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About the Kodungallur Kovilakam surname

Kodungallur Kovilakam is the palace (Kovilakam) of Kodungallur royal family. It was also known in the past by the name 'Padinjattedathu swaroopam'. It is one of the major kovilakams in Kerala. It is situated in Thrissur district in Kerala.

While rulers across the world were caught in continuous warfare in perpetual quest to increase their frontiers of control in the land, rulers in Kerala devoted quite much of their attention in fostering art, literature, culture and knowledge. They gave importance to peace and prosperity rather than to continuous warfare and constant unsettlement; that is not to say that there was no warfare or challenges to their authority at all but they were far less,in comparison. No wonder, Kerala stands out even today as a model of peaceful co-existence of diverse culture. Consequently, history of Kerala is not so much about conquests but rather about evolution of a culture enriched by social interactions, including those as old as trade relations with ancient Greek and Roman culture.

'Vidyasmat Paradevatha!' has been Kodungallur Kovilakam's motto. 'Vidyasmat Paradevatha!' translates to mean knowledge is our Supreme divinity!. True to their motto 'Vidyasmat Paradevatha!', knowledge, culture, art and values were nurtured rather than physical might of warfare. Kodungallur Kovilakam is remembered now, not so much for the conquests won but for contributions that has made India richer in terms of art, literature and culture. In due recognition of this contribution, Kodungallur Kovilakam came to be known as Gurukulam (centre of learning lie Nalanda and Takshasila) and Scholars from all over Kerala used to live in the palaces and study Sanskrit and Vedic science. There are many instances where scholars of Kodungallur Kovilakam actively educated under people from under-privileged community, even against the conventions and practice of those times. It has been always in the forefront of social transformation, effectively blending modern lifestyle even while holding onto time-tested social and human values.

Kodungallur Kovilakam has two branches called Chirackal Kovilakam and Puthen Kovilakam.

Kerala was ruled by Brahmins (Namboothiris), in the early days. They used to meet every 12 years at Thirunavaya to discuss and co-ordinate affairs of state. Conflict of interests made administration extremely difficult , over a period of time, and they decided to take external help, bringing a Kshatriya from outside to rule. They also decided to restrict the tenure last only 12 years so that appointee does not get too ambitious and usurp the power Kulasekhara Perumal:

Valunambis were given the responsibility of identifying a suitable person, and designated team met the king of Vijayanagaram which was a powerful empire at that time. The emperor gave permission to pick from anyone from Chera, Chola, or Pandya race. A person from Chola race by name Narayana bhattan was identified by this team and brought to Kerala. He was appointed as Kulasekharan (translating to mean the best person of the race) and came to be known as Kulasekhara perumal, as time passed . Kulasekhara perumal 's.settlement came to be known as Kulasekharapuram and, later, as Trikulasekharapuram.

As a devotee of Vishnu, he constructured a temple for Vishnu which became famous as Trikulasekharapuram temple, or Trikledath in short.

Present Kodungallur Kovilakam: Much of Kerala history, for a long time after the rule of Kulasekhara perumal, is not popularly known. Kodungallur Kovilakam,sandwitched between two major powers of Kochi and Samoothiri, is believed to be of fairly recent origin.

Padinjaredathu namboothiri is believed to have been in power in the areas surrounding Kodungallur, before establishment of present Kodungallur Kovilakam. Padinjaredathu namboothiri handed over power to the present Kodungallur Kovilakam..

Kodungallur Kovilakam was initially located at Trikulasekharapuram. Sthanaarohanam (Coronation) and related ceremonies for Raja (Valiathampuran) of Kodungallur are done at Trikulasekharapuram temple premises. Vishnu, deity of Trikulasekharapuram temple, is considered to be the family deity of Kodungallur Kovilakam. Padinjattedathu swaroopam

Rulers of Kodungallur came to be popularly known as Padinjattedathu swaroopam, in memory of Padinjaredathu namboothiri.

Becoming subordinate to the Raja of Cochin

Attack of Tippu Sultan on Malabar disrupted the delicate political equilibrium within Kerala, by the very ferocity and scale of attack was unparalleled in the relatively peaceful settlement of Kerala. Both Kings of Travancore and Cochin made a treaty offer to King of Kodungallur, in return to paying in money for the military support,. King accepted the offer from King of Cochin, as it was felt wiser to get support from immediate neighborhood in case of emergencies like war. Cost of war was so high that Kodungallur Kovilakam could not pay up completely. This resulted in King of Cochin annexing Kodungallur. Thus, Kodungallur remained an autonomous principality subordinate to the Raja of Cochin until Indian Independence in 1947 At the present location:

A few years after Tippu's defeat in the hands of British, the royal family relocated themselves to the present location at Chirakkal Kovilakam and later a branch moved to Puthen Kovilakam. Kodungallur Kovilakam came to be known as a Gurukulam (centre of learning like Nalanda and Takshasila) during this period. Scholars from all over Kerala came to live in the palaces and study Sanskrit and Vedic science. Area around the original settlement at Trikulasekharapuram was subsequently donated by Kodungallur Kovilakam for various noble causes Courtsey: History presented here, upto Kodungallur becoming subordinate to Raja of Cochin, is largely an adaptation from articles published by Kodungallur Kunjunni Raja in July-September 2008 and October-December 2008 issues of Kshathrasandesam. A curious reader may pick up the original article written in Malayalam from the reference magazine. The magazine is available online and you get the same by clicking the link for the respective issues