Nedumkunnam — village — Coordinates Coordinates: Country India State Kerala District(s) Kottayam Population 22,505 (2001[update]) Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Nedumkunnam (നെടുംകുന്നം in Malayalam) is a picturesque Kerala (India) village, located about 16 km East of Changanacherry on Changanacherry-Manimala Road, in Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It is 3 km East of Karukachal towards Manimala/Cheruvally. Literally, it is the 'land of hills', being on the hilly terrain. It is the gateway between the High Ranges and the Kuttanad plains in Central Kerala. It was the centre of trade and commerce in the area for nearly two centuries. Earlier it included lands up to Champakara in the North to Vaipur in the South, Karukachal in the West and Kanam/Kangazha Pathanadu in the East.
It is fast becoming a centre of education in Central Kerala. The taluk (local government) headquarters is located in Changanacherry and the District headquarters in Kottayam. Local people mostly work as farmers, cultivating cash crops such as rubber and black pepper, and food crops such as cassava and plantain.The village is also a good base for trekking through picturesque hills in the local area. Some of the places worth visiting for sight-seeing are Mulamala, Chathanpara, Puliyalackalpara and Nilampodinja.
Nearby places include Punnavely, Pathanadu, Karukachal, Vellavoor, Mallappally, Kangazha, Kanam (Kerala), Champakara, Vaipur, Noorommavu, Nedumanny, Mulayanveli etc.
Nearest Railway stations: Kottayam (23 km) or Changanacherry (16 km)
Nearest Airport is Cochin Airport (Nedumbasserry)- 75 km
Nedumkunnam can be reached by road from Changanacherry or Kottayam. See the Kottayam District map for details.
According to Government of India Census 2001 statistics, population statistics for Nedumkunnam village are as given below:
No of Households: 5,040
Total number of persons: 22,505
Males: 10,911 Females: 11,594
The following are the average numbers for Kottayam District. Specific numbers for Nedumkunnam Village are yet to be obtained.
The literacy rate for Kottayam District is 95%. The population distribution is 50% Hindus, 45% Christians and 5% Muslims.
Nedumkunnam has always upheld secular traditions and Nedumkunnam is a model for perfect harmony between various religious groups, castes and creeds.
The Nedumkunnam Bhagavati Temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. The word 'Kavunnada' is derived from the words 'Kavu' and 'Nada' both related to the temple. The Nampoothiris of Edamana Illam of Nedumkunnam, trace their ancestry to the 237 Tulu Brahmin families, who were brought in 1617 AD (792 ME) by Kolathiri Raja Udayavarman and got settled in five desams in Perinchallur (Read:Sagara Dwijans of Kerala, Namboothiri Websites Trust). Later, the then Travancore Raja brought 185 of these Saagara families to Thiruvalla. They are generally called Thiruvalladesi Embraanthiris. All of them follow the customs of Namboothiris.
Nedumkunnam's ancient historical status is indicated by its geographical proximity and easy accessibiliy using waterways (River Manimala) or the road, to the ancient towns or ports of Niranam, Kaviyoor, Tiruvalla, Changanassery, Kottayam and Alappuzha. Vaipur on River Manimala had Christian settlements from the thirteenth century and must have been a center of timber trade using timber from the forests of Nedumkunnam, Manimala, etc.
The Chathanatt (Panicker) tharavad is believed to have originally owned the land comprising Nedumkunnam. This is not to dispute the fact that the native tribals (the Pulayas and the Arrayans) were inhabitants of the forest land. The Chathanatt kudumbom was reportedly, related to the Thekkumkur royal family (that had its headquarters in Kottayam and Changanassery). When Marthanda Varma Maharajah annexed Thekkumkur in 1750 AD, Nedumkunnam became part of the Travancore kingdom.
Towards the latter half of the eighteenth century, people started settling in Nedumkunnam. They cleared the forest areas and started cultivating various highland produce, such as tapioca, coconut, black pepper, coffee, arecanut, ginger, etc. Trade in timber from the forests and the spices, increased.
The Mukkattu Syrian Christian family monopolized the spice and timber trade. They stayed near the temple. The Christians who were considered high caste, because of their merchant status, according to tradition, had to purify with their touch, the oil and the butter or cream, used in the local Hindu temple.
