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Post Info TOPIC: Muziris Heritage Project


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Muziris Heritage Project
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Monuments

Muziris Heritage Site is an outstanding example of buildings and archaeological sites and landscape, which illustrates a significant stage in the human history of Kerala. This historic region bears an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition; of which monumental structures also occupy a significant place.

The built heritage of Muziris is extensive and there are few notable buildings from the 18th and the 19th centuries scattered around this heritage site; but mostly in Chennamangalam and Kodungalloor. The surviving elements of Muziris comprise not only buildings but also the markets, streets and footways, bridges, and cemeteries.

The natural environment is of great importance to the status of Muziris Heritage Site. The networks of waterways have influenced and inspired the architecture and growth of the built heritage.



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Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : About 6 km from Kodungalloor

The western entrance of the temple is on the Kodungallur- Ernakulam highway. This temple is said to be more than 2,000 years old and is remarkable for its number of representations of Shiva. There is a Namaskara Mandapam, with 16 pillars, which is in front of the Shrikovil. The Utsavam is held in the Malayalam month of Kum­bham (Feb-Mar), during which the festival of Shivratri is celebrated in a grand manner. Aanayottam is conducted as part of the festival. Devotees attend the Palli-yara pujas, held just before the temple closes in the evening, on full moon nights, to pray for a happy married life and to be blessed with children.



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Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

A protected monument - Kottayil Kovilakom - is an important historical site in the Muziris Heritage Project. Situated in the village of Chennamangalam in North Parur of Kerala, this is the place where the palace of the Villarvattom king or the villarvattom swaroopam used to stand. 

With the palace located inside the fort, the place came to be known as Kottayil Kovilakom, which means 'palace inside the fort.' The Sri Krishna temple on the top of the hill, the Jewish cemetery in the valley below, the mosque on the other side, the adjacent Jewish synagogue - all are in the vicinity of Kottayil Kovilakom.

Sri Krishna Balan Achan, a senior member of the Palium family and the manager of the Palium trust, qualifies Chennamangalam as 'the most exemplary village of India.' This is the only place in the whole of India, where a temple, a synagogue, a masjid and a church co-exist in harmony.



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Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

The remains of the Vypeekotta Seminary built by the Portuguese are preserved as a historic monument and site. A Seminary is the college to teach Christian priests. This Seminary was established to teach the priests of Malabar, the ceremonies and language to be used in Roman Catholic Churches founded here by the Portuguese.
 
There were many buildings in the premises, which were destroyed during the wars in later period. There is a church still functioning in the compound, probably built during the same period, but renovated later.

Many stone inscriptions were encountered from the church compound during the exploration done here in 1935. The inscriptions are fixed on a half wall in front of the church. The remains of the Seminary were declared as a protected monument in 1935.

Printing Press and Seminary


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Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

The Jewish Synagogue at Chennamangalam, constructed around the 17th century is of a traditional style, with a separate entrance for women. The land for it was provided by the family of Paliam, the traditional ministers of Kochi, who owned the village of Chennamangalam during that period.

The Department of Archeology had scientifically conserved the Synagogue using traditional materials, which was otherwise in a dilapidated state. A tomb inscription believed to belong to one of the early members of the Synagogue is found in front of it. Many other tomb inscriptions have also been collected from the same site. On the East side of the Synagogue, there is a cemetery of about 400 meters long belonging to this Synagogue. The Department, in collaboration with the Jews abroad, has arranged a display inside the Synagogue, which is titled - The Jewish Synagogues in Kerala.

Architectural features- Chendamangalam synagogue


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Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : About 100 meters from Paravur-Kodungalloor Road, NH-17

The building is located in the former Jewish Street of the Paravur region. It served as the place of worship for the Jewish community that settled very close to the Paravur Market. 

The complex comprises of two buildings - the double storied entrance building and the main synagogue separated by an open space. The entrance building or the Padipura features two rooms on either side which was used for storage on the ground floor and Hebrew classes were conducted on the first floor. Beyond this is a small courtyard which leads to the main entry to the synagogue.

The synagogue is attractive; there's a pillared entryway that leads from the two rooms at the main entrance to the prayer place .The prayer hall consists of two rooms; a rectangular room generally used for meetings and the other main prayer room with the Bimah and the Ark. There is a balcony above the eastern entry, on the first floor, which was used by the reader on certain special occasions. The ceiling and the brackets supporting the balcony is decorated with gilded carved wooden rosettes, typical to most synagogues. Behind this balcony is the women's gallery, which can be approached by a staircase that was situated near the entry to the synagogue. The wooden doors that existed (now missing) were gracefully curved at the upper side of the closure point. The original Bimah and Ark were taken to Israel in 1992 and reconstructions of the original have been installed in their place.

