OMALLOOR – A BRIEF HISTORY

 

At the end of the first millennium AD, a king of Cherayi dynasty fled and migrated in a place called Alamthuruthy in Kadapra near Niranam beside the river Pampa, along with his family and aids as the dependants of King Chera, forsaking his kingdome and the palace on account of the unbearable attack of the King Raja Cholan.  This king of Cherai’s descendants stayed there in four places called Vakayil , Elanjimanthra, Madipparambu, and Thulisala.  They were referred as “Sraikuru” as they showed attachments to Srai (Cherai) dynasty.

 

Around 1000 AD, these four Lords arrived in Omalloor and settled in four zones retaining their ancestral palace names.  They were:

 

ManjinikkaraVakayil

ParayanaliElanjimanthra

MullanikkaduMadipparambu

ImalyThulisala.

 

These Lords ruled Omalloor until Omalloor was conquered by King Marthandavarma of Travancore.  Though these Lords lost the governance, the King Marthandavarma retained their rights to collect land tax and allowed to entertain some other privileges.  Some of these palaces still exist, but they are now in a dilapidated condition.

 

A BEAUTIFUL NAME

During the reign of these Lords, it is believed, Omalloor got it’s name.  It was by the effort of these Lords, it is said, the Raktha Kanta Swamy temple was founded in Omalloor. While reciting the Veda Manthram (rituals) in the temple during the pujas, the Devine voice Aum reverberated incessantly in the air in Omalloor, and one would call the place “Aum-Nalla-Ooru : Omalloor” (nalla=good, ooru=land)

 

Another contention about the name is that, when compared to other places, Omalloor is a beautiful place to live in and hence called “Omal- Ooru : Omalloor” (Omal = beautiful, Ooru = land)  These two versions are recorded in the historical details written by Sri. Sakhyananda Swami, kept in Madipparambu Palace.

 

TRADE AND AGRICULTURE

Omalloor has a past, denoting excellence in agriculture and trade. Till recent days Omalloor was known as a storehouse of paddy and was known as the “Palakkad of South.” From here lorries loaded and packed with bags of a variety of processed rice sped to the distant places of Kerala from rice mills in Omalloor, which worked day and night. Long stretches of paddy fields loaded with ripe grains of paddy, ready to be harvested and fully grown banana plantain trees etc. were once attractive scenes in Omalloor.  Most of the fields now paved the way for buildings and trade centres and the remaining stands uncultivated.   (In the attempt to cultivate paddy in uncultivated field by the special project of the government, there started cultivation in Omalloor also, which resulted in a new awakening in the village.)

 

TRADE FAIR

In olden days farmers’ products and agricultural goods were brought to Omalloor for sale from the neighbouring places like Pathanamthitta, Konni and from places on the valleys of Western Ghats, and also from Tamil Nadu through Aryankavu Pass. Traders collected and transported these goods through the ferry at Kaippattoor in the river Achencovil and then through River Pamba to Niranam Harbour. When Kochi became prominent in trade and commerce, the importance of Kollam, Niranam and Kodungalloor has diminished. This resulted for a fall in Trade in Omalloor.

                     

There existed a shopping festival in Omalloor from the ancient days onwards for one month during Meenam (March 15th - April 15th). The cattle Trade Fair lasted for one week starting from 1st of Meenam. The dry paddy field and the land property on its sides were all filled with cattle brought from all parts of Kerala and also from Tamil Nadu. During the month of Meenam, goods like farmers’ products, farmers’ goods and tools, seeds and saplings of plants, products made out of bamboo and cane, wooden and steel furniture, variety of vessels made of steel, copper and brass, earthen pots, kitchen wares, cutlery, grocery, stationary, cosmetics etc were available for sale in large scale in Omalloor. People from far and near arrived then to buy goods they required for one year. To attract people to Omalloor, there conducted shows like circus, magic, dance programmes, martial art display, exhibition and a variety of entertainment programmes in temporary auditoriums built in the dry paddy field, to give the colour of a large festival in Omalloor. Though the new trend in business management of the modern age casts a shadow over the Omalloor Trade Fair, the effort of the Panchayat and the local people to regain the old prestige resulted to arise a spark of hope among the people of Omalloor.

 

ROADS

Omalloor had convenient passages even in the olden days. There were two important routes that passed through Omalloor. One was Pandalam - Sabarimala Road and the other was Aranmula - Achencovil Road which passed through the centre of Omalloor. The Aranmula - Achencovil Road was named in the Government records as “Six Feet Villies Road’’.

 

A LEGENT

The name ‘Omalloor Tharagot its name from the table land (plateau) situated in the middle of Omalloor paddy field. The ‘Pala Maram (Alstonia scholaris - a kind of tree) that stood at the west of this table land had a legend.  A bull fled from the famous southern cattle fair at Velinelloor, reached in Omalloor vayal (field).  A brave youth of Omalloor subdued and tied it in a pala maram.  Hearing the news the Lord came to the site and sold the bull in public auction. To commemorate this event a cattle trade was conducted on the first of Meenam of every year. That was the beginning of Cattle Trade Fair Festival in Omalloor, it is believed. 

