The Brahmins of Palakkad – The Palakkad Iyers

Brahmins in Palghat migrated at different times during the 14th to the 18th century, to Kerala.   They came in vis the Palghat Gap (Walayar to Pollachi) on the western Ghats or via the Shencottah Pass near Quilon.   Some did climb up the Cumbum Hills crossing over Munnar, Peermede etc. and settled in Kottayam, Haripad, Vaikom, Ambalapuzha etc.   The Agraharams south of Trivandrum such as Nagerkoil, Vadiveswaram, Sucheendram etc, already existed as Chola territory.

It should also be noted that the Kings and Chieftains of Kerala were great admirers and respecters of Brahmins, even as a caste, and more as learned and religious persons.   Their dily life routine also impressed, in fact, these have ben adopted by the Nair and other Sudra communities in Kerala.   The food habits also got influenced.   There was no alayalam language then as we now know it.   It was all Tamil, in some form or the other, all bsed on Sanskrit words.   Even to-day Malayalam is over eighty per cent Sanskrit!

The Brahmins came because of great employment opportunities in Kerala, as teachers, religious facilitators, pundits, accountants, musicians and music teachers, ministerial helpers etc.   They were encouraged to come in by allurements of free food, housing, grant of lands, cash gifts, recognition at the highest levels, titles etc.   It should be noted that Brahmins were famous as honest and reliable people,

The first batch of migrants to the Palghat region came from Trichy District and around, primarily the then Pandya Kingdom.   My own family came from Kandarmanickam Village, near Chettinadu, I think.   They settled down in Old Kalpathy, establishing the first agraharam, parallel to the Kalpathy River and close on its bank.   They were all Vadamas, worshippers of Krishna in their native village.   So, they founded the Lakshminarayana Temple in Old Kalpathy.   The next batch was mostly Brahacharanams, Vedic scholars and priests.   Their number was large and they founded the adjoining New Kalpathy Agraharam, also alongside the river bank.   This is the longest village among Agraharams, almost 180 houses.

The succeeding batches came and settled on river banks in Govindarajapuram, Vaidhyanathapuram, Chockanathapuram, Mukkai, all on the banks of the same river.   It will be seen that the availability of the river for their morning baths was an essential part of their life-routine, hence the choice of their settlement.   These villages got the same names as their original villages in Tamil Nadu and the temple dieties were also the same.   My views will be confirmed when you see the Google map of Kalpathy villages.

By the time the Pallipuram, Nurani and Tirunellai (also Sekharipuram) people migrated, there was no place available adjacent to the Kalpathy River, so they settled wherever they could.   Tirunellai people came from Tirunelveli (which is also called Thirunellai in Tamil) and chose the location of their village because of its contiguity o the Yakkara Kannadi river.   They came  to these villages from Srirangam, Conjeevaram, Srivalliputhur and other centres of Vaishnavism.   They were used to the pure Vaishnavite traditions of living, such as Namam, names of individuals, worship of dieties etc.   Basically, they are Vadama Smartha brahmins, who worship all Gods, but primarily in the Vishnu aspect.   The Thirunellai people also woprship Sankarshana, an aspect of Vishnu.   All these are external, since they “wanted to be Romans, while in Rome”.   They also owe allegiance to the Jeer in Srirangam or other Vaishnavite Acharyas .   Our Sankaracharyas are not welcome in these villages, even to-day.   Mostly, they marry only between these villages, until 50 years ago.This has changed completely, now.

Pallipuram name itself indicates, the existence of Moslem mosque, and Nurani is a Moslem name, Sekharipuram is named after Sekhari Varma, the then Chieftain of Palghat, who welcomed them as settlers.


Senior Advocate

New Kalpathy



About 1929 Viewpoint - An Octogenarians Voice - K.V.Narayanmurt

1929 Viewpoint - An Octogenarians Voice - K.V.Narayanmurt is a tribute to our father, the genius! Born in New Kalpathy (Palghat) into a traditional Hindu family, Shri. K.V. Narayanmurti went on to do a Bachelor’s degree in english literature and then went on to law school. His father was a renowned Sanskrit scholar and Josier (Astrologer) , who learnt under the Travancore Maharaja for 12 years. Under his father’s guidance Shri Narayanmurti learnt Sanskrit and at a very young age knew the verses and subtleties of Bhagavat Gita and became an admirer of Lord Shri Krishna. In fact, father and son carried on conversations/debates in Sanskrit using verses, each trying to out do the other. Shri Narayan Murti held Board level position and worked very closely with the Larsen and Tubro founders, Mr. Henning Holck-Larsen and Mr. Soren Kristian Toubro, knowing both Danes, personally. Later, he went on to work for GEC as Managing Director of their wholly-owned subsidiary Indian Transformers Limited. After retirement, Shri Narayanmurti went on to set up a legal practice in Corporate Laws. Life Membership at the Vidya Bhavan had him guiding them with starting the Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, while also being a professor at Vidya Bhavan teaching courses on Indian Culture to industrial relations. He continuously bought books on wide range of topics from Vedanta to Hindu Philosophy and had a library of over 3000 books, many of which he read and gifted to family and friends. Very knowledgeable in south Indian Classical music and an ardent fan of the greats like M.D. Ramanathan and Madurai Mani Iyer, he was very active in organizing the Festival of India Series in Cochin for a number of years. He has read and reveiwed a number of books for The India Express. A savvy investor, Narayanmurti has also has turned around many companies and businesses. He continues to be a formal and informal advisor to several industrialist and government bureaucrats heading major organizations often getting involved in resolving very complex issues in corporate laws and industrial relations. He is a seasoned negotiator and has tackled very tough/complex situations very successfully especially in the areas of labor management and unions. His performance in the law college earned him a rank and also the admiration of many professors and law students who later continued their relationship, as they became eminent jurists in the State High Courts and Supreme Courts. He has a wide network of admirers’ world over.
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