VALLUVANAD IN MALABAR MANUAL

Malabar Manual by William Logan published in 1887 could be considered as the first treatise on Malabar by a Modern scholar . Though the book is intended as a manual to help future British officials to navigate the administrative complexities of the region with ease , It’s importance as a historical record of the period cannot be contested. As the British took up the administration of the region in 1792 they were confronted by the task of rebuilding a region utterly devastated by the Mysorean invasion and the British offensive. They started from the basics like repairing the roads (built by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan), connecting the region to the railway grid and most importantly reverting the administrative machinery back to the indegeneous system of amsams and desams from the persianised system of the invaders.

Valluvanad as we know today is a British creation. It comprises of ;

1. The core regions of erstwhile state of Valluvanad which comprises of the present day taluks of Perinthalmanna and Mannarkkad.

2. The peripheral region of Nedunganad including parts of Ottapalam and Pattambi taluks which were ruled separately by the Samuthiri . Nedunganad was an independent state for many years before being annexed by Vellatiri. The region never really came under the sway of the new rulers and was mostly autonomous.

3. The chiefdom of Kavalappara with its Muppil Nair was semi independent. It comprised of the regions around Shoranur and the ruler often shifted his allegiance between Samuthiri and the King of Kochi.

Now let us see what the Malabar Manual says about the region;

The first major reference to the region comes with the list of navigable roads in the region. It talks about a road broad enough to carry guns running from Tanur through thirunavaya , Tritala , Kavalappara and Lakkidi to Palakkad mentioned by Captain Johnson in 1796. This must be the Palakkad – Ottapalam – Pattambi road which now serves as the main artery of the region.

The second road to be mentioned is quiet fascinating one which is rarely used these days. It starts from Feroke , passes Venkadakkotta (Kottakkal) then on to Angadipuram and Cherpulassery finally terminating at Mannarkkad. This actually validates the antiquity of the Perinthalmanna – Kottakkal route and Cherpulassery – Mannarkkad road. This road also had an extension to Lakkidi from Cherpulassery which must be the Cherpulassery – Ottapalam road.

In the section relating to the geography of the region Logan talks about the Kalladikode ranges and the intensity of rains in the region , of Ananganmala near Cherpulassery and most importantly of the Ponnani river. I had always found the names Bharatapuzha and Nila to be artificial constructs hence to see Logan call the river Ponnani seems to vindicate my hunch ( though Perar is my preferred nomenclature ). The river as it is today was seasonal but it’s tributaries like Thoothapuzha is said to be perrenial.Valluvanad is said to be hilly with abundant paddy fields in the valleys between them. Arakurussi amsam was the largest in the whole of Malabar district and the wildlife of Attapady is described in great detail.

The history of Valluvanad is superficially touched upon with the Samuthiri’s partitioning of the nadu and the placement of a zamorin branch at Karimpuzha. It is the Mysorean invasion and the aftermath that is discussed in detail( may be highlight the British superiority) . It details the atrocities committed by invading forces on the Nairs including forced conversions and temple desicrations. What interested me more was the sectarianism that was prevelant at the time especially after the British conquest till the 1880s. Initially the foreigners were the targets of the Mappila insurgents but it soon turned against the Nairs. Though much of the incidents took place in the Eranad taluk , Valluvanad proper (Perinthalmanna) was a battle field. Though most of these attacks were tenant uprisings some of them were pure religious fanaticism. For example in Kunhippa Musaliyar of Thoota mosque ( currently in Malappuram) in 1872 took offence of the Komaram of the Velichapad (who supposedly insulted Islam) of Thootha Kavu on the other side of the river. Musaliyar crossed the river at night with some of his friends and killed the Velichapad. Kolathur was notorious for communal violence , even Thirumandham Kunnu temple was desicrated in 1849. It is a heartening thing to note that religious harmony was restored over the last 150 years and no traces of animosity remains today.

The British taluk of Valluvanad was headquartered at Perinthalmanna with a sub registrar office and a Deputy Tehsildar office at Cherpulassery ( Kacherikunnu).But over time Cherpulassery lost its place to Ottapalam. The initial importance of Cherpulassery might be due to its importance as the erstwhile capital of Nedunganad. Cherpulassery is listed as an important town in the book while Ottapalam, Pattambi and Shoranur are mentioned merely as market places or railway stations which is quiet strange in the modern sense. Other important towns are Angadipuram, Perinthalmanna, Karimpuzha, Mannarkkad and Vaniyamkulam.

