Alappuzha (Ker)

Mal: ആലപ്പുഴ ālappuḻa ‘Broad River’  [Alleppey] City/District, Kerala. From Mal: ālam, ‘broad’; and  puḻa/puzha, ‘river’ The Kerala backwaters are a complex 900km network of brackish/saltwater lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals. Lord Curzon called Alleppey, which is at...

Aluva  (Ker)

Mal: ആലുവ āluva. ‘River Mouth’  [Alwaye] City/Dictrict, Kerala. From Mal: āl, ‘water’; ālam ‘water’, ‘sea’; and  vāy/vā, ‘mouth’, ‘opening’, ‘juncture’ [Tam: aruvi, Kan/Tul: aluve/aruve, ‘river’s mouth’, ‘inlet to a backwater’]. The Periyar river becomes the...

Anchal (Ker)

Mal: അഞ്ചൽ añcal ‘Stopover’   Town,  Kerala From Mal/Tam: añcal, ‘relay’, ‘stop-over’, ‘staging post’. It is possible that Anchal was an important junction or stopover from ancient times in an area which was mostly forest paths. Anchal was also the name of...

Angamaly (Ker)

Mal: അങ്കമാലി aṅkamāli ‘Trading Port’  [Angadikadavu]  Town,  Kerala From Tam/Mal: aṅkāṭi/aṅgaḍi, ‘bazaar’, ‘market’; Mal: kaṭavu, ‘beach’, ‘landing place’, ‘wharf’; and māli/maly, ‘(sea)port’. Manjaly thodu [Mal: tōṭu, ‘water-course’] which flows through the town...

Aranmula (Ker)

Mal: ആറന്മുള āṟanmuḷa ‘Six Bamboo (Boat)’  Town, Kerala From Mal: aṟu, ‘six’; and  muḷa, ‘bamboo’. The 6thC Parthasarathy temple here is named after Krishna in his role as Arjuna’s charioteer in the Bhagavad-Gita [Skt: pārtha, ‘ Pāṇḍava’, ‘Arjuna’; and sārathy(am),...

Attingal (Ker)

Mal: ആറ്റിങ്ങൽ ā(tt)ṟṟiṅ(g)al ‘Attingal Queens’  Town, Kerala Marumakkathayam is a royal and high caste system of matrilineal descent where title and inheritance follows the female bloodline, although the eldest son is still head of the family. Princess...

Aymanam (Ker)

Mal: അയ്മനം aymanaṁ ‘Five Forests’  Village,  Kerala From Mal: ai(y)m ‘five’ (in word compounds)’; and vanam ‘forest’, ‘jungle’ Aymanam  is like a small village with classic backwater scenery: coconut trees, paddy...

Beypore (Ker)

Mal: ബേപ്പൂർ   bēppūr ‘Estuary Town’   [Vaypura, Vadaparappanad, Sultan Pattanam]  Town, Kerala From Mal: vāy, ‘mouth’, ‘inlet’, ‘opening’; and Skt: pur, ‘town’, ‘city’. Beypore, at the mouth of the 169km Chaliya river,  is one of the oldest ports in Kerala. It has...

Chalakudy (Ker)

Mal: ചാലക്കുടി c(h)ālakkuṭi ‘Prosperous Settlement’   Town,  Kerala From Tam/Mal: c(h)āla/c(h)āl ‘abundant’, ‘noble’; and kuṭi  ‘settlement’, ‘colony’. Chalakudy was the site of the Nedumkotta defence fortification to resist the military advances of Hyder Ali Khan...

Changanassery (Ker)

Mal: ചങ്ങനാശ്ശേരി c(h)aṅ(g)anāśśēri ‘Sengan’s  Town’   Town, Kerala From Senguttavan Cheran and Mal/Tam: c(h)ēri ‘town, village, settlement’. Changanassery’s history dates back to the early period of the Chera dynasty (c. 1st-3rdC) in the Sangam period when Kuttunad...

