Staff Reporter

Hundreds of members of two families assemble at Nilambur and Kottakkal for annual reunion.

MALAPPURAM: Two royal families in Malappuram celebrated their annual get-together on Saturday and Sunday. When members of the Nilambur Kovilakam got together on the banks of the Chaliyar on Saturday, the descendants of Zamorin from Kottakkal Kizhakke Kovilakam celebrated their reunion on Sunday.

Hundreds of members, from all over the world, assembled in the courtyards of the Kovilakams – both in Nilambur and Kottakkal. “It is an annual pilgrimage to the ‘tharavadu' for our families, an occasion for a rare familial bonding,” said Rajendra Varma, a member of Nilambur Kovilakam. Families flew in from as far as Dar-es-Salaam. T.N. Vijayavarman Thirumulpad, the most senior member of the Nilambur Kovilakam, kicked off the celebrations by lighting a lamp. Three couples who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary were honoured on the occasion. So were those who made their mark on society. Competitions in sports and games as well as cultural programmes presented by youngsters added colour to the function.

Ramachandra Raja, the eldest member of Kizhakke Kovilakam, inaugurated the celebrations at Kottakkal. K.C. Anujathi Thampuratti, senior woman member of the family, presided. Family members presented cultural programmes after the inaugural. K.C. Vijayan Raja commemorated Manavedan Raja, the first member to graduate from Kottakkal Kovilakam. A former Collector during the British Raj, Manavedan Raja was instrumental in establishing Raja's High School at Kottakkal.

Apart from the Kizhakke Kovilakam of Kottakkal, the Zamorin family has two other branches: the Mankavu Kovilakam and the Thiruvannur Kovilakam. The eldest member of these three Kovilakams will be the Zamorin. The current Zamorin, P.K.S. Raja, belongs to Thiruvannur Kovilakam.

The 300-year-old Kottakkal Kovilakam has about 250 members. However, only five families currently live at the Kovilakam. The members of the Kovilakam family were the progeny of Sanskrit scholar and poet Manorama Thampuratti and her two brothers.