VELICHAPPAD

One of the remnants of the pre vedic malayali heritage is the institution of Velichappad. Here in Valluvanad with its numerous Devi temples and Kavus (Sacred grooves) velichappads are ever more important to the spiritual ecosystem than anywhere else in the state . This post is about the only Velichappad i know and how he brought the Devi of our temple to life every night during the Chuttuvilakku ( an occasion when lamps are lit around the kavu premises).

Velichappads get initiated to serve the Goddess of the land on self will . It is said that the goddess would choose her representative by sending certain specific omens to him . In case of Bhaskaran Velichappad it was the Devi appearing in his dream to invite him to serve her . Our velichappad is something of an anomaly , He was born into a very wealthy Nair Tharavad and had spent most of his childhood in Rangoon. His uncle had a very good library with best books of the time , while his cousins were white collared professionals. My early memories of him are very vague , It was during mid 1990s that we moved here from Cherpulassery , so he must have been the velichappad of the Desam from the early 90s. The first thing that comes to my mind are his long locks and the sword (vaal in malayalam) which he carried with him . Once a year we would have our turn to host the chuttuvilakku and that is when I saw his fury.

In kavus like ours the vellichapad also doubles up as the temple priest , so on the evening of chuttuvilakku he would first do the regular offerings to the Devi while we lit the lamps. After the lamps are lit and the sun has set , he accompanied with an assistant would go to the temple pond to bathe and this is when his transformation into the goddess starts. He would first discard his normal clothes to wear the red pattu ( silk) , which is the color of the goddess and wear the Devi’s anklet . As he return , the ambience would have been set for his performance thanks to highly energizing percussion by the melam ( Kerala chenda performance) . The out of the world experience would be exemplified by the starry sky of the makara month ( Malayalam calendar)  and the rustling of the banyan leaves swaying in the light wind . He would first enter the kavu , take the blessing from the Devi and then pick up his sword to circumambulate the premise thrice , stopping at all the four corners to communicate with the goddess so as to make his transformation into the Devi less turbulent.

Once the Devi possess him , he would run violently like the Bhadra kali around the kavu proclaiming her utterances to everyone and blessing them. It is an extraordinary sight to watch him move about trembling in fury of the great spirit. At the end he would take a coconut and smash it over a granite carved like a snake , dissipating all our sins. Over the next hour the Velichappad would return back to him human spirit and he would place the red dress and the anklet as an offering to the mother goddess.

sadly we don’t have a desam(region) velichappad today as Bhaskaran Velichappad passed away a few years back . It is only during the pooram that we have a velichappad , who in most cases would be brought from our rival desams.

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VALLUVANAD FLYING HIGH

Though I am a bit late in posting the good news , the Angadipuram Railway over bridge is now a reality . I still remember those days when a train on the Shornur – Nilambur line used to bring chaos to NH 213 (Palakkad – Kozhikode ) with traffic jams at times extending till Perinthalmanna . But now we have a four lane road and an overbridge to ease the congestion . The person to be thanked is the Perinthalmanna MLA Mr.Manjalamkuzhi Ali for his sheer determination in making the project a reality.

Angadipuram_Junction-Perithelmanna

THEN

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NOW

The other infrastructural projects that need immediate attention in Valluvanad are :

  1. A bye pass road and a new bridge over kunthi puzha at Mannarkad.
  2. Roads to bye pass the congestion at Ottapalam and Pattambi on the Palakkad – Guruvayur road and a railway overbridge at vadanamkurussi.
  3. More buses between Mannarkad and shornur , which is the gateway to the region.
  4. A new bridge over Bharatapuzha at Pattambi.
  5. Revitalisation of Bharatapuzha station at Shornur so that the region could acess trains passing through the link line togather with the modernisation of Shornur Railway Station.
  6. Ksrtc depots at ottapalam and pattambi with sub depots at cherpulassery and shornur.

Let us hope that with the defense park at Ottapalam and the Angadipuram overbridge  valluvanad would leap forward into a brighter future.

MAYILVAHANAM

Mayilvahanam buses brings nostalgia to the hearts of every valluvanadan  .Those buses with  green , blue , red and white livery were the only ones we knew , they literally connected valluvanadan heartland with the outside world . Today as they wind up their historic journey , this is my ode to what we proudly call “our KSRTC”….

