Kuzhalmannam Agraharam

Kuzhalmannam Agraharam

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History of Kerala iyers and Agraharams

There are no records showing the reasons behind the mass migration of Tamil Brahmins to Kerala 6 or 7 centuries ago.

Kerala used to be part of Tamil Kingdom, under the sway of Chera Kings. The name Keralam itself is a corruption of Cheralam.

How did the Tamil Brahmins find themselves as refugees or migrants in what was once a Tamil Country?

In 999 AD King Raja Chola attacked Kerala and his army crossed over to the west via Palakkad pass. The war continued for many years. At the cessation of hostilities several kingdoms became prominent independantly of each other in the Kerala area. The areas east of Palakkad pass lost touch with these Tamil kingdoms for 3 or 4 centuries. The Malayalam language also started developing around this time.

After Venad Thiruvadigal conquered Melpandi and Tehn Pandi, communication was restored and Palakkad became a cross-road between Tamilnad and Kerala. During this time Malayalam slowly developed into an independant language. When the famous Pandian ruler Maravarman died in 1310 AD, ambitious Muslim invaders started subjugating one area after another in Tamilnad. Feeling insecure and fearing persecution, the Brahmins starting migrating via Palakkad Pass, Dindigul and Pollachi. Continuous drought over many years in the Kaveri Delta area also trigerred migration of Tamil Brahmins to Kerala.

Those migrants from Madurai established near Chokkanathapuram, and those from Pollachi and Dindigul established the villages of Kollengode, Koduvayur, Chittoor, and Thattamangalam. The first village to be established was perhaps Sekharipuram, founded by migrants from the village of the same name near Tagore. It is also possible for Sekharipuram to be named after Raja Sekhara Varma of Palakkad as a token of gratitude.

Palakkad Kings had their own reasons to welcome and settle these Brahmins in their area--to break the hegemony of Namboodiri Brahmins who seemed to have protested and boycotted Palakkad Kings over a royal member's infatuations with a tribal girl. It is interesting to remember that some of these Palakkad Kings bore tribal names such as Itikombi Achan, Pankunni Achan, Unnalachan, Kombi Achan etc.

Tamil Brahmins who came from Tanjore, Trichy, Vaitheeswaran Koil, Needamangalam, Kandarmanickam, Mangudi, Satyamangalam and other areas established a number of Agraharams which gradually grew to about 96 in all. All the Agrahams have temples mostly dedicated to the Gods of the area from which they migrated. They follow the Aagama Sastra of worship and not Tantrik as is generally seen in Kerala.


Navarathri Uriyadi Ratholsavam Tamil Brahmin Gramam History of Kerala Iyers
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