January 1, 2004 

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Perunthattan family of Payyannur, Kannur

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Like the sweet pudding of Ambalappuzha temple and the mirror of Aranmula, the ‘Pavithra’ ring of Payyannur is a trademark article of Kerala whose fame has spread across the mountains and seas.  If the ‘Pavithra’ ring used for rites is made of darbha grass, the Payyannur ring is made of gold with the characteristic knot in place.  And there is a legend how the Perunthattan family of Payyannur came to be vested with the responsibility of manufacturing these rings.

During the reinstallation of deity at the Subrahmanya temple destroyed during the campaign of Tipu Sultan, none from the priest’s family could reach the temple at the required time.  But a Brahmin boy, who claimed he was coming from Tharanelloor, reached the temple at the right time and completed the tantrik rites like an experienced priest.  The young priest had got a golden ‘Pavithra’ ring made by the Perunthattan of Chovvattu Valappu.  Thus the responsibility of making such rings came to be vested with the Perunthattan family.

Though there are strict do’s and don’t’s prescribed for persons wearing the ring, the Payyannur ring has demand among celebrities and politicians thanks to its supposed ability to represent the Trinity and to awaken the kundalini energy.

The severity of the penance-like austerities required of the manufacturers, the rather poor monetary benefit from the venture etc have resulted in only a few persons taking up the work in the Perunthattan family.  At present Dayanandan, Sivadasan and Jayachandran, all sons of freedom fighter C.Kunjambu, carry on the family tradition.

“We are able to give the ring only 2 or 3 years after it is ordered.  Because of the heavy backlog, we haven’t taken up any orders this year,” says Dayanandan.“

Courtesy: Beena Mohan, Vanitha, November 15-30, 1994

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