Being born in 1989 my Mayilvahanam experience started much later compared to many of my readers . My mother used to go to college in a CTS which she reminisces quiet often and the strange part is that she still remembers the names of conductors and drivers of those “circular” buses . As other means of transport were rare those employees held an important place in their lives as they took them to their destinations safe and on time. My first memories of those buses were when i used to go to my maternal home in the “Ennapadam” bus from Cherpulassery to Shornur . It was a blue / green bus that ran from Mannarkad to Thrissur and would usually be  full when we board , more people used to get in as we passed through the many stops making it tilt towards either sides violently owing to the weight  as we sped through many a narrow lanes.  Then came my school days when my mother and I used to take our morning and evening “Velichapad – Valanchery” .  It was again a blue/green bus from Ottapalam to Valanchery via Cherpulassery and pattambi . The name Velichapad was the pseudonym of its driver who according to my mother was short tempered like a valluvanadan Velichapad . If we did not get our regular bus the next was a red/white Palakkad – Guruvayur one which was so jam packed that i still have nightmares about my journeys in it. As years passed these many Mayilvahanams became part of my life . The Palakkad – Guruvayur route was their bastion , so were the many routes connecting all the major Valluvanadan towns like Cherpulassery , Ottapalam , Shornur , Pattambi ,Perinthalmanna , Mannarkad and Valanchery.  The Kozhikode buses were legendary whether it be Walayar, Kollengode or Mangalam dam , and there was the Shornur – Anakatty bus that passed Pattambi early in the morning. The strange thing is that most of these buses started from the small discreet border towns along the Kerala – Tamil nadu border like Gopalapuram or Meenakshipuram and went to Guruvayur.

Each brand of Mayilvahanam buses had their workshops at Shornur . I still remember the bus bodies being built inside those sheds with spare buses waiting for maintenance  spilling on to the main road . Like KSRTC they used to have checkers .During my college days (2010s) , he used to board the Kozhikode – Vadakenchery bus from Thootha on random days and check the tickets from the conductors ticket book . There  were spare buses and it was common for the passengers to be ferried into the spare bus at Kulappully if the main bus experienced any trouble.

As of 2017 there are only a handful of Mayilvahanams left and myself being a Mayilvahanam fan like any other Valluvanadan would deeply miss our Vahanams.

 

 

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VALLUVANAD HELP DESK

The search terms directed to my site are usually not related to any of my posts . They usually are queries about getting around Valluvanad ….. here are the answers for many of the frequently asked questions :

1. Ottapalam to Mannarkad buses

There are regular private buses in this route via Ambalapara -Thiruvazhiyode- Sreekrishnapuram or Cherpulassery-Thiruvazhiyode-Sreekrishnapuram .

2.Perinthalmanna – Palakkad early morning buses

There are round the clock KSRTC buses in this route , while private buses to my knowledge start running by 5 am

3.Reasons for backwardness of Palakkad

Its huge size , tribal population and lesser diversity in political representation (it is a CPM stronghold)

5. Cherpulassery airport –

The nearest is Calicut International airport app…60 km to north west.

6. Train timings from Angadipuram to Pattambi –

There are no direct trains  , but you could get down at Vadanamkurussi (en route Shornur ) and board a Pattambi or Guruvayur bus.

7. Chelakkara –

Though culturally similar to Valluvanad it was a part of the Kingdom of Cochin and now falls under Thalappily taluk of Thrissur district . There are no direct buses to Calicut from here . you will have to first get to ottapalam then to perinthalmanna from where there are regular buses to Calicut. There are regular train services to Calicut  from Shornur which is 13 km from Chelakkara.

8.Shornur to Palakkad bus –

There are only a few direct buses in this route . you will have to first get to Kulapully , which is the second private bus stand of Shornur , 2 km from the Railway station and  then get a palakkad bus , which are quiet frequent.

9.Hotels at Cherpulassery –

There are quiet a few , one of the star hotels is Mithilla Regency.

10. Cherpulassey – Palakkad route buses –

This is route with private buses at regular intervals with a few KSRTC buses in between via kongad.

11. Distance between cherpulassery and calicut –

85 kms .there are a few private buses  and a handful of Ksrtc buses.

12.Bakeries at Shornur –

Shornur actually is a small town , there are Nila bake houses at Kulapully and Cheruthurutty.

13. Valluvanad and Tippu –

The relation is a bit complicated.

14.Angadipuram to Palakkad train –

why ?? there are buses both Ksrtc and private every 5 minutes. If it is of utmost necessity you could get Palakkad trains from Shornur.

15.Shornur to Ooty –

First get to pattambi/cherpulassery , then to perinthalmanna – nilambur – gudallur – ooty.

16. Cherpulassey to  Mannarkkad –

The distance is about 25 kms. there are regular buses.