Chavakkad (Ker)

Mal: ചാവക്കാട്  c(h)āvakkāṭ ‘Dead Forest’  [Chowghat]  Town,  Kerala  From Tam/Mal: c(h)āva, ‘dead’, ‘blighted’; kāṭu, ‘forest’, ‘jungle’. Some suggest a forest ‘curse’ but, being on a coastal land,  it is more likely to be a barren or infertile stretch of land. St...

Cherthala (Ker)

Mal: ചേര്‍ത്തല c(h)ērttala ‘Joined Land’  Town, Kerala From Tam/Mal: c(h)ēr/c(h)ērtt, ‘join’, ‘attach’, ‘add’; Mal: aḷam, coastal area.  It is possible that the name refers to ancient land reclamation: extensive parts of the backwaters have been reclaimed from...

Ernakulam (Ker)

Mal: എറണാകുളം eṟaṇākuḷaṁ ‘Shiva’s Tank’   City/District,  Kerala From Iraiyanar, the Lord (Shiva);  and Tam/Mal: kuḷam, ‘tank’, ‘reservoir’ Shiva is the patron deity of Ernakulam and the 4,000 sq km Ernakulathappan Shiva...

Ezhikkara (Ker)

Mal: ഏഴിക്കര ēḻikkara ‘Riverside’   Village, Kerala From Mal: aḻi, ‘river (mouth)’, ‘harbour’; and kara, ‘shore’, ‘bank’. Ezhikkara is a small village surounded by coconut trees, rivers and lagoons with an...

Haripad (Ker)

Mal: ഹരിപ്പാട് harippāṭ ‘Green Ricefields’   Town, Kerala.  From Mal: hari ‘green’; and  pāṭam/pāḍam/pāṭu ‘(range of) ricefields’, ‘rice-land’. Haripad is nicknamed ‘Town of Temples’. The two most famous ones are the  Subrahmanya Swamy temple and Mannarasala Temple...

Idukki (Ker)

Mal: ഇടുക്കി iṭukki ‘Gorge’  District, Kerala From Mal: iṭukku/iḍukkụ, ‘narrow passage’, ‘gorge’ Idukki  is a mountainous and densely forested region set in the Cardamom Hills. It spreads over an area of 4,358 km2 , making it the  second largest district in Kerala. It...

Kadakkarappally (Mal)

Mal: കടക്കരപ്പള്ളി kaṭakkarappaḷḷi ‘Seashore Church’ From Mal: kaṭal‍/kaḍal, ‘sea’;  kara, ‘shore’; and paḷḷi, ‘hut’, ‘church’, ‘shrine’ This small coastal village is part of Alappuzha district. Its church, St...

Kaduthuruthy (Ker)

Mal: കടുത്തുരുത്തി kaṭutturutti ‘Sea Island’    Town, Kerala From Mal:  kaṭal‍/kaḍal, ‘sea’; and turutti, island Kaduthuruthy used to be on the coast (i.e. the complex pattern of seawater lagoons and backwaters that make up the coastline here): a 14thC...

Kalamassery (Ker)

Mal:കളമശ്ശേരി kaḷamaśśēri ‘Rice Settlement’      Suburb/Region (Kochi), Kerala From Mal: kaḷama, ‘(a kind of) rice growing in deep water’; and Tam/Mal: c(h)ēri/ś(h)ēri, ‘town’, ‘village’, ‘settlement’. This implies a rice growing region,...

Kalpetta (Ker)

Mal: കൽപറ്റ kalpaṟṟa  ‘Rocky Place’ [Kalpaṟṟa]  Town, Kerala From Mal: kal, kallu ‘stone’, ‘rock’; and Tam: paṟṟam, ‘collection’, ‘mass’. Kalpetta is circled by mountains, rocks, waterfalls and terraces of spice, coffee and tea. It is in an ideal setting...

Kanhangad (Ker)

Mal: കാഞ്ഞങ്ങാട്  kāññaṅṅāṭ ‘Strychnine Forest’  Town,  Kerala. From Mal:  kāñjiram, ‘strychnine tree’, ‘snake wood tree’, ‘poison nut’ [Strychnos nux vomica]; and Tam/Mal: aṅkāṭi/aṅgaḍi/aṅṅāṭi, ‘bazaar/market’, ‘town/village’; or Mal:   kāṭu, ‘wilderness’, ‘wood’. ...

