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A Historical Perspective

There is a wealth of corroborative evidence to support, and no good reason to doubt the tradition that the Apostle Saint Thomas arrived in Kodungalloor (Muziris) in Kerala in 52 AD, preached the gospel, established seven churches, and moved on to other kingdom, returning to Madras (Mylapore) in 72 AD where he was martyred that year. Writers of the 4th century, St. Ephrem and St. John Chrysostom knew also about the relics of St. Thomas resting at that time in Edessa, having been brought there from India by West Asian merchants.

St.Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ established seven churches. The seven original churches were located at Malankara (Malayattor?), Palayur (near Chavakkad), Koovakayal (near North Paravur), Kokkamangalam (South Pallipuram?), Kollam, Niranam and Nilackel (Chayal). The early Christians (also known as Nazranikal, St.Thomas Christians, Syrian Christians) looking for pastures green spread out to interior villages from Kollam (Quilon) and Kodungalloor.

One such nazrani family in Ayroor village was known as 'tharayilethu' (thaayillum) family. This ancestral place is situated about one kilometre west of Cherukolpuzha by the side of the main Thiruvella-Cherkolpuzha road. Today there is a marble tower erected by the ' thayillam kudumbayogam' as a landmark cherishing the root family of so many well-known branches. There are dark pages in the history of Kerala, however there are documentation dating back to AD 974 ('mambilly sasanm' ) where Ayroor village is decreed to establish a Hindu temple. Five families are mentioned in the historical records where Tharayilleth is one of the five ancient. The sixth generation from 'thaayillam' was the 'thengumthottathil 'family. The eldest of the two sons of Thengumthottathil Soman Tharakan (1748-1830), called Iripootty founded the glorious Kurudamannil dynasty. Iripootty married Elayacharamma, from Mallapally Kaiyalathu family and settled in "Kurud-mon"(small farm) around AD1800. The 'kurud mon' skirted by the 'kaduva thod' (tigers brook) and Pamba River, set amidst scenic splendour about one km. east of Cherukolpuzha, later became the famous Kurudamannil.

The Tharavad

A picture of the majestic ancestral home, built nearly two centuries ago stands like a beacon, solid and serene reminding of our past, for the hundreds of descendants all over the world.

Kurdamannil Iripootty had six sons-

Kaipallil Simon
Kaiplackal Potha
Kurumpelil Irupootty
Kanthapallil Chacko
Kurudamannil Ittyavra

In the after math of their father's premature death, inspired by their magnanimous mother, these magnificent six, sprung back resiliently, ventured on the most incredible enviable foundation. The wisdom and understanding, that the riches you get by dishonesty will soon disappear, made these six dynamic, hardworking brothers so earnest and enthusiastic and amassed all prosperity, with out any sophistication, by mere physical strength and sheer determination, which the present day (eighth) generation enjoys. Their dealings were just and righteous. The hard work of the brotherhood spread out their "small farm" from Ayroor up to Ranny, most of which was forests with dangerous wild life. They were not only wealthy farmers, but also very God fearing and kind men, who stood up against all the social injustices and their fame spread far and near.

The 'magnificent' six brothers established their families and two dozen sons and two score daughters. ie:third generation. Most of this generation chose to follow their parents' footsteps as they were in an era where there were limited choices; nazranis had no opportunities in government jobs. Expansion and diversification started by these 2 dozen entrepreneurs spared no effort to enhance fame and fortune, embarked on new venture, trading, business etc. They were educated and intelligent as well as illustrious and took advantage of the opportunity in socio- political environment prevailed in the state. The ethos of being kind and caring echoes their efforts in establishing schools churches. The life expectancy was very short in their days, and due to the very nature of their adventurous and hard life style, many demised prematurely in life.

They had a very strong religious upbringing. The heated passions involved deep split within the church and found embroiled in the fraught politics of Malankara church in crisis. Ayroor and Maramon, the heartlands of reformation pioneered by Rev. Abraham Malpan and his nephew Palakunnathu Mathews Mar Athanasios, there was great upheaval in the church history. Two sisters from Kurdamannil family were married to Palakunnathu and hence the geopolitical hot spot of reformation painfully were at odds. Unfortunately, there was a great acrimonious incident, ending in violence in Kozhencherry church, (AD1862) the aftermath being criminal court cases, prison sentences for some close relatives, nonetheless a pivotal turning point in the establishment of Mar Thoma Church. Unclouded by doubt, scepticism or blood relationship utterly convinced by their conscious stood by their conviction. All except four families were now active members of Marthoma church and both the Orthodox Church and Marthomma church in Ayroor came up side by side with the help of Kurdamannils. One can only be proud of the late H.G. Dr. Mathews Mar Athanasios, a stalwart in the Marthoma church, was one of the fourth generation fathers, who reached the high echelons in the church. The schools and institutions he built all over the state stands to cherish the contributions made by him envious.

The attitude of our forefathers no doubt contributed to the uniform well being and social status of our present day generations. Another contributory factor to the sustained growth and prosperity has been the marriage alliances our forefathers forged with the best elite families of the land, which brought in its wake the qualities of up-rightness, honesty, truthfulness, intelligence and Godliness in their progeny. The greatest in our well being however is the faith of our fathers in God almighty, whose grace has led us hitherto.

Despite minor skirmishes they all lived in harmony, a special family gathering (kudunba yogam) was started and the first meeting was in 1896 at the residence of Kaiplakel Peter Mathew and declared the family motto "dwell together in peace". Celebrating the centenary, the Kurudamannil family, adopted an emblem as shown - the six pillars (second generation) and the 24 radiant to the globe, depicting the third generation families and incorporated the motto "dwell together in peace". a scenic splendour!