Tourists love to explore and enjoy the architecture and history of antiquated traditional tharavadus. There are Manas all over Kerala that call out the grandeur of the yore. Mana is a synonym for 'Illam' and is a Malayalee lineage system used for the classification and identification of homes based on castes in Kerala, primarily the Namboothiris. At Thrithala Vemanchery House, you can witness its beautiful history through its year-old Brahmin house and chandeliers.
This famous Mana of Mezhathol Agnihotri is said to hold many secrets in the interiors, echoes a flourishing Kerala architecture and carpentry. In fact, the Vemanchery House is over 1400 years old. If you go on a trip to Agnihotri's house, you will see history and myths intertwined. Located in Palakkad, Vemancheri Mana is one of the oldest manas in Kerala. The age of the home was calculated from a carbon dating analysis from 2008 to 2012. All the woodwork in the house is chiseled. Here you can witness an unprecedented view that combines architecture and Vaastu shastra. Vemanchery House is popularly known as the Mana of Agnihotri, the first son of the said Parayupetta Panthirukulam. This Mana holds centre stage in the folklore populated by Keralites’ all-time favourite characters of Naranath Bhranthan, who rolls boulders up a hill only to throw them down, and the master carpenter Perunthachan who nurses raging jealousy towards his son.
It is said that Agnihotri and his brothers used to gather at this house on the day of Bhishmashtami to pay their respects to their father Vararuchi. Legend has it that Vararuchi was a Brahmin scholar, while his wife belonged to a lower caste, and they had 12 children. Each of the babies was taken up by people of different castes (totally 12), thus they grew up in that caste, making the legendary 'Panthirukulam'. Apparently, all of them were abandoned at the spots where they were born. The 12 were: Agnihotri, a Brahmin; Pakkanar, a Paraya, Rajakan, Uppukoottan, Vallon, Vayillakunnilappan, Vaduthala Nair, Karakkal Mathavu, Pananar, Naranathu Branthan, Akavoor Chathan and Perunthachan. There is a legend that reveals the connection between Agnihotri and Vemanchery Illam. Agnihotri was the child of an introvert in the Vemanchery house who was born from the beach.
The boy's real name was Bhrammadatthan, whom Vararuchi and his wife abandoned on the banks of the Bharathapuzha. Brahmadatta, who manifested divinity at an early age, went with Antharjan one day when he went for a bath and made a Shiva lingam out of river sand in a bowl. Thrithala, later known as Thrithala, is a place where a Shiva lingam made of river sand is placed in a bowl or tiruthalam. Thus the deity is known as 'Thalathilappan', meaning God in a plate. The idol is said to have the constitution of sand. It is believed that the sharp bend in the river in the area was formed due to the river changing its course on its own, to give space for the temple to be built.
The 1400-year-old Vemancheri Mana has spacious interiors, carved stone steps, and a polished montage. The pond adjacent to the house and the stone steps that lead to the middle of the pond are an amazing sight. There are three skewers here that are believed to belong to Agnihotri. Made of gold, silver, and copper, the scepter of gold is placed on the west side. The silver one is dedicated to the silver stone and the copper one is dedicated to Kodikunnu Bhagwati. On the west side of the house is the serene Bhagwati and in the courtyard are the idols of Durga, Bhadrakaali, and Krishnakali. You can still see the burning candle in this house of Agnihotri. During earlier days only Namboothiris and Embranthiris could enter the temple premises while other upper castes could pray from outside the temple. Backward caste Hindus were barred from entry. Following strong public outcry, the restrictions were removed.
The new generation of Vemancheri mana is worshipped by lighting this chandelier without ever breaking it. Vemanchery, with its extraordinary views, is a marvel for all history buffs. Although there are disputes about the age of the mana, this Brahmageham is a marvel in terms of construction and appearance.