Nilambur Pattulsav

Nilambur Pattulsavam or Nilambur Patulsav

The Nilambur Pattulsavam, a tourism festival, is organized collaboratively by the Nilambur municipality and trade organizations. In the past, the festival was overseen by the Kovilakam, the royal family. Nilambur Pattu and Kovilakam are integral components of Nilambur’s cultural heritage. Annually, the Vettekaran Pattu spans two weeks during the initial weeks of January.

While the historical origins of Nilambur Pattu remain somewhat mysterious, legends suggest that tribal communities residing in and around the Nilambur forests traditionally visited to pay homage to the royal family of Nilambur Kovilakam. In Kerala’s history, the Nilambur Kovilakam held a significant position in Northern Kerala, though in contemporary times, the princely family has become akin to any other family.

The Nilambur Pattulsavam provides residents with an opportunity to reminisce about the bygone era of Nilambur Kovilakam and celebrate its cultural legacy.

Now, Nilambur Pattu has transformed into more of a festive and celebratory occasion than a cultural event. People of every religion actively participate in these festivities, turning it into a celebration for the entire Nilambur community.

Nilambur Pattulsavam or Nilambur Patulsav and Kovilakom are the twin examples of the local cultural heritage. The annual fest is more than just a ritual. It is a homage to its rich past.

Known as the oldest teak plantation in the world, Nilambur with its beautiful forests and wildlife, located on the banks of Chaliyar, is known as the teak town of Kerala. Nilambur Pattu and Kovilakom are the twin examples of Nilambur’s unique cultural heritage.

Nilambur Kovilakom
Kovilakom bears testimony to Kerala’s architectural heritage. Nilambur Kovilakom refers to the royal residences of the rulers of Zamorin, who reigned Malabar in the bygone era. These architectural wonders are known for their grand frescoes and artistic wood work which are the perfect blend of creativity and Vastu Shastra. The royal family of Nilambur Kovilakom were the rulers who took care of the land and collected the food tax for the Zamorins.

Nailambur Pattulsavam
Nilambur Pattu is one of the most elegant festivals of Eranadu and Viradoor temple (connected with King Virad with whom the Pandavas lived during exile). The ancient temple festival is famed for its Kalampattu ritual or exquisite powder drawing on the floor created by Nilambur Kovilakom. The six-day festival is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Dhanu (January/February). ‘Pattu means the songs sung in praise of the Lord by the Kurup community or Kuruppanmar. A ritual that has come down the ages, this religious function is held at Nilambur Kovilakom in Vettaikkorumakan temple at Nilambur. Considered to be one of the royal duties, according to Nilambur Kovilakom records, the festival is also known as Pattu atiyanthiram.

Kalampattu
Kalampattu is a traditional art form performed as an offering to get the blessings of deities like Bhadrakali, Ayyappan, Vettakkorumakan, the serpent god, etc. The picture (kalam) is drawn on the floor using five colours accompanied by singing. The Velichapadu mostly belonging to the Namboodiri community does the Kalapradikshinam (going around the kalam matching steps to differing rhythms), Nalikerameri (breaking of coconut as offering) and kalammakkal (closing ceremony) marking the end of the proceedings.

Uniqueness of Nilambur Pattu
This festival, related to ancient warfare, hunting and tribal chieftains, is an important part of the festivities. Every year Vettakaran Pattu is held during the initial weeks of January for two weeks. Although there isn’t much relevant data available regarding the history of Nilambur Pattu, legend has it that every year the tribes who used to live in and around the Nilambur forest paid homage to the royal family of Nilambur Kovilakam.

A mega carnival was organized as part of the festival. Many cultural programs graced by cine stars and playback singers add glamour to this annual fest.

Rich in heritage – More than a festival
Nilambur Pattu provides the residents of Nilambur an opportunity to cherish the old memories of the Nilambur Kovilakam. Presently Nilambur Pattu is being promoted as a tourism festival-cum cultural event and it is celebrated with Great Spirit, pomp, and pageantry. People from all religions and races from far away destinations participate in this cultural extravaganza and it plays a leading role in promoting religious tolerance and harmony. Nilambur Pattulsavam is conducted by Nilambur Municipality in coordination with Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samthi and Nilambur Merchants Association from 2005 onwards. The district Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) of Malappuram provides favorable support for the promotion of this unique kaleidoscope and currently, it is a prestigious event of Kerala’s tourism calendar.

Accessing Nilambur
Nilambur can be easily accessible by road from nearby towns such as Manjeri and Perinthalmanna.

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