Kanjirangad (Ker)

Mal:കാഞ്ഞിരങ്ങാട് kāññiraṅṅāṭ ‘Strychnine Village’   Village, Kerala From Mal: kāñjiram, ‘strychnine tree’, ‘snake wood tree’, ‘poison nut’ [Strychnos nux vomica]; and Tam/Mal: aṅkāṭi/aṅgaḍi/aṅṅāṭi, ‘bazaar/market’, ‘town/village’; or Mal: kāṭu, ‘wilderness’, ‘wood’. ...

Kannur (Ker)

Mal: കണ്ണൂര്‍ kaṇṇūr ‘Bamboo Town’  [Cannanore] City/District,  Kerala From Mal: kaṇ(a)/ka(ṇ)ṇu, ‘bamboo (cane)’; and ūr, ‘village’, ‘town’, ‘city’. Kannur was an important trading centre (especially for spices) in the 12thC with important trading partnerships in...

Karunagappalli (Ker)

Mal: കരുനാഗപ്പള്ളി karunāgappaḷḷi. ‘Cobra Village’  Town, Kerala. From Mal: karu, ‘black’;  nāgam/nāġam,  ‘snake’, ‘cobra’; and paḷḷi, ‘village’, ‘hamlet’. Karunagappalli/Karunagappally, a riverside town, is famous for its backwaters, houseboats, its boat club and...

Kasaragod (Ker)

Mal: കാസർഗോഡ് kāsargōḍ ‘Backwater Lake’  [Kanhirakode] Town/District,  Kerala From Mal: kāñjiram, ‘strychnine tree’, ‘snake wood tree’, ‘poison nut’ [Strychnos nux vomica]; and kāṭu, ‘wilderness’, ‘wood’ This derivation assumes that Kasaragoda is a simple corruption...

Kattapana (Ker)

Mal: കട്ടപ്പന kaṭṭappana ‘Palm Trees’    Town,  Kerala From Mal: kaṭṭa, ‘lump’, ‘mass’, ‘block’; and pana, ‘palm/palmyra tree’. Kattapana is located in the mountain ranges of Idukki District at an altitude of 1,000+m – an ideal location for growing the cardamom,...

Kayamkulam (Ker)

Mal: കായംകുളം kāyaṅkuḷaṁ ‘Backwater Lake’   Town, Kerala From Mal: kāyal‍, ‘backwater’, ‘lagoon’; and kuḷam, ‘tank’, ‘pool’, ‘lake’. Kayamkulam is located at the end of a saltwater lagoon. It is home to the 18thC Krishnapuram Palace built by King Marthanda Varma of ...

Kochi/Cochin (Ker)

Mal: കൊച്ചി kōccī ‘Short Estuary’  [Kochchi, Cochym, Cochin]  City/District,  Kerala. From Mal: koccu, ‘short’, ‘small’; Mal/Tam: aḻi ‘rivermouth’, ‘place where the lagoon joins the sea’, ‘inlet to backwater’. Kochi is a port city with traditional links to trade with...

Kodungallur (Ker)

Mal: കൊടുങ്ങല്ലൂര്‍ koṭuṅṅallūr ‘Corner Town’  [Cranganore, Muziris]  Town, Kerala.  From Mal: kōḍu/i, ‘ end’, ‘corner’, ‘promontory’; nalla, ‘ good’, ‘fine’, ‘excellent’; and uru/uuru, ‘town’, ‘city’. Muziris was an important port with origins dating...

Kollam – Quilon (Ker)

Mal: കൊല്ലം kollam ‘Palace’  [Quilon, Covlaõ]  City/District, Kerala From Mal: kollam, ‘residence of king’, ‘palace’ [kō, ‘king’; and  illam, ‘house’ cf. kōyil/kōvil/kōyilakam, ‘palace’, ‘temple’]  Kollam is an ancient port city which had...

