KonganpaDai, Palghat district festival

The Western ghat mountains of Southern India split near Palghat, Kerala producing a natural gap. For ages, this gap served as the conduit for trade between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The rulers always ensured the safety of the merchants along this route and did not hesitate to undertake war expeditions against waylayers. The KonganpaDai festival, celebrated in ChithUr of Palghat district, has its origins traceable to one such war of 1592 A.D. An ill-informed Madurai Nayak king started the war against Chithur. The fact that the folks of Chithur were not responsible for the robbery crime propelled them to join forces and defeat the Madurai army. An ancient palm leaf manuscript, published for the first time, reveals the King's proclamatons for the war. This research essay explains the prevailing circumstances, war events and contemporary festivities in commemoration of the sixteenth century war.

The author of the essay covering aspects of history and anthropology is Thiru. K. Arunachala Kavundar (1906-2000) who got his M.A. degree under the supervision of the great U. V. Swaminathaiyar, the editor of sangam texts.

This is a generous contribution of Dr.N.Ganesan Houston, Texas, USA for permanent display in THF.