Invoking the past: Mamankam festival to be organised on the banks of Nila

Revisiting Mamankam: Assassins' creed, Kerala style

Malappuram: In order to revive the forgotten tradition of Kalaripayattu during Magha month, Kerala Kalarippayattu Association along with a group called Re-Echo is organising Kalaripayattu show at Thirunavaya on February 10.

The martial art show is part of the three-day Mamankam festival which will begin on February 8. More than 300 performers under the guidance of 50 teachers will perform Kalaripayattu at the banks of Bharathapuzha River or Nila. The programme aims at emphasising the need to bring back the glory of kalari that once were inseparable part of the culture of the region.

The performance that starts at 3.30pm on Friday will include swords, damascene blades, shields, and spears.

Other events as part of the Mamankam festival include a cultural tour through Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode, traditional kalamela, procession, kalaripayattu, Mamanka awards distribution, and other cultural programmes.


The great Nila river is the soul of Kerala which replenishes and nourishes its soil. This pristine river which played vital role in many historical events has millions of unique tales to tell. It was on its banks in Thirunavaya that the historic Mamankam, a prominent festival and trade fair, was held in the medieval times.

Thirunavaya, the land of Mamankam, is now famous for its beautiful temples, historic places and other archaeologically significant sites. The great fest Mamankam was a grand duo-decennial festival which lit up the banks of the Nila, in Thirunavaya. The Samoothiris or the Zamorins saw this as an opportunity to show off their pomp and power in front of the other provincial rulers. The festival began in the Malayalam month of Makaram, on the day when the Pooyam star fell. It would end, 28 days later, when the Makam star fell in the Malayalam month of Kumbam. It is

believed that the word Mamankam originated from 'Magha Makam.' Historians record Mamankam as an art and cultural celebration and also a science and trade fair which lasted for 28 days.

Not just from the various provinces of Kerala and the North Indian states, traders and pilgrims from Arabia, China, and Greece, too, arrived to take part in the great festival of Mamankam. People from different corners of the world came together to celebrate culture and promote trade at the banks of Nila. This Valluvanadan festival was also an occasion which projected the religious unity and cultural vividness of the provinces.

However, the Thirunavaya banks, where the Mamankam festivals were held, also echo battle cries of cavers or sworn warriors who preferred death to defeat.

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