Azhvancheri Thambrakkal

Azhvancheri Thambrakkal is a feudal lords and titular heads of Brahmins in Kerala related to Sukapuram branch. Azhvancheri Thambrakkal were the supreme authority of Sukapuram branch of Brahmins, while a unhealthy rivalry prevailed in Kerala between Panniyoor and Sukapuram. The place Athavanadu itself reflects the authority of Thambrakkal. The word “A” in Malayalam stands for Azhvancheri and “tha” for Thambrakkal and “Va” for vazhum which means rule and “Nadu” for land. Azhvancheri Thambrakkal had been vested the power to coronate (Ariyittuvazhcha) Zamorian kings of Kozhikode and Travencore kings.

Maranchery in Ponnani taluk were ancestral home of Azhvancheri Thambrakkal. Zamorians of Kozhikode relocated Azhvancheri Mana to Athavanadu due to their enmity with Cochin dynasty, as Maranchery was part Cochin, an arch-rival of Zamorians. There is a common misconception among people that Azhvancheri Thambrakkal used to exercise administrative power to rule the area, but Thambrakkal was just a caretaker of Brahmanism and temples. Both Zamorians and Travencore sought advices from Thambrakkal on different matters relating to rituals and customs.


There are many sayings about the origin of Azhvancheri Thambrakkal in which story of Kulukkallur is still prevalent. Kulukkallur is a panchayath in Palakkad district between Koppam and Cherpulassery. The story says about a Namboothiri in Kulukkallur approached a rich Namboothiri to hand over his coins for a safekeeping until he returns after Kashi pilgrimage. Upon return from Kashi, Namboothiri proceeded toward the illam to collect his coins. But Namboothiri had passed away. Feeling a deep distress, Namboothiri asked fouth son of deceased Namboothiri about his coins which was entrusted to his father. Fourth son turned down saying he didn’t know about the matter. Namboothiri approached third son and asked about his coins, but answer was not positive eventhogh he confirmed that he knew the matter. Thinking his unpleasant condition, Namboothiri asked about his coins to second son, and the answer was positive. Second son informed him that the coins which was given by the Namboothiri is still in their safe custody and will give him back after finished the Pela (a mourning period ) of his father. In an intense happiness, Namboothiri finally approached the first son, and asked about the coins. Without any kind of disagree, he returned the coins. Feeling intense anger, elder son excommunicated third and fourth brothers from his community and warned second brother about sin of keeping someone else property without their consent. Deeply dissatisfied his own wrongdoing, he left for Sukapuram Brahmin settlement and attained salvation then shifted to Maranchery.

Golden cow idol

Travencore dynasty and Azhvancheri Thambrakkal had a cordial relationship and Thambrakkal had frequently visited Thiruvananthapuram through water transport. Thambrakkal was conferred supreme authority to settle disputes regarding veda and mathematics. One day, Travencore king gifted Thambrakkal a golden idol of cow and was carrying it on the way from Thiruvananthapuram. Pakkanar, one of the twelve sons of Parayipetta Panthirukulam, intercepted Thambrakkal and questioned why they were carrying a dead cow. Pakkanar was a parayan, a lower level community in caste hierarchy.  Carrying and
burying of dead animals were family labour of Parayans. Azhvancheri Thambrakkal replied that it was not a dead cow and still alive. Thambrakkal plucked green grass and splashed water drops on it. Suddenly golden cow moved to grass. Seeing this miracle, Pakkanar said to Thambrakkal that they are indeed a Thambrakkal.

In Parasurama theory, He established 64 Brahmins settlements in south western part of India between Gokarna and Kanyakumari. 32 of these settlements belonged within Kerala border and rest were in Karnataka. All settlements were formed as one unit in the beginning and later split into two major units called Panniyoor and Sukapuram. All Brahmins in Kerala have allegiance either to Panniyoor or Sukapuram.

Nethra Narayanan

Azhvancheri Thambrakkal had direct contacts with members of Parayipetta Panthirukulam on different occasions. Mezhathol Agnihotri, elder son of Parayipetta Panthirukulam, was raised by a Brahmin family. Agnihotri decided to conduct 100 yagas (a kind of fire ceremony) to attain the status of Indra ( the only one who conducted 100 yagas). Azhvancheri Thambrakkal was given the task of supervising yagas. Hearing about yagas by Agnihotri, Indran approached Mahavishnu to persuade Agnihotri to withdraw his decision to finish 100 yagas. Lord Mahavishnu appeared to Azhvancheri Thambrakkal, who were supervising yagas, and was informed to persuade Agnihotri to stop yagas and offered same status and privileges of Indra even without completing 100 yagas. Mezhathol Agnihotri completed his 99 yagas and withdrew his decision to finish 100. After seeing Lord Mahavishnu in naked eyes, subsequent Azhvancheri Thambrakkal adopted the title of Nethranarayanan which means the eyes that saw Mahavishnu.

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