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.
The other infrastructural projects that need immediate attention in Valluvanad are :
A bye pass road and a new bridge over kunthi puzha at Mannarkad.
Roads to bye pass the congestion at Ottapalam and Pattambi on the Palakkad – Guruvayur road and a railway overbridge at vadanamkurussi.
More buses between Mannarkad and shornur , which is the gateway to the region.
A new bridge over Bharatapuzha at Pattambi.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
most cities in india dream of one day becoming “Shanghai” – the heart of chinese economic miracle. they all dream of a future where skyscrappers and expressways will replace slums and gutters. it’s not what we palakkad-an’s dream of , we just want to be the next malappuram the fast developing Shanghai to the north .
why is our district the most backward ?. is having a 70 hindu population the reason? or is it that we are supposed to be always the picture perfect valluvanadan villages for the mollywood? what ever the reason , we the people of the district are the only ones to be blamed.
yes i am envious of malappuram , envious of the pace at which they have rushed past the economic stagnation of the 80s , envious of the kind of leaders they elect and the say they have on the way the state is run. the infrastructure development is astonishing, almost all the major roads are rubberized and broad , they have some of the best hospitals in the state , shopping malls and hangouts are world class . you have MLA s fighting to better the achievements of their predecessors , ministers promising medical colleges , political parties fighting for the ‘right number’ of ministers. wow…
your neighbour to the south , us , we are proud of being the largest district( by area) , for being the hottest region and many other trivial stuff , and ya for being the most illiterate district and the one with the worst sslc results. our leaders don’t care and we care less, hence we elect anyone who runs on the “party ” ticket . green or white we will always vote red , hence we shornurites voted a lady whose track record as sreekrishnapuram MLA was shameful with huge majority . yes it is true that we don’t have the “vote bank” or the gulf ” black money” but at least we could elect someone capable , can’t we? . iam not a communist hater or a congressman , i still believe that the best MLA kerala has ever seen is mr v.sasikumar of perinthalmanna , but the cpm in our district always field weak candidates , congress is no exception but mr c.p mohammed of pattambi is a clear exception.
the infrastructure in the district is dismal , we are in dire need of a good hospital ,the two major railway stations urgently need a face lift . education sector needs critical attention , we cannot afford to be the worst in this knowledge era . protests wont work , actions needs to be taken , if not we will always remain the laughing stock of kerala.
our valluvanad was one of the final frontiers for western civilization. A land of immense beauty inhabited by people with unique traditions and practices which could at best be categorised as animism . Hinduism which used to be practiced here identified itself more with the plethora of indigenous beliefs than with the Vedas. Though Tippu Sultan’s invasion and the subsequent British rule did expose us to the world outside , we remained in our small universe happy and content for a much longer period. Hence till the 1970s most of this region was relatively untouched by the seeds of modernity unlike the rest of Kerala . This helped us preserve our Tharavads , pambin kavus, the tradition of velichapad at bhagavathy kavus and of course the rich mythological universe of our ancestors . One of the integral part of this mythology is the supernatural world inhabited by Odiyans and practitioners of Odiyanseva .
Odiyans were the professional assassins (yes!) hired by landowning nair/ ezhava families to kill members of rival clans without leaving any evidence that could link them to the murder . Being an agrarian society most of these rivalries were based on land disputes or succession related issues .The Odiyans hailed from the untouchable castes like the panars,pulayars or the choklears who were also the family serfs. They were well known for their physical stamina and was often feared for their patronage of powerful tribal deities . It was believed that DURMANTRAVATAM (worship of these gods) gave them powers which could be matched only by a seasoned MANTRIKAN (powerful magicians) and hence could be used against lesser mortals.
According to the folklore , the odiyan used to apply an oil obtained from killed human fetus on their ear lobes , which gave them powers to assume forms or shapes that they desired to be . In reality they never changed into the objects they intended to be, but created a sensory illusion on their prey making them more vulnerable to a mortal blow. For example the Odiyan would assume the shape of a bull or a cat or even a granite rock and stood on the route that the victim routinely uses at night .As the prey approached this unfamiliar sight on a familiar terrain he would at first be amused and would try to remove it from the path. Seeing his target getting closer the Odiyan would transform instantly into his human form , overpowering and killing the prey instantly.
