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  Introduction
 
Poojappura Ezhunnalathu

The idol of Saraswathy Devi is brought to Thiruvananthapuram in the Navarathri days from Padmanabha Puram, the earlier capital of Travancore. The idol is kept in the "Chokkittamandapam at Kottaykkakom. Bhagavan Kumara Swamy from Velimalai and Munnutti Nanka from Sucheendram also accompanies. The Devi. Kumaraswamy and Munnutti Nanka are respectively kept in Aryasala and Chenthitta Devi temples.

On Vijayadasami day, the idol of Kumaraswamy is brought to Poojappura Mandapam. Thousands of people worship Bhagavan here. The honourable king of Travancore arrives at Poojappura with royal procession. It is known as the famous 'Poojappura Ezhunnalathu'. On the way to Poojappura mandapam the Raja halts at the 'Ambarimukhappu Kottaram' to take rest. There after the royal king arrives at the Mandapam to attend the 'Pallivetta'. After the pallivetta ceremany Bhagavan Kumara Swamy returns.

Even now the famous Navarathri festival is celebrated in the Poojappura Mandapam but the king of Travancore is not accompanying as part of the Ezhunnalathu.

History

Poojappura holds a very bright face in the cultural field of Ananthapuri. Once this area was a part of Aramada and Anchamada villages of Ananthapuri. Six madas (drains) were dug to drain water from this elevated area to Karamana river; thus making this area as Aramada. Arayalloor, Annur, Konkalam, Mudavanmukal, Thamalam and Thrivikramangalam were these six madas and even now these areas are known after the names of these madas. Adjacent to this, 5 madas were dug for the same purpose, i.e. draining water to Karamana and Killy river. Kaduvetty, Maruthankuzhi, Pangode, Kundamankadavu and Vallakadavu were the five madas and these areas were even now known by the names of the madas.

Present Poojappura area forms a part of a Forest Waste Purambokku that spread in Aramada and Anchamada villages. Numbering as the 7th item of the settlement register of Aramada Pakuthy (village) of Thiruvananthapuram Taluk, in the erstwhile Thiruvithamcode state, the following details were found about Poojappura.

1. Mudamon Palace situated in 4 acre 17 cents of land owned by Sree Pandaram by Survey No. 1510.
2. Adjacent to this an area of 6 acre 75 cents by Survey No. 1979.
3. And a government bunglow in 19 acre 96 cents of land by Survey No. 1851.

Beyond this, some rocky area, a graveyard with a few small houses in the midst in an area of 61 cents and 51 cents by survey numbers 438 and 450 respectively measuring totally about 60 acres formed the Forest Waste Purambokku.

In the land by the above survey numbers, two palaces were constructed by the then kings of Travancore - Sethalmandu Palace or Chithal Mannu Palace and Kunnum Bunglow. The land of Sethalmndu Palace, was full of Chithal (Termite) and thus it was known as Chithal Mannu Palace which later on became Sethalmandu. This palace was constructed as the royal residence of the erstwhile Travancore regent queen Rani SethuLakshmi Bai, to live after her Pallikkettu (marriage). Maharaja Sree Moolam Thirunal constructed Ambarimughappu Palace, just opposite to Poojappura Mandapam, as the royal residence of his mentally ill elder brother. In the southern corner of the above mentioned Forest Waste Purambokku land, new buildings were constructed for Central jail and in 1886 it was shifted to the new building from west fort to Poojappura.

As per the old revenue records, the vast farming area in Chengazhassery Village, on the banks of Killiyar near to Poojappura was known as Chaithy. This Chaithy, later on became Jagathy. In the above mentioned Forest Waste Purambokku there was a place by name 'Chadiyara', from where many Chadies where excavated. Chadies were very big earthen pots used for burying dead bodies in ancient times. Historians have already established that it was a custom to bury dead bodies in Chadies (Muthumakkathazu) during the Tamil sangam period. For the burial of members of royal family, special burial grounds were demarcated.

Godess Saraswathy is considered the patron of learning by Hindus. It is believed that Godess Saraswathy is one of the bhavas of 'Devi'. Devi pooja was ancient form of Dravidian culture. There were several 'Thaivappuras' (place of worship to god) across the erstwhile Thiruvithamcode. Such a 'Thaivappura' existed in the southern part of the above mentioned forest waste purambokku. The etymology of the word Poojappura goes back to this 'Thaivappura'. This situation might have influenced the royal authorities for the construction of the beautiful 'Mandapam'. Even now there is a place by name 'Deviapura' near Peringammala in Nedumangaud Taluk.

It is said that King Marthanda Varma or Swathithirunal might have codified the formalities of Navaratri Pooja and thus Poojappura has become the cultural centre of Ananthapuri. The royal patronage gave added importance, festive mood, grandure and more colours for the annual Poojayeduppu festival. The Poojayeduppu festival has become a regional festival. It is an epitome of religious harmony; irrespective of caste, creed and religion the whole population of this area participates in this festival celebrated every year.

'Ezhuthiniruthe' (beginning of learning) if children at Poojappura Mandapam on Vijayadasami is a very popular function of religions harmony of Poojappura.

Compiled by Dr. P. Sethunadhan, Poojappura.
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