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      From Thiruvilwamala

Maddalam Venkicha Swamy

The indigenous percussion ensemble in Kerala received a scientific tone and temperament in the early decades of the 20th century under the creative guidance of a few titans. One among them was Thiruvilwawamala Venkichan Swamy (Venkateswara Iyer)

Hailing from the Thruvilwamala, Swamy became the greatest exponent of Maddalam both in Panchavadyam (temple orchestra) and Kathakali. Poet Vallathol welcomed him to Kalamandalam in the 1930's. As an exemplary teacher and peerless performer, Swamy soon became the cynosure of all eyes. He systematized the playing-culture of Maddalam in Panchavadyam and Kathakali. His contributions to the percussion ensemble of Kerala are preserved and promoted by his own distinguished discipline.



Vadakke Koottala Narayanankutty Nair (VKN)

VKN (abbreviated from his full name Vadakkke Koottala Narayanankutty Nair), (1932-2004) was a pathbreaking and celebrated Malayalam writer, noted mainly for his high-brow satire. Apart from novels, he wrote short stories and political commentaries. A native of Kerala in south India, his works are considered distinctive for their multi-layered humour, trenchant criticism of the socio-political classes and uncanny ability to twist the meanings of words contextually, thus lend a touch of magic to his language (which, at times, was English too).

VKN's works call for an attentive and informed reader who can recognise his allusions and follow his changes in language, where he shifts between English, Hindi, Malayalam and a distinctive variety of Tamil spoken by the Iyer community in Palakkad. In most cases, the use of language other than Malayalam is immediately followed by a translation (in parentheses), but these translations have little do with what they stand for in the original.

Born on April 6, 1932, in Thiruvilwamala. VKN, after completing his matriculation, joined the Malabar Devasom Board and worked there for 9 years. Like a good number of modern Malayalam writers like O.V. Vijayan, VKN spent many years in New Delhi (from 1959 to 1969) -- as an English journalist. The experiences he gained furing these years that also coincided with the nascent post-Independent India finds a recreation in one of his most heralded work, Arohanam. He entered Malayalam literature in 1955.

VKN is considered as a genius, for his knowledge in agriculture, philosophy, astrology, history, art, literature, ethnicity and sport. It merits some acquaintance with his writing style to really understand his wit. His humour comes from inverting his own language. In certain stories/narrations, the characters of the story/narration comment about the author. Malayalam critics have yet to understand him well, and a proper study about his works and style is yet to happen in the language. VKN served as vice-chairperson of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Trichur. He had also chaired the Kunchan Smarakam at Killikkurussimangalam near Ottappalam.

VKN passed away on Jan 25, 2004.



Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval

Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval (1924-2008) was a maddalam maestro who rose to prominence by his aesthetically pleasing taps on the instrument -- a vital percussion accompaniment for Kathakali, the classical dance-drama from Kerala in south India. A disciple of the legendary Venkichan Swami, he, along with chenda exponent, Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval, ushered in a new spring in the acoustics of their performing art.

A native of the temple town of Thiruvilwamala in Thrissur district, Poduval served for long as a maddalam tutor at his alma mater, Kerala Kalamandalam. His noted disciples at the institute include Paloor Achuthan Nair, Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambisan (Nambisan Kutty), Damodaran Nair, Eachara Varrier, Nelluvaya Narayanan Nair, Kalamandalam Sankara Varrier, Ramadas and Sasi.

Poduval retired from Kalamandalam in 1986. He later worked, on an off, as visiting teacher at Sadanam Kathakali Akademi (Gandhi Seva Sadan) east of Ottapalam.

Son of Ramachandra Iyer and Kunjammalu Poduvalasyar, Appukutty Poduval was trained in maddalam by Thiruvilwamala Venkichan Swamy.

Kalamadalam Gopi described Poduval as the "perfect maddalam player" Kathakali had ever seen.

"He elevated the status of maddalam on the Kathakali stage. The tonal quality of his playing and dexterity rewrote the rules of drumming. His deep knowledge of performing arts helped him create a style that gave rare effect to Kathakali acting," Gopi said.

While receiving the Pallavur Appu Marar Vadya Puraskaram from Culture Minister M.A. Baby at a function in Kalamandalam on February 8, 2007, Poduval had submitted a memorandum urging the fovernment to set up a memorial for his guru Venkichan Swamy

Poduval died on January 27, 2008.




