Old political organisation
Before the British occupation, Guruvayur was a temple state. As a state it had a
well defined government, law and order maintenance, 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 Trithola ( 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.
- The Lord handled the functions his state through the committee of ooraalars (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 ooraalars. Possibly committee of ooraalars consisted seven members
representing seven illams of Chomana, Mallisseri, Jnelliyur, Trithala, Tathamangalam,
Pillanazhi and Arimpur. Of these Mallisseri alone is extent.
- 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.
- 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.
- '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.
- 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 ooraalars.
- When Punnathur became subject to the Zamurins, the latter became the Melkoyma
(presiding Lord). Zamurins later became the protector of Trikkunavay and in 1757,
he succeeded to become the owner of all the keezhedams of Trikkunavay including
The Vanneri Nambidi -
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