Pandalam dynasty

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The Kingdom of Pandalam
പന്തളം രാജവംശം
c. 79 CE (903 AD) [1]–995 CE (1820 AD)
Front view of the two-storeyed Pandalam Valiyakoyikkal palace
Front view of the two-storeyed Pandalam Valiyakoyikkal palace
CapitalKonni (for about 100 years)
Pandalam (up to 1820 AD)
Common languagesMalayalam
Religion Hinduism
GovernmentMonarchy
• Beginning of Kollam era
Raja Rajasekhara verma (Ayyappa's adopted father)
Historical eraKollam era
• Established
c. 79 CE (903 AD) [1]
• Disestablished
995 CE (1820 AD)
Today part of India
Pathanamthitta district

Pandalam dynasty (Malayalam:പന്തളം രാജവംശം) a royal dynasty emerged from a branch of chera kingdom which existed in Kerala during the Kollam era. They came to Kerala fearing the assault of a ruler. In Kerala they were given land and status by Kaipuzha Thampan a landlord from Kerala.

Early history[edit]

The Pandya Kingdom of Tamilakam was once attacked by Malik Kafur, the commander-in-chief of Alauddin Khalji of Khalji dynasty. Upon the failure of Pandiya rajas, two branches of this dynasty fled towards west(kerala)to secure themselves from the attacks. One branch proceeded via the Western ghats mountainous regions and settled in Poonjar in Kottayam and established the Poonjar kingdom. The other branch (Chembazhannur) wandered through several places and facing lots of difficulties finally settled in Pandalam.[2] The fleeing Chembazhannur branch at first settled in Valliyur (near Tirunelveli) and enjoyed a privileged position in the society.[3] Later due to the threats of invasion, the royal family shifted to Tenkasi. Thirumalai Nayak, a famed ruler of Madurai wished to see his daughter's marriage with a prince of Chembazhannur family. But upon the rejection of marriage proposal, Nayak became an enemy of Pandiyas. He made huge damages in Tenkasi with his strong Maravappada (army). Knowing that they couldn't continue a peaceful life in Tenkasi, the family moved to a place named Elathoor maniyam and procured the mountainous regions near Puliyankudi. But Nayak continued to torture the royal family which forced them to proceed towards west (Kerala) via places such as Achankovil, Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha and settled in Konni by c. 79 CE, which was according to the Copper deed issued by the Venad raja. The family constructed a shrine for lord Shiva in Konni (Muringamangalam Sreemahadevar Temple) for their daily worships. This temple is one of the most noted contributions of Chembazhanuur family in Kerala.[4] A number of Mutts, Manas and Koyikkalls were also constructed by the family. The local people fed up with the activities of thieves accepted the family as the ruling class which was named as Chembazhanji kovilakom. Attacks on Travancore by Cholas forced the family to flee Konni and then to settle down in Pandalam which became their permanent capital. A full-fledged kingdom was established by around c. 370 CE (1194 AD) by obtaining the land from Kaipuzha Thampan, a rich landlord. The Venad ruler also played a great role in the establishment of this kingdom.[5] People enjoyed a peaceful atmosphere and ideal life under the Pandalam rulers. As of the Travancore state manual, Pandalam kingdom kept friendly relations with the rajas of Travancore.

The territories of Pandalam kingdom extended to an area of 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) which covered the parts of Konni, Achankovil, Tenkasi and the forest regions of Sabarimala, the abode of Ayyayppa. During 345 CE, Aadhichavarman a Venad ruler had given a sizable portion of land to this kingdom. Marthanda Varma, the famed Venad ruler and establisher of Travancore kingdom (925 CE) was named for his annexation policies. But on his conquests in Central Travancore, Pandalam was left independent and wasn't annexed to his domain. This was primarily due to cordial relations that Travancore had with Pandalam and of the assistance by the royal family in the Kayamkulam conquest of Varma. Pandalam was forced to give a big amount of Rs.2,20,001 to Travancore government towards the cost of wars after Tippus conquest in Malabar coast during 965 CE. The amount was paid in various installments. During 969 CE, the income from Sabarimala temple was used to pay as installments by a ruler of Pandalam. By 995 CE, the raja of Travancore made an agreement with the Pandalam king assuring that they would support every members of the royal family if they are allowed to collect the revenues from Pandalam. Upon the acceptance, the kingdom of Pandalam was merged in Travancore and a monthly pension was issued for each royal family member. The administrative rights of temples including Sabarimala within the premises of kingdom was transferred to Travancore government and later to Travancore devaswom board. Before the formation of Pathanamthitta district, Pandalam was a part of the Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha district.

