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Veteran actor Unnikrishnan Namboothiri on Wednesday passed away at a private hospital in Kannur. He was 98.
Unnikrishnan had tested positive for COVID-19 recently. He was receiving treatment for the same at the intense care unit of a private hospital. On Tuesday, he was sent home after his COVID-test came back negative. However, on Wednesday, his health deteriorated and he was taken back to the hospital, where he breathed his last.
Unnikrishnan made his acting debut with Desadanam 1996. However, he became a household name among the Malayalam film audience for his performance as a witty grandfather in Kalyanaraman (2002). He had also played a pivotal role in Kamal Haasan’s hit comedy-drama, Pammal K Sambandam (2002).
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan shared in a statement on Facebook, “Unnikrishnan Namboothiri was an actor who excelled in expressive acting. He was known to be a distinct personality in the field of cinema for his age-old interest and confidence for the same. A fellow leftist, he had closely associated with the CPI (M). His demise is a great loss to the artist fraternity. This is a personal loss for me as well. The gap left by his death in the cultural space, cannot be easily filled.”
Director Rajiv Menon took to Twitter to post, “RIP #UnnikrishnanNamboothiri, brought the Uyee Uyee thaatha of #kandukondainkandukondain to life and made it one of the most loved grandfather character in Tamil cinema ! We will miss your mischievous eyes which could turn into despair Ina flash.”
Unnikrishnan Namboothiri was known for movies like Kaikudunna Nilavu (1998), Kaliyattam (1997), Sadanandante Samayam (2003), Madhuranombarakattu (2000), Rappakal (2005), and Pokkiri Raja (2010).
A native of Payyanur, Unnikrishnan is survived by two sons Bhavadasan and PV Kunjikrishnan and two daughters Devi and Yamuna.
Aprofound knowledge of Sanskrit was indispensable for a proper understandingof the subject. The Namboothiris were well-versed in Sanskrit and so theyhad easier access to and better grasp of this subject. Along with VaasthuVidya, the seekers got opportunities of learning Astrology and Thanthricrites, since the three fields are inter-related. As a result, those practisingThanthric rites were adept at building construction too.
Mentionmust be made here that Keralites have been following the principles ofconstruction as enshrined in treatises like 'Silparathnam', 'ManushyaalayaChandrika', etc. which were written by great masters of the subject, andwhich describe the designs and styles of construction unique to the geographicalcondition of the region, and quite different from those in the neighbouringstates. It is interesting to remember that a detailed description of theplan, style and design relating to building of houses is a special featureof Kerala, not found in other parts of India.
Letus now meet some luminaries of this world:
1.Chennas Narayanan Nambudiripad (b. ME 603)
Thefirst undisputed master of Vaasthu Vidya is Narayanan Nambudiripad of ChennasMana who is also the renowned author of 'Thanthra Samuchayam', an authentictreatise on Thanthram. He was born in ME 603 (1427-28 AD) at Vanneri inPonnani Taluk. Thanthra Samuchayam is a voluminous work of 2,700 Slokamsin 12 chapters dealing with the construction of temples as well as therites to be observed at the installation of deities, renovation work, etc.Even today this work is considered to be the most authentic in this field.
2.Thirumangalath Neelakandhan Moosad (between 15th and 17th centuriesAD)
NeelakandhanMoosad is the author of the popular work in Kerala called 'ManushyaalayaChandrika'. His period is uncertain but is conjectured that he must havelived between the 15th and 17th centuries and certainly after Chennas NarayananNambudiripad. Manushyaalaya Chandrika is looked upon as the base for buildingconstruction in Kerala, as will be revealed by observing most of the houseshere.
3.Velanezhi Jathavedan Namboodiri ( b. ME 1008)
Bornat Venganelloor near Chelakkara in Thrissur Dist., he joined the BrahmaswamMattham after 'Upanayanam' to study the Vedams. Quite early in life, hemastered the basics of Vaasthu Vidya. His attention was also drawn to painting,Astrology and sculpture. A splendid monument of his architectural skillis the famous 'Koothambalam' at Thrissur. A time came when the Maharajaof Kochi decided to demolish the Koothambalam and reconstruct it at thesame place, retaining its grandeur. The work was entrusted to JathavedanNamboodiri. It is said that three days before the structure was demolished,he lay flat on the floor looking up and examining the intricacies of thearchitecture, and making mental calculations. He then requested the Maharajato order for the demolition of the structure. But the royal head's engineerdissented, arguing that unless a miniature model of the structure was setup outside, the pristine beauty and magnificence of the original wouldbe lost. Yet, Jathavedan Namboodiri was firm in his decision, saying thatwith a smile 'the building is already installed within and no need of amodel without', meaning he has a complete mental picture of the marvellousKoothambalam. Thereupon, the work of pulling down the old and reconstructingthe new started. Ultimately, the work was over in 1879 AD.
