Chingacham Veedu, one of the reputed, ancient and aristocraticTharavads in Mangode desam, Puthunagaram Panchayat in PalakkadDistrict, Kerala State is over 350 years old.
The title of Chingam [ lion in Tamil] was awarded by the Pandya king to the ‘karanavar’ , the seniorof the ‘tharavad’ . for the support rendered to him for fighting the Tippu onslaught . Achan is a nomenclature indicative of the status of the person heading the family. ‘CHINGACHAM’ is derived thus from ‘CHINGAM +ACHAN’- ‘Chingacham Veedu’ or ‘Chingachan Veedu’. Veedu in Malayalam is house.
‘SRI VILAS BUNGALOW’ is over 130 years old, periodically restored andmaintained in the original style built by Chingacham Veettil Gopala Menon whoserved as a subordinate judge during the British rule in India and honoured bythe British with the title of ‘ Rao Bahadur’ in 1893. Subsequent generations werealso honoured by the British in recognition of their contributions in theirrespective professions furthering Indo-British partnerships.The bungalow in front is over 150 years old and which wasa full fledged house inthe traditional style in the days of yore. Though not predominantly Kerala style,‘SRI VILAS’ has a Chettinad touch since the masons were brought in fromMadurai in Tamilnadu, the erstwhile Pandya kingdom.
KULA DEIVAM [FAMILY DEITY :Chingacham Vettil Bhagavathi]
In 1970, the present temple was constructed for the Family deity. Tocommemorate the installation day , every year a temple festival is organized ,‘Kalasa Pooja’ in the Malayalam month of Kumbham[ Feb.-March] on Ashwatistar as per Malayalam calendar.In addition to this, Sarpa [serpent) and other deities are also housed inside thetemple, besides the Muniswaran temple [ the travellers’ protector] andViganeswara temple [ the deity to ward off obstacles] near the main temple.For the installation when the original ‘thada’ [ wooden arch ] of the deity wasreplaced, it was estimated that the ‘thada’ was nearly 400 years old which againreaffirms the ancient roots of ‘Chingachan tharavadu’. The ‘thada’ as percustom is burnt and its ashes immersed in the temple tank.The ‘ velichapadu’, the oracle visits the temple on festive occasions.
PALAKKAD-Places To Visit
Palakkad Fort:The old granite fort situated in the very heart of Palakkad town is one of the best preserved in Kerala. It was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1766. The fort was taken over and modified by the British in 1790. It is now preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Malampuzha Garden (10 km from Palakkad)This famous picnic spot which comprises a dam and beautifully landscaped gardens, is situated on thelower hills of the Western Ghats. There are frequent buses to this place from Palakkad.
Thiruvalathoor (10 km from Palakkad)The ancient temple here has some fine wood work and stone sculptures.
Dhoni (15 km from Palakkad):It takes a three hour trek from the base of the Dhoni hills to reach this reserve forest area with its small, beautiful waterfall.
Thrithala (75 km from Palakkad):This place is noted for its monuments and historic ruins. The Siva Temple and the ruins of a mud fort near Thrithala on the Chalissery road are notable cultural monuments. The Kattilmadam Temple, a small granite Buddhist monument on the Pattambi-Guruvayoor road, is of great archaeological importance. It is believed to date back to the 9th/10th century AD. The Paakkanaar memorial, honouring the Pariah saint, stands near Thrithala Koottanad road. This is also the native place of renowned writer and social reformer VT Bhattathiripad.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (110 km from Palakkad):Sprawled across 285 sq. km, the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. Boating/cruising facilities are available at the Parambikulam Reservoir. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Anappady offer accommodation. A tree house in the reserve forest area in Thoonakkadavu has to be booked in advance. The oldest teak tree, kannimari is found here.
Chittur KonganpadaVenue: Bhagavathy temple, Chittur, Palakkad DistrictLocation: Chittoor District: PalakkadKerala is a land where it is difficult to dissever culture from religion, history, legends and mythology. The renowned Chittur Konganpada is a classic example where religion is fused harmoniously with mythology and history. The festival is celebrated at the Bhagavathy temple in Chittur, about 10 km from Pudunagaram.Historically the celebrations here commemorate the victory of the Chittur Nairs (Nairs were the warrior community in Kerala) over the militia of nearby Konganadu during 918 C.E. It is said that there was constant fight in the Palakkad region between the Kerala kingdoms on the western side and the princely state of Konganadu on the eastern side of the Western Ghats.On the third day of the Konganpada festival 101 rounds of the kathina vedi (iron pipe crackers) commemorate the historic victory. Later, there is a kolam procession of little boys dressed as girls carried on the shoulders of men. At night, men engage in mock fights wearing buffalo head masks to symbolize the dead buffaloes of the Konganpada (Kongan militia).
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