Cochin Royal Family

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Cochin Royal Family were rulers of Cochin or Kochi. They were also known as Perumpadapu Swaroopam, Kuru Swaroopam.

History

There is no historically written evidence about the emergence of the Kingdom of Cochin or the Cochin Royal Family (Perumpadapu Swaroopam). All that is recorded are folk tales and stories.

According to Keralamahatmyam (44th adhyaya), King Vishravanas's daughter Bala told Parusurama that she needed a land with her name for her to settle. In order to fulfill her wish, Parashurama created a land from sea and called it Kochi (which later became Cochin). Lord Parashurama promoted this land and invited people of every religion, caste and creed to settle there.

Another story tells that the last Perumal who ruled Kerala divided his kingdom between his nephews and his sons and got himself converted to Islam and went to Mecca for pilgrimage.

It is also told that Ramavarma Kulashekara Perumal, the last Perumal of the second Chera Dynasty, (Kulashekara Samrajyam 800 AD - 1102 AD) with its capital at Mahodayapuram divided his kingdom. Ramavarma Kulashekara Perumal's sister, who was married to a Namboothiri of Perumpadapu Illom near Ponnani, had five daughters; only the last had a son. During the last days of his reign Ramavarma Kulashekara Perumal divided his kingdom between his sons, relatives, and nobles. The kingdom which was later ruled by his sons were called Venad Swaroopam and that of his nephew was called Perumpadapu Swaroopam. Even though the matriarchal system was prevalent, the majority of his kingdom was divided among his sons and the rest only to his nephew with all the religious rights. Venad Swaroopam was bestowed the honor Kulashekaraperumal and Perumpadapu Swaroopam as Koviladhikari which is considered a proof of their political and religious practice.

Thus, in the beginning of 12th century the Kingdom Of Cochin and the Cochin Royal Family (Perumpadapu Swaroopam) came into existence. However, the political supremacy of the Perumpadapu Swaroopam started only in the 16th century.

Family

Perumpadapu Swaroopam currently has more than 1000 members. The family follows a matrilineality system. The Cochin Royal family is the largest matrilineal royal family in the world.

The eldest female member, Veliyamma Thampuran, heads the family, the most significant post.

The eldest male member of the family is Veliya Thampuran (Perumpadappu Moopil), the king.

Based on the current projections, it is predicted that the family would be in a position for adoption in the next century. In 1976, there were 719 members of the family.

Tradition of Perumpadapu Swaroopam

Traditionally Perumpadappu Moopil is considered the political head of all the brahmins in Kerala (the spiritual head being Azhvanchery Thamprakal). Their rituals and traditions are almost similar to that of the brahmins, with some exceptions like 12 days of pollution on death or birth, Veli not performed for marriages of male members, cannot do pooja yagam etc. Normally for Sandhya vandanam members recite 10 Gayathri Mantrams. Among the ruling families in Kerala, only members of Perumpadappu swaroopam traditionally had the right to serve feast to brahmins or can have food together with brahmin. This can be verifed by reading the Shaktan Thampuran story in Ayithihyamala of Kottarathil Shankunni. Every member has to do Shodasakriyakal. The term "Shodasakriyakal" refers to sixteen rites to be performed by all members, as structured through "Smruthi".

  1. Sekom (Garbhaadhaanam) : A rite to be performed just before the first sexual intercourse after marriage.
  2. Pumsavanom : To be performed just after conception.
  3. Seemantham : Performed after Pumsavanom.
  4. Jathakarmam : Performed just after birth.
  5. Naamakaranam : Christening.
  6. (Upa)nishkramanam (Vaathilpurappadu) : Involves taking the child out of the house for the first time.
  7. Choroonu : The first ceremonial intake of rice by the child.
  8. Choulam : The first hair-cut ceremony of the boy/ girl.
  9. Upanayanam : (Only for boys).
  10. Mahaanamneevrutham (Aanduvrutham) :
  11. Mahaavrutham :
  12. Upanishadvrutham :
  13. Godaanam : Rites as part of thanks-giving to the Aacharyan (priest or teacher).
  14. Samaavarthanam : A long ritual for the completion of the above said Vedic education.
  15. Marriage
  16. Agniadhaanam : A rite performed as an extension of Oupaasanam and introduction to Sroutha rites.

Deities

  • Paradevatha (goddess): Vannery Chitrakoodam,Pazhayannur Bhagavathy
  • Paradevan (god): Vishnu (Sree Poornathrayeesa)
  • Other Deities: Tiruvanchikulathappan, Chottanikkara Bagavathy, chazhur pazhayannur bhagavathy

Marriage

Traditionally the female members of the family are married only to Kerala Brahmin(Namboothiri) class and male members marry Nair and Samanthan class. But today with Namboothiris marrying within their class Perumpadappu, Swaroopam members marry from other Kshatriya class in Kerala. Traditionally the rule for marriage is females marry from same class (like thirupad) or the class above (Namboothiri) and males marry from same class (like thirupad) or Nairs.

Naming practice of male Thampuran

In the Cochin royal family, all the male Thampurans were named according to the following methodology.

From then on to till date the first three naming convention is followed. But still the name Goda Varma is followed in the root family of Cochin royal family namely Chazur Kovilakam as a the elders belong to it.

Naming practice of female Thampuran

In the Cochin royal family the female Thampurans were named according to the following methodology.

This naming convention is followed again to third daughter and fourth etc. Both the female and male members are called by the name "Thampuran" and have same last name (Thampuran). (in all other royal families in Kerala, males are called Thampuran and females Thampuratti.)

References

  • Genalogy of Cochin Royal Family - By Rameshan Thampuran