Valluvanad (southern Malabar)
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Valluvanad or Arangottu Swaroopam (Velatra, Velnatera, Vellattiri's kingdom, Valluvanad Proper) was an erstwhile late medieval feudal state in the present day state of Kerala in South India extending from the Bharathapuzha River in the south to the Pandalur Mala in the north during their zenith in the early Middle Ages. On the west, it was bounded by the Arabian Sea at the port Ponnani and on the east by Attappadi Hills. According to local legends, the last Later Chera ruler gave a vast extension of land in South Malabar to one of their governors, Valluvakkonithiri and left for sanyasa. The Valluvakkonithiri was also given the last Later Chera ruler's shield (presumably to defend himself from the sword received by the Samoothiri (Zamorin) of Kozhikode, another governor, from the departing ruler). Not surprisingly, the Vellattiri Rajas were hereditary enemies of the Samoothiri. Valluvanad is famous for the Mamankam festivals, held once in 12 years and the endless wars against the Samoothiri of Kozhikode. By the late 18th century, Vellattiri or Walluwanad proper was the sole remaining territory of the Walluvanad Raja (Valluvakkonathiri), who once exercised suzerain rights over a large portion of Southern Malabar. Although management of the country was restored to the Vellattiri Raja in 1792, it soon became evident that he was powerless to repress the trouble that quickly broke out between Mappilas (favored by the Mysorean occupiers) and Nayars (who sought to restore the ancien régime), and already in 1793, management of the district had to be resumed as the chief and his family fled to Travancore.
Valluvanad or Arangot Swaroopam
|Unknown–18th century CE|
Geography of Malabar 1909
|18th century CE|
The capital of Valluvanad was the present day town of Angadipuram, which is now famous for its Thirumandhamkunnu Temple. The family deity of the Valluvanad Royal Family was Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavati at Thirumandhamkunnu Temple.
Valluvanad has a recorded history going back to the days of the Second Chera kingdom or Kulashekhara kingdom. At one point of time, the Valluvokonathiri exercised sovereign powers over a considerable portion of South Malabar under the Chera (Kulasekhara) rulers and as an independent state after the Cheras. Valluvanad comprised the whole of the Perinthalmanna taluk, Mannarkkad and Ottapalam taluk and also parts of Ponnani taluk, Tirur taluk and Eranad taluks.
Rajasekharan is the first Valluvanad Raja about whom there are inscriptions.
Konganpada attacks in the 9th century CE were the attacks of the king of Kongunad to the Nedumpurayoor region (Palakkad) of the Kulasekhara kingdom. But Kongunad army was defeated by combined armies of the Kulasekhara vassals- Nedumpurayoor (Palakkad), Valluvanad, Ernad (later Samoothiri) and Perumpadappu Kingdoms (later Cochin). After the war, in honour, the Valluvanad Raja received Kurissi Vilayan Chathanur and Kaithala villages from Nedumpurayoor Kingdom. This event is even now celebrated as a historical event in Chittur taluk where the fighting took place.
In the 10th century, King Vallabhankumaran, son of Rajasekharan, fought Rashtrakuta Ruler Krishna III. The inscriptions of Tiruvattiyur gives the story of Vallabhankumaran renouncing his worldly life and assuming the ascetic order because he could not help his friend Rajaditya Chola who died in the battle of Takkolam in this war.
Mention is made of Rayiran Chathan, the governor of Valluvanad, as a witness in the Jew's Copper Plate ("Joothasasanam") of 1000 CE given to Joseph Rabban by Bhaskara Ravi Varma I, the Chera (Kulasekhara) King of Mahodayapuram. William Logan is of the opinion that Vellaattiri was also not directly under the Chera kings but enjoyed more freedom and rights than other chieftains under them. Valluvanad rulers also find mention in the Parthivapuram Sasanam and Viraraghavapattayam.