Trade flourished with use of the waterways (Manimala River) from nearby Vaipur (6 km South) to the Arabian Sea Coast (Purakkad & Alappuzha). With the introduction of bullock carts, the produces were taken by land using bullock carts through the land route to Changanacherry (about 16 km to the West).
Some of the earliest Christian families, tracing their ancestry to 250 years, are the families of Thathakatt-Nechikatt (an offshoot of Edoor Tharakans of Vaipur), from whom the families of Puthiaparampil, Pandikunnel, Elavunkal and Mullankuzhy derive their present status. There are several other ancient families in Nedumkunnam like Vazheeparampil, Kumbluvelil-Cherukaramuttam, Pathalil-Kattoor, Cherusseril, Cherukara Muttom, Kandankary, Peelianickal , Pullomparampil, Alunkal, Othara, Kidithara etc. among the Syrian Christians.
About 200 years ago, the Syrian Christians who settled here built a church. The St. John Baptist Church, as per records was first built in 1803.
Prominent Hindu families include Idamana Illam (Namboodiris), Ottapurakel, Vazhuvely, Chembakassery, Prayattu, Kollamala, Valiyaveettil, Valakalil, Chathanatt, Vazhuvelil Nilakkathanam,Neduvelil etc. Aikkarathondy Vaidyan, was a famous Ayurvedic physician in Nedumkunnam. The Cherukara Muttom family also became famous as Ayurvedic physicians in Nedumkunnam.
There were a few Brahmin families in Nedumkunnam, like those from the Idmana Illam, who looked after the temple affairs. They also owned most of the land in Nilampodinja.
A few Muslim merchants (the Rowthers) contributed to the commerce and trade in Nedumkunnam. Some of the prominent Muslim families are: Chiranadayil, Theckumkattil, Veeranmala, and Thattaparampil.
Places of interest
There are several places of pilgrimage for all religions. Some of them are listed below:
- Nedumkunnam Bhagavathi temple: is said to be 600 years old. Nedumkunnam junction is also known as Kavumnada. The malayalam word Kavumnada is closely related to Shri Bhagavathi temple located at the centre of the junction.
- Shri Dharmasastha temple
- St. John the Baptist Church, Nedumkunnam
St. John the Baptist's Forane Church (Syrian Catholic), Nedumkunnam established in 1803 under the Diocese of Verapoly (now under the Changanacherry Diocese) is famous for the 'Puzhukku Nercha' on the feast of the patron Saint St. John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Jesus Christ. This feast is held on the 13th of the month of Vrischikam of Kollavarsham - Malayalam Year (November 28 or 29).
The church has patronised a number of institutions like St. John the Baptist's College of Education, St. John the Baptist's College of Special Education, St. John the Baptist's Teacher Training Institute, St. John the Baptist's Pre-primary Institute, St. John the Baptist's HSS, St. John the Baptist's CBSE School, Sanjivani Hospital for the Mentally Ill and Sanjivani Rehabilitation Centre.
Nedumkunnam Church and environs have been associated with 'Puthiaparampil Kora Sanyasi'. Kora Sanyasi and Puthenparampil Thommachen of Edathua were the first members of Franciscan Third Order (founded by Puthenparampil Thommachen). Thommachen's diaries mention about Puthenparampil Thommachen and Kora Sanyasi fasting and meditating in the wooded hills of Mulamala in the 1860s.
St.Andrew's CMS Anglican Church Chelakompu
St.Andrew's CMS Anglican Church is situated at Chelakompu. This is a Protestant church established by the missionaries of the church mission society (in short CMS)in 1857, on the day of St Andrew, 30th Nov. (Now St.Andrews day was transferred to 2nd Dec.)
The missionaries of CMS came to Calcutta first and started gospel work there.As a result of their work a diocese was established.Then their work spread to madras and there too a diocese was established.It was in July 1879, diocese of Travaccore and Cochin was established and St.Andrews CMS Anglican church became one of the churches in Travencore and Cochin Diocese (in short TC Diocese).