Vaniyamkulam chanta is described as the largest fare in the region conducted on Thursdays with over 5000 in attendance. Here it must be noted that even Angadipuram Chanda would have 1500 attendees.There were chandas at Mankada, Kulattur, Thiruvegapura , Cherpulassery , Pattambi , Pattiripala , Ottapalam , Mannarkkad , Sreekrishnapuram and Alanallur. Other important fact is the use of cheruvannur for Shoranur, this might might only have changed in the 1900s which makes shornur the youngest of the major towns in Valluvanad.

Among festivals Thirumandam kunnu puram was the largest by far with 8000 people attending. The second comes the Mannarkad pooram with 4500 attendees and the third is a tie between koonathara Aryankavu puram and pariyanampatta puram with 3000 attendees. Other purams with over 1000 participants are Mulayankavu pooram, Muthassiyar Kavu Thalapolly , Mundakkottukurissi Cherumulayankavu puram ( Kayiliad ), Mulanjoor Bharani Vela , Chinakkattur puram, Chettallur pooram ,Thoota pooram, Cherampatta pooram , Elumbulassery Nallisery pooram and Karimbuzha utsavam. Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu utsavam is said to have an attendance of 2000 but there is no mention of Puthanalkkal pooram.

During the British rule roads expanded with Palakkad – Ponnani road and Palakkad – Kozhikode road being the most important. There is mention of a roads originating from Pattambi railway station to Nilambur , Kuttanad , Cherpulassery and Thritala. Railway stations at Ottapalam, Lakkidi, Cheruvannur , Pattambi are mentioned.

Though the book talks more about Kozhikode and Kannur , the smaller bits here and there about Valluvanad is quiet helpful in building the history of the region especially of the 18th and 19th century. It is a sad fact that our local history is never studied with vigour or is taught to us , it is high time that regional histories be brought to the forefront or some of the local knowledge will be lost for ever.

VALLUVANAD FLYING HIGH

Though I am a bit late in posting the good news , the Angadipuram Railway over bridge is now a reality . I still remember those days when a train on the Shornur – Nilambur line used to bring chaos to NH 213 (Palakkad – Kozhikode ) with traffic jams at times extending till Perinthalmanna . But now we have a four lane road and an overbridge to ease the congestion . The person to be thanked is the Perinthalmanna MLA Mr.Manjalamkuzhi Ali for his sheer determination in making the project a reality.

Angadipuram_Junction-Perithelmanna
THEN
Thrissur_1_Regi_KI_2766438e
NOW

The other infrastructural projects that need immediate attention in Valluvanad are :

  1. A bye pass road and a new bridge over kunthi puzha at Mannarkad.
  2. Roads to bye pass the congestion at Ottapalam and Pattambi on the Palakkad – Guruvayur road and a railway overbridge at vadanamkurussi.
  3. More buses between Mannarkad and shornur , which is the gateway to the region.
  4. A new bridge over Bharatapuzha at Pattambi.
  5. Revitalisation of Bharatapuzha station at Shornur so that the region could acess trains passing through the link line togather with the modernisation of Shornur Railway Station.
  6. Ksrtc depots at ottapalam and pattambi with sub depots at cherpulassery and shornur.

Let us hope that with the defense park at Ottapalam and the Angadipuram overbridge  valluvanad would leap forward into a brighter future.

VALLUVANAD HELP DESK

The search terms directed to my site are usually not related to any of my posts . They usually are queries about getting around Valluvanad ….. here are the answers for many of the frequently asked questions :

1. Ottapalam to Mannarkad buses

There are regular private buses in this route via Ambalapara -Thiruvazhiyode- Sreekrishnapuram or Cherpulassery-Thiruvazhiyode-Sreekrishnapuram .

2.Perinthalmanna – Palakkad early morning buses

There are round the clock KSRTC buses in this route , while private buses to my knowledge start running by 5 am

3.Reasons for backwardness of Palakkad

Its huge size , tribal population and lesser diversity in political representation (it is a CPM stronghold)

5. Cherpulassery airport –

The nearest is Calicut International airport app…60 km to north west.

6. Train timings from Angadipuram to Pattambi –

There are no direct trains  , but you could get down at Vadanamkurussi (en route Shornur ) and board a Pattambi or Guruvayur bus.

7. Chelakkara –

Though culturally similar to Valluvanad it was a part of the Kingdom of Cochin and now falls under Thalappily taluk of Thrissur district . There are no direct buses to Calicut from here . you will have to first get to ottapalam then to perinthalmanna from where there are regular buses to Calicut. There are regular train services to Calicut  from Shornur which is 13 km from Chelakkara.

8.Shornur to Palakkad bus –

There are only a few direct buses in this route . you will have to first get to Kulapully , which is the second private bus stand of Shornur , 2 km from the Railway station and  then get a palakkad bus , which are quiet frequent.

9.Hotels at Cherpulassery –

There are quiet a few , one of the star hotels is Mithilla Regency.