The question that may pop up is , why go to such lengths to kill someone if he could be stabbed or shot at plain sight ?. The reasons according to my grandmother were :
1.Most of the able bodied men at the time had kalari training from a young age hence it would have been difficult to over power them other than through a ruse.
2. The operations were covert so the people who arranged the assassin did not want themselves to get involved in the mess.
3. Odiyans were experts in disposing off their victims , leaving no trace .
The tactic used to over power the victims was the element of surprise . The forms the Odiyans took were abnormal .For example the bull that appeared in front of you might be a three-legged one or a tailless one which could amuse the onlooker . This gives the odiyan enough time to mount an attack and kill the prey as it approached .
These abnormalities could also be their undoing . A seasoned mantrikan or a Tharavad elder could easily recognize these anomalies and act accordingly to uncover the bluff. There is a story about a well known mantrikan who was returning home at night when he encountered two bulls . Realizing the trap , he pronounced some spells to counter the odi vidya and to overpower the odiyan’s charm . Then he tied the two bulls together and took them to a riverine nearby and washed their ears . With the oil washed off they retook their human forms and begged the mantrikan for forgiveness which was eventually granted.
The illusionary power of odiyan comes from the oil they apply on their earlobes . It is said to have been derived from the amniotic fluid of an unborn human fetus which was killed in the womb. Their targets were young women in their first pregnancy. During the day time while at work as the serf they would identify their victim and mark her off with a sign which was inscribed on the walls of the tharavad . At night , the pulaya or pana would return as odiyan and using his spells make the woman walk unconsciously in her sleep to a predetermined spot where he would be waiting . The woman’s womb would be surgically opened with sharpened knifes made of bamboo and the fetus taken out . The fetus is then hung from a bamboo pole to harvest the fluid while the woman walked back home to her room where she would eventually bleed to death.The amount of oil obtained from one child would be too little ,may be a few drops ,but it could last for a handful of odi tricks.
The history of Malabar is obscure before the advent of the British . The odiyan belief could have its roots in the tamilakam period of Kerala history when tribal practices played a major part in religious beliefs of the people. Sangam literature talks about a magical force that resides in all objects – living or non living called ANANKU . The panans and parayas (who were the untouchables then too) were enthrusted with rites and rituals to appease the ananku . A person with uncontained ananku was considered powerful , making the guardians of ananku dreaded beings . The concept of odiyan taking up different forms could be attributed to the presence of ananku in all beings. Like many of the sangam traditions ananku might have metamorphised into the odiyan tradition over time. But unlike most of the tamil practices which became part of vedic religion it remained in the fringes , away from brahmanical strong holds hidden in the foothills of western ghats.
what happened to them ?
Even today Valluvanad believes in Odiyans and their magical powers with many mysterious deaths still being attributed to odiyan seva ( latest case being reported last month) . But , With the advent of modern education and westernised lifestyles coupled with the social emancipation of panars and pulayars there are no takers for the job these days. More over their patrons found new ways to settle disputes thanks to the robust judicial system , forcing the odiyan seva to die out over a period of few decades without revealing many of their secrets like many other Indian traditions.
If you are interested in knowing more about the institution of velichapad press on the link below
valluvanad was one of the early administrative divisions of the Chera kingdom.It once stretched from the Arabian sea to the attapadi hills and from nila up to melattur.The area passed through various hands including Samuthiri and Tippu sultan,intermingled with years of self-rule. Under the British most of the region came under valluvanad taluk of Madras state.Post independence and with the subsequent creation of the Malappuram district the region was split up among the Palakkad,Malappuram and Thrissur districts.
A new district of valluvanad could be carved out of these district owing to the following reasons:
1 The immense size of palakkad district.To get to palakkad one has to travel nearly 70km from the western most parts of the Pattambi taluk.
