Who does not love to reminisce about good old days while ambling along a river bank or sit in the courtyard of a traditional 'ettukettu' steeped in antiquity? The awe-inspiring 200-year-old Manayahtattu 'mana' (a Namboodiri homestead) on the banks of the tranquil Muvattupuzha, offers that surreal setting for you. And more importantly, this age-old 'ettukku' (a structure with eight halls and two central courtyards) is still in good shape.
As you step into this sprawling mana, you can plunge into the rich tradition of a bygone era and listen to the soothing sound of the river flowing. The Manayahtattu mana is located at Midayikunnam near Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam district, and its family members have the right of tantrihood at close to 100 temples in Kerala. Chandrashekaran Namboodiri, the doyen of tantric rituals, is part of the Manayahtattu family.
The chirping of birds and cries of crickets resonate with the atmosphere surrounding the mana, and a visit to this hallowed place can be rewarding for all nature lovers. The homestead also stands tall when it comes to legends. There is two Manayahtattu manas on the east and west sides and many serials, shorts films, and music albums were canned at the west-side mana.
The family members of the Manayahtattu mana presided over the rituals at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple during the reign of Pandya.
The sacred spatula
The mana offers prayers to a special and holy 'chattukam' (spatula). As per the folklore, a hermit sought alms from Thrikkarayikkulam Temple but was denied any favour. A fire gutted the temple after the crestfallen hermit left the worship place.
Later, the ascetic went to Manayahtattu mana, where he was served a sumptuous meal and given alms. Quite content with the hospitality, the hermit gave a spatula to the family members saying that the flat ladle will keep hardship at bay. The mana still has the sacred spatula.
Special poojas and rituals are performed during the Malayalam month of Vrichikam (November-December) on the star day of Karthika for Durgadevi, the presiding deity of the homestead.
The visitors to the mana will fall in love with its splendid central courtyard and nature-friendly surroundings.