Situated about 100 m from Parur on the Kodungalloor road of Kerala, the synagogue is one of the two Jewish synagogues placed in the Muziris heritage project region.

At Muziris, trade and religion grew together. This synagogue must have been the place of worship for the Jews that settled very close to the Parur market. Though the users of the synagogue have all but faded away, both the market and the synagogue still exist. The Parur market opening to the river Periyar still functions twice a week, a boat jetty has been constructed there, and the Jew street still goes by that name, though one of its two pillars at the entrance has been knocked down.

 

The balcony of the synagogue is supported on decorated pillars and gilded beams. The decorations on the ceiling and the door carvings are similar to those of the Chendamangalam synagogue.

 

With the opening of the Parur visitor centre, the synagogue will be within walking distance from there.



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 Cheraman Parambu - the royal seat of the Cheraman Perumals  Click to view images

Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : At Methala about three kilometres from Kodungalloor on Kodungalloor-Moothakunnam route 

Cheraman Parambu is an important focal point in the Muziris Heritage Project, as it portrays the history of Kerala through the ages. It is spread over an area of about 5 acres at Methala, around 3 km from Kodungalloor on the Kodungalloor-Moothakunnam route.

Generally regarded as the royal seat of the Cheraman Perumals the kings of the Chera dynasty, this site was declared as a protected monument by the department of Archaeology in 1936. There is a strong tradition that the Chera dynasty of the Sangam Age had its headquarters at Kodungalloor. The kings of the Chera dynasty ruled Kerala during the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries A.D.

In 1936, the Department of Archaeology, of the erstwhile State of Cochin declared the site a protected monument. As the famous temples of Thiruvanchikulam and Kizhthali are nearby and the Archaeology Department of Cochin, during its explorations had noticed some old laterite foundations and remains of walls in this area, the department with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India excavated the site between 1944 and 1945. At a depth of 1.5 meters, various kinds of potsherds, copper and iron implements, bangles and beads and small lead balls were found. And loose sand was found below the occupation layers. The majority of the potsherds belonged to a group called Celadon ware, a pottery made in China during the Sung period, between the 10th and 12th centuries AD.

Later, in 1960, when the Archaeological Survey of India excavated in a different area of the same site, no serious archaeological evidences were found. However, these explorations unearthed a number of Shiva-lingas, which are now exhibited in a corner of the site.



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 Kizhthali Siva Temple  Click to view images

Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : On the Paravur - Kodungalloor Road/ NH-17

According to Keralolpathi, this temple existed during the Perumal reign (B.C 113-AD 343.) During the time of the Chera dynasty, who were Shiva believers, the kings had many advisors and they were usually nambuthiris. These ministers or advisors habitually gathered at a Shiva temple called Thali. Among the many Shiva temples in and around this main temple were Melthali, Nediyathali and Chingapuram Thali.

This temple was first destroyed by the Portuguese and the Dutch. Then Tipu’s army destroyed it further, raising most of the temple to the ground, except the garbagriham, which still stands. In its original glory, the temple boasted of a Koothu Parambu, a Kalari Parambu and a Kalapura Parambu.

The temple was left in ruins after the attack of Tipu's army. Presently, it is maintained by the Department of Archaeology, while the religious functions are carried out by a private trust. The proposal to restore the temple seems to have been dropped. Further additions have been made by the use of steel pipes and metal sheet roofing. These ugly additions have to be replaced, as they affect the authenticity and integrity of the temple premises.



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 Cheraman Juma Masjid - the first mosque in India  Click to view images

Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : On the Paravur - Kodungalloor Road, NH-17

The significance of Cheraman Juma Majsid in the Muziris Heritage Project lies in the fact that it is the first mosque in India. It stands in the district of Thrissur in Kerala, on the Parur-Kodungalloor road.

It was built in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar. Kunjikuttan Thampuran who is known as Kerala Vyasa has expressed the view that this was an ancient Buddhavihar that was gifted to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque. 

The oral tradition is that Cheraman Perumal, the Chera king, went to Arabia where he met the Prophet and embraced Islam. From there he had sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar to his relatives in Kerala, asking them to be courteous to the latter. 

The masjid is believed to have been renovated in the 11th century and also 300 years ago. The front portion was expanded in 1974 and further expanded in 1984. The older part of the mosque including the Sanctum Sanctorum is left untouched and is still preserved. Its grandeur is still kept alive by the wooden steps and ceiling.

People of all religions come to this mosque and many non-Muslims conduct vidhyarambham (initiation ceremony to the world of letters) of their children here.