Kottarakara (Ker)

Mal: കൊട്ടാരക്കര koṭṭārakkarā ‘Palace Shore’   Town, Kerala From Mal:: koṭṭāram, ‘royal residence/palace’, ‘place where temple-affairs are managed’, ‘storehouse/granary’; and: kara, ‘shore’, ‘riverside’. The Pulamon Thodu (river) flows through the town and we assume...

Kottayam (Ker)

Mal: കോട്ടയം kōṭṭayam ‘Interior of the Fort’  City/District,  Kerala From Mal: koṭṭā, ‘fort’, ‘residence’;  and  akam, ‘interior’, ‘inside’; or Mal/Tam: ayam, ‘pool’, ‘tank’.   The royal palace of the Thekkumkur ruler was protected by a fort called Thaliyilkotta. The...

Kovalam (Ker)

Mal: കോവളം kōvaḷam ‘King’s Coast’   Town/Resort,  Kerala From Mal: kō, ‘king’; or kōyam/kōva, ‘temple’, ‘palace’; and aḷam, ‘coastal area’, ‘sea’, ‘saltpan’. There are two ‘twin’ Kovalams in Tamil Nadu (one near Kanyakumari, the other...

Koyilandy (Ker)

Mal: കൊയിലാണ്ടി kōyilāṇṭi ‘Temple Passage’ [Pandalayani Kollam, Fandaraina, Quilandi]  Town, Kerala From Mal: kōyil, kōvil, ‘temple’, ‘palace’; and kaṇti, ‘gap’, ‘breach’, ‘passage’, ‘lane’. Koyilandy is close to the medieval port of Pandalayani Kollam. This may...

Kozhikode/Calicut (Ker)

Mal:  കോഴിക്കോട്  kōḻikkōṭu ‘Palace Fort’  [Qalicut, Calicut] City/District,  Kerala From Mal: kōyil, kōvil, ‘palace’; or  kōḻi/kōzhi, ‘fowl’, ‘cock’; and kōṭ(ṭ)a, ‘fort’. The idea that this was originally a ‘fortified palace’ wins on points but ‘Cock Fort’ is...

Kunnamkulam (Ker)

Mal: കുന്നംകുളം kunnamkulam ‘Hill Ponds’   Town,  Kerala Mal:  kunnu/kunnam, ‘hill’, ‘mountain’; and kuḷam, ‘tank’, ‘pool’, ‘lake’. There are a range of small hills which border the town [Adupputty, Cherukunnu, Kizhoor and Kakkad] and small ponds dotted between...

Malappuram (Ker)

Mal: മലപ്പുറം malappuram ‘City in the Hills’  City/District,  Kerala From Mal: mala, ‘mountain’, ‘raised land’, ‘hill-land’; and Skt: pur(am), ‘fort’, ‘town’, ‘city’. The area features hills and  mountains carpeted in green with freshwater streams flowing down into...

Mananthavady (Ker)

Mal: മാനന്തവാടി mānanthavādi ‘Great Bliss Village’      Town, Kerala From Skt: maha, ‘great’, ‘abundant’; ānanda, ‘joy’, ‘bliss’; and  Dra: paṭṭī/vāṭī, ‘settlement’, ‘town/village’; or Mal:  mān‍, ‘deer’; eyyuka, ytu, ‘shoot an arrow’; and Dra: paṭṭī/vāṭī,...

Manjeri (Ker)

Mal: മഞ്ചേരി manjeri ‘Walled Settlement’  Town, Kerala From Mal: maṇ‍, ‘mud-wall’, ‘wall’, ‘stone-wall’; and  c(h)ēri ‘colony’, ‘settlement’. Manjeri is famous for its Stone Age sites including rock-cut caves, menhirs and dolmens. At one point it was the military HQ...

Manjeshwar (Ker)

Mal: മഞ്ചേശ്വരം manjeshvaram ‘Srimad Anantheswar’  Town, Kerala The most common explanation is that the town is named after its local deity, Srimath Anantheshwar. Over time this metamorphosed into Manjeshwar. The Anantheswar temple dates back to the 8thC and is...

