Warriors of Kadathanadn Kalarapayattu

Thacholi Othenan; The Master of Kalaripayttu

In Kadathanadu there is a very famous family called the Thacholi Manikoth, Thacholi Othenan was born into this family. His father was the lord of Puthupanam. Thacholi Othenan had one elder brother whose name was Komapan, and a younger sister named Unichara.

He had a very creative childhood and was perfect in his study under the Mathilur Gurukkal. Once upon a time he went to Valayam with his friend Chappan. On their way through the Naru Passage they found themselves opposite the Payanadan Chindan Nambiar and his students. He was a very famous master of Kalaripayttu. When they came close together and face to face, neither of them moved from their position to let the other pass. When they continued towards each other, their bodies clashed and they both fell into the rice fields. After they both stood and returned to the passage, Chindan Nambiar challeneged him to Angam (a public battle to the death).
“Next sunday you and your people will come to Ponniyam battlefield” Said Chindan Nambiar. When Thacholi Othenan’s brother heard about this he became scared for him. He told Thacholi Othenan;
“You know who Chindan Nambiar is, his is an expert on the battlefeild. He knows many various fighting techniques”. However this did not scare Thacholi Orthenan. His brother then said “you should go to Chindan Nambiar and apologise”. Under this pressure from his brother Thacholi Othenan finally went to meet Chindan Nambiar. He went to the masters Kalaripayattu school with gifts of clothing from his brother to apologise, but Chindan Nambiar refused to forgive him. He then shouted;
“We will meet on the battlefield”. Thacholi Othenan then returned home in shame. He then visited Lokanarkavu Temple to pray to the goddess to punsih Chindan Nambiar for the shame he brought to Thacholi Othenan. The news of this spread to all places.
Atlast Thacholi Othenan went to Payampally Chandu’s home who then taught Thacholi Othenan many special techniques. He they went to the battlefield with his brother Komappan and Payampally Chandu. When he arrived he saluted his goddess and the Kalaripayattu goddess. Chindan Nambiar also came to the battlefield. They started under the laws of the Battlefield, both of them changing techniques against each other. At last Thacholi Orthenan applied his special technique he learned from Payampally Chandu called Poozhikadakan. This stirred up the dust into the air causing the people watching to step back. When the dust settled they all saw Thacholi Othenan grab Chindan Nambiar’s body. Thacholi Othenan asked the people;
“Do you want me to kill Chindan Nambiar?”. All of the people replied in accordance.
“Yes, kill him”. Thacholi Othenan then finished Chindan Nambiar and cut his head off.

Another story of Thacholi Othenan

The man and warrior Thacholi Othenan belonged to a family who were dedicated to a Temple called Lokanarkavu. Here he organised a festival every year in dedication to the goddess. He alone was responsible for the festival and everything that went on during it. Kathirur Gurukkal (A master of Kalarapayattu) and many of his students attended the festival. During this time Kathirur Gurukkal had a quarrel of words with Thacholi Othenan. He said;

“Next Sunday, you and I will do battle at Ponniyam battlefield”.

The following Sunday Thacholi Othenan did battle against Kathirur Gurukkal. During the fight Thacholi Othenan cut the head off Kathirur Gurukkal using an Urumi. Afterwards Thacholi Othenan and his people celebrated the victory. On the way home from the battlefield one of Kathirur Gurukkal’s students fired a gun at Thacholi Othenan. This student was then killed by Thacholi Othenan’s people using a bow and arrow.

K F Thomas Gurukkal