17. Jewellers at Shornur –

No major jewellery chains here… Thrissur is just 45 minutes away.

18. Why is shornur junction so congested with trains ? –

It is here that the main railway route in Kerala split in four directions …..to calicut , thrissur,palakkad and nilambur.

19.Cherpulassery CBSE school –

The major one is the Sabari central school.

20. Angadipuram to Kadambuzha –

There are both private and ksrtc buses to valanchery from here , then proceed to Kadambuzha,

21. Hospitals at cherpulassery –

Kerala medical college hospital ,Cooperative hospital,Shankar hospital.

22. Cherpulassey nearest railway station –

Vallapuzha , The nearest major station is Shornur , 17 km to south.

23. Buses from Shornur to Calicut –

None – train is better – Else get to Pattambi then Valanchery , from where there are direct buses to  calicut.

24. Perinthalmanna old bus stand –

It is a shopping complex now….sorry.

25.Pambin kavu –

It is a sacred groove commonly found in this region , which is thick with foliage and is considered to house serpent (gods).

26. Chirayath bus –

They have nearly many buses in the Thrissur- Ottapalam route , with a few running longer trips to cherpulassery , mannarkad and palakkad.

27. Cherpulassery – Ottapalam –

17 kms , regular private buses ply on this route.

28. Shornur to Attapadi –

nearly 80 km – There is one bus early in the morning formerly a  mayilvahanam now kavitha. otherwise get to Cherpulassry from where there are regular buses to Mannarkad and thence to Anakkaty. There are a few shornur – mannarkad direct buses too.

29.Ottapalam to Edappal –

Take a bus to Pattambi(Guruvayur limited stop) , then change over to an Edappal bus , which are frequent via kootanad or thrithala.

30.Perintalmanna – Cherpulassery –

17km , buses every 5 minute from the pattambi road junction or moulana hospital junction.

31. Calicut to Ottapalam bus timings – there are 3 buses from Calicut Bus stand  between 1 and 2 : 30 pm .

33. Angadipuram over bridge – YES…its reality now.

34 . wadakkanchery over bridge – yes , finally.

35 . Shankar hospital , Cherpulassery – It is right next to the bus stand on the pattambi road.

GETTING AROUND VALLUVANAD

Much of the search terms directed at my site are often about getting around the Valluvanad region. This article tries to answer some of those queries…

The largest town by size in the region is Perinthalmanna ; which lies on the Palakkad – Kozhikode National highway . You could get there by train via the Nilambur line from Shornur , getting down at the Angadipuram Railway station. Perinthalmanna is well connected by road to almost all the major towns of Palakkad and Malappuram Districts.  There are limited stop private buses and KSRTC Town to Town buses to Palakkad( via Mannarkad) and Kozhikode (via Malappuram) every few minutes on NH 966 . KSRTC buses to at intervals of 20 to 30 minutes connect Perinthalmanna to Thrissur. Private local buses ply at frequent intervals to Manjeri, Malappuram, Nilambur, Melattur – Karuvarakundu, Alanallur, Mannarkad , Valanchery , Kottakal ,Cherpulassery and Pattambi.There are 2 private bus stands and a KSRTC bus stand here but private buses usually bye pass them. you could get Palakkad or Mannarkad buses from near the police station ; Calicut , Nilambur,Melatur,Manjeri, Valanchery and Kottakal buses from the bus stop near KMT silks ; Pattambi and Cherpulassery buses from the bus stop near Moulana hospital. Shornur could be reached either by taking a Pattambi or Cherpulassery bus from where there are buses to Shornur .

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Ottapalam , the cultural capital of Valluvanad lies on the Kulapully – Palakkad state highway. There is a private bus stand from where you could get both private and KSRTC buses. Ksrtc buses are are mostly the ones on Palakkad- Guruvayur route. There are  private buses to Thrissur (via shornur) ; Palakkad ; Guruvayur (via Pattambi) ; Thiruvillwamala ; Mayannur ;Mannarkad and Cherpulassery . There are a few fast passenger buses in the morning to Calicut. The Ottapalam railway station falls on the Shornur – Palakkad line . Only a few express trains halt here and the nearest major railway station is the Shornur Junction station .

Pattambi lies to the west of Ottapalam and Shoranur on the Palakkad – Guruvayur route. there is a Private bus stand and a ksrtc bus stand here . Like Ottapalam KSRTC buses are few and most of them ply on the Palakkad – Guruvayur or Perinthalmanna – Thrissur route. There are private buses to Shornur, Palakkad (via ottapalam),Guruvayur (via kunnamkulam), Cherpulassery, Perinthalmanna,  Valanchery, Ponnani (via edappal)  and Pallipuram. There is a railway station at Pattambi , lying on the Shornur – Calicut line , But only a few long distance trains have halts here . The nearest major railway station is Shoranur Junction.

