Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Touch of the Countryside

Touch of the Countryside - Coyalmannam

Kerala has always been a big draw with tourists from around the globe. In fact it is one of the most favored state tourist destinations in India. A geographic piece of land said to have been carved out of the axe of ‘Parashurama’ this God’s own country has the capacity to charge a tired soul wishing for a ‘time out’ from the din and noise of a big city.

‘Coyalmannam’is one such distinct destination located in the district of Palakkad. About 14 kms away from the city, this ‘granary of the south’ is still abound with vast stretches of paddy fields edged with coconut plantations. The name ‘Coyalmannam’ literally translates into ‘a place where Lord Krishna walked slowly holding his flute’, no wonder ‘Coyalmannam’ has its very own ‘Maruthur Krishna temple’ revered for its spiritual ethos etched in the sands of time. A serene and ambient locale, the place is replete with signs of rich religious and cultural heritage. Azhakath Shiva Temple, Vadakunathan shiva temple and Bharatpuram temple are distinct in their own rights. In fact ‘Bharatpuram’ temple dedicated to ‘Bharath’ the brother of ‘Lord Sri Rama’ is a rare temple and is one of the four such temples in South India! Apart from this a number of religious worship sites dot this green locate.

The ‘Mattuchanda’ or Cattle market of ‘Coyalmannam’ is noted for its lively and frenzy filled transactions. More than 15000 cattle are brought to a vast ‘maidan’ where auctions are held where interested buyers bid their price to lay their hands on priced cattle brought in from various parts of the state and outside. The oxen race of Erumayoor lying adjacent to Coyalmannam is also a crowd puller and is perhaps the only place in Kerala where cattle races are held.

‘Coylamannam’ is not merely a reflection of nature, it has a strong agrarian history and its people are warm, friendly and industrious. Though the population comprises of all sections and religious denominations. Distinct are the households of Nediyadath, Chedanath, Kiznaipurath, Andoor, Velliandoor etc. who inherited a Hindu Nair lineage with a marked and distinct ancestry dating back to more than 100 years!

A visit to Kerala is incomplete without a witness to awe-inspiring show of cultural wealth. Coyalmannam too has its own range of splendor and colour which are in full view during the annual Ulsavams and celebrations. ‘Kali’ or Folk dance competitions spread over 10 days is an annual affair here. People from far and wide participate in intensely orchestrated demonstration of physical dexterity and performance through dance forms which are categorized as ‘Vattakali’, ‘Porat’, ‘Malayar’, ‘Kutachakiliar’ etc.
The rich cultural heritage of the lands is also reflected through regular temple festivals, ‘Palli Perunals’ of the muslims, ‘Vishu vella’ etc.

‘Coyalmannam’ is not just a village tucked in the belly of Palakkad, it is a place from where people have spread all across the globe. If the first few decades of Independent India saw its inhabitants cross over the boundaries of the state to reach and settle in the metropolises of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai etc. the place is also noted for its batch of ‘Airforce’ guns who served the armed forces with pride. Today Coyalmannan has its sons and daughters settled in far away lands and nations who visit the place out of nostalgia and to smell the aroma of a soil they left behind decades ago.

It would not be surprising if you come across a group of Grey haired mustached senior citizens in their dhotis and hawais chatting away their lore of yesterdays in a temple courtyard and their conversation replete with references in Hindi or angelic verses, the truth would be that they have seen the world and have returned back to their lands to relive the magic of Coyalmannam!

Visit Coyalmannam – Perhaps you may settle down there forever to feel the touch of the countryside!

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