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Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : Kodungalloor

Kurumbakavu Bhagavathi Temple is located about 1.5 km southeast of the bus stand. It is assumed that the placement of the idol of Kannaki was done about 1800 years ago by Cheran Chenkuttuvan of the Chera dynasty.

The presiding deity of the temple is Bhadrakali (Goddess Kali). Temple is open from 4 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. during festival time and from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. on other days.

On the Eastern side of the main shrine there is a secret chamber from which a door opens to the shrine. The shrine is crowded on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and is busy during the Sabarimala season as well.

The most famous festival of Kurumbakavu temple is the Bharani festival or Kavutheendal, which starts on the Bharani asterism, as per the Malayalam month of Meenam (March-April). The animal sacrifices that once were part of the festival in this temple are now banned, but the pilgrims still drink liquor and sing lewd songs, all the way from their villages to the shrine, as part of the ceremony. At the end of the festival, the temple closes and opens on the seventh day, after the Aswathi asterism. Another important festival at this temple is the Navarathiri.



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Village : Azhikode
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : About 6 km from Kodungalloor

The Marthoma Pontifical shrine is a major pilgrim centre that comes under the Muziris Heritage Project. The church on the banks of the River Periyar is located about 6 km from Kodungalloor, in the village of Azhikode in Kerala.

It is believed that St Thomas, the apostle landed at Kodungalloor on November 21st, 52 A.D. He is believed to have formed seven churches in Kerala, the first one being in Kodungalloor itself. The bone of the right arm of St Thomas was brought from Ortona in Italy and enthroned in the present Pontifical shrine. From then on, the shrine at Azhikode has been a great pilgrimage centre; it has attracted large numbers of pilgrims from all around the world, irrespective of caste and creed. 

Situated on the beautiful banks of the River Periyar, this shrine can rightly be called the 'cradle of Christianity in India. It is a perennial source of the Christian faith experience to all pilgrims who visit the place. Built in a 3500 sq. ft large aesthetically designed mansion of Indo-Persian style, the Marthoma Smruthi Tharangam artistically depicts the major episodes in the life of St Thomas.



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he Azheekal Sree Varaha temple - the only 'complete temple'  

The Sree Varaha temple at Azheekal in Kerala, is of importance to the Muziris Heritage Project. Situated in the vicinity of Pallippuram near Cherai, it is the only sampoornakshetra or 'complete temple' of the nagara type in 'South India.' The Sree Varaha temple houses all the seven deities of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins of Kerala. Azheekal forms a main settlement of the community. And for that reason, they have established as many as 31 major temples, besides a good number of family temples here.

The idol of Sree Varaha was installed at Azheekal in 1565. Though these temples are primarily houses of worship, they also serve as centers of the community's religious, cultural and aesthetic life. Additionally, it has preserved the community's distinct culture, identity, mode of worship and language.

The famous temple ratham (chariot) here is a rarity in temple architecture. It was dedicated to the presiding deities in 1909 and the rathaveethi(chariot's street) was also constructed. The restored temple is now maintained by the Azheekal Varaha Devaswom Board.



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The Manjumatha church  

The Manjumatha church brings importance to Pallippuram as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.

At Pallippuram near Cherai in Kerala, you see this rare church, which faith gave a twist in history. You cannot separate legend from history here, as the two are intertwined. The Pallippuram church became a target during Tipu's invasion of the Kochi region in the 18th century. The terrified people shut themselves up inside the church and started praying. Legend has it that the church and its surroundings got shrouded in a fog which misled Tipu's army to turn away.

The church, which was in the name of Mother Mary or matha, thus came to be called 'Manjumatha church' which means ' The mother's church shrouded in snow.' The ancient kadalattu grotto stands as a silent witness to the wonder that has become part of history here.



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Kottakkavu church - place of religious importance

This church situated in the heart of Parur town in Kerala is a place of religious importance in the Muziris heritage project , mainly because it is one of the seven churches or Christian settlements established by St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ.

It is believed that the Persian Cross, which is preserved in the chapel in front of the church, might have been engraved in rock in 880 AD. A wooden cross which the saint had planted was kept in the church till the 18th century. But during the siege of Tipu Sultan, various churches were demolished, and this cross too was destroyed. The church ransacked at that time was the third one built after the saint’s time. The church of 1308 was rebuilt and blessed on 15th August 2002.

Still the old church, the elephantine wall on the adjacent western side and the pilgrim pond where the Apostle baptised the devotees are all preserved. It is known that about 2 acres of land were provisionally allocated by the church for the construction of the Parur market. It was the Cross that stood in this place from age old days that was converted into the market chapel.



