PALAKKAD: There may be disagreement on whether there are 96 or 101 agraharams in Palakkad district, but not on facts like the rows of houses set on clean and quiet lanes, ‘kolam’-filled door steps, grey haired elders peeping from many of those houses and the inhabitants speaking a mix of Tamil and Malayalam are unique to the district.
The row houses sported traditional architecture and culture of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Brahmins settled here are said to have come from Tamil Nadu centuries ago, and they have thrown up quite a few reputed names in the field of art, professions including civil services and legal luminaries.
P R Rajagopalan alias Krishnamani Sharma, who hails from Perinkulam south village near Alathur, and has photo-documented almost 101 villages, said a few people from the underdeveloped villages of Palakkad district, although reluctantly, had left their homes and native places at tender ages in pursuit of employment and settled at distant places.
Occasionally, they visit their native places and recharge themselves with fresh memories of events, places and people and return to their monotonous life, he said.
Rajagopalan said that he had travelled to all these villages and photo-documented them to make a colourful booklet, which he wanted to distribute free of cost.
Nochur Ganesha Sharma of Kunissery, who has written an article on the ‘orgin of Tamil Brahmin community’ in the booklet said that vedic prowess, cooking skill, intellectual power and adaptability were the inherent qualities of the Tamil Iyers lived here. The fast-paced life has, however, taken a toll on the traditional structures. They are being replaced by concrete buildings. Many of the houses have been deserted with elders leaving them to seek employment outside and children leaving for educational purposes.
The rituals, however, continue to be followed as they still like community living, said Rajagopalan.
It’s almost a decade since he photographed those villages and agraharamas. What are the changes taken place there is a matter to be checked, said Rajagopalan, adding that those who have received his booklet are reminded of their childhood memories. Photographs of Kalpathy car festival and doorsteps with kolam have buffed up their nostalgic memories, he said.