Oldest taluk in Kerala was once a castle square

Located 16 kilometres east of Kochi, this quiet hamlet, which sits on the palisades that separates Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts, boasts a long history.
Kanayannur taluk office
Kanayannur taluk officePhoto | Express

KOCHI: You’ve likely heard about Kanayannur taluk. Established in 1762, it is one of the oldest taluks in the erstwhile Cochin kingdom. Recently, in 2022, Kanayannur was recognised as the best taluk in the state for its efficiency in collecting revenue arrears. But did you know that there’s a village by the same name?

Located 16 kilometres east of Kochi, this quiet hamlet, which sits on the palisades that separates Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts, boasts a long history. V V K Valath, in his work Keralathinte Sthalacharithrangal, notes that the name Kanayannur likely stemmed from Kaniyannur. Kaniyans were Jains who once thronged the place. Even today, remnants of this history are still visible in the village, Valath says.

That’s not all. A field in Kanayannur is called Kottarathil Parambu, hinting at the presence of a Kovilakam or castle in the area. It is believed to have belonged to the Maharaja of Cochin and was also called Palace Square.

There’s a similar field in Thrissur — Konnath Parambu. This eventually became the place we now call Konnathkunnu. This shows how field names can evolve into place names. Valath mentions in his book that Kaniyanparambu, a field in the village, might have given rise to the name Kanayannur.

What’s in a name

Weekly column on the history of place names. Got any suggestions? Write to cityexpresskoc@newindianexpress.com

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