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Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : At Methala about three kilometres from Kodungalloor on Kodungalloor-Moothakunnam route 

Cheraman Parambu is an important focal point in the Muziris Heritage Project, as it portrays the history of Kerala through the ages. It is spread over an area of about 5 acres at Methala, around 3 km from Kodungalloor on the Kodungalloor-Moothakunnam route.

Generally regarded as the royal seat of the Cheraman Perumals the kings of the Chera dynasty, this site was declared as a protected monument by the department of Archaeology in 1936. There is a strong tradition that the Chera dynasty of the Sangam Age had its headquarters at Kodungalloor. The kings of the Chera dynasty ruled Kerala during the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries A.D.

In 1936, the Department of Archaeology, of the erstwhile State of Cochin declared the site a protected monument. As the famous temples of Thiruvanchikulam and Kizhthali are nearby and the Archaeology Department of Cochin, during its explorations had noticed some old laterite foundations and remains of walls in this area, the department with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India excavated the site between 1944 and 1945. At a depth of 1.5 meters, various kinds of potsherds, copper and iron implements, bangles and beads and small lead balls were found. And loose sand was found below the occupation layers. The majority of the potsherds belonged to a group called Celadon ware, a pottery made in China during the Sung period, between the 10th and 12th centuries AD.

Later, in 1960, when the Archaeological Survey of India excavated in a different area of the same site, no serious archaeological evidences were found. However, these explorations unearthed a number of Shiva-lingas, which are now exhibited in a corner of the site.



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 IndiaArchaeology@yahoogroups.com, Ram Varmha <varmha@y...> 
wrote:

Interesting posts on Cranganore and Tirunavay. Couple observations 
from another perspective i.e., placenames and dynasties recuring in 
Tamilnadu and in Kerala which causes some confusion. 

tiruvanjaikkalam - is also a place in Tamil history. It is actually 
tiru anjaikkalam in Tamil, the 'v' comes from sandhi. This place is 
none other than Vanji, the old capital of the Cheras - the actual 
Sangam capital. This place is at the outskirts of Karur, the town 
some distance away from Trichy. The Chera king list mentioned in 
Tamil Sangam literature has been attested in Tamil Brahmi 
inscriptions. Also, Chera (and Roman) coins have been found in the 
area in large numbers in the 50's.

There is also a (now defunct) tiruvittuvakkodu temple in Karur, 
incidentally. Is there a sthalapurana (with place name etymology) for 
tiruanjaikkalam and tirunavaya in Kerala? Doesn't Vanji mean boat in 
Malayalam, as does navay of tirunavay in Tamil?

udiyan ceralathan, kanaikkal irumporai as well as possibly kulasekara 
azhwar lived in Karur-Vanji, not the Kerala Vanji. It is a vexed 
subject but worth reading. 

Thanks,

Lakshmi Srinivas

As posted by Vijay, Thiruvanchikulam (Thiruanchikulam) was 
indeed the capital of the Chera rulers of Kerala, the Cheraman 
Perumals. It was here that the famous Chera palace, Perumkovilakam or 
Cheramanparambu stood. Next to its remains stands the ancient 
Thiruvanchikulam Siva temple. 

> Rajashekhara Varma, (820 844 AD), the second ruler of the 
Second Chera Dynasty is identified as the famous Saivite Saint 
Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanamar Saints of the 
South. He was a close associate of the Tamil Saint Sundaramurthi 
Nayanar and with whom, the Perumal, is said to have traveled all over 
the South, visiting famous Shiva temples. It is this Perumal who is 
credited with constructing the Mahadeva temple at Thiruvanchikulam or 
Mahodayapuram. It is the only Sivastalam in Kerala which has been 
praised by the Nayanamars. 
> A unique feature of the temple is that the icon is in the form of 
Nataraja, a favorite image of the Nayanamars and similar in 
appearance to the icon at Chidambaram. Also, the deity is worshipped 
as Uma Maheshwar, jointly, and not separately, as in other Kerala 
Saivite temples.

> Otherwise, the temple is of Keralite architecture, with a conical 
copper plated vimanam and the typical three tiered roof pattern. The 
sanctum is in the form of a chariot. The temple construction is of 
wood and stone. 
> The temple contains stautues of Cheraman Perumal and also murals 
of puranic scenes. The temple deity came to be the `kula-devatha' 
(Family Deity) of the Perumals and later that of the Cochin Family. 
Somewhere along the way, both Cochin and Travancore Families, 
descendants of the Perumals, changed from Shaivites to Vaishnavites, 
with their religious allegiance shifting to the Vishnu temples of 
Thripunithura and Tiruvanathpuram respectively. 