Affiliation with Ayyappa[edit]

Sabarimala, the holy abode of Ayyappa

It is believed that the royal family of Pandalam belonged to the Bhargava gotra while other royal families in Kerala were included in the Viswamitra gotra. The kingdom is famed for its kinship with Ayyappa, the son of Harihara (the fusion of Shiva and Vishnu). Raja Rajasekhara, a king of this dynasty during his hunting expedition heard the crying of a baby near the banks of Pamba. The raja found a glorious looking infant wearing a bead in his neck and surrounded by a halo. The childless raja was doubted whether to take the child with him. But Sage Agastya arrived there and cleared his doubts by telling him that the child is a boon from the Gods and advised him to accept him. He was named Manikanta (Mani means bead and Kanta being the neck). He was given proper education in gurukulam Later Rani gave birth to a son but raja considered Manikanta as his elder son and decided to crown him as Yuvaraja of Pandalam.[6]

But Manikanta who was destined to crush the evils wasn't willing to be seated in the royal throne. The greedy minister was misleading the innocent rani and made her to believe the words of him. Upon the plannings of minister, rani pretended to be affected by a severe stomachache. The bribed royal physician prescribed the milk of leopard as the only cure for this ache. The king was quite sure that none of the royal servants could complete this mission which is a risky task. But Manikanta with a strong determination and will power agreed to go to the deep forests to fetch the milk. In the forests Manikanta found the demoness Mahishi and a fierce battle took place between them which resulted in the death of Mahishi. On the very next day, he arrived at the palace riding a tiger followed by a group of cubs. Realizing that Manikanta was not an ordinary being, all of the members in the palace praised him by saying Ayyane and Appane, hence he was famed by the name "Ayyappa". Once he accomplished his mission by slaying Mahishi, Manikanta determined to leave the palace and told the raja to construct a shrine at Sabarimala where he would be presiding to bless thousands of devotees. He blessed everyone who assembled there and vanished away.[7]

പാണ്ഡ്യേശ വംശതിലകം
കേരള കേളിവിഗ്രഹം
ആർത്തത്രാണപരം ദേവം
ശാസ്താരം പ്രണമാമ്യഹം

The verses shows the relation of Lord Ayyappa with the Pandiya kingdom. He is often depicted as the Thilak (a mark on the forehead) of the Pandiya vamsa and the beloved deity of Kerala nadu.[8]

The Palace complex[edit]

Pandalam palace

Pandalam Palace
പന്തളം കൊട്ടാരം
Pandalam palace2.JPG
Pandalam Valiyakoyikkal palace
Pandalam dynasty is located in Kerala
Pandalam dynasty
Location of Pandalam palace in Kerala
General information
StatusHistorical site
TypeRoyal Palace
Architectural styleTraditional Kerala architecture
LocationKerala
Town or cityPandalam
CountryIndia
Coordinates9°19′N 76°44′E / 9.32°N 76.73°E / 9.32; 76.73
AffiliationPandalam dynasty
Technical details
Materialwood, bamboo, mud, stone
Design and construction
DeveloperPandalam rajas

(Malayalam: പന്തളം കൊട്ടാരം) is a royal palace of Pandalam located on the banks of Achankovil river was the residence of royal family members.[9] The architectural mixtures of both Pandyas and Keralites can be witnessed in any corner of the palace. Mud, bamboo, stone and wood are the mostly used construction components in the old structures. It was in this palace that lord Ayyappa spent his childhood. In course of time, Many parts of the palace was took away by minor conflagrations and floods. But quite a few structures like Valiyakoikkal temple, Kaipuzha temple and Thevarappura remains still which depicts the ancient history and archaeological importance.[10]

Valiyakoikkal temple[edit]

Pandalam Valiyakoikkal Sastha temple

The temple situated on the banks of Achankovil river was the family temple of Pandalam kingdom, built in the traditional architectural styles of Kerala. It was built by Rajasekhara raja after returning from Sabarimala for daily worships of Ayyappa. The shrine is placed within the palace premises. A Salagramam (sacred stone) is installed here instead of an idol. The holy Thiruvabharanam procession to Sabarimala begins from this temple every year on 28th of dhanu before the Makaravilakku festival hosted in the month of Makaram.[11]

Kaipuzha temple[edit]

There are mainly two shrine in this complex, one for Shiva under the palace administration other for Krishna managed by Travancore devaswom board. The Navagraha (nine holy planets) sculptures are portrayed in the shrine of Krishna. Once the idol of Narasimha Murthy was installed in the temple which was very powerful. But due to the unfortunate incidents in the palace, the idol was replaced by the Santhana gopalam pratishta as per the instructions of astrologers and priests.[12]

