URBAN GEOGRPAHY OF VALLUVANAD - Perumpilavu, Chalissery, Trithala, Palathara, Coyalmannam,...

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Transcript of URBAN GEOGRPAHY OF VALLUVANAD - Perumpilavu, Chalissery, Trithala, Palathara, Coyalmannam,...



    The discussions of the first chapter enabled us to understand the different levels of the geographical set up of the area under study. It also helps us to understand the different types of agricultural practices of the region in accordance with its geography. Agricultural growth in the hinterland, the availability of surplus, the amount of importance given to the commerce and overseas trade in the development of commodity production and exchange in the hinterland are the certain necessary pre-conditions to urban growth.1

    This type of analysis is useful in looking at the function of urban centres. This is required, because the regional components had played an

    1 M.R. Raghava Varier, 'Aspects of urbanisation in Medieval Kerala. The case of Panthalayani Kollam', (Working paper), Department of History, Calicut Unviersity, p.5.Champakalakshmy R, 'urbanisation in South India. The Role of Ideology and Polity', Presidential Address, Scetion I Ancient India, IHC, 47th session, Srinagar, 1986, pp. 18-19.


  • important role in the history of urbanisation. The development of urban settlement was based largely on materials available locally and the character and nature of village influenced the urban centres to a large extent.

    Different levels of marketing centres have existed in the area under study. One can classify it as Local Trade and market, Long Distance Overland Trade and Long Distance Overseas Trade in the broad way.

    The Local Trade includes Canta-s of different types and agdi-s. Canta means a fair, weekly or annual market.2 Agdi-s means shop, bazaar in town and village.3

    Canta-s are held at different times and at different places. There are morning canta or Nangi, Evening canta or Anthi canta, Day canta, Weekly canta, Annual canta, and canta-s held on a Vyavattam.4 Canta-s are held at Vaniamkulam, Perumangode in 2 Herman Gundert, Malayalam - English Dictionary,

    Kottayam, 2000 (1872), p.342.3 Ibid., p.35.4 A cycle of Jupiter, a space of 12 years.


  • Sreekrishnapuram, Perumpilavu, Chalissery, Trithala, Palathara, Coyalmannam, Tirunavaya, Manjeri, Koottilangadi, Padaparambu, Pulamanthol, Mankada, Kadannamanna, Perinthalmanna, Vattamkulam, Kongad, Parali, Pathiripala, Lakkidi, Tachampara, Mannarkkad, Kottathara in Attapadi, Edakkara, Nilambur, etc. There are large canta-s and small canta-s. Still, some canta-s are famous for cattle trade. Vaniamkulam canta, Perumpilavu canta, Coyalmannam canta, Manjeri canta etc. are famous for cattle canta-s. These canta-s are held on fixed weekdays. Some of them continue to function even today. The main feature of these canta-s or the local exchange system was that, it was subsistence oriented and did not involve the concept of profit. The commodities found in these canta-s include mainly the daily consumption articles like rice, paddy, millets, vegetables, plantains, coconut oil, fish and so on. It also contains iron implements like knife, spade, hoe, tripod. References to baskets made of bamboo (koa, vai), muram (a fan or winnow to sift


  • grain) bamboo mat (parambu) etc. are also found. Beautiful descriptions of such canta-s are seen in the Malayalam literary works like Unniyaticcaritam, Unniccirutevi caritam, Unniyachiccaritam, Unnunlisandesam, Kokasandesam, Sukasandesam, Bringasandesam, Bramarasandesam, Chandrotsavam etc.

    Predominantly the articles to these canta-s intend to suffice the need of the people on which they employ. Above all, it also provides those articles, which are necessary for their livelihood. Descriptions of these types are largely found in the campu and sandesa kavyas (see Appendix I).

