Mayannur of Thrissur district – Glimpses of history & Links with past
On the way to Thiruvilwaamala, from Kaayampoovam, there is a small hill road. There is a small board of Khadi Bhavan to welcome tourists to Mayannur village. Then the road opens to a wide forest. Old people say this forest was once a camp and hiding place to naxalites. Soon after South Kondaazhi, there is a scarecrow in the banana fields, as if to protect this beautiful village from bad eyes.
Mayannur/Mayanoor village is known for its mesmerizing beauty, and its beauty and green paddy fields have been captured several times for Malayalam big screen. It’s a favourite destination for many filmmakers similar to Vazhalikavu of Paikulam and Ottapalam of Palakkad. It’s a regular sight to see people belonging to film industry loitering here in search of shooting locations. Many locations and homes of this beautiful village have become a part of movies before. Loud Speaker, Puthanpanam, Chakkaramaavin Kombath, Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu and Kaaranavar are among those movies.
The major spots of Mayannur
Mayannur begins soon after Paaramelppadi. There is a small junction called Chirankara Centre, which forms the heart of the village. It’s also called Kochu Kavala locally. A banyan tree in memory of Shankar Jee of Mayannur can be spotted here. Shankar Jee, a freedom fighter was one among the four Malayalis who participated in Dhandi March 1930.
The path is narrow and Mayannur also gives the glimpses of Bharata Puzha, and a bridge that leads to Ottapalam. Though Mayannur is a part of Thrissur district, people depends on nearby Ottapalam for their daily needs. Ottapalam belongs to Palakkad district, and is only short distant from Mayannur. One can walk on foot to go for daily purchases and other essentials.
A small road passes through Cheerakuzhi canal, just before a road that leads to Mayannur Kadavu, the place which was once active with boats. If you pass through the small road near to Cheerakuzhi canal, you can get some spectacular visuals of village beauty. The vast paddy fields of this location have been used several times for film shootings.
All the residents have small bridges to connect their homes with bridge. The permission for such small bridges was granted to locals with an agreement that whenever the canal is cleaned, they need to remove the bridge and provide them sufficient help. Such removable small bridges are mostly made of either wood or metal.
Lost beauty of Bharatapuzha and newly constructed Mayannoor Bridge
Now Bharata Puzha has lost its beauty, and a part of it is filled with bushes. The river turns thirsty during hot summers. Before this Mayannur Bridge was built which connects the village with Ottapalam, people had to solely depend on boat services. Till 2011, one can witness long queues and now with the construction of new bridge, boats and long queues have disappeared. Old Kadavu is just near to new bridge. Earlier only traditional wooden boats were used. Later boats fitted with machines also came into being.
During drought seasons, sand hills arise in the midway of the river and two boats were used connecting one after the another to cross Nila river. Boats will sail only if they are filled with passengers, and passengers may soak in rain in the midway during such long waits. During nights passengers need to make noise at the river bank for a boat to sail across the river. If not found, there is no option left except to swim.
Now Nila river has only drought stories to tell. Though certain necessary steps like ‘Urukku Thadayana’ have been taken to rescue Bharatapuzha river, major areas of the river still suffer from drought.
K. N. Nambeesan opened doors for the development of this village
K. N. Nambeesan, an ardent fan of Mahatma Gandhi opened Gandhi Ashram in this village. Nambeesan and his wife Kamala Nambeesan were great followers of Gandhi principles. Seeing the undeveloped and pathetic conditions of the village, Nambeesan from Thrissur reached the village with his wife and tried their best to add new life to the village life. As a part of it, they preached Gandhi’s principles and started Gandhi Ashram as well.
Ashram was opened on February 22, 1948. It later paved way to several developments here. Nambeesan initiated many small scale industries such as Khadi clothes, soap production, weaving etc. A basic training school was started in Ashram to teach locals the essentials. Hindi language was also taught there. In each phase of growth of Mayannur Village, Nambeesan’s Gandhi Ashram also played a significant role.
When such initiatives stopped, government started an U.P. School, and Ashram also made significant contributions to fight against caste discrimination prevailed that time. Now Jawahar Navodaya is the main education institution of Mayannur, and also a higher secondary school.
Now Khadi Bhavan stands in the place of Gandhi Ashram. It was started in the year 1981. Following the financial troubles, the institution was later adopted by Khadi & Village Association. The weaving machine known as Kuppadam and the Kuppadam mund are quite famous. Currently over 100 employees work here. Just near to it is a commercial centre where Kuppadam munds are sold. Now Gandhi Ashram stays alive only in memories of old people.
S. Raman Menon Memorial Library and N. Sundara Iyyer Memorial
The central vein of Mayannur village, this library was built in memory of K. S. Raman Menon, owner of the publishing house, B. V. Books. Most recently the library celebrated its platinum jubilee. Menon has published many noted works of Ulloor and Kumaran Asan. He shared a great bond with A. R. Raja Raja Varma.
When Vinoba Bhave organized Bhoodan Movement across India, it created ripples in Kerala as well. Advocate N. Sundara Iyyer who supported this movement came forward and played a significant role as a representative of common man to get land for many land-less people. More than 25 acres of land were distributed to the poor. 40 poor families got 20 cents of land each as a part of the movement. A memorial was later constructed in his name.
Salt out Post and Kadavu – Finding place in fading memories
With the construction of new bridge, boats of Nila have also started disappearing. Before the bridge was constructed Mayannur remained isolated from the rest of the world for more than 6 months every year. The villagers solely depended on boats for transportation. Now a long bridge connects Mayannur and Ottapalam Railway office. There was a time when people used to land near the banyan tree of this river bath and Athani from buses and stand in long queues to cross the river in boats. There were two Kadavus (river banks) which connect with Ottapalam – Playkkal Kadavu and Thozhupadam Kadav. Such Kadavs and boats formed venues for locals each other, and there was a time when inhabitants of Mayannur were quite acquaints of each other. The bridge was opened to public on January 22, 2011.
There was once a Salt out Post, a check post to block the unauthorized transport of salt and tobacco from Ottapalam to Mayannur. In those days, Ottapalam was a part of Malabar, and Mayannur under the control of Kochi Kingdom.
Other major spots of Mayanoor village
Mayanoor Kavu, Kalamkandatoor Narasimha Swamy Temple, Mariyamman Kovil, Chirankara Sree Rama Temple and Moolangadu Lakshmana Temple are the major Hindu temples of Mayannur village. Manoguna Matha Church is also a centre of attraction of Mayanoor. Thanal Baalasramam and beautiful Chempoottipara near to Bharatapuzha and Gayathri Puzha are major tourist spots.
Once Kochi Rajavu take route to Thiruvilwamala through Mayannur village, and that route later came to be known by the name Kondazhi. Though this place is known for its beautiful scenery, heavy monsoons used to isolate this place from the rest of the world. But now things have changed a lot. Mayannur is also known for several theatre artists and several politicians too.
Courtesy: Mathrubhumi e-paper, Wikipedia
You can read a few more articles on some of the major tourist spots of Kerala here. Click on the images in the gallery to read