Again,it was Velanezhi who designed the 'Ettukettu' of the palace at Tripunithura.The story goes that it was he who helped the carpenters who were strugglingin vain to complete the work on the dining hall at the Mahadeva temple,Vaikom, owing to some architectural defect. We can have a measure of hisgenius and skill when we consider that most of the Naalukettu and Ettukettu(quadrangular buildings with courtyards) of the rich and renowned AadhyanNamboothiris of central Kerala owe their origin to the fertile imaginationand artistic excellence of Velanezhi.
FamousIllams like Poomulli, Varikkaasseri and Kuroor are captivating illustrations.He excelled not merely in building houses, but temples as well. He livedupto his 80th year and then quietly retired into another world, leavingnone to excel, and few to equal, him in architectural skill.
4.Kanippayyur Subrahmanian Nambudiripad (ME 1014 - 1085)
Thefather of the well-known Sankaran Nambudiripad, he had been the superintendentof building construction under the Maharaja of Travancore. All the state-ownedtemples and palaces were designed, constructed and renovated under hissupervision.
Buthis interest and absorption lay greater in Astrology than in architecture.The treatise 'Yukthibhaasha' written in Malayalam was at the tip of histongue and part of his blood stream. Besides, he showed exceptional facilitywith Mathematics. What is more surprising is that he could remember andsolve all the problems in Mathematics dealt with in 'Leelavathy', a masterlybook in Sanskrit. To crown it all, he was a gifted musician and a goodpainter. A wall painting of the family deity at his house etched by himstill looks on, giving indications of his immaculate artistic prowess.
Thepalace of Sreemoolam Thirunaal in Thiruvananthapuram was constructed byhim. The king expressed his marvel and wonder at the architectural perfectionof the palace in no uncertain terms and honoured him with a Veera Srinkhala'(gold chain) and other suitable awards. Further, Nambudiripad was invitedas the chief guest at the Murajapam in ME 1069. Ever since, this invitationwas received by the Nambudiris of Kanippayyur Mana.
SubrahmanianNambudiripad called it quits as superintendent when the king insisted onhis daily attendance in the office. Later on, this genius fell a victimto diseases and was bed-ridden. Records show that the king then offeredhim ample financial help. Finally, the great scholar passed away on Thulam2, 1085 at the age of 71.
5.Kanippayyur Parameswaran Nambudiripad (ME 1016 - 1094)
Ayounger brother of Subrahmanian Nambudiripad, he was outstanding in alltraditional skills. But his greater passion was for Mathematics and Astrologyin which he was a great name all over Kerala. The almanac known as 'Panchaangam'was not very popular in those days. But Parameswaran Nambudiripad had thehabit of making a mental calendar for a month, storing it up in memoryand enlightening those who came to him for information. He was interestedin sculpture, too. To add to his versatility, he made the crown of Kathakaliartistes, earrings, gold bracelets as well as dolls of different varietieslike miniature models of elephants. He died at the age of 78.
6. Pallatheri Nambiathan Namboodiri (ME 1052 - 1115)
Nambiathan ( Sasthrusarman) Namboodiri was born in Pallatheri Illam of Puthanchira on the Pooyam star of the month of Thulaam in ME 1052 (AD 1876), as the second son of Madhavan Namboodiri and Venkitangu Nediyaparambu (Mahal) Neeli Antharjanam.
After learning to recite Yajurvedam, and becoming a Sanskrit scholar, Nambiathan Namboodiri got in-depth training in Tharkasaasthram and Thachusaasthram at the famous Koodalloor Gurukulam. Soon he became one of the top Thachusaasthram experts of the time. In addition to preparing plans, designs and estimates for a number of homes, he also supervised the construction of many of them. As early as a hundred years ago, he built roofs with a special mix of 'Koorodu', 'Maarodu', lime and jaggery, which were as strong as the present-day concrete roofs - and that too without any reinforcement steel! (click : Namboothiri Magicians)
7.Kanippayyur Parameswaran Nambudiripad [Jr.] (ME 1053 - 1096)
Theeldest brother of Sankaran Nambudiripad, he was a good Sanskrit scholar.After his Vedic studies at the Brahmaswam Mattham, Thrissur, he was taughtthe science of architecture and Astrology by his own father. Later he learntSanskrit at Kodungallur Palace in the Gurukulam way. Thereupon he pursuedstudies in Sanskrit and acquired greater mastery along with Kurur UnniNambudiripad, his uncle's son. Their teacher was Vadakkeppaattu VasudevanNamboodiri.