10. Cherpulassey – Palakkad route buses –

This is route with private buses at regular intervals with a few KSRTC buses in between via kongad.

11. Distance between cherpulassery and calicut –

85 kms .there are a few private buses  and a handful of Ksrtc buses.

12.Bakeries at Shornur –

Shornur actually is a small town , there are Nila bake houses at Kulapully and Cheruthurutty.

13. Valluvanad and Tippu –

The relation is a bit complicated.

14.Angadipuram to Palakkad train –

why ?? there are buses both Ksrtc and private every 5 minutes. If it is of utmost necessity you could get Palakkad trains from Shornur.

15.Shornur to Ooty –

First get to pattambi/cherpulassery , then to perinthalmanna – nilambur – gudallur – ooty.

16. Cherpulassey to  Mannarkkad –

The distance is about 25 kms. there are regular buses.

17. Jewellers at Shornur –

No major jewellery chains here… Thrissur is just 45 minutes away.

18. Why is shornur junction so congested with trains ? –

It is here that the main railway route in Kerala split in four directions …..to calicut , thrissur,palakkad and nilambur.

19.Cherpulassery CBSE school –

The major one is the Sabari central school.

20. Angadipuram to Kadambuzha –

There are both private and ksrtc buses to valanchery from here , then proceed to Kadambuzha,

21. Hospitals at cherpulassery –

Kerala medical college hospital ,Cooperative hospital,Shankar hospital.

22. Cherpulassey nearest railway station –

Vallapuzha , The nearest major station is Shornur , 17 km to south.

23. Buses from Shornur to Calicut –

None – train is better – Else get to Pattambi then Valanchery , from where there are direct buses to  calicut.

24. Perinthalmanna old bus stand –

It is a shopping complex now….sorry.

25.Pambin kavu –

It is a sacred groove commonly found in this region , which is thick with foliage and is considered to house serpent (gods).

26. Chirayath bus –

They have nearly many buses in the Thrissur- Ottapalam route , with a few running longer trips to cherpulassery , mannarkad and palakkad.

27. Cherpulassery – Ottapalam –

17 kms , regular private buses ply on this route.

28. Shornur to Attapadi –

nearly 80 km – There is one bus early in the morning formerly a  mayilvahanam now kavitha. otherwise get to Cherpulassry from where there are regular buses to Mannarkad and thence to Anakkaty. There are a few shornur – mannarkad direct buses too.

29.Ottapalam to Edappal –

Take a bus to Pattambi(Guruvayur limited stop) , then change over to an Edappal bus , which are frequent via kootanad or thrithala.

30.Perintalmanna – Cherpulassery –

17km , buses every 5 minute from the pattambi road junction or moulana hospital junction.

31. Calicut to Ottapalam bus timings – there are 3 buses from Calicut Bus stand  between 1 and 2 : 30 pm .

33. Angadipuram over bridge – YES…its reality now.

34 . wadakkanchery over bridge – yes , finally.

35 . Shankar hospital , Cherpulassery – It is right next to the bus stand on the pattambi road.

GETTING AROUND VALLUVANAD

Much of the search terms directed at my site are often about getting around the Valluvanad region. This article tries to answer some of those queries…

The largest town by size in the region is Perinthalmanna ; which lies on the Palakkad – Kozhikode National highway . You could get there by train via the Nilambur line from Shornur , getting down at the Angadipuram Railway station. Perinthalmanna is well connected by road to almost all the major towns of Palakkad and Malappuram Districts.  There are limited stop private buses and KSRTC Town to Town buses to Palakkad( via Mannarkad) and Kozhikode (via Malappuram) every few minutes on NH 966 . KSRTC buses to at intervals of 20 to 30 minutes connect Perinthalmanna to Thrissur. Private local buses ply at frequent intervals to Manjeri, Malappuram, Nilambur, Melattur – Karuvarakundu, Alanallur, Mannarkad , Valanchery , Kottakal ,Cherpulassery and Pattambi.There are 2 private bus stands and a KSRTC bus stand here but private buses usually bye pass them. you could get Palakkad or Mannarkad buses from near the police station ; Calicut , Nilambur,Melatur,Manjeri, Valanchery and Kottakal buses from the bus stop near KMT silks ; Pattambi and Cherpulassery buses from the bus stop near Moulana hospital. Shornur could be reached either by taking a Pattambi or Cherpulassery bus from where there are buses to Shornur .