2 Malappuram district is the most populated one in the state with 4 million people residing there.
3 cultural similarity of Ottapalam,Pattambi,Perinthalmanna and Mannarkkad taluks and their differences with the rest of palakkad district.
4 The old ottapalam taluk in itself had a population higher than wayanad district,and the interesting fact is that nearly 40% of palakkad district resides there . But this region is far away from the district hq and most of the people depend on Thrissur , which is nearer.
The proposed district of valluvanad should consist of – ottapalam,perinthalmanna and mannarkkad taluks, together with parts of Thalapally taluk of Thrissur and parts of Ponnani taluk. The proposed district would have a population of over 20 lakhs and will be financially viable as the region has many important towns like
Which are all muncipalities
The district headquarters could be either at Perinthalmanna or Ottapalam .Though Ottapalam has better infrastructure including a kendriya vidyalaya ,central government institutions and a railway station Perinthalmanna eclipses it by its sheer size.
The mannarkkad taluk must be partitioned so that attapady region remains with the palakkad district and the subsequent creation of an attapadi taluk, could bring development to the tribal region.The border regions of Thalapally taluk like Thiruvilluwamala and Cheruthuruthy due to their cultural affliction to the adjacent areas of Valluvanad.
The bifurcation of Malappuram and Palakkad districts is the only way forward as malappuram’s population explodes and palakkad remains far away from its more populous areas.
it was one of the largest towns in kerala during the British times,a railway terminus that connected Malabar with travancore and kochi ,the “MANCHESTER” of kerala .now, 60 years after independence, half a century from its hay days what we see is a town trapped in the aura of another age.near by places which were villages when it was a town have now grown into towns and it have become a village.the growth of this town never took off in the post liberalization era ,at the same time the industrial sector declined . what remained of its past glory was the railway station which went into decline with the establishment of the line bye passing the station.
the thing i like about this valluvanadan town is its laid back nature,it is never crowded like PATTAMBI or OTTAPALAM . the NILA now a stream still have its beauty.standing over the old KOCHI BRIDGE on a November or December evening seeing the sunset makes you yearn for the times when time flowed at a slower pace.the old kochi bridge (now closed) is far from architectural wonder but blends with beauty of the scene.the pump house with its rustic feel and the trees swaying in the wind makes the view more pleasurable.
down the road is the RAILWAY BRIDGE which provides you a glance into the past glory when the steel highways meant more for the place.the railway station which got a face lift recently still have the architectural touches of the RAJ,its tiled roofs have stood the test of time .on the other side of the tracks is the old railway maintenance shed.it used to be the workshop for steam engines and was the main employer in these parts.a few meters south east from there is the old railway platform which was in use when shornur was cherumannur.
the main town markedly lack any modern buildings which have come to define valluvanadan towns of 21st century. two storied tilled shops which are a rarity these days fill up the town.the bus stand one of the first of its kind in the region stands tall at the heart of the town.the shornur sbi building is another important land mark.st Theressa’s convent school one of the prestigious in the region is again like the rest of the town,reminder of the past.the MAYILVAHANAM workshops for green,red buses line the road towards the north of the city.most of the old buses with their rusted body tells the tale when they were the only mode of valluvanadan transport.
shornur will be the only town in kerala where forest cover is so visible.whether it be near the METAL INDUSTRIES or the polytechnic. KULAPPULY may be called the new shornur as it has slowly transformed itself from a bus stop on way to shornur into a small town in its own terms.the new bus stand ,built with high expectations never delivered.(you still have to run behind palakkad buses in rains).i don’t like the new buildings coming up there which eclipse the beauty of the place.it seems kulappuly is slowly transforming itself into its brother up north-cherpulassery whose general plan makes no sense.
a drive on the state highway whether onto the palakkad side or the pattambi side is scenic especially near the sanjeevani hospital.
shornur can be made into a tourist attraction mainly for domestic tourists who would like to get the feel of their childhood days.