Some months ago we touched upon the topic related to the ancient royalty of Palghat. We covered the Palghat Achans and the Kollengode nambis briefly. As a number of requests came in for more detail on the history of the Palghat Achans, I decided to delve a little deeper, armed with details that I had collected from a few sources.
You will now need to note that by the 18th century, there were 35 Principalities (Naads) in Malabar which are listed as: Kottayam (Malabar), Kadathanad, Kurumbranad, Tamarasseri-Wynad, North Parappanad, South Parappanad, Valluvanad, Vadamalapuram, Tenmalapuram, Kolathunad (All ruled by Samanta Kshatriyas); Polanad, Payyanad, Ramanad, Cheranad, Nedunganad, Naduvattam, Kuttanad, Chavakkad, Chetwai, Eranad, Neeleswaram, Konad, Kodikkunninad, Vettattnad, Kakkad, Beypore, Talapilli, Chirakkal, Kollamkode, Punnathur (All ruled by Samantan Nairs); Kavalapara, Kurangott, Payyurmala, Pulavai (All ruled by Moopil Nairs). We will be talking about the overlordship of three of them, in the Palghat region.
Thekke eleyachan edom
Thekke Paruvakkal edom
Akkare Paruvakkal edom
Thekke Pulikkel edom
Maruthingal Pulikkel edom
Puthal pulikkel edom
Kizhakke konikkal edom
Tharoor konikkal edom
Kavasseri konikkal edom
As is evident, only the Tharoor Konikkal edom maintained the original family name for some unknown reason. By the 19th century the northern branch had 20 families and the south seven. By 1879, the royal family count was roughly 519. They were also called the Shekhari varams or Shekari rajas.
The oldest male of the family is called the Shekhury, or first raja; the second is called Ellea Raja, the third Cavashery Raja, the fourth Talan Tamburan Raja, and the fifth Tariputamura Raja. On the death of the Shekhury, the Ellea Raja succeeds to the highest dignity, each inferior Raja gets a step, and the oldest Achun becomes Tariputamura. There are at present between one and two hundred Achuns, and each of them receives a certain proportion of the fifth of the revenue that has been granted for their support, and which amounts in all to 66,000 Viraraya Fanams a year, but one sixth part of this has been appropriated for the support of the temples. Formerly the whole was given to the head of the family; but, it having been found that he defrauded his juniors, a division was made for each, according to his rank; and every one receives his own share from the collector. (Note that this was written in 1807 and Thomas Warden then was district collector)
Every branch of the family is possessed of private estates, that are called Chericul lands; and several of them have the administration of lands belonging to temples; but in this they are too closely watched by the Namburis, to be able to make any profit. The present Skekhury Raja is a poor looking, stupid old man, and his abode and attendance are the most wretched of any thing that I have seen, belonging to a. person who claimed sovereignty. His principal house, or Coilgum, is called Hatay Toray, and stands about three miles north from the fort.
We note that during the 13th century, the Palakkad royal family had no male heir to succeed to the throne and only two Tampurattis or princesses of the royal blood remained. These princesses therefore cohabited with the chosen two of the Perumpadoppu Swarupam at the Vadakknathan temple at Trichur after some serious praying. Progeny were created and the line continued. The succession of Tarur Swarupam was thus maintained through these alliances. As compensation, the region around Kunisseri became part of Cochin, together with the Nair’s of the region. But as the tale goes on to state, this land was retaken by the Palghat rajas later.During this period the relation between the Raja of Perumpadappu and Tarur Swarupam was maintained in a cordial fashion and in the war between Zamorin of Kozhikode and the Raja of Cochin, we see that the Palakkad rajas sided with the Cochin kings.