Before the formation of TC Diocese, St Andrews CMS Anglican Church was in existence. The Missionary named Thomas Norton came to Alleppey in 1816. A Church existed Mallapally wholly became a church of the CMS missionaries and thereafter the missionaries began their gospel work making this church as their centre place or headquarters. The downtrodden castes enjoyed freedom when they became Christians. Seeing the freedom enjoyed by the converted Christians, almost all members of the downtrodden castes at chelakompu converted to Christianity. Thus a church was Anglican church. In order to educate the converted Christians, a school was also established nearly one kilometer away from this church. This school is "CMS U.p school chelakompu". To express their gratitude to God, the faithful conduct procession (or rassa) every year on 8th vrichikom at 7 PM from the foot of this UP school to their church. Hundreds of faithfuls participate in this grand procession. This harvest festival of this church is celebrated on 8th and 9th of vrichikom.
- Nedumkunnam Juma Masjid.
- Syrian Orthodox Church in Kangazha
- Kangazha Temple in Pathanad, Kangazha
- St.John's Marthoma Syrian church Chelacompu.
- The St. John Baptist College of Education
- SJB College of Special Education
- P G M College, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- Theophilus College of Nursing, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- Government Higher Secondary school
- The St. John Baptist Higher Secondary school
- St. John's C.B.S.E school
- St .Alphonsa's U.P School Nedumanny
- St. Theresas's Girls High School
- Baselios Higher Secondary School, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- CMS LP School, Nilampodinja
- CSI LP School, Kunnikadu
- Industrial Training Center and Vincentian Ashram, Myladi, Nedumkunnam
- Bharath Sevak Samaj computer college, Gadha tower Opp SBT, Nedumkunnam
- P Geevarghese School of Nursing, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
- School of Laboratory Technology MGDM Hospital, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam.
Hospitals and Medical Education Centres
MGDM Hospital Devagiri Kangazha Kottayam is within 2 km of Nedumkunnam town and is a huge hospital complex with a number of medical education institutions. P G M College, Devagiri, Kangazha, Kottayam is a new liberal arts and science college in Devagiri, Kangazha, within the MGDM Hospital complex.
There is also a unit of Kerala Khadi and village industries located at a distance of 1.5 km from the junction.
Nedumkunnam's culture and prosperity can also be attributed to its Public Library (the Gandhi Smarak Public Library), which continues to spread knowledge and education, particularly among the village youth.
Social Service Institutions
The following are some of the social service institutions that are run under the auspices of the Changanacherry Diocese of the Roman Syrian Catholic Church:
- 1. Sanjeevani Rehabilitation Centre for Mentally Disadvantaged, Nedumkunnam,
- 2. Mother Theresa Home (For Women)
- 3. Sanjeevani Sneha Sadan (For Men)
- 4. Sanjeevani Clinic
Nedumkunnam Chanda, the open air market, and three prominent stores (Puthiaparampil Devasia, Pullomparampil Koshy John and Koshy Mathai) functioning in the 1930s played key roles in the development of Nedumkunnam as a commercial center. All these stores were closed by 1990 and their place is taken over by several stores. Prominent among them are the Elappumkal Stores, Kidithara Stores, Vazhiplackal Stores, several jewellery shops, rubber marketing society and several rubber merchants and Panicker's hardware stores. The Panicker's Stores, have also been functioning in Nedumkunnam for a long time.
Several banks are also now functioning in Nedumkunnam, such as State Bank of Travancore, Federal Bank and Cooperative Bank. Earlier Nedumkunnam had its own share of money lenders. Chit Funds later became popular as the common man's savings fund and financing channel.