    Canta-s are located in those areas where conveyance from far and wide is easy. They are also located in the area where different routes meet in the crossways. Canta-s are also found flourished in the interior agricultural hinterland areas and also near the ferry. The canta-s seen in Koottilangadi, Pulamanthol, Parali, Kariyannur, Trithala etc. existed near the ferry. Canta-s existed near the ferry has always been seen connected with the coast. The field interview


  • provided large information about the reaching of goods from coastal as well as foreign countries in these canta-s through these ferries. Such types of ferries are seen at Tirunavaya. The term Navaya means ferry5 (Kadavu). To the south of the Vakayur hills, on the bank of river Bharatapuzha, there is a place called Bandar Kadavu. Bandar means port, harbour.6 Bandar is an Arabic word which means ferry. This Bandarkadavu was used as a place for loading and unloading cargoes into the vallam-s, which reached Bandarkaavu.7 It was through the Bandar Kaavu that the cargoes from Ponnani to Tirunavaya were brought in Charakku Vallam. The field survey of the Bandarkaavu enabled us to see the paved footway with laterite stone at Bandarkaavu. Another important factor noticed here is that; an underground tunnel reaching Bandarkadavu from the present day tile factory compound is also seen. The Bandarkadavu, the tunnel etc. show the transportation facility.' Transportation facility

    5 Herman Gundert, op. cit., p.203.6 Ibid., p.685.7 Interview with the age old people of the region.


  • is an important factor for the rise of the centres of trade.

    Still another ferry, which needs mention here, is the Kattuppara ferry at Pulamanthol. The ferry is called by the name Ittakkadavu. It looks like a mini harbour. The merchandise like coconut oil, sugar, and grocery reached here from Ponnani in country boat called Toni. And in return these country boats took paddy to Ponnani. It is said that some 25 or 30 Bullock carts are seen there at the Kaavu for taking the cargoes to the neighbouring regions. It is also learnt that there was a canta at Kattuppara. It was held on Wednesday. The place might have called as Kattuppara on account of the hardness of rock. Koottilakadavu is another important ferry of the study area. It is situated at the point where the river Olipuzha and the river Velliyar join with Kadalundi Puzha. The importance of this area is that, it can control the forest products of Attapadi regions in the Western Ghats in one way and also the trade through waterways in the other. The merchandise from Kuttilangadi was taken to


  • neighbouring places like Perintalmanna, Angadipuram, Vettattur and Alanallur in bullock carts.

    Canta-s are found distributed in such a manner that the distance from one canta to another is limited to hardly one day's walking distance. Articles were transported to these canta-s mainly by means of head loads, carts, animals, and boats.

    Canta-s can be discussed as a developed system of primitive exchanges, in which large scale and a variety of transactions at a particular centre are possible. It is the developed stage of the individual exchange system.

    The social and economic change along with the expansion of agriculture and the habitation areas resulted in the emergence and the growth of canta-s. Wide and varied necessities of the people had been met from these centres. The surplus production had to be exchanged so as to enable them to get the necessary articles for the


  • improvement of agriculture as well as their livelihoods.

    Canta-s made the villages lively. It acted as the centre of the assemblage of the people of the locality. It is the centre of the local economy and also the centre of traditional local knowledge. It also played as a centre for uniting local customs and traditions. It became centres of attraction. When these local exchanging centres became wide, it gradually attracted the merchants from outside regions and also provided the articles, which were not produced in and around the particular area.

    Vanikar and Nattuchetti-s from different regions are seen around these centres. Later, these communities settled in and around such commercial centres. The remnants of these classes are still seen in such centres like Vaniamkulam.

    The local knowledge of medicine, pottery, textile goods, agricultue, industry etc. found a


  • meeting place in the canta-s. It is from there, that, it passed to other regions.

    Later, a particular type of symbolic words and actions are seen prevalent in the transactions of cattle. It intended to convey their concealed ideas and messages of transactions. In the cattle canta-s some particular symbols are being used while confirming the transactions. The middle man or broker (Tharaku in canta connotation) put the hands together of the seller and buyer and a little grass or a few hey particles are put on the hands of the seller by telling the value of the cattle, and if he accepts the grass or hey particles, it is the indication of the confirmation of the transactions. This practice is seen prevalent in the canta-s of Vaniamkulam and Coyalmannam. The terms or words being used for the purpose of transactions are given in Table 3.

    TABLE 3

    Vccha (1) Yasavu (2) Kya (3) Panayam (4) Tatta (5) Karti (6) li (7) Valivu (8) Kondamelu (9) Mada (10) Thadappu (20) Chalayappottu (25)


  • Vccha vella (1) Mdappottu (15) Tatta