Zamorins of Calicut and the Revathy Pattathanam

Zamorin (Samoothiri;, Portuguese: Samorim, Dutch: Samorijn) of Calicut is the hereditary royal title used by the Hindu rulers of the medieval Kingdom of Calicut on Malabar Coast. The Zamorins ruled for almost six centuries, between 12th and 18th century AD based at the city of Calicut, the one of most important trading centres in South India. At the zenith in the 15th century, the kingdom covered almost all of present day northern and central regions of Kerala state. It was after the disintegration of the Later Chera Kingdom in early 12th century, the Zamorins became completely independent and became a powerful economic and naval force. They had good trade relations with the Arabs and Chinese, the primary spice traders on the Malabar Coast in the Middle Ages. The Kunhali Marakkars, the famous Muslim admirals, were the naval chiefs of the Zamorins. The Zamorins held most of the other important trading ports on the across Malabar Coast.

Zamorins empire

Historic documents and legends such as The Origin of Kerala narrate the establishment of a local ruling family at Nediyiruppu, near present-day Kondotty in Malappuram,south of Calicut by two young brothers belonging to the Nair Eradi clan. The brothers, Manikkan and Vikraman were the most trusted generals in the army of the Cheras. However, during the partition of Chera Kingdom, the king didn’t give any land to this brothers. Due to his feeling of guilt, the king later gave his personal sword and his favourite prayer conch (the sword and the conch were both broken) to his general and told him to occupy as much as land he can with all his might. So the general conquered neighboring states and created a powerful kingdom for himself. As a token of his respect to the Chera king, he adopted the logo of two crossed swords, with a broken conch in the middle and a lighted lamp above it. Historical records regarding the origin of the Zamorins of Calicut is obscure. However, its generally agreed that the Zamorins were originally the rulers of Eralnadu region of the Later Chera Kingdom (9th-12th century AD) and were known as the Eradis. Eralnadu province was situated in the northern parts of present day Malappuram district and was landlocked by the Valluvanad and Polanadu in the west. It is known that Eradis, along with other governors and chiefs, helped the Later Cheras during an attack by Western Gangas on the kingdom. This event is even now celebrated as a historical event in Chittur taluk where the fight took place. Eralandu Utaiyavar appears as signatories in the Jewish Copper plate (11th century) and the Syrian Christian Copper plate (13th century). Around the break up the Later Chera Kingdom in 11-12th century AD, several of its chieftains and governorates became independent. Eralnadu was perhaps one of these new states originated from the ruins of the Later Chera state.
M.G.S. Narayanan, another famous historian, in his book, “Calicut: The City of Truth“, states that the Eradi was in fact a favourite of the last Later Chera king as the Eradi was at the forefront of the battles with the Chola-Pandya forces to the south of his kingdom and led the army to victory. The king therefore granted him, as a mark of favor, a small tract of land on the sea-coast in addition to his hereditary possessions (Eralnadu province). This patch of wasteland is called chullikkad. The Eradis subsequently moved their capital to the coastal marshy lands and established the city of Calicut, then also called Thrivikramapuram. The Eradi later assumed the title of Samudrāthiri (“one who has the sea for his border”) and continued to rule from Calicut. The term came into use only after the 15th century, first time in the writings of Abdul Razzak. Ibn Battuta visited the country in the 14th century and refers to the rulers as Punthureshan Kunnalakkonathiri. The title Samudrāthiri was shortened to Sāmoothiri over time in common usage.
In this context we fondly and respectfully remember the late Highness Shri Mahima Ettanunni Raja who inaugurated Harivihar in 2003.Like the other Zamorins, he too was an epitome of humility and kindness.

About Revathy Pattathanam
Revathi Pattathanam which will be held on the 2nd November ,2017, is a treatise from the ancient vedas. This event first began in the 14th century at the Thali Mahadeva temple,Calicut, a legendary temple as ancient as the myth related to the formation of Kerala. The renowned Revathi Pattathanam used to be a seven days long annual congregation of scholars held under the supervision of Zamorins. This was a remarkable annual cultural and intellectual event in Kerala.
The Tali Temple is a marvel in the Kerala style of architecture. It is a remarkable blend of wood and laterite. The intricate brass-reliefs on the walls of the sanctum-sanctorum and elaborate brass carvings on the wooden roof are quite engaging. Today,Revathi Pattathanam is organized to keep alive memories of the scholars’ meet that used to be held during the reign of the Zamorins. The event culminates with the conferring of the title Bhatta along with a panakizhi (sachet of money) to the selected scholar.

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