Showing posts with label Zamindar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zamindar. Show all posts

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ramayana Murals: A Surprise in Bodi Nayakanur Palayapattu Zamin Palace

Photography: ram.krish8278 [30 July 2009]
Temple images
Photography: தினமலர். நவம்பர் 24,2012
Bodi Nayakanur is the small town located in the foot hills of Western Ghats in Theni district in Tamil Nadu. This beautiful place serves as the vantage point for the tourist places in the Western Ghats i.e, Munnar, Bodi Mettu, Cumbum Mettu, Thekkadi and Suruli Falls etc.  The town is aptly named as "The South Kashmir" for its chill weather, rustic atmosphere, ubiquitous lush green stretches of cultivated lands and tea plantations, mesmerizing blue mountains with rocky peaks, resounding cascades and the antique temples. It is a market place for cardamom, coffee, tea, pepper, and silk-cotton.

Bodi Nayakanur Zamin palace 

Bodi Nayakanur Zamin palace is the historical place and the residence of Zamindars of Bodi Nayakanur Palayapattu Zamin. The three storied Bodi Nayakanur Zamin palace resembles the architectural styles of Jodhpur Palace of Rajasthan and this structure is enclosed by huge perimeter wall. This antique monument was built with lime mortar, intricately carved teak wooden pillars, Maharashtra style wooden arches, entablature, cornice, beams and doors. The palace houses a vast durbar hall (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court), Lakshmi Vilasam hall, Visitors hall, 'Ukkiranam' or store room, paddy granary, 'Gotha' or sports pavilion, horse staple and elephant staple.The entrance or Acharavasal as well as the interiors are embellished with wooden sculptures. Once upon a time Lakshmi Vilasam was used as treasury and stored gold, gems and ornaments.

Mural Paintings from Ramayana Epic 

Historians believe that the tradition of mural painting scenes from Hindu epics on the wall originated from Pallava kings. The mural paintings on the walls of the dubar hall and Lakshmi Vilasam hall showcase rare and unique depiction of scenes from the epic Ramayana and they speak volumes about the fine arts traditions Rajakambalam Nayakars of Tamil Nadu. The panel of paintings drawn side by side appear fresh and depicts Ramakathai (இராமகாதை) i.e, Deva's reporting to Lord Vishnu, Coronation ceremony of Sri Rama, women celebrating the festival with cheers, war techniques and war scenes, king's court, bathing women and so on. The zamindars of Bodi Nayakanur Palayapattu are the descendants of the tradition of sage Kalaikottu Munivar. The paintings on Ramayana weddings reflects the rituals followed in Rajakambalam Nayakar weddings.

The painters have prepared paints with the right mixture of herbal extracts, colored stone powders and vajram (indigenous gum) and this paint was used to draw the entire Ramayana scenes on the walls. The white and black color paint coatings are used as the base and the images are painted on this base. The paintings also include brief explanations in colloquial Tamil. The Tamil scripts used does not exhibit dots and this practice could be in confirmation with palm leaf manuscript writing traditions.

The Lakshmi Vilasam hall also exhibits the rare painting of Vadamalai Nachiammannai, the 'Kula deivam' (family deity) of Bodi Nayakanur Palayapattu Zamindars, depicted as Ashtalakshmi with eight hands. The painted deity is worshiped annually with grandeur. This palace is frequently visited by epigraphists, archaeologists, lovers of paintings and foreign tourists.


The Rajakambalam Nayakar people, a Telugu speaking   migrated from Andhra Pradesh and settled in the western and Kongu regions of Tamil Nadu. They have been referred to by many other names, including Kambalatar, Kambalatu Nayakar, Kodangi, and Kodanginaicken. Vegiliyar Sillavar (வேகிளியார் சில்லவார்) is the sub-sect of Rajakambalam Nayakars, who migrated from Kuthu Bellary (Now called Kotha Bellary) region, Andhra Pradesh due to Muslim invasion. They reached the southern parts of Madurai and settled first in Jakkampatti (near Andipatti, Theni district), later moved to Silvarpatti (near Jambuliputhur, Theni district) and finally settled in Bodi Nayakanur region. They are partially Telugu speaking Tamil community and they were initially lead by Jaggu Nayakar. At that time this region was controlled by Poonaiyar Raja.  Once this region was threatened by the wild boar and Jaggu Nayakar killed that wild boar. Poonaiyar Raja was very much pleased by the brave act of Nayakar and honoured him with the title 'Rasi' Nayakar and offered gold bracelet, palanquin etc. Later he also commissioned him as the chieftain of this (present Bodi) region. Jaggu Nayakar ruled Bodi Nayakanur region as independent chieftain.