Arecognised Vedic scholar, he successfully got through the 'Anyonyam' (anexceptionally difficult task and a test of one's unshakable command ofVedic text) [Click here for Kadavalloor Anyonyam]at Kadavalloor Sree Rama temple. He got published the historical story,'Kakkaattu Bhattathiri' in verse in the magazine entitled 'Unni Namboodiri'.He was the first man to make the necessary calculations to prepare the'Yogakshema Panchaangam' in 1084. Under the tutorship of Konath SankaraVarier, he got a clearer peep into Astrology and skill in determining 'Muhoortham'(auspicious day and time) for religious performances. It is interestingto note that he taught his master the science of architecture. He was helpedby Maannaanampatta Sankaranarayanan Namboodiri for the preparation of 'Panchaangam'.This genius once went to Thirunelli in connection with some architecturalconsultation, contracted typhoid and passed away at the early age of 43.
8.Maannaanampatta Sankaranarayanan Namboodiri ( ME 1056 - 1134)
Hewas born at Kavalappara near Shoranur in 1880-81. His father was NeelakandhanNamboodiri. After preliminary education, he was sent to the renowned KanippayyurMana where the well-known Kanippayyur Sankaran Nambudiripad was a fellow-student.Maannaanampatta acquired a good knowledge of Astrology and building constructionthere. It was he and Kanippayyur Sankaran Nambudiripad who had prepared'Yogakshema Panchaangam'. He went all over Kerala and helped people withthe construction of houses, giving proper guidelines and furnishing details.Noteworthy is the fact that most of the Namboothiri houses in Kerala aswell as temples were constructed in accordance with his calculations. Hedied in 1959 at the age of 78.
9.Kanippayyur Damodaran Nambudiripad (ME 1064 - 1110)
Hewas the immediate elder brother of Sankaran Nambudiripad. He studied inthe traditional style. Like other members of the family, he was accomplishedin the science of architecture. A scholar in Sanskrit, he also studiedtoxicology (Visha Chikitsa). His father and elder brother had already compiledtopics relating to construction of temples in the form of a book. The informationfrom this as well as from books like 'Thanthra Samuchayam', 'Mayamatham'and'Silparathnam' was used by him to produce a new authentic book with lucidinterpretations and explanations entitled 'Thanthra Samuchayam - Silpabhaagam'.The second to the seventh Slokams of the 9th chapter of this book bearingthe title 'Dhwaja Lakshanam' are the contributions of his elder brother,Parameswaran Nambudiripad. Later, Sankaran Nambudiripad brought out a newedition of this book with additions like 'Jeernodhhaarana Vidhi', and necessaryillustrations.
Thisunique work comprising eleven chapters with six supplementary sectionsdeals with nearly a hundred topics. Exact and distinct calculations areshown for the construction of temples facing east and west. Besides, ThanthraSamuchayam also throws ample light on the construction methods of replicasof deities, dance-halls (Naatyamandapam / Koothambalam), etc. It may benoted that the Namboothiri houses (Illams) in Kerala are modelled on thisdesign. It is a measure of the true greatness of Damodaran Nambudiripadthat, when the famous Poornathrayeesa temple at Tripunithura was in flames,he made precise mental calculations of the whole edifice, based on theremains, and the sanctum sanctorum was rebuilt in RCC with a covering ofcopper plates. Incidentally, this is the first sanctum sanctorum in RCCin Kerala.
Theend of this pioneer was tragic. At the age of 46 he died, by rabies.
10.Puliyoor Purushothaman Namboodiri (b. ME 1064)
Anundisputed scholar in Sanskrit, the fountain-head of Astrology and a manproficient in architecture, Purushothaman Namboodiri was born at PeruveliMattham at Puliyoor in Chengannur as the gifted son of Subrahmanian Namboodiriand Sreedevi Antharjanam. Even at the early age of 16 he assimilated acommendable knowledge of logic (Tharkam), grammer (Vyaakaranam), 'Alankaaram',architecture, Aayurvedam, Astrology (Jyothisham), etc. Many a temple andhouse had been constructed as per his architectural designs and calculations.