Mannarsala Temple (Ker)

Mal: മണ്ണാറശ്ശാല mannaraśśāla ‘Coral Tree Hall’  Temple, Kerala From Mal: mandāram, ‘Indian coral tree [Erythrina Indica]; Mal/Skt: śāla, ‘hall’. Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple in Haripad is dedicated to Agaraja, the snake god. Thousands of snake images...

Maradu (Ker)

Mal: മരട് marat ‘Indian Laurel’   Suburb (Kochi), Kerala From Mal/Tam: marutu/maradu, ‘Indian Laurel [Terminalia tomentosa]’. The Indian laurel tree is famous for storing water during the dry season; this water can be tapped. Maradu is now a fast growing suburb of...

Mattanur/Mattannur (Ker)

Mal: മട്ടന്നൂര്‍ maṭṭaṉūr ‘River Bank’  Town, Kerala From Mal: māṭṭam, ‘entrenchment’, ‘ river bank’; and  ūr, ‘village’, ‘town’, ‘city’. Mattanur is famous for its percussion: the chenda, a loud two-sided cylindrical drum which features in temple ceremonies,...

Mavelikara (Ker)

Mal: മാവേലിക്കര māvēlikkara ‘Mahabali Bank’  Town,  Kerala From Mahābali/Māveli and  Mal: kara, ‘bank’, shore’, ‘riverside’ This mythological derivation relates the story of Maveli or Mahabali, the mythical king of Kerala and devotee of Vishnu. King Mahabali, despite...

Munnar (Ker)

Mal: മൂന്നാര്‍ mūṇṇāṟ ‘Three Rivers’  Town/Hill Station, Kerala From Mal: mūnnu, ‘three’; and āṟu, river. The three mountain streams are: Mudrapuzha, Kundala and Nallathanni. Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, waterfalls, hiking trails and spectacular views....

Muvattupuzha (Ker)

Mal: മുവാറ്റുപുഴ mūvāṭṭupuḻā  ‘Three River Confluence’  Town, Kerala From Mal: mūnnu, ‘three’; āṟu/āṟṟu, ‘river’; and  puḻa/puzha, ‘river’. The Muvattupuzha river flows through the town. It is the sacred Triveni Sangam (3-way confluence) of three rivers:...

Nedumangad (Ker)

Mal: നെടുമങ്ങാട് neṭumaṅkāṭ ‘Long Bazaar’  Town, Kerala From Mal: neṭu, ‘long’ ; and  aṅkāṭi/aṅgaḍi, ‘bazaar’, ‘market’. The modern Nedumangad market is the largest in southern Kerala. Nedumangad is also an important marketplace for agricultural commodities,...

Neyyattinkara (Ker)

Mal: നെയ്യാറ്റിൻകര neyyāṭiṉkara  ‘Shore of Neyyar River’  Town, Kerala From Neyyar;  Mal:  āṟu/āṟṟu, ‘river’; and kara, ‘bank’, shore’, ‘riverside’ The Neyyar river flows from Agasthya mountain, the highest peak in the Western Ghats (1868m), on the border with Tamil...

Nileshwaram/Nileshwar/Neeleswaram (Ker)

Mal: നിലേശ്വർ nīlēṣvar ‘Nilakanta Shiva’   Town, Kerala Neeleswaram is the abbreviated form of Neelakanta Ishwaran, formerly the seat of the Neeleswaram Rajahs. The name Nileshwar is derived from the name of the  temple, Thaliyil Neelakandeshwar, which is dedicated to...

Ottappalam (Ker)

Mal: ഒറ്റപ്പാലം oṟṟappālaṁ ‘Single Bridge’   Town, Kerala From Mal: oṟṟa, ott(r)a, ‘single’, ‘one’; and pālam, ‘bridge (over a river)’. The Ottappalam-Mayannur bridges stretches 0.71km across the Bharathapuzha river. For related place names see Indian Place...

Palakkad (Ker)

Mal: പാലക്കാട് pālakkāṭ ‘Blackboard Tree Wood’  [Palghat, Palakkattussery]  City/District, Kerala, From Mal: pāla, ‘blackboard tree’ [Echites/Alstonia  scholaris]; and  kāṭu, ‘wilderness’, ‘wood’.  This is sometimes called the ‘seven-leaved milk-tree’ because of its...

