Lotus farms of Thirunnavaya

Lotus farms of Thirunnavaya

Lotus farms of Thirunnavaya

“Amid much din and firing of guns the Morituri, the Chaver Nayars, the elect of four Nayar houses in Waluvanad, step forth from the crowd and receive the last blessings and farewells of their friends and relatives. They have just partaken of the last meal they are to eat on earth at the house of the temple representative of their chieftain; they are decked with garlands and smeared with ashes.. Armed with swords and targets alone they rush at the spearmen thronging the palisades; they wind and turn their bodies, as if they had no bones, casting them forward and backward, high and low, even to the astonishment of the beholders, as worthy Master Johnson describes them in a passage already quoted. But notwithstanding the suppleness of their limbs, notwithstanding their delight and skill and dexterity in weapons, the result is inevitable, and is prosaically recorded in the chronicle thus: The number of Chavers who came and died in the early morning the next day after the elephant began to be adorned with gold trappings – At various times during the ten last days of the festival the same thing is repeated. Whenever the Zamorin takes his stand on the terrace, assumes the sword and shakes it, men rush forth from the crowd on the west temple gate only to be impaled on the spears of the guardsmen who relieve each other from day to day.” This War Despatch with deadly climax was scribbled by Logan during the 1683 Mamankam festival.e,,years passed…centuries  elapsed…the Manikkinar…the Nilapaduthara..stood by the  ravages of time…They were renovated…but what about the blood drenched yearnings of young suicide squads who were plucked away in the dawn of life? their dreams reincarnated into pink lotuses ,,,their  unfulfilled dreams were enmassed into lotus buds ..their Rajo guna , …the energy was manifested in lotus flowers.   a pink tide was  emerged from the blood dimmed tide……

Lotusfarms of thirunnavaya ne

Lotus farms of Thirunnavaya

swampy marshy farms swarming with r umbling  oily black bumble bees.lotus  grow and bloom most profusely from the thickest and deepest dark mud.The stalks of the lotus rise above the waters and end in blooms of pink  colours that appear one at a time. A delicate fragrance emanates from it ..the smell of lotus becomes so sensuous and obssessive when MT Vasudevan nair draws parallels between Panchalis sweat and the fragrance of flowers.The the endless sea of lotuses..the ocean of pink waves when the river breeze from Nila gently comes….”

LOTUS FARMS OF THIRUNNAVAYA

LOTUS FARMS OF THIRUNNAVAYA

one thousand  saw I at a glance tossing their heads in sprightly dance””where as they moved in a wavy way… As the train moves from Kuttippuram towards Calicut…we  can see the marvelous sight of lotus farms on either side of the railway tracks.It could be the Valiyaparapoor Kayal (lake) of Edakkulam and Vavoorpadasekharam of Kodakkal ,the pink acres stretched until they met the blue sky.

GATHERING LOTUS BUDS

GATHERING LOTUS BUDS

Thirunavaya is a small village between 10 km away from Tirur and 8 km from Kuttippuram in Malappuram district of Kerala, southIndia. This village is famed as the  centre of the Mamankam festival held in the Thirunavaya Temple on the banks of the  bharathappuzha.

LOTUS FARMS OF THIRUNNAVAYA

LOTUS FARMS OF THIRUNNAVAYA

Thirunavaya Navamukunda Temple is a very ancient temple on the banks of river Bharathappuzha dedicated to Navamukundan, Vishnu . Lotus garlands  have been regarded as   as an intimate offering to the diety for centuries..the connection between the lotus tradition of thirunnavaya and the offering in the temple shows close bearings, when does this  lotus cultivation civilzation  usher along the banks of bharathappuzha.?

lotus budslotus buds

“Between the mountains there were many rivers, flowing in all directions along a hundred different routes, moving slowly downhill, without waves. The rivers were shallow and their banks weren’t steep, making them easy to ford. The water in them was clean and pure, and flowers floated on the surface in abundance. The currents were full of them…” According to this passage, the lotus was the first flower appearing in a world of water.when we reach along the kayal banks  time petrifies and we go back to the days of Adi budha.. Buddhist mythology further says that, the first Buddha or Adi Buddha emerged at the beginning of the world in the form of a flame emanating from a lotus. Buddhists believe that whenever a Buddha takes birth, a lotus-bud rises above water and blooms in proportion to his spiritual attainments or alternatively closes down.