Thevarappuras (prayer rooms)[edit]

Kochukoikkal thevarappura

The prayer rooms or Thevarappuras of both Vadakkekottaram and Nalukettu palaces structured elegantly in wood are still in unblemished condition which keeps the idols of 28 gods and goddess for worshipping. The Pandiyan relation of Pandalam kingdom can easily be noticed from the presence of Minakshi amman idol.[13]

Srampical palace[edit]

The palace is placed in the north of Valiyakoikkal temple. The Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments) of lord Ayyappa are kept here. Pilgrims have the opportunity to worship the ornaments and to view the holy palanquin at times of Mandala - Makaravilakku period. These ornaments are taken out on the morning of 28th Dhanu then moved to the temple and later to Sabarimala temple in a holy procession.

Puthenkoikkal[edit]

This is perhaps the oldest existing building, which has a skillfully built pond beneath it which is considered as a marvelous engineering work. The pond was once meant for bathing purposes of ladies in the palace. The raja on his way to Sabarimala with the sacred ornaments used to halt at this palace to receive the Vibhuti and blessings of Valiya thamburatti (senior most female member).

Customs and beliefs in the palace[edit]

The palace itself keeps a number of varied customs and beliefs as sacred. The royal family had the privileges to perform various ritual practices at Valiyakoikkal and Sabarimala temples. Devotees often visits the raja to obtain the blessings in the form of Vibhuti (sacred ash).

Some important customs[edit]

  • The Valiya Thampuran has the privilege of being the last to pray at the Sabarimala shrine on Makaravilakku day
  • The male children (before upanayana) and female members (age 10-50) are not allowed to undertake the holy pilgrimage.
  • The royal members need not carry the Irumudikettu (travel kit) along with them on the Sabarimala pilgrimage.
  • The Valiyakoikkal temple will be closed for 12 days upon the demise of any family member of the Palace.[14]

Notable personalities[edit]

The royal family of Pandalam is blessed with many renowned artists, scholars and men of letters who glorified the field of art in Kerala.

Pandalam Kerala Varma[edit]


The renowned poet, scholar and publisher Pandalam Kerala Varma is the most noted person in the royal family of Pandalam. He wrote many narrative poems, translations, children's poetry and two mahakavyas. He served as the chief editor of "Kavana kaumudi", the first Malayalam periodical.[15]

V.S Valiathan[edit]

V.S. Valiathan (Vattaparambil Sankaran Valiathan) was born in the royal family of Pandalam as the son of Revathinal Ravi Varam raja and Thottathil madhavi amma. He is one of the noted artists from Kerala who followed the styles of Raja Ravi Varma.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Royal Family Of Pandalam - Website Of Lord Ayyappa And Royal Family Of Pandalan". www.ayyappa.com.
  2. ^ "ധര്‍മ്മ ശാസ്താവും അയ്യപ്പനും ഒരു വിമര്‍ശന പഠനം". vrittantham.blogspot.com. 2015-01-04.
  3. ^ "Pandalalm Raja - thatvamsiorg". sites.google.com.
  4. ^ "മുരിംങ്ങമംഗലം ക്ഷേത്ര ഉല്‍പത്തി". murungamangalam.blogspot.in. 2009-12-13.
  5. ^ "Pandalam the holy town". pandalamonline.blogspot.in. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  6. ^ V, Ramakumar (September 2002). "പന്തളം രാജവംശം". In Paramasivan Nair. Sree Ayyappan (1st ed.). Thiruvananthapuram: Siso books. pp. 55–56. ISBN 81-7797-033-X.
  7. ^ "J Y O T H I". earnhapply.blogspot.com.
  8. ^ "പന്തളത്തു തമ്പുരാന്റെ ഭജനം". www.janmabhumidaily.com.
  9. ^ "Heavy rush for Thiruvabharanam darshan at Pandalam Palac". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Royal family of Pandalam". sabarimalayatraa.blogspot.com.
  11. ^ "Hundreds throng Pandalam to worship Thiruvabharanam". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  12. ^ "Kaipuzha Shiva temple in Pandalam India". www.india9.com.
  13. ^ "Historical Pandalam Palace and Its Importance". www.keralahoneymoonpackage.com.
  14. ^ "Customs - Pandalam royal family". www.ayyappa.com.
  15. ^ "Pandalam Kerala Varma - Profile, biography and life history". www.veethi.com. 2014-04-16.
  16. ^ "V.S. Valiathan - Profile, Biography and Life History". www.veethi.com. 2016-04-03.

External links[edit]