Prominent Personalities from Nedumkunnam There are many from Nedumkunnam who have reached professional heights and achieved glory in their own way. Only a few are mentioned here. You are welcome to add to this list. These and many other proud sons of Nedumkunnam soil, known and unknown, are beacons of light for generations to come: Legacy of Older Generations Peedikayil Kuriala Chacko was one of the pioneering merchants of Nedumkunnam. His son Kuriala Ouseph Peedikayil (known as Peedikayil Ouseppachen or Peedikayil Achen) was also known as 'Nair Mappila' because of his close nexus with the Nairs of Nedumkunnam. He was close to Mannath Padmanabhan and assisted Mannath Padmanabhan in establishing the NSS School in Karukachal. He supplied the timber required for building the school. Kuriala Ouseph also supervised the building of the new Church in Nedumkunnam. He also helped Sr. Thoppil in building the Carmelite Convent in Nedumkunnam. He had two sons, Adv. P. J. Kuriakose, Peedikayil and P.J.John Peedikayil. Adv P. K. Joseph, a prominent leader of now defunct KTP (founded by Fr.Vadakkan) and Mathew John Peedikayil, Panchayat President are his grandsons
P.T.Chacko, BABL former Home Minister, Kerala was a well known orator and astute politician and was respected for his political leadership particularly during the Liberation Struggle (Vimochana Samaram). His son P C Thomas, MP and former Union Minister of State, is also well respected as a political leader. P.T.Devasia, Puthiaparampil, one of the earliest entrepreneurs and merchants of Nedumkunnam. He took leadership in cultural activities by arranging drama shows in the 1930s. These drama shows helped to promote a unique Nedumkunnam culture uniting all castes and creeds. M. O. Joseph Nedumkunnam, journalist and author of many books including 'Thachil Mathu Tharakan' and 'Kerala Sabhatharanagal' Prof. K.E.Job Kattoor, educationist Prof. K.J.John Kattoor, taught in SB College, Changanacherry and contributed to the development of Nedumkunnam in various ways. P.Geevarghese, founder of the MGDM Hospital, Manohar Trust and Educational Institutions in Kangazha. (Though he was not from Nedumkunnam, he spent a number of years developing Kangazha and the MGDM Hospital complex and the various educational institutions that stand as eloquent testimony to his vision and leadership) Fr. Joseph Puthiaparampil BA, author, has documented many aspects of the history of Nedumkunnam in his autobiography “Parathikal Illatha Jeevitham” P.J.John Peedikayil, B.A.L.T, was an educator, a popular Panchayath President who remained as Panchayat President for 20 years. He was also co-founder of Nedumkunnam Library along with VG Bhaskaran Nair and others, P.S.John BABL, AICC member and former DCC President.
K.S.John, Kattoor, educator and cooperator, was Headmaster of Muslim High School, Kangazha and was founder and headmaster of St. John's English Medium School. He was co-founder and president of Cooperative Society, Nedumkunnam and President and Member of Kerala Government Housing Corporation. Bishop Rev. Dr. Vattappara Stephen (of CMS) of Chelakompu.
Prof. K.J.Cyriac, Kumpiluvelil, taught in Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Ernakulam. He was a well known educator and writer. V.G.Bhaskaran Nair BALT, Valiyaveetil, was Headmaster of NSS High School, Chirakkadavu. VGB along with K.N.Panicker pioneered the Kerala Library Movement. PRESENT GENERATION 1. Prof. Dr.PJ Ouseph Pullomparampil, Ph.D., Physicist, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA 2. Prof. Dr. PKC Pillai, Ph.D. Physicist, IIT, Delhi 3. V.R.Bhaskaran, of the Marxist Party 4. Bishop Rev. Dr.Joseph Pathalil, Bishop of Udaipur 5. Fr. Aloysius Puthiaparampil CMI, former Principal of Moolamattom College 6. Nedumkunnam Gopalakrishnan, journalist, State Encyclopaedic Publications 7. Prof J. Kattoor, educationist, poet, former Member of Kerala Public Service Commission 8. Mathew John, IPS, Retd DGP/Tripura, Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau 9. Advocate G. Raman Nair, Chairman, Devaswom Board 10. Prof. Fr. Chacko Puthiaparampil, Mangalappuzha Seminary, Aluva is the son of P.J.Mammen Puthiaparampil, who was one of the earliest entrepreneurs of Nedumkunnam, having started the Puthiaparampil Oil Mills. Mr P J Mammen died at the age of 99. He also was Headmaster of the Sunday School and was a Catechism teacher for 65 years. 11. Bishop Rev. Dr.K G Daniel (of CSI East Kerala Diocese, Melukavu) spent his boyhood and College days in Nedumkunnam. 12. Rev. Dr.Jacob Thomas (of CSI Church, Dean of United Theological College, Pune, a well known evangelist, educated in Oxford and Harvard Universities) 13. Philip John Kattoor, CEO, UshusTech, TechnoPark, Thiruvanthapuram. 14. Dr. K.G.Balakrishnan, Principal, Govt. Engineering College, Chengannur (Nellipuzha Madom, Nedumkunnam). 15. Mr O.P.Mathew, Othara is one of the most lovable teachers one could ever have. He is also recipient of the National Teacher's Award. 16. Dr.Thomas Isac, Vadakedathu noted cancer research scientist, Roswell Park Cancer research Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA. 17. Er.E.C.John,Elappunkal Retd Dy Chief Engineer of Kerala State Elecricity Board was the recipient of the St.Berchmans'gold medal in 1952 pioneered the electrification of the village. 18. K.V Joseph (also know as Appachan sir) BALT, Kattoor, Retd Maths teacher of the St. John's Baptist school. Many of his students are at high posts in various fields 19. Prof K.P Job MSc, Kattoor, Retd professor of St.Berchman's college, Changanacherry. He had actively participated in various social service activities conducted by the college, including a housing scheme in 1986, for the underprivileged. 20. Dr Baby Chacko, Elappunkal, Retd professor of St.Berchman's college Changanacherry, Nedumkunnam Panchayat vice-president. 21. Sojan Scaria, Elappunkal, Entrepreneur of Elappunkal Hardwares Nedumkunnam. the twentieth century, there were around 120 families in Nedumkunnam. Half of these families were the Harijans or natives.
