Mulankunnathu Kavu Thiyyadi


One of the eight thiyyadi families is in Mulankunnathukavu which is about 10 KM north of Trichur town on the Trichur-Shornur State Highway. The thiyyadi, just behind the famous Ayyappa Temple in Mulankunnathukavu, is one temple which used to have more than one thiyyattu per day. .

The present generation at Mulankunnathukavu have dedicated themselves to this ritual art and has helped in elevation this art to the level of a classical art and also popularising the same even among foreign students.

Thiyyadi Vasudevan Nambiar (1865-1946) the grand father of the present generation, was an expert in the field of thiyyattu. He was a maddalam artist also.

Thiyyadi Neelakantan Nambiar( 1913-1988) father of the present generation was an alround performer of thiyyattu, specialised in kalam and pattu. Thiyyattu was a life-breath than a means of living for him. He held the prestigious Mulankunnathukavu adiyanthiram with more than one thiyyattu per day for 60-65 years. He was an ilathalam artiste also.

Present Generation

The present generation of Mulankunnathukavu has five male members, all of them have been trained in Ayyappan Thiyyattu, though to varying degrees. These brothers are able to handle Thiyyattu of any dimension. Situated close to the temple, the thiyyadi members used to take active role in the rituals of the temple and thus acquired vast experience in various temple art forms. This has come handy in improving the quality of Ayyappan Thiyyattu.

Vasudevan Nambiar (Dr.T.N. Vasudevan, (Retd.) Reader, University of Calicut) the eldest of the generation is an expert singer, theorist and also handles other departments of the ritual art.

Narayanan Nambiar (Retd.Head Master) : An A-Grade Artiste of All India Radio-Thrissur can handle Ayyappan Thiyyattu of his own with specialisation in kalam, pattu and vadyam.

Neelakantan Nambiar (Retd. Manager, Corporation Bank) provides support for all the items of Thiyyattu and is a good singer.

Anushtana Kalaratnam Mulankunnathukavu Thiyyadi Raman Nambiar : Raman Nambiar (Retd. Dy. Manager – BPCL-Kochi Refinery), an A-Grade Artiste of All India Radio-Thrissur, has been extensively trained in Thiyyattu and is one person who is able to handle all the depts. of thiyyattu with equal expertise. He is a well-trained performer of the marathon udayasthamana koothu that lasts more than 12 hours. Also done breaking of 12000 coconuts (pantheerayiram thengayeru) and kanalattam (wiping out three fire heaps with speedy steps) as part of Komaram many a time. He is the guru of the coming generation in the art form. He was honoured with Certificate and memento by the Kerala Kalamandalam for his life long contributions in keeping alive the rare art form of Ayyappan Thiyyattu. A recipient of the Kerala Folklore Akademi Award, he is also the winner of the first Anushtana Kalaratna puraskaram instituted by the AiranimuttomThunchan Smaraka Samithi, Thiruvananthapuram; Vanasastha Puraskaram instituted by Ayinikat Vanasastha Temple, Thrissur; Poorna Prabha Puraskaram of the Hindu Aikkavedi (given at its Third Poornaveda Puri Hindu Mahasangamam) , etc. Also received mementoes & certificates from various cultural bodies/organisations like Kendra/Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academi, Kendra Lalit Kala Academi, Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi, Thapasya, etc.

Raman Nambiar is the author of a book viz. AYYAPPAN THEEYYATTU – KALAYUM ANUSHTANAVUM – published by The State Institute of Languages, Kerala. The book, released by the Chief Minister of Kerala at a colourful function held at VJT Hall, Thiruvanandapuram, is an invaluable addition to the Kerala’s traditional arts and a complete guide to Ayyappan Thiyyattu.

With a view to preserve this rare art form, Kerala Lalithakala Academi documented three programmes of Thiyyattu in its complete form highlighting different aspects of kalams (Aswavahana Sastha-Moonurupam-valiya padma kalams), pattu & thottam, Sasthavatharam koothu (including Anukramam/Nirvahanam part of udayasthamana koothu) and komaram (also with rarely done pantheerayiram thengayeru).

Prof.Krishnan Nambiar(Retd. NSS College, Ottappalam) : An A-Grade Artiste of All India Radio-Thrissur and the youngest of the current generation can handle ayyappan thiyyattu of his own, expert in pattu, kalamezhuthu and playing chenda.

All the five have been initiated to the field by their father Mulankunnathukavu Thiyyadi Neelakantan Nambiar and and his nephew, Mulankunnathukavu Thiyyadi Sankaranarayanan Nambiar. Of them, Raman Nambiar received advanced training in sankaramohanam koothu and komaram later from Malamakkavu Thiyyadi Narayanan Nambiar (Maternal grand father), a veteran in the field of thiyyattu. Again, Raman Nambiar also received further training in udayasthamana Koothu from Mundamuka Thiyyadi Sankaran Nambiar (who was the only connecting link between the old and present generations, capable of doing the udayasthananam koothu and also winner of various awards like guruvayoorappan puraskaram, Kerala Folklore Academy Award, revathy pattathanam puraskaram, etc. and also ex-member of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy).

Next Generation

The next generation of Mulankunnathukavu thiyyadi, four viz. Neelakantan (Police Dept.), Vasudevan (Freelance Screenwriter), Narayanan (CA, Ahalya Eye Hospital) and Vishnunarayanan have already been trained extensively and have done arangettam in thiyyattu. Of the four, Vasudevan, son of Raman Nambiar, has received necessary training to perform the udayasthamana koothu.

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