- 12 Feb 2018
- FWD Admin
Indian Heritage Walk Festival organised by Sahapedia and YES Culture walked the walk in the city of Kochi to reminisce the legacy of the Cochin Royal Family
Words by: Roshan D
Indian Heritage Walk Festival, a month-long festival jointly organised by Sahapedia, an online encyclopaedia of Indian arts and culture and YES Culture, the cultural division of YES Global Institute. Kochi was one among the chosen 20 cities in the country, narrating the tales of its rich heritage, art, artists and much more.
The first edition of the walk kick-started through the royal streets of Tripunithura, reminiscing the legacy of the Cochin Royal Family and its contribution towards multiculturalism, public infrastructure, the national movement and conservation of traditional art forms.
The walk that saw a diverse crowd of people from different parts of the country and of different age groups was led by Balagopal, a software engineer and resident of Tripunithura, whose father is a member of the Cochin Royal Family. He talked about the important events relating the city and the Cochin Royal Family.
“Tripunithura holds a great significance in the royal history and it is important to revisit the history through these heritage walks and build a conversation around the place and of its heritage”, said Balagopal.
Leading the walk with utmost passion, he started off from the Statue Junction to Poornathrayeesa Temple telling stories about how the lives of the royal family and others in the locality revolved around the temple, of how the temple served as the city’s landmark and how the temple contributed towards the infrastructure of the city by building the railway line from Shornur to Ernakulam.
Walking through the royal streets gave rise to nostalgia and goose bumps as the stories of the throne recounted by Balagopal. Leading the walkthrough Amma Thampuran Kovilakam, which has a direct access for the Royals from the complex to the temple, he recalls the significance of Sakthan Thampuran’s childhood who was brought up at this Kovilakam by his maternal aunt after his mother’s death.
The tour then entered the Kalikkota Palace, which then served as the Royal Theatre for the members of the Cochin Royal Family. In addition to this, the palace is also the house to the portraits of the kings who ruled the Kingdom of Kochi until the independence of India. These portraits are said to be the recreation of the ones that are available at the Mattancherry Palace.
Telling the stories with great zeal, Balagopal walked us through the Thekke Kovilakam, where the members of the Cochin Royal Family are brought in after their demise and later cremated. Right next to the Kovilakam is the Edoop Palace South and Edoop Palace North, which serves as the residential complexes of the existing members of the royal family. Showing us various places nearby that once had royal significance, he walked the tour members to the Iron Bridge, which was built in 1890. He also explained how the deity of Poornethreyeesa Temple is carried on to the other side of the river during the festive times and how then (the period before the iron bridge was built) the elephants that carried the deity swam across the river.
Taking us to the sides of the old establishments of the temple, he explained to us how big the oottupura of the temple was. Though most part of the complex is demolished, the historic and royal essence still remains in the existing buildings and in the soil. The oottupura complex now serves as a storage place for firewood on the one side and on the other side, it serves as the stable for the temple elephant.
Balagopal is also the founder of Tripunithura Royal Heritage Walks and organises regular walking tours. He can be reached at @TripunithuraHeritageWalks on Facebook.