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Azhvanchery Thamprakkal or the Azhvanchery Samrat was the title of the senior-most male member of the Brahmin (Namboothiri) feudal lords of Oriparambil Mana in Guruvayur and Azhvanchery Mana in Athavanad, present-day Malappuram district, Kerala state, South India.

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Position in Indian Social OrderEdit

The Azhvanchery Thamprakkals were also temporally, the rulers of Athavanad: The name Athavanad is believed to be derived from them or vice versa. Before abolition of the princely-order of government, The Azhvanchery Thamprakkal was considered as the supreme religious head of Kerala Brahmins. His presence was required for the anointing of the Thachudaya Kaimal of Travancore, the Yogathiripad of Thrissur and the ruling chiefs of South India [1]

The Thamprakkals were great patrons of mathematics and astronomy. In the famous work Brahmandapuranam, of poet Thunchath Ezhuthachan, Azhvanchery Thamprakkals had been mentioned with the title "Netranarayanan".

Title and PrivilegesEdit

The title of Thamprakkal literally means Emperor (having originated from the Sanskrit Samrat and later corrupted into Thampran) came to be used to refer to the Brahmins of Azhvanchery Mana family. The story according to popular lore is that while returning from the coronation ceremony of Kulashekhara Perumal with the gift of a golden-cow , the Thamprakkal was stopped on the road by Pakkanar, a person of low caste. He claimed that it was the exclusive right of his castemen to take dead cows. The Thamprakkal, affronted, sprinkled water on the golden cow and brought it to life. The low caste man exclaimed "You are indeed a Thamprakkal" and since then the title has stayed with the family.

The Thamprakkal had four privileges within the Hindu Social Order of Kerala.

  • Bhadrasthanam: The chief seat in any assembly
  • Sarvamanyam: Universal respectability
  • Brahma Samrajyam: Sovereignty over all Brahmins
  • Brahmavarchas: Highest authority in Vedic learning

The opinion of the Azhvanchery Thamprakkal was considered supreme in deciding matters relating to religion, caste, society etc. Only the anointed head of the family received the title. The junior members of the family are ordinary Adhyan Namboodiris and use the style of Namboodiripad.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Census Report of Travancore, 1901 and 1927 Edited by Dr N Kunjan Pillai mentions the Azhvanchery Thamprakkal and their special status
  • Travancore State Manual, Volume II by V.Nagam Aiya, page number 249.
  • Census Report of Travancore, 1901 which mentions the Azhvanchery family and their special status with details.

See alsoEdit