Pandalam (Ker)

Mal: പന്തളം pantaḷaṁ ‘Pandalam (Dynasty)’    Town,  Kerala The Pandalam dynasty was a branch of the Pandya kingdom which fled here in the 10thC. Their territory covered nearly 3,000 sq. km: Konni, Achankovil, Tenkasi and the forest regions of Sabarimala, the...

Paravur (Ker)

Mal: പരവൂർ paravūr ‘Paravar Village’    Town, Kerala From Paravar and Mal: ūr, ‘town’, ‘village’. Some suggest that the name comers from the seafaring Paravar tribe/community who have lived on the coast here (and in Tamil Nadu) since ancient times. Paravur...

Pathanamthitta (Ker)

Mal: പത്തനംതിട്ട pattanantiṭṭa  ‘Riverside Dwelling’ Town/District, Kerala From Mal: paṭṭaṇam, ‘abode’, ‘dwelling’; and tiṭṭa, ‘bank’, ‘shoal’.  The river here is the 128km Achankovil. The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is in Pathanamthitta District and because it is the...

Perinthalmanna (Ker)

Mal: പെരിന്തല്‍മണ്ണ  perintalmaṇṇa  ‘Great Wrestling Ground’   Town,  Kerala From Mal:  peru, ‘great’, ‘large’; tallu, ‘beating’, ‘fighting’ (boxing/wrestling); and maṇ(ṇa), ‘soil’, ‘earth’, ‘ground’. Perintalmanna was famous for its Mamankam post-harvest festivals...

Ponnani (Ker)

Mal: പൊന്നാനി ponnāni ‘Gold Coin’  Town/Taluk, Kerala From Mal: pon, ‘gold’; and nāṇayaṁ, ‘coin’. Gold coins were introduced by Arab and Persian traders. Ponnani has been an important port since ancient times. It was the principal principle trade route between Malabar...

Punalur (Ker)

Mal: പുനലൂർ punalūr ‘Riverbridge’  Town, Kerala From Mal: puṇal, ‘water’, ‘river’; and ūr, ‘town’, ‘city’. Punalur is situated on the banks of the 121km Kallada river. Its 120m suspension bridge, built in 1877,  is nicknamed the ‘London Bridge of Kerala’...

Ramanattukara (Ker)

Mal: രാമനാട്ടുകര rāmanāṭṭukara ‘Rama’s Riverbank’  Town, Kerala From Rama, the hero of the Ramayana epic and Mal: āṟu/āṟṟu, ‘river’; and kara, ‘shore’, ‘riverside’. Ramanattukara sits on the southern bank of 169km Chaliyar river which flows into the sea at Beypore....

Sultan Bathery (Ker)

Mal: സുൽത്താൻ ബത്തേരി sulttān battēri ‘Tipu Sultan’s Battery’ [Ganapathivattam]  Town, Kerala Tipu Sultan, ‘Tiger of Mysore’ and ruler of the Mysore Kingdom, used the 13thC Jain Temple here as an artillery and ammunition dump.  The original name refers to the...

Taliparamba (Ker)

Mal: തളിപ്പറമ്പ് taḷippaṟamp ‘Temple Ground’  Town,  Kerala From Mal: taḷi, ‘temple’; or taḷika, ‘plate’; and paṟanpu, ‘terraced ground’, ‘higher ground’, ‘orchard’. The plate has its own tale which is also the legend of the founding of the...

Thalassery (Ker)

 ‘Upper Village’    Town, Kerala From Mal: tala, ‘head’, ‘top’; and c(h)ēri, ‘colony’, ‘settlement’, ‘village’ ‘Top’ could mean ‘upper’ or on ‘higher ground’. Thalassery if famous for its cake (Kerala’s first bakery), cricket (first place in...

Thekaddy (Ker)

Mal: തേക്കടി tēkkaṭi ‘Teak Forest’  Town, Kerala From Mal: tēkku, ‘teak’ [Tectona grandis]; and kāṭu, ‘forest’, ‘jungle’. Teak is a wood valued for its toughness and water resistance. Thekkady is near Periyar National Park, a wildlife sanctuary with dense forest and...