After the end of Kulasekhara kingdom around 1102 CE, right to the Mamankam festival passed to the Perumpadappu kingdom and then to the Valluvakkonathiri (Vellaattiri). When Samoothiri of Calicut became a major force on the western coast, they captured a large portion of Valluvanad and the right of Mamankam was usurped by Samoothiri, when he captured the town in the latter half of the 13th century though the Thirunavaya Wars.
Ever since, the elite suicide squad called the Chaver Pada, were dispatched at every Mamankam by Valluvanad to kill the Samoothiri and take back its lost pride though they were quite aware of the impossibility of the task. Most of the Houses in the captured areas accepted only Vellattiri as their legitimate king. Nair houses and kalari had kudippaka (blood feud) against the Zamorin and had lost their members in the wars against him. More deaths meant incitement to the blood feud and new recruits to the suicide squads. To counter the local unrest, the Zamorin followed a custom of 'implanting' Muslim families and the families of other commanders who had allegiance to him, in the captured areas of Malappuram.
By now all that was left to Vellattiri were the Attappadi valley, parts of Mannarkkad, Ottapalam and Perinthalmanna. Zamorin invaded these territories but could not make much progress, because these regions were sparsely populated and most parts were dense forests and hills. It was impossible for the Zamorins's large army to march forth through these areas. The fights with Vellaattiri's men became more and more difficult for Zamorin. Vellattiri's smaller army in turn made the most of the landscape and successfully kept the armies of the Zamorin at bay.
Later during the Mysore invasion, Valluvanad was confined in area,and the Vellattiri sought asylum in Travancore. On the cessation of Malabar to the British by Tipu Sultan, Vellattiri entered into an agreement with the British, and became a pensioner.
The ruler of the kingdom was called Valluvakkonathiri. Valluvakkonathiri was also known by the names like Vellaattiri, Vallabhan, Rayiran Chathan, Chathan Kotha and Arangottu Udayavar.
Valluvanad Dynasty is considered to be of very ancient lineage. It's believed that Valluvanad was the land of the Valluvar people. But, Unnu Neeli Sandesam and Unni Yadi Charithram contain a mention of Vallabha Kshiti ("home of Vallabha") or Vallabhakshoni, the land of Prince Vallabha, which, by all indications, is likely to be Valluvanad. So, some say that Valluvanad Kings are descendants of a Pallava prince "Sreevallabha". It's said that he moved the entire family from Srivilliputhur in north Tamil Nadu to the area around the Nila River about 4th century CE.
The eldest person in the family is called Valluvakkonathiri. In most records, the hierarchy was called Arangot Swamplanad. Titles according to seniority were - Valluvakkonathiri, Vellalpad, Thacharalpad, Edathralpad, Kolathur and Padinjarekkara.
Among the male members the eldest sthani (designate) is titled as Valluvakkonathiri and the rest four were "Vellalpadu", "Thachalpadu", "Idatharapadu" and "Kulathur Thampuran" respectively. Another sthani is nominated by Vellattiri and is called "Patinharakkara Thampuran". He has rights over some landed property and privileges. The eldest Thampuratti of the family is called "Kulathur Thampuratty" and the next eldest is called "Kadanna Mootha Thampuratty".
These eldest five male members and eldest two female members are eligible for malikhan- a monthly remuneration to compensate for properties or rights taken over by the British. Apart from this, the eldest female members of each Kovilakom have their own rights and privileges.
Karuvayoor Moosad, was the Brahmin chief minister of Vellattiri.
Kunnathattil Madambil Nair (Mannarghat Nair) was the chieftain (desavazhi) who looked after the affairs of the eastern boundary and hilly areas of Vellattiri. Chondathil Mannadiar (Puthumana Panicker) and Nair of Kavada were other chiefs under him. Other dignitaries consisted of 14 swaroopies, which included two Nairs from central regions, two Namboothiris, two persons of the royal house, four Panickers, Elampulakkad Achan, Kulathur Warrier, Uppamkalathil Pisharody, Pathiramanna Vellodi, Parakkatt Nair, Kakkoott Nair, Mannarmala Nair and Cherukara Pisharody.