 

A PICNIC SPOT

A panoramic view of the surrounding places in Omalloor is visible from a picnic spot in Omalloor.  School children used to go to this spot trekking all the way on holidays to see the sunset and the beautiful scenery around.  The location is called the ‘Vannathy para, a huge rock on a hill which has a flattened surface on the top where meetings could be held.  The tall rock was a crown for Omalloor, but the constant quarrying for the last 30 years destroyed and uprooted the rock.

 

There were many water sheds and ponds in Omalloor.  But, now, they are also missing in its place. We lost all signs that showed our old pomp.  There were inns, roadside wells and rocky platforms for head-load passengers to rest in, on the old passage sides.  It is a sad fact to notice that the two wells in the Omalloor market had been demolished by filling the garbage of the market.

 

OMALLOOR : AT A GLANCE

 

      Name of Panchayat                 :  Omalloor

 

      Panchayat HQ                          :  Omalloor

 

      Revenue Village                       :  Omalloor

 

      Block Panchayat                      :  Elanthur

 

      Block Panchayat Division       :  Omalloor, Prakkanam

 

      Taluk                                          :  Kozhencherry

 

      District                                       :  Pathanamthitta

 

      Assembly Constituency           :  Aranmula

 

      Parliament Constituency         :  Pathanamthitta.

 

      Total Area                                 :  14.54 Sq. Km.

 

      Boundaries :

                  East       :  Pathanamthitta Municipality

                  South     :  Achencoil River and Vallicodu Panchayat

                  West      :  Chenneerkkara Panchayat

                  North      :  Chenneerkkara Panchayat

 

      Population (As per last census)      :  17,540.

            Males                                            :  8272

            Females                                       :  9268

            Male Female Proportion            :  1000-1084

 

      Literacy                                              :  96%

 

WARDS : 14

  1. Cheekkanal
  2. Imali West
  3. Imali East
  4. Parayanali
  5. Mannaramala
  6. Puthenpeedika
  7. Paivallybhagam
  8. Vazhamuttam North
  9. Vazhamuttam
  10. Mullanikkadu
  11. Pannyali
  12. Attarikam
  13. Omalloor Town
  14. Manjinikkara.

 

SCHOOLS

Higher secondary school              :  Govt. HSS, Omalloor.

 

High School                                    :  ABHS, Omalloor

 

Upper Primary Schools                 :  Govt. UPS, Omalloor.

                                                            Govt. UPS, Vazhamuttam.

 

Lower Primary Schools                 :  Govt. LPS, Cheekkanal.

                                                            Govt. LPS, Attarikam.

                                                            Govt. GLPS, Manjinikkara.

                                                            MSCLPS, Puthenpeedika.

                                                            CMSLPS, Manjinikkara.

 

HOSPITALS

Govt. Ayurveda Hospital, Veda Nursing Home, Primary Health Centre.  There are a few other Homoeo clinics and Ayurvedic treatment centres also.

 

PEOPLE

People in Omalloor are generally literate, and some are in the fore-front in the cultural arena of Kerala. Film stars like Captain Raju, Late Prathapachandran, Late Omalloor Chellamma, Cartoonist Madhu Omalloor are a few names to mention.

 

TEMPLES AND CHURCHES

There are five major temples, and fifteen churches of different denominations in Omalloor.  Omalloor Sree Rakthakanta Swamy temple is a venue for temporary stay for Sabarimala pilgrims.  St. Thomas orthodox valiya pally is the oldest church in Omalloor.

 

St. Ignatius Dayara Church in Manjinikkara is a famous pilgrim centre in Kerala which is only two kilometers away from Omalloor Town.

 

FESTIVALS

Description has already been made about the Trade Fair (Vayal Vanibham) which is celebrated as a grand shopping festival in Omalloor during March-April every year. 

 

Another important festival is the ten day’s festival procession in Sri Rakthakanta Swamy Temple during April-May every year.  The splendour and pompous of the procession of the Deity over the caparisoned elephants accompanied with chenda and panchavadyam playing, and public reception on the market junction with nadaswaram play by reputed organists; and the return procession during the night in the light of many ceremonial lamps called “theevetty” and the fire works at the conclusion of each day, all lead to a nostalgic recollection to every non-resident Keralites who are connected with Omalloor village.

 

The rich show of the celebration of Christmas in the night of Christmas day is another festival in Omalloor.  The illumination and the colourful rally with pageantry by the faithful of the nearby churches in the village add a rich cultural event in Omalloor.

 

There are many arts and sports clubs which celebrate important days like Onam, Independence Day etc. to enhance communal harmony.  Let us be proud of our rich heritage and be worthy to live as a responsible citizen of India in Omalloor.

 

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