> Again, the river, Bharathapuzha and the surrounding area has 
great significance to ancient Kerala history. Much of it was lost in 
the hoary past. What remains is a mixture of fact and fiction, legend 
and history. It is at times difficult to sift the truth from the 
myth. Hence we find different variations of the same stories, 
depending on who is narrating the incidents. 

> The origin of the Cheras is lost to history and it is futile to 
narrate stories and legends that point to their origin because there 
are no substantiating evidence to support them. But, the earliest 
known Chera King was one, Udiyan Cheralathan (16 to 56 AD?). The 
First Chera Dynasty lasted till about 400 AD, with the last of the 
historical Chera, Kanaikal Irumporai (367 397 AD?). We have a good 
understanding of the genealogy of the Chera kings. Thereafter, there 
was a long sleep in Kerala history till the Second Chera Dynasty, 
starting with Kulashekhara Alwar, began around 800 AD. 

> It is said that once every 12 years, the Cheras of the First 
Dynasty, or the Sangam Period, held the festival, Mamangam, (Maha 
Magham Great Gathering, or Great Yagam), on the banks of the 
Bhatrathapuzha, in the vicinity of the Thirunavai Navamukunda Temple. 
Legend has it, that the ruling Chera king would wage a fight unto 
death on the shores of the river, against the pretender to the Chera 
crown. The winner then ruled the Chera kingdom for another 12 years. 
But, this legend has been challenged by many Kerala historians. No 
one is certain if this is true or not. Perhaps, there was a single 
incident such as this, which was then extended to all the Cheras. I 
do not think any one knows for sure. 

> However, the Mamangams, The Great Celebrations, continued with 
various Kerala kings and dignitaries participating in the festivals, 
on an annual basis. This went on till mid 1700s, with the Zamurins 
taking an active part in the proceedings. After the down fall of 
Zamurins, the activities of the Mamangams subsided. But, I believe 
there is a Sarvodaya Mela held in the Nava Mukunda Temple, around 
January of each year. The temple is said to be founded by nine great 
saints; I'm not certain who they are? I do not know if there are some 
local legends that can give more insight into the history of the 
temple and about who was responsible for building it. 

> The entire strip of Kerala had great historical and maritime 
background and had established trade with Egypt, Greek, Romans and 
Arabs. There were number of busy ports along this area, known to the 
Greeks as Muzuris, Tyndis, Barace and Nelcynda. It is certain that 
Muzuris is Cranganore or Kodungallur. The others may be any one of 
the then functioning ports of Kerala, such as, Kottayam, 
Tripunithura, Calicut or some others. Certainly, more historical 
research needs to be attempted to obatin a better picture of the 
details of the times gone by. 

> Regards,
> Ram



> Kerala Varma Vijay Thampuran <keralavarma1980@y...> wrote:
> Hello,
> I am not an archeologist or a historian. But One of my hobbies is 
to Find out the ancient History of Kerala (before 1498) which is 
very contradicting. 

> So I am asking about study of 2 sites in Kerala. If anybody has 
dopne studies on it or knows much details about it, please could you 
share it with me.

> Site 1: Thiruanchaikulam Shiva Temple, Near Kodungalloor (aka 
Crangore or Muzris(in old European Texts)), Ernakulam District, 
Kerala.

> God Shiva in this temple is the family god of the erstwhile 
Cochin Royal Family. This place was also the Seat of CHERA EMPIRE. 
The place was in the erstwhile Princely state of Cochin.This temple 
is also near the Periyar River in Kerala. So the civilisation may be 
called Periyar River Civilisation.

> Has anybody done study on this temple's structure and history.

> Site 2: Thirunavaya Navamukunda Temple, about 70 kms south of 
Calicut or Kozhikode, situated in Mallapuram District, on the banks 
of Bharathapuzha(translated to English - Indian river).
> I feel this temple is the most important structure and place in 
Kerala's Archeology and history. Thirunavaya is the plcae where the 
famous "Mamankam"(A ritual for soldiers) used to take place. This 
place is also important for Chera Empire.
> The civilisation can be called as Bharathapuzha Civilisation.

> I am eagarly waiting for replies.

> --tat tvam asi--


> Thank you




> Kerala Varma Vijay Thampuran

> Visit www.crfhs.org (Cochin Royal Family Historical Society 
website)
> Visit www.gosree.org (Cochin Royal Family website)


> THE PARAMATMA IS OUR "SELF". 
> KNOW YOUR INNER "SELF" AND BECOME GOD.










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