Thachanattukara: Naranathu Bhranthan - the madman of Naranam - has for long been a folk hero celebrated in Kerala mythology, but the location around the myth is yet to feature as a destination on the state's tourist map despite repeated requests, according to residents of this hilly region of Palakkad district.
As one of the 12 divine children born to a pariah woman from the famed astrologer Vararuchi who adorned the court of ancient king Vikramaditya, the legend of the Parayipetta Pantirukulam story prominently narrates the story of Bhranthan as an apparently mad person who spent his days pushing up a stone to a neighbourhood hill and then rolling it down from the top, watching it with a loud guffaw.
Legend has it that the Bhranthan’s hill was Rayiranelloor off Athippatta, which is near Chethallur in today's Palakkad district, almost bordering Malappuram. The tacit message of the act was the meaninglessness of life, according to folklorists.
Annually, Chethallur hosts a ritual called Vachunamaskaram in memory of the Bhranthan on a particular day in the summer month of Meenam (around March) believed to be his month of death.
The Brahmin household of Narayanamangalath Mana, where the Bhranthan spent his student days after being left orphaned by his parents (as the lore goes), had donated 25 cents of land to the public administration for its development as a tourist destination. But nothing has been done so far, they lament.
The Branthan's hill route had of late been converted into a proper road by the NABARD with an expense of Rs 1 crore. A trust formed after the protagonist did initiate construction of a memorial, but that stopped midway.
In fact, the residence (mana) of the Namboodiris is itself is in a dilapidated state today.