Book says Thiruvananthapuram was happy land'

It may have been Aanandhapuram', says author Hari Kattel

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is no historical evidence that Thiruvananthapuram or Ananthapuri got its name from Ananthapadmana-bhan, says Kollam-based etymology expert Hari Kattel in his new book Sthala Nama Charithram-Thiruvan-anthapuram jilla. It would have most likely been ‘Aanandhapuram’ (happy land) which was later changed to Ananthapuram by Vaishnava sects who later converted the city into one of the 108 holy places devoted to Lord Vishnu.

Documents in Mitranandapuram temple suggest that Thiruvananthapuram had Buddhist-Jainist traditions and Padmanabha Swamy temple might have flourished under Venad kings who followed Buddhism and Jainism. Further it says that many localities inside Thiruvananthapuram city got their name due to historic reasons rather than just geographic significance.

For example, roughly going by the Malayalam translation one would say that ‘Attakulangara’ may have been the bank of a ‘millipede infested pond’. However, it has a large spiritual history. “Ashta Moothy’ or ‘Attamoorthy’ pilgrim spot beside the bank of the pond (Kulangara) would have later evolved into Attakulangara.
The city centre of Thampanoor got its name as it was home or ‘ooru’ of Kunjunni ‘Thamban who used to get a grant from Travancore Maharaja to retain his own palanquin and slaves to carry it.

Vanchiyoor, as per historian V.V.K. Valiyathu has a bigger significance than Travancore city itself. Vanchi means the capital of Aadi Chera Kulam which ruled the landmass and might have been the seat of power during the Sangham era. Similarly, Peroorkada in old scriptures was a place where toddy was plenty. One of the hypotheses is it might have been a Kada (trading place) run by the Peroor family. ‘Peroor Makkal’ based on the usages in the ancient text means ‘sons of thriving city’. It is a known fact that Peroorkada comprises areas which was directly owned and controlled by the Maharaja.

Coming down to Chakai, it might have been a place given as a gift to Chackyars who perform the Chakiyar-koothu art form which was also known as Chackaikoothu in Tamil Nadu. Nemom seems to have been a corrupted version of the word ‘Niyamam’. In all probability it would have been an trading spot located close to ‘Chalai’ market which was a University (Shalai), back then. On the opposite side of Chalai was Pazhaya Angadi or old market which later came to be known as Pazhavangadi, the book says.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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