11.Kanippayyur Sankaran Nambudiripad (ME 1066 - 1160)
Fromancient times, Kanippayyur Nambudiripads were unequalled in Vaasthu Vidya.They were the advisors to the Maharajas of Kochi in this department. Amongthem Sankaran Nambudiripad was the most illustrious. To spread the knowledgeof architecture, he not only published books but set up the 'PanchaangamPress' at Kunnamkulam in Thrissur District. It is to his credit that manySanskrit works were translated into Malayalam.
12.Vezhapparabu Parameswaran Namboodiri (ME 1107 - 1177)
Hailingfrom a Thanthry family, Parameswaran Namboodiri was an expert on 'ThachuSaasthram'. He had supervised the construction of many a temple in Kerala,giving specifications and prescribing rules in the light of the 'Saasthram'.He was the 'Thanthry' of about 150 temples in Kerala. He had his earlyeducation in the 'Gurukula' style and later at the Sanskrit school at Tripunithura.He achieved distinction in 'Aagama Saasthram', Sanskrit literature andVaasthu Vidya. He passed away on January 17, 2002.
PRESENT-DAYEXPERTS IN VAASTHU VIDYA
1.Kaanapram Narayanan Namboodiri
Hewas born on August 30, 1922 in Kaithapram, north of Kannur. After 'Upanayanam'at the age of 8, he started Vedic studies. His father is Eeswaran Namboodiri.Quite early in life he had an aptitude for sculpture. Then his attentionwas diverted to Vaasthu Vidya where his Guru was K Sreedharan Namboodiri.He has given a new interpretation entitled 'Naaraayaneeyam' to 'ManushyaalayaChandrika', a branch of architecture. He has travelled widely all overKerala to participate in temple 'Prasnams'and help people in siting ofhouses. Recently, along with Kanippayyur Krishnan Nambudiripad and KesavanAchari, Kaanapram was also invited to a function in Thiruvananthapuram,organised to honour the stalwarts in the field of traditional architecture.
2.Kanippayyur Krishnan Nambudiripad
Themost widely known even internationally and respected among the authoritieson Vaasthu Vidya alive today is Krishnan Nambudiripad. In him we have aconfluence of modern education and traditional knowledge with special emphasison architecture. Many temples have sprung up all over the world and ofcourse in India under his able supervision. People in Kerala seek his advicebefore venturing upon constructing houses. He is one of the founder membersof 'Vaasthu Vidya Prathishtthaanam', an establishment to spread the relevanceand importance of architectural expertise in the modern world. He has conductedvarious classes in India and abroad on the subject. He has also publisheda variety of works dealing with this subject.
3.Kanippayyur Parameswaran Nambudiripad
Theyounger brother of Krishnan Nambudiripad, he has also acquired knowledgeand skill in the science of architecture. 'The Panchaangam Book House',which is a publishing department of the Kanippayyur group of institutions,is run under his supervision. Parameswaran Nambudiripad also conducts classes,like his elder brother.
4.Kanippayyur Krishnan Nambudiripad (Udayamperur, Kochi)
What does the houses in astrology mean. Anothermember of the great family and an authority on the subject, he lives nearKochi. He is responsible for the construction of many houses and temples,especially in central and south Kerala.
5.Kanippayyur Unni Nambudiripad
Heis also a name to be reckoned with in architecture and indeed, very busy.
6.Kanippayyur Kuttan Nambudiripad
Heis not a name to be ignored in architecture among the young generation.
7.Cheruvalli Narayanan Namboodiri
Aresident of Kozhikode, he is a distinguished person in architecture inNorth Kerala. He has read and digested almost all works on Vassthu Vidyawritten in Sanskrit and Malayalam. An engineer by vocation, architectureis his avocation. He is one of the directors of Vaasthu Vidya Prathishtthaanam.
8.Karangat Raman Bhattathiripad
RamanBhattathiripad is a civil engineer. At the same time, he is recognisedas an expert on architecture. He is a blend of the old and the new, combiningthe old style with the new method of construction. He is also a directorof Vaasthu Vidya Prathishtthaanam.Article No:15 Last update of this article:12th February 2007
|Articleby : K Raman Bhattathiripad, Karangat Mana, PO : Thiruvegappura- 679 304, Palakkad Dist. Phone : 0492-696242; e-mail : [email protected]|
Withinputs from : Kanippayyur Parameswaran Nambudiripad, KanippayyurMana, PO : Kanippayyur - 680 517, Kunnamkulam, Thrissur Dist. Phone : [O]- 0488-527990; [R] - 522198
Translatedby : Prof: K P C Vasudevan Bhattathiripad (Padinjaredath Mana),'Saarasam', Karimbam, Taliparamba - 670 142, Kannur Dist. Phone : 0498-204670