Literature, Art, Sports & Culture
Over the centuries, Nedumkunnam has evolved a unique culture which is a blend of spirituality, humanism, and art blending with social and political life in the village. This culture has united Nedumkunnam folks irrespective of caste, creed or politics. Dramas have been a regular feature of Church festivals, Temple festivals and School Anniversaries. P.T.Devasia Puthiaparampil used to organize and stage dramas, in olden times and he himself used to act in those dramas. Nedumkunnam Joseph (Kandankeril) achieved fame as an actor in dramas and films. John Abraham (a migrant to Nedumkunnam from Kottayam) achieved renown as a film director. His film 'Agraharathil Kazhutha' was acclaimed for its artistic brilliance. Unfortunately his early passing away in Chennai, resulting from an accident, was a loss to Nedumkunnam and to the film world.
Nedumkunnam has also produced a number of brilliant writers and journalists. M.O.Joseph Nedumkunnam, used to be known in literary circles, as just 'Nedumkunnam'. He was a freedom fighter, suffered imprisonment and also was under house arrest for 2 years during the freedom struggle. He was editor of 'Sathyadeepam' for a long time. His book 'Thachil Matthoo Tharakan, on the first timber exporter from South India' received acclaim as a well researched historical literature. Advocate Josephkunju Puthiaparampil was a dedicated socialist and politician. He was DCC President of Congress-Old (Nijalingappa). He published an Evening Newspaper from Kottayam for a long time. Of the younger generation, Nedumkunnam Gopalakrishnan, joined as a journalist in Kerala Kaumudi and is currently a Senior Member of the Editorial Board of State Encyclopaedic Publications. This tradition has been followed by the new journalist Justin Pathalil known as 'Pathali', who worked with Deepika for nearly a decade and is currently the Editor of Gulf Malayalam News published from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Prof. J. Kattoor was a budding poet and some of his poems such as 'Shajahan Thadangalil' showed the brilliance of an imaginative and creative mind. Of the older generation, Prof. K.E.Job and his son Jose, started the Assisi Publishing House in Changanacherry, that has been responsible for well-known educational publications including the English-Malayalam Dictionary.
Among the artists and painters, N G Arts (started by N Gopinathan) from Karukachal, has achieved fame and renown.
The Nedumkunnam Library (Gandhi Smarak Public Library) has played a central role in the development of Nedumkunnam's unique culture, by promoting education and socialism.
CVN Kalari run by the Champakara Kuruppanmar, promoted martial arts training. Today the CVN Ayurvedic Massaging Centre in Champakara, attracts people from far and wide to the centre for ayurvedic massaging and treatment.
Sports Nedumkunnam today is well known for the All Kerala Basketball Tournament that is held annually by CYMA, Nedumkunnam. Reputed basketball teams such as KSEB, Cochin Customs, etc. take part in the tournament from all over Kerala. CYMA (Catholic Young Men's Association) has been active in promoting sports among the youth of Nedumkunnam. The tournament is held on the flood-lit basket ball courts on the grounds of the St.John Baptist High School, Nedumkunnam.
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