           Famous Malayalam writer, Born at Ponnedath Aachattil House, Thiruvilwamala.          Father: P.Svirama Menon, Mother: P.A.Malathy Amma. She couldn't complete Chemical Engineering Course at Thrissur Engineering College . Husband : K.Vijaygopal. Sons : Vibath, Darshan. Got Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1993 for Manjile Pakshi. Other works are Idivalinte Thengal, Velichangalude Thaalam ( in association with her brother P.A.Divakaran)




Thiruvilwamala Hari Govindan

A famous performer in 'Idakkya'. Renowned  'Idakkya' maestro in Kerala & abroad. He is being invited to most of the Temple festivals nationally. He lives at the East Nada of Sri Vilwadrinathan Temple  with a busy schedule.



Padmakumar IPS

 Mr.Padmakumar is currently holding the post of INSPECTOR GENERAL (I.G)-kerala police. He hails from the Madappully family,Thiruvilwamala. His father is (late) Prof.Rajendran Nair and mother Mrs.Thankam Rajendran. He had his education at GHS Pazhayannur and NSS college Ottappalam. He belongs to the 1989 I.P.S batch. His various postings include that of A.S.P Alapuzha, S.P Kannur, Kasaragod, Calicut (rural), Commissioner of police Calicut & Thiruvananthapuram, Principal-police training college, DIG central range (Ernakulam), I.G Human Rights Commission, I.G Intelligence & Crime Branch. Also, he is a well known figure in various talk shows and discussions in the visual media. He got honoured with the president's police medal in the year 2007.


Mahakavi P.Kunjiraman Nair

P. Kunhiraman Nair (1906-1978) was a renowned Malayalam poet whose works romanticized the natural beauty of his home state of Kerala in south India and juxtaposed it with the hard realities of his life and times. He stayed in Thiruvilwamala for many years

Born at Bellikoth near Kanhangad of north Malabar, P., as he as simply known (by his initial), led a Bohemian lifestyle, wandering across Kerala, living in several of its places, meeting their people and making them part of his life and literature. He worked as a school teacher, having taught at Koodali near Kannur and Kollengode in Palakkad district.

Poetry formed his main genre of work (it isn't exactly known how many poems he penned during his half-a-decade career as many are irretrievably lost), though he has also penned stories, articles and a few plays. His autobiography, 'Kaviyude Kaalpaadukal' (The Footmarks of a Poet), is one of the celebrated works in prose in Malayalam.

The central Kerala belt of Valluvanad, known for its scenic charm and cultural vibrancy, worked as a major source of inspiration for the poet, who lived there for long -- partly as a family man. His works are also dotted with metaphors from Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of his region.

Kunhiraman Nair was an award winner of both the Kerala Sahithya Akademi and the Central Sahitya Akademi.

Also proficient in Sanskrit, Kunhiraman Nair initially worked at a printing press in Thrissur for a few years. Later, he published a newspaper from Kannur, before taking to teaching job and gaining name as 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among children. He retired from service in 1961. A sudden bout of illness claimed his life on May 27, 1978, when the poet as staying in a rest house in Thiruvananthapuram.


        Around Thiruvilwamala

Kalakkathu Kunjan Nambiar

Kunchan Nambiar had spent his early childhood at Killikkurussimangalam( Near Thiruvilwamala), his boyhood at Kudamaloor and his youth at Ambalappuzha. Scholars like Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar have the opinion that he and the Sanskrit poet Rama Pānivāda are the same. ( Pānivāda means Nambiar in Sanskrit ). In 1748 he moved to Thiruvananthapuram, first to the court of Martanda Varma and later to the court of Kartika Tirunal Rama Varma. He had already written several of his works before leaving Ambalapuzha.

Read more on Kunchan Nambiar here....


We are trying to include more details on Chenda Kontha Swamy, Ghadam Vilwadri, Vilwadri Bhagavathar, Kalamandalam Appunni Poduval, Thakil Kesavan NairManasi, P.A.Divakaran, T.K.Nair, Mohan, Ambalapatt Vasunni Nambeeshan, Brahmasree Rama Vadhyar, etc...


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