It is believed that the t lotus cultivation began in Thirunavaya during the reign of Zamorins of Kozhikode to meet the daily religious necessities of the   Temple here. Devotees offer lotus flowers to Navamukundhan, the family deity of Zamorins.

lotus buds

lotus buds

The major attraction in Thirunavaya area is it Pink Lotus farming. There are around 4 major lotus farms in Thirunavaya and surroundingsThirunnavaya is one of the major lotus  cultivation centres in south india..Thirty familes are engaged in lotus farming in around 500 acres here..A visit to Valiyaparapoor Kayal (lake) of Edakkulam and Vavoorpadam of Kodakkal is must to enjoy the sight of acres of pink lotus in Thirunavaya, the village famous for its Mamankam remains.

Thamara haji

Thamara haji

Thamara haji as his name suggests started lotus farming 17 years ago..his real name is Moideen haji Pallivalappil.He cultivates in an area of 12 acrers around Vavoor patasekharam.He sells around thousand flowers  a day during  peak months..He  started farming 17 years ago.. Mohammed Aslam andMohammed Musthafa are the other major suppliers of   lotus flowers .

AS THE BUD OPENS !

AS THE BUD OPENS !

The Lotus flowers are in bloom for seven to eight months except the excessive rainy months.The farmers get more flowers during November,,December months, The buds and the flowers are plucked in the mornings and evenings in small country crafts known as vallam. . The normal daily yield is around a thousand flowers and during the summer, the output reduces to below five hundred  when water level comes down..

The lotus flowers are in huge demand during festival seasons, especially in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam, when the flowers are required to perform Pujas at temples across the State. The distribution of flowers to major places is done from Kozhikode market. There is huge demand for lotus flowers in major towns of Tamil Nadu as well. The price of a lotus flower and its bud varies from five rupees to one rupee. 

lotus farms constant vigil

lotus farms ,constant vigil

There should be at least half metre to one-and-half metre deep water for excellent flowering of lotus plants. To maintain the water level in the Valiyaparapoor Lake  and Kodakkal patasekharam during summer, the farmers have to pump water for hours from borewells and other adjacent water holes to sustain even the meagre yield. They use diesel pump sets which are costly to maintain., Birds like cormorants, jacanas and Moorhen, swallow  the bud of the plant and damage the flowers by running across it. The  rats also gnaw the  rhizomes and it is harmful to the farming.The weeds, grass, excessive wind and rainfall also disturb the healthy life of the lotus plants. Vast areas of paddy fields are taken by the people on lease for a fixed period in order to nurture lotus flowers.

lotus

lotus

Water hyacinths pose a major issue. , Water levels have been receding over the years. Sometimes it is difficult to continue farming, farmers say unanimously.

Lotus farmers do not get any financial support from government bodies as nurturing of the national flower has not been yet recognised as an agricultural activity. Hence, farmers suffer huge losses and are even thinking of withdrawing from farming.lotus is the favourite flowers of hindu deities and profusely used in lord vishnus temples.It is known to very few devotees that the lotus blooms used in all major temples across the state including Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Sabarimala, Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple, Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple, Thriprayar Sri Rama Temple and Parshinikkaadavu Muthappan Temple are all farmed by these families.On an average, the village collects and distributes around 20,000 blooms every day.

waiting for gods

lotus ,waiting for gods

Lotus farmers belong to Muslim community share deep ties with the  Hindu temples through out the state.Lotus has turned to be a symbol of communal peace in Thirunnavaya.

Flocks of birds are sighted in the farms.. The farms  are the habitat of.the moor hens ,jacanas the local migratory birds along the coast of Bharathappuxza and water birds ,cormorants   egrets ,storks and variety of king fishers..These act as a solace to these birds who are in exile due to the  persistent shrinking of  wet lands.

MOORE HEN BESIDE BRONZE WINGED JACANAS

MOORE HEN BESIDE BRONZE WINGED JACANAS

“In the beginning, the earth was filled with watery emptiness, without shape. From these waters, called Nun, there emerged a mound of land. A lotus plant grew from the mound and blossomed and as its petals opened, the lotus gave birth to the sun.” Legend further says that the Egyptian sun god Ra raised himself from the primordial waters concealed in a lotus or alternately appeared as a child sitting in a lotus flower. Egyptians describe this event as the First Occurrence and the earliest experiencible manifestation of divine power. In an interesting parallel to Hindu mythology, Egyptian traditions hold that “the highest god appeared, self-begotten, emerging from a lotus.” Creation apart, the lotus has been identified with various gods in different contexts and in several religious traditions.creation is often associated with lotus flowers..let the communal peace originated from the navel of  Nila ,,,the Thirunnavaya,,,pervade throughout the world…and maintain the equilibruim of the three Gunas Satwa,Rajas and Thamo ,, for ever..How can we call a lake ..alake without lotuses,,?