Ancient Political Setup

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politicalsetupBefore the British occupation, Guruvayur was a temple state. As a state it had a well defined government, law and order , army and judicial jurisdiction.As a colony of Trikkunavay , Guruvayur had certain obligations too.

 

It had to receive the permission of the parent temple to celebrate the Annual Utsavam (festival ).

The Sovereign Lord- As a temple state, its sovereignty resided in the Lord himself. All deeds and documents were drawn up in his name. The last item in the daily routine before temple closure is the reading of the Tirthola ( the sacred palm leaf ), which details the day's expenditure. The Lord has also a private account of his own. All the remuneration, unused properties etc. were credited to the Lord's account. The annual Utsavam corresponds to the annual birthday celebrations of a sovereign king. The Lord thus holds dual office - As an owner of own land of temple of Trikkunavay but also as a tenant of the temples which comes under it. Uralars- The Lord handled the functions his state through the committee of uralars (or uralans) . This committee consisted only of members elected by the yogam or assembly. Later it became hereditary. In the 17th century, there were only seven families and they were all uralars. Possibly committee of uralars consisted seven members representing seven illams of Chomana, Mallisseri, Jnelliyur, Trithala, Tathamangalam, Pillanazhi and Arimpur. Of these Mallisseri alone is extant.

Yogam- It consist of the heads of all the Namboodiri families of Guruvayur, around 72 . When the urayma became hereditary , yogam lost the selection right as well as examination of previous accounts. Yogam used to meet to consider budget and arrangements for annual festivals and poojas. It also looked after extraordinary rites of Viswabali after the renovation and consecration of the idol, attending major repairs in temples as well as hearing of the complaints and rendering the judgments.

The Meledam- As the parent settlement and apex of the order, Trikkunavay exercised a nominal control over the affairs of Guruvayur. Its consent was required for the annual festival , special worships like mandala pooja , Viswabali , renovation, installation and consecration etc. Normally its chief accountant, Kantiyur Pattar used to come with permission and supervised the ceremonies of Guruvayur.

Kantiyur Pattar- 'Pattar' in Tamil means learned Brahmin or may be taken from Pattola karyakkar (ministry of accounts). Kantiyur is a village near Mavelikkara. It is not known how Kantiyur Pattar became the hereditary accountant of Trikkunavay. The Kantiyur Pattar was one of the dignitaries who accompanied the Arattu procession. In 19th century, one Kantiyur Pattar , who was accompanying the procession was murdered. In memory of this event, an Athani was set up here and the Utsava procession comes to halt at this point and silence is made for a minute. A member of the Kantiyur family comes forward and bowing before the lord reads a palm leaf, "Namukku sankatam tirnnu" (I am consoled). After this the procession resumes in its usual style.

Pura koyma- Koyma is derived from 'ko' (means king) or 'kol' (means rod), wielder of the rod . In every big temple there were two koymas, Pura and Aka koyma. The purakoyma was concerned with all external matters like the protection of the temple and its property and the execution of the decisions of the yogam and uralars.

The Zamorins - When Punnathur became subject to the Zamorins, the latter became the Melkoyma (presiding Lord). Zamorins later became the protector of Trikkunavay and in 1757, he succeeded to become the owner of all the keezhedams of Trikkunavay including Guruvayur.

The VanneriNambidi- The Vanneri Nambidi was Punnathur's representative on the spot. His family seat was at Vanneri or Valiyankode. Later the family divided into two branches, the Kizhakke (Eastern) and Patinjare (Western) Vanneri. Kizhakke Nambidi was the elder branch and resided permanently at Guruvayur. He accompanied the Lord to Aarattukulam for Arattu and back to the temple as 'akampadi' (escort). He was the final authority on the celebration of Arattu. For the daily routines the two Nambidis sent their manushams.

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