Shornur is the railway gateway to Valluvand. There are regular trains to most places in India from here. Sadly Shornur is poorly connected by bus to rest of the region. you could get buses to Thrissur and Ottapalam from the railway station. Shornur bus stand caters to Cherpulassery , Pattambi and Chelakkara buses . For buses to Palakkad you would have to take the Ottapalam bus from the railway station and get down at Kulapully  (2 Kms from the station) which falls on the Palakkad Guruvayur route. Buses to Perinthalmanna are rare and the best option is to take the Pattambi bus and then board a Perinthalmanna bus from there.

Cherpulassery is equidistant from Pattambi , Ottapalam , Perinthalmanna and Shornur. The place is well connected to these places by private buses . Cherpulassery private bus stand also caters to palakkad and mannarkad buses. The nearest railway station is Shornur Junction.

Mannarkad is the farthest away from  any other major Valluvanadan town. It falls on NH966 between Perinthalmanna and Palakkad. There is a KSRTC bus stand and a private bus stand  here . The town is well connected to Palakkad and Kozhikode  by regular town to town KSRTC buses and private Limited stop buses. Private bus services connect Mannarkad to Agali (Anakatty), Melattur,Perinthalmanna,Cherpulassery,Palakkad and Ottapalam. The nearest railway station is Palakkad Junction railway station.

VALLUVANAD DISTRICT 2.0

imagesyes , it finally happened. the huge ottapalam taluk was bifurcated into ottapalam and pattambi. though , it took nearly four decades for  the gods at thriruvanthapuram to heed  these humble valluvanadan souls , it was a joyous occasion for us . the next step must naturally be the creation of the valluvanad district as population of malapuram is about to touch 5 million and palakkad is huge at 5000 sq km . sadly the responsibility for this task also lies with shri C P Mohammad MLA  of pattambi , as he proved it  last week that he was the only true representative of our people. all we hope for is he coming off with flying colors in this endevour. ALL THE BEST SIR…

VALLUVANAD ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION

The response to Valluvanadan posts on this blog have been amazing , hence i was pondering on various Valluvanadan topics and when i saw those  majestic Mayilvahanam buses in their repair yard at shornur it struck me … why not them??. our region has always been the bastion of Private buses , though many of the iconic bus companies else where went extinct we still have those old names on our roads – Mayilvahanams , Karippals etc   .

The history of Valluvanad transport must start with the pioneers , The chemarikkat family of Shornur and their CTS and mayilvahanam buses . They have long distance buses to local buses all under the same brand . Almost all buses on every other route around this region was a mayilvahanam  –  whether it be green/blue , red/white , The Prakash travels , The Circular buses that circled Cherpulassery, Pattambi,Shornur and Ottapalam. Pattambi- Valancheri route and Perinthalmanna- Ottapalam route were the home turf of the green/blue buses ; prakash travels owned the mannarkad – shornur route ; on the Palakkad – Guruvayoor and the Palakkad – Kozhikode routes ran the limited stops  and fast passengers.   Though largely reduced in number mayilvahanams still run on the Palakkad – Guruvayoor route with new liveries and modern Karur bodies.

A trip to Thrissur was about Maya , Karippal and Rajeev buses . The Ottapalam- Thrissur route was their bastion. The blue colored Karippal buses connected Ottapalam , Cherpulassery and Pattambi to Thrissur . Maya buses ran as far as Kodungallur in the south and there was even a Rajeev bus from Kodungallur to Mannarkad. Today only Karippal remains and they still run the iconic Kongad – Thrissur Sowgandhikam , which is the fastest bus in the route.The routes to Thrissur was also peppered with Balakrishna buses from Guruvayoor and Dhanalakshmi from Kodungallur.

The Palakkad Kozhikode route was synonymous with KTC buses from Kozhikode. Those red buses were the fastest in the region and were usually feared for their overtakes. KTC is long gone and Private buses have been withdrawing from the route due to tough competition from the KSRTC.

There is a lobby that constantly complain about KSRTC being a loss making enterprise and wants private buses to be taken off our roads permanently for making the Government run company profitable . The Travancore group subtly forget the fact that these private buses where the only means of transport we the people of Malabar had when KSRTC was focusing only on regions south of Thrissur. Let us hope that this pressure group which plays on public emotions not push our private bus heritage into the dust bin for their sake.