KOCHI: Ponnurunni is an area near Vyttila that was once known for its lush fields. Now split by the national highway into Ponnurunni East and West, the locality used to serve as a place to rest and refresh for travellers of yore, thanks to a pond named Kolothukulam.
It is said the the erstwhile maharajas of Kochi used to travel via Ponnurunni to Chowara near Aluva for ‘palli neerattu (royal bath)’ in the Periyar. “That’s how the Vyttila-Palarivattom road came into existence,” notes Adv M K Sasidharan, author of ‘Vyttila Diaries’. “Subsequently, travellers on horses and carriages used to halt by the Kolothumkulam. The pond does not exist anymore. A shopping complex built by the corporation stands at the spot.”
Some glittering backstories surface as one probes the roots of the name ‘Ponnurunni’. “The Namboothiris, who once resided here, were expelled by the king for engaging in some wrongdoings,” says Sasidharan. “They left without taking their valuables. However, when they returned, they found that the gold remained untouched. They called the place ‘ponnu irunna idam’, the place where gold stayed. That eventually became Ponnurunni.”
V G Ramanan, an 86-year-old resident of Ponnurunni, offers a slightly different version. “A group of Brahmins was on their way to meet the king. They took a break by the Kolothumkulam. When they resumed travel, they forgot to take a bag that contained gold,” says the businessman. “Panic-stricken, they returned to the spot, they found the gold intact. They proclaimed the place as ‘ponnu irunna idam’.