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Ottapalam , the cultural capital of Valluvanad lies on the Kulapully – Palakkad state highway. There is a private bus stand from where you could get both private and KSRTC buses. Ksrtc buses are are mostly the ones on Palakkad- Guruvayur route. There are  private buses to Thrissur (via shornur) ; Palakkad ; Guruvayur (via Pattambi) ; Thiruvillwamala ; Mayannur ;Mannarkad and Cherpulassery . There are a few fast passenger buses in the morning to Calicut. The Ottapalam railway station falls on the Shornur – Palakkad line . Only a few express trains halt here and the nearest major railway station is the Shornur Junction station .

Pattambi lies to the west of Ottapalam and Shoranur on the Palakkad – Guruvayur route. there is a Private bus stand and a ksrtc bus stand here . Like Ottapalam KSRTC buses are few and most of them ply on the Palakkad – Guruvayur or Perinthalmanna – Thrissur route. There are private buses to Shornur, Palakkad (via ottapalam),Guruvayur (via kunnamkulam), Cherpulassery, Perinthalmanna,  Valanchery, Ponnani (via edappal)  and Pallipuram. There is a railway station at Pattambi , lying on the Shornur – Calicut line , But only a few long distance trains have halts here . The nearest major railway station is Shoranur Junction.

Shornur is the railway gateway to Valluvand. There are regular trains to most places in India from here. Sadly Shornur is poorly connected by bus to rest of the region. you could get buses to Thrissur and Ottapalam from the railway station. Shornur bus stand caters to Cherpulassery , Pattambi and Chelakkara buses . For buses to Palakkad you would have to take the Ottapalam bus from the railway station and get down at Kulapully  (2 Kms from the station) which falls on the Palakkad Guruvayur route. Buses to Perinthalmanna are rare and the best option is to take the Pattambi bus and then board a Perinthalmanna bus from there.

Cherpulassery is equidistant from Pattambi , Ottapalam , Perinthalmanna and Shornur. The place is well connected to these places by private buses . Cherpulassery private bus stand also caters to palakkad and mannarkad buses. The nearest railway station is Shornur Junction.

Mannarkad is the farthest away from  any other major Valluvanadan town. It falls on NH966 between Perinthalmanna and Palakkad. There is a KSRTC bus stand and a private bus stand  here . The town is well connected to Palakkad and Kozhikode  by regular town to town KSRTC buses and private Limited stop buses. Private bus services connect Mannarkad to Agali (Anakatty), Melattur,Perinthalmanna,Cherpulassery,Palakkad and Ottapalam. The nearest railway station is Palakkad Junction railway station.

VALLUVANAD ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION

The response to Valluvanadan posts on this blog have been amazing , hence i was pondering on various Valluvanadan topics and when i saw those  majestic Mayilvahanam buses in their repair yard at shornur it struck me … why not them??. our region has always been the bastion of Private buses , though many of the iconic bus companies else where went extinct we still have those old names on our roads – Mayilvahanams , Karippals etc   .

The history of Valluvanad transport must start with the pioneers , The chemarikkat family of Shornur and their CTS and mayilvahanam buses . They have long distance buses to local buses all under the same brand . Almost all buses on every other route around this region was a mayilvahanam  –  whether it be green/blue , red/white , The Prakash travels , The Circular buses that circled Cherpulassery, Pattambi,Shornur and Ottapalam. Pattambi- Valancheri route and Perinthalmanna- Ottapalam route were the home turf of the green/blue buses ; prakash travels owned the mannarkad – shornur route ; on the Palakkad – Guruvayoor and the Palakkad – Kozhikode routes ran the limited stops  and fast passengers.   Though largely reduced in number mayilvahanams still run on the Palakkad – Guruvayoor route with new liveries and modern Karur bodies.

A trip to Thrissur was about Maya , Karippal and Rajeev buses . The Ottapalam- Thrissur route was their bastion. The blue colored Karippal buses connected Ottapalam , Cherpulassery and Pattambi to Thrissur . Maya buses ran as far as Kodungallur in the south and there was even a Rajeev bus from Kodungallur to Mannarkad. Today only Karippal remains and they still run the iconic Kongad – Thrissur Sowgandhikam , which is the fastest bus in the route.The routes to Thrissur was also peppered with Balakrishna buses from Guruvayoor and Dhanalakshmi from Kodungallur.

The Palakkad Kozhikode route was synonymous with KTC buses from Kozhikode. Those red buses were the fastest in the region and were usually feared for their overtakes. KTC is long gone and Private buses have been withdrawing from the route due to tough competition from the KSRTC.

There is a lobby that constantly complain about KSRTC being a loss making enterprise and wants private buses to be taken off our roads permanently for making the Government run company profitable . The Travancore group subtly forget the fact that these private buses where the only means of transport we the people of Malabar had when KSRTC was focusing only on regions south of Thrissur. Let us hope that this pressure group which plays on public emotions not push our private bus heritage into the dust bin for their sake.

 

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