There is a large mosque, and an old redoubt built many years ago, probably by the French.

Payyannur lies two miles to the south-east Kavayi and possesses an ancient temple dedicated to god Subramaniya. The image is said to have been consecrated by Parasu Rama. The mandapam is elaborately sculptured and the temple is surrounded by a strong wall. The place is celebrated as having been the seat of the "Payyannur Gramakkars" whom Parasu Pama is said to have specially favoured, and whose descendants still follow the marumakkatayam law of inheritance, unlike the other Brahmans of the district. There is still extant a poem entitled the Payyannur Pattola, described by Doctor Gundert as "certainly the oldest specimen of Malayalam composition which I have seen", and of which he gave a very interesting account in a paper contributed to the Madras Journal of literature and Science (No.XIII-II, pp. 14-17). "The language," continues Doctor Gundert, "is rich and bold, evidently of a time when the infusions from Sanskrit had not reduced the energy of the tongue, by cramping it with hosts of unmeaning particles."

"The legend of Payyannur, N. Lat. 12° 5' near Kavai." — "Nilkesi, a woman of good family, an inhabitant of a place called Sivaperur (Trichur?), a town famous for female beauty, could not obtain a son though married to several men. She resolves, therefore, to do penance by wandering about as a beggar, and comes to the famous emporium, Cachilpatnam (near Mt. Deli), where the chief of the place, a merchant named Nambu Chetti, or Chombu Chetti enters into conversation with her, advises her to perform certain vows, and then takes her to his palace as his lawful wife. A son is born and receives the name of Nambusari Aren, and a feast of rejoicing is celebrated on the 41st day on the plain of Payyannur. At the time Nilakesi's brothers happened to go up the coast in a ship. They hear the music and disembark to see the play, but as they climb up a wall of the temple some spectators expostulate with them. They call themselves Culavanier (merchants), who cannot be expected to know the customs of the place, and appeal to the chief. He comes, but applies his rod to the head of one, a scuffle ensues and the strangers are killed.

"Nilakesi, when acquainted with the murder of her brothers, leaves the palace and her son, and again wanders forth begging. The son grows up and is instructed by his father in all the arts of trade and shipbuilding (given in interesting detail, full of obsolete words). The ship being at length launched and manned with Vappurawas (?) Pandias, Chonakas, Cholias, and also with one Yavanaka, the merchants start fearlessly on a voyage, first to Pumpatna round Mt. Eli, then passing the mala (—Dives) into the Tanipunularu (river) to the town of Puvenkapatna, proceed further on to the Caveri, from whence they sail into another sea and to other shores till they reach the Gold mountains (Ponmala), where they exchange all their cargo for gold, return and land their goods in Cachilpatnam, store them in a new magazine, and dismiss the mariners with their shares. After this, when the father and son are amusing themselves with playing chess, a female devotee is announced who is not satisfied with alms, but wants to see the young merchant. Then follows a long and mysterious conversation. She invites him urgently to be present at a night feast of a woman at Payyannur. He promises, but cannot afterwards persuade his father to give him leave, who fears a plot and danger, but the son persisting in importuning him, and at last, prostrating himself, he consents.

“I swear by thee, O Father ! I must go’.

“Father : ‘I have opposed thee to the utmost, but now I must not prevent thy going—thou goest far away like dying men. Strong guards (or companioris) are now required—take the children of the Govatala chetti of Anjuvannam and of the Manigrama people, who, together with ourselves, are the 4 (classes of) colonists in the 4 towns.’

“They took of the 4 classes of colonists, the sons (or servants) of the town lord in that country, 14 companions, a noble household, not to be outwitted (or defeated) by any in this country (and, says the son), ' though I should be dragged by the foot I shall return (to-morrow) to Cachilpatnam, nor shall this eye sleep (to-night).’

“Upon this, the father advises them to take some merchandise along with them in the ship as for a fair, and the poem, evidently a fragment, closes in the 104th sloka with an enumeration of wares, replete with obscure terms free from any anachronisms.

"I belive that the people of Anjuvannam and Manigramam here mentioned as belonging to yonder country can only mean Jews and Christians (or Manicheans), who, for commerce sake, settled also beyond the Perumal's territories. It would be interesting to know who the 2 other classes are. In the meantime the existence of 4 trading communities in the old Kerala seems to be proved, and the നാലുചെരി of the first Syrian document receives some elucidation from this incidental allusion.” Gundert in M.J.L.S., XIII-II, 14-17.

Taliparamba, which is the seat of the local Deputy Tahsildar’s and Sub-Registrar’s offices and of the Court of the District Munsif of Kavayi, has an area of 5.938 acres and a population of 8,363 souls. It has a bungalow and a mussafarkhana close to the Deputy Tahsildar’s office, and is celebrated for two of the most ancient and important temples in North Malabar, known as Taliparamba and Trichchamparam temples.