Thirurangadi (Ker)

Mal: തിരുരങ്ങാടി tiruraṅ(k)āṭi ‘Great Market’   [Tiruwarankad] Town, Kerala From Mal:  tiru, ‘eminent’, ‘prosperous’; and aṅkāṭi/aṅgaḍi, ‘bazaar’, ‘market’. Tirurangad was the site of two important events: (1) The Battle of Tirurangadi (December, 1790):  a series of...

Thiruvalla (Ker)

Mal: തിരുവല്ല tiruvalla ‘Sri Vallabha’  Town,  Kerala From Sri Vallabha and Mal: tiru ‘eminent’, ’holy’, ‘auspicious’, ‘prosperous’; Thiruvalla is named after its temple. This ancient temple is dedicated to Sree Vallabha, Lord Vishnu [Skt: vallabha...

Thodupuzha (Ker)

Mal: തൊടുപുഴ toṭupuḻā ‘Stream River’  Town,  Kerala From Mal: tōṭu, ‘water-course’, ‘rivulet’, ‘stream’; and puḻa/puzha, ‘river’. The stream became a river and the river became a town. Thodupuzha has an agricultural economy based on rubber and a wide...

Thrikkakkara (Ker)

Mal: തൃക്കാക്കര trikkākkara ‘Land of the Holy Foot’   Town, Kerala From Mal: tiru, ‘holy’, ‘auspicious’;  kāl, ‘leg’, ‘foot’; and kara, ‘land’, ‘place’, ‘shore’. Thrikkakara Temple is dedicated to Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu. The myth told here (and at the...

Tirur (Ker)

Mal: തിരൂര്‍ tirūr ‘Prosperous Town’  Town, Kerala From Mal:  tiru ‘eminent’, ’holy’, ‘auspicious’, ‘prosperous’; and ūr, ‘town’, ‘city’. The modern city earns its keep from fish, coconuts, betel leaves and electronics. The Tirur Betel Leaf has its own GI Tag (a...

Travancore (Ker)

Historic Kingdom and Region, Kerala Tiruvalumkotu→tiruvitamkotu. From Tam: tiru ‘eminent’, ‘prosperous’;  vāḻum , ‘prosperity’, ‘happiness’; and kōṭu, ‘(fortified) place’, ‘stronghold’. The kingdom of Travancore was named  after Thiruvithamkodu in present-day...

Uppala (Ker)

Mal: ഉപ്പള uppaḷa ‘Saltpan’    Town, Kerala From Mal: uppu/uppaḷam, ‘salt/saltpan’, ‘saline land’. Uppala is famous for its beaches, shops and busy town centre. For related place names see Indian Place names and Kerala place names.  ...

Vaikom (Ker)

Mal: വൈക്കം vaikkaṁ ‘Deposits’  Town, Kerala From Mal: vaikkam, ‘deposits’, ‘alluvial ground’ This suggests that the sea has receded over time leaving alluvial deposits in its wake (see also Vechur/Vechoor (Ker)): Places situated on...

Varkala (Ker)

Mal: വർക്കല varkkala ‘Line of Rocks’  Town, Kerala From Mal: vara, ‘line’, ‘furrow’, ‘straight’; and kal, ‘rock’. Varkala has a unique cliff formation of red sandstone, in contrast to the the rest of coastal Kerala which is flat. The cliffs are a protected...

Vechur/Vechoor (Ker)

Mal: വെച്ചൂർ veccūr ‘Alluvial Village’  Village, Kerala From Mal: vaikkam/vekka ‘deposits’, ‘alluvial ground’; and ūr, ‘town’, ‘city’. The name suggests [see Vaikom (Ker)] that this was originally a seashore that has receded over...

Wayanad (Ker)

Mal: വയനാട്  vayanāṭ ‘Ricefield Country’  District, Kerala From Mal: vayal, ‘rice-field’; and nāṭu’, ‘country’. Wayanad is famous for its varieties of rice: some of which grow only here. But rice is in decline. 40,000 hectares of land was under rice cultivation in the...