The imagery of the royal flag consisted of two Naandakam-Vaal-swords on either sides with a Vaakapookkula centrally placed. The imagery of the royal seal consists of a boat beneath, a lamp above it followed on either adjacent side by a Vaakapookkula.
As per the inscriptions of the eighth century the existence of Kolathunadu family is supported. A 10th century inscription mentions about a Vikramaraman who is a part of Mushika lineage. Another tenth century inscription mentions Udayavarman, who was titled Ramaghata Muvar which is a label used by the Mushika kings. There is a posibility that their royalty goes back to as far as 1800 B.C. They intermarried frequently with the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Cholas. Intermarriage has also taken place with the Chedis, the Somas and the Yadavas and gradually assimilated to the Nairs. The Arakkal and the Nileshwaram Royal Families are branches of this Royal Family. The Southern branch of Kolathunad Royal family ruled over erstwhile Venad and is known as the Travancore Royal Family. The Mushika Royal Family has also been mentioned in ancient Indian texts like the Vishnu Purana.
When the Kulasekhara of Mahodayapuram had disappeared in early twelfth century the socio-cultural uniqueness of Kolathunadu became more prominent. The author of Keralolpathi praised Kolathiri as Vadakkan Perumals. In the fourteenth century the Kolathiris were vassals of Hoysala Empire. It is believed that Kolathiri was an ally of Malik Kafur who became the most powerful king of Kerala after the invasion. In 1314 two princesses Attingal Rani and Kunnumel Rani were sent by Kolathiri to marry the prince of Tamil Venad dynasty that was then ruled by Veera Marthandavarma the son of Ravivarma Kulasekhara.
Kolathiri were considered as an ally of the Muslims especially Arabs. The large Muslim army and Navy supported the kingdoms of Kolathiri and Samuthiri which enabled them to resist the Portuguese. Tipu Sultan had maintained friendly relations with the Arackkal kingdom when he arranged the marriage between his son Abdhul Khali with one of the princesses of Arackkal Royal family. Kolathiri surrendered to Tipu Sultan without a war in 1776.
It is believed that the Kolathiris never exercised a monopoly of authority in the realm. The kingly status attributed of the Kolathiris remained a nominal one. The Kolathiris had to sustain their political dignity contained by the constraints that was set by the limits of their economic resource base. The geographical features of Kolathunadu did not guarantee any major agricultural surplus due to which the possibility of a centralized political structure was limited. This led to Kolathiris exercising considerable influence over the people of the region. There emerged a powerful taravadus of Nairs exercising control over the resources. The inability of the Kolathiris to monopolize can be attributed to the weak economic position.
By the seventeenth century, the Kolaswarupam shared its political authority with two other lineages in north Kerala. The Nileswaram Swarupam and the Arackal Swarupam moved out. The political power within the Kolaswarupam was disseminated into different kovilakams. As per Keralolpathi there are four kovilakams sharing the political authority of the Kolaswarupam: Talora Kovilakam, Arathil Kovilakam, Muttathil Kovilakam and Karipathu Kovilakam. The original kingdom of Kolathiri was partitioned into five matrilineal divisions that had rulers of the respective parts: Kolattiri, Tekkalankur, Vadakkalankur, Naalamkur, Anjamkur.
(Last Updated on : 03-11-2011)
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