The former is dedicated to Siva, and is a magnificent structure covered with brass plates and surrounded by a high laterite wall. On the bank of a tank attached to the temple is a building on which is a granite slab bearing an inscription ; and another, dated K.A. 954 (A.D.1778), is to be seen at the foot of a banyan tree in front of the temple. The former is to the effect that the bathing house was finished in Kollam Andu 700 (A.D. 1524). The temple has many sculptures and some fine gopurams (towers) which were, however, destroyed by Tippu. It is said to be of very great antiquity, to which the architecture in parts bears witness.

There is a large and important mosque here and an old mud fort.

On the south side of the road leading to Kuppam is a sculptured figure of a village goddess. Four rock-cut sepulchres were excavated some time ago near the travellers’ bungalow, one of which had a circle of massive laterite blocks ranged round it. These caves consist of a small chamber with a domed roof and entrance. In the centre of the dome is a hole to the upper air closed with a slab.

The celebrated temple at Trichchamparam is dedicated to Krishna, and there is another at Kanjirangott dedicated to Siva. In the former an annual utsavam (ഉത്സവം) or festival, commencing on the 22nd Kumbham and ending on the 6th Minam, is performed, and on the last-named day a large concourse of people from all parts of the district, estimated from 15,000 to 30,000, are said to assemble. The Trichchamparam is supposed to be a corruption of Sri Sambaram (ശ്രീശംബരം) so called after the great rishi of that name who did penance there, propitiated the god, and in his honour consecrated the image.

Madayi or Palayangadi, about 14 miles north-west of Cannanore, is a Mappilla village of some importance situated on the right bank of a fine river and is a place of trade. Boats of a large size come up to it. Here is a small redoubt, also a bungalow for the reception of travellers, and in the middle of the village is a handsome mosque bearing an inscription in Arabic commemorating its building in Hijira 518 (A. D. 1124). There is another inscription stating that a tank was constructed by a Hindu. The grave of an Arab, who died several years ago, also exists. In the hamlet of Palayangadi is an old tank known by the name of the "Jewish tank” near which stands the old Eli palace of the Kolattiri Rajas, The tank was probably constructed by a colony of Jews or ‘‘Yavanas". There is also a Hindu temple close to the Madayi bungalow.

Ettikulam, a small village lying a mile to the south of Mount Deli or Eli mala, where the sea forms a small bay, is inhabited by Mappilla merchants who supply Cannanore and Tellicherry with firewood. On a small hill stretching into the sea is a redoubt strongly built but overrun with scrubs. It was probably built by the Portuguese to protect their trade on this coast, and it subsequently passed into French and then into English hands. There is an insignificant mosque almost on the summit of Mount Deli frequented on certain days by numbers of Mappillas. It is infested with monkeys.

Irukkur, a large Mappilla town with some mosques, and lying southeast 25½ miles from Kavayi, is a place of note, being on the high road from the coast leading through the Pudiya Churam or Huggel pass towards Coorg and Mysore. It is on the right bank of the Valarpattanam (Beliapatam) river and can be reached by small river boats at high tides. During the rains a great deal of timber and bamboos in rafts are floated down to Valarpattanam and other places for sale and for the construction of small crafts.

Sirukkandhapuram, a Mappilla bazaar with a mosque, has a dense population in its vicinity. It is on the right bank of the northern branch of the Valarpattanam river, which is navigable as far as this for small boats. The bazaars or store-houses contain the produce of the hill cultivation which is here collected and sent down by water to the towns on the sea coast.

Valarpattanam (Beliapatam, called, it is said, after the Raja Valabham, who built it), situated 5 miles north north-west of Cannanore, is a small trading town composed of a street of shops and large houses. It is on the left bank of a magnificent river which discharges itself into the sea 4 miles to the south-west of it. The banks are fringed with coconut and other trees.

Chirakkal is famous as being the residence of the Raja of Chirakkal, who has a Kovilakam or palace at this place on the south side of a reservoir of fresh water of considerable dimensions, estimated to be 1,042 feet in length and 492 feet in breadth. Half a mile on the west of the high road, a street is formed by weavers and other castes, and on a height south-west of the palace are to be seen the remains of a redoubt.

Other places and religious institutions of minor importance are described in the following table :—


Anicuts.—Canals.—Neither dams nor canals of irrigation are to be met with. There is, however, one canal of communication usually known as the Sultan’s Canal between the river of Palayangadi and a branch of another which runs north and joins the Kavayi immediately to the south of the town of that name. It is 3 miles in length, out through low paddy ground. It was executed at the expense of the Bibi of Cannanore with the object, it would appear, of having a safe inland navigation from Nileshwaram in South Kanara to Kakkad, 2 miles to the north-east of Cannanore. It is now shallow and impassable during the dry season.

Minerals, Industries and Manufactures.—Laterite is met with in abundance. Some coarse cotton cloths are made at a few places in the interior by rude appliances. At Cannanore there is an excellent weaving establishment under the supervision of the German Mission. In the Central Jail, Cannanore, carpentry and other works are carried on.

Kunhimangalam is noted for its brass works, chiefly lamps.

Trigonometrical Station.--Mount Deli, in Kunhimangalam amsam, lies in latitude 21° 01' 37.04'' and longitude 75° 14' 40.51" and belongs to Lambton’s series.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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