Period           Zamindar Name

1376 - 1413: Raga Nayakar aka. Rama Nayakar
1413 - 1454: Jaggu Nayakar aka. Sakkana Nayakar
1454 - 1483: Bangaru Muthu Nayakar
1502 - 1520: Bodi Muthu Nayakar
1520 - 1531: Jaggu Muthu Nayakar
1540 - 1554: Sila Bodi Nayakar. Sila Bodi Nayakar protected Tirumalai Nayakar of Madurai from Muthu Mullakan, when he waged against Madurai Nayak with a strong army. Tirumalai Nayakar was pleased by this act of bravery and honoured Sila Bodi Nayakar with the title 'Tirumalai.' From then onwards his successors added this title 'Tirumalai' before their names. When Thalavoy Ariyanatha Mudhaliar divided the Madurai Nayakar kingdom into 72 Palayams (Armed stations), Bodi Nayakanur was formed as the first Palayam. Previously it was known as Tirumanjanakadu. Nayakars added their family name Bodi and rechristened as Bodi Nayakanur aka. Bodi Palayapattu. Tirumalai Sila Bodi Nayakar became the first Palayakarar of Bodi Nayakanur. 
1554 - 1576: Tirumalai Bodaiya Nayakar
1576 - 1602: Tirumalai Bangaru Muthu Nayakar. He was instrumental in organizing the annual festival and car festival of Subramanyasway Temple, Periyakulam; also constructed the Poolanandhar temple near Chinnamanur and formed Singarathoppu Nandhavanam.
1602 - 1632: Tirumalai Bodaiya Nayakar
1632 - 1684: Mukkanna Nayakar
1684 - 1701: Rasu Nayakar
1701 - 1737: Sakkarappa Nayakar. No legal heir to succeed him. His wife succeeded him.
1737 - 1747: Thoppammal W/o Sakkarappa Nayakar
1747- 1775: Sila Jakkanna Nayakar Brother of Sakkrappa Nayakar. Mira Saheb, Subedar of  Carnatic Nawab collected 1000 panam as tribute, tax (கப்பம்). This tribute was increased to 2500 panam by Millet, (Britisher) collector of Madurai. 
1775 - 1778: Bodi Nayakar. He also lacked legal heir to succeed.
1778 - 1800: Tirumalai Bodi Nayakar Brother of Bodi Nayakar succeeded him. He only built the fort to protect him from Tipu Sultan. He married six women. His sixth wife delivered five sons and one daughter.   
1849 - 1862: Bangaru Tirumalai Bodi Nayakar succeeded him. He only constructed the above mentioned Bodi Palace in Bodi Nayakanur. He also raised the Subramanyaswamy temple. He loved hunting and he used to accompanied with collector Rose Peter (Britisher) and was awarded with gold medallion. The crime rate was lesser during his tenure and this was commended suitably by British India government. In 1862, Bangaru Tirumalai Nayakar expired and his legal heir Tirumalai Bodaiya Kamaraja Pandya Nayakar was only a child. So British Indian Government administered the Zamin. The prince came to power only after sometime. Later British Indian government took over the zamin and the legal heirs remain with the name as zamin family.

This antique palace not only houses rare paintings, wooden sculptures, carvings, aesthetically built halls and rooms but also serves as the residences of two families who are the surviving legal heirs of Bodi Nayakanur Palayapattu zamin. However the historical (zamin) identity of the palace is fading slowly.


  1. ராமாயணக் கதை சொல்லும் போடி அரண்மனை! தினமலர். நவம்பர் 24,2012.
  2. திருமலை போடி நாயக்கர்
  3. ஓவியங்களால் ஒரு அரண்மனை - பங்காரு திருமலை கட்டிய அரண்மனை
  4. தினமலர் 12 பிப்ரவரி 2013
  5. பொலிவிழந்த போடி நாயக்கனூர் ஜமீன்  தினமணி  அக்டோபர் 31, 2013
  6. Bodinayakanur, Theni District, Tamilnadu
போடிநாயக்கனூர் வரலாறு ! Bodinayakanur History by Bodinayakanur Bodi
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...