Thiruvalla Knowledge Guide
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the area had been inhabited since 500 BCE, although an organized settlement was only founded around 800 CE. The present day areas of Niranam, and Kadapra on the western part of Tiruvalla were submerged under the sea before then. It is one of the 64 ancient brahmana graamams. Stone axes have been reported from Tiruvalla, belonging to Neolithic Age. Tiruvalla has many Neolithic remains and got civilized earlier. The Aryan culture presented Tiruvalla as one of the 64 Brahmin settlements of Kerala, and one of the important too. Ptolemy mentions the Baris river, the present "Pamba" river.Tiruvalla was also an important commercial centre with the Niranam port in olden days, which is described by Pliny as "Nelcynda". At this light, the "Bacare" could have been modern "Purakkad". The fact that modern western Tiruvalla contains the coastal kind of sand, and several sea shells in the soil despite being land locked proves that prior to the reclamation of Kuttanad from sea, Niranam and the whole western Tiruvalla could have been a coastal area.
The Growth to Feudalism
Up to the beginning of the 10th century CE, Ays were the dominant powers in Kerala. The Ay kings ruled from Tiruvalla in North to Nagercoil in South. Ptolemy mentions this as from Baris (Pamba river) to Cape Comorin "Aioi" (Kanyakumari). By 12th century, we get the picture from the Tiruvalla copper plates, which are voluminous records that centre around the social life around the temple. The society The Tiruvalla temple had a large Vedic learning school (actually comparable to modern university) ("Tiruvalla salai"), which was one of the foremost learning centres in Kerala. The Tiruvalla salai was one of the richest among the Vedic schools of Kerala, and according to the copper plates, the pupils of the school were fed with 350 nazhis of paddy everyday, which shows the vastness of its student population. Tiruvalla held a very eminent position among the spiritual and educational centres in ancient times.The Sri Vallabha Temple was one of the wealthiest temples of ancient Kerala, as is evident from the inscriptions in the plates. The part of the temple land required to 'feed the Brahmins' required 2.1 million litres of rice seeds, and for the "maintenance of the eternal lamps" required more than 340,000 litres of paddy seed capacity. Due to the length, the antiquity and the nature of the language, Tiruvalla copper plates form the "First book in Malayalam", according to Prof. Elamkulam.
The rulers of Tiruvalla now belonged to the Thekkumkoor Dynasty, which had one of its headquarters at Idathil near Kaavil Temple. Idathil (Vempolinadu Edathil Karthavu) was the family name of the Thekkumkoor kings. Today's Paliakara Palace is a branch of Lakshmipuram Palace of Changanacherry, which is a branch of Alikottu Kovilakam of Pazhancherry in Malabar. Similarly, Nedumpuram Palace is a branch of Mavelikkara Palace is an heir to the Kolathiri tradition of Udayamangalam. The Thekkumkoor kings lost their control in the course of time and Vilakkili (വിലക്കിലി) Nampoothiris were rulers in 1752–53 when Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, seized it in a bloody battle in which the ruler was killed, though some dispute it, saying the surrender was peaceful as the Namboothiris were not naive to challenge the mighty army of Ramayyan, the shrewd and sadistic Dalava (ദളവ)- head of administration and advisor – of Travancore.
Thiruvalla attracts tourists and worshipers from all over the nation as the legendary ‘Sri Vallabha Temple’ also known as the, ‘Southern Tirupati’, is located here. This place is also a home to the famous Paliakkara Church with a history that takes you back to 52 AD, when Christianity was first introduced in Kerala. Thiruvalla has many stories and legends kept in its cultural folds. There is a story behind everything associated with this place, be it the temples, festivals or even its name. Story goes that during the reign of the Thiruvathamkoor Maharaja this place was known as Sri Vallabhapuram and later changed to Thiruvallabhapuram and it has evolved as Thiruvalla in recent times. There is another belief that the name Thiruvalla is named after the deity Thiru Vallabhan or Vishnu. Thiruvalla is thus also known as a town of Vishnu.