The Kadavallur Anyonyam - where Rig-Veda is nourished by way of chanting competition at Shri Rama temple, Kerala-

Kadavallur Sree Rama temple,

The Kadavallur Sree Rama temple of  Thrissur district in  Kerala  known for two things - its excellent wooden architectural features and the annual Veda recitation competition in  Sanskrit called Anyonyam (vedic Chanting competition).  Perhap it may be one a few temples that play a role in the spread of Vedas and Sanskrit language.  In the state of Tamil Nadu, since 1970  such vedic schools or Sanskrit language centers have no support from the state government for reason of politics. Now there are very  few government schools and colleges where Sanskrit is offered as a second language

Kadavallur Sree Rama temple, Kerala.
 Kadavallur Anyonyam, Kerala

2019 Kadavallur Anyonyam,Kerala.

At the Kadavallur Sree Rama temple,  such a competition is annually  conducted with enthusiasm and commitments for eight days during the first fortnight of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (mid-November).  The festival will be held from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Kadavallur was a center of  Vedic manuscripts and studies for nearly 800 years. Children from prominent vedic schools of Panniyur faction (Thrissur Brahmaswom madom) and  Thirunavaya representing  Sukapuram used to compete by chanting 10,472 Rigvedic mantras in 7 stages as part of the anyonyam.  Thirunavaya Math and Brahswom Math,  were once patronised by the Zamorin and Cochin kings respectively.Temple records indicate anyonyam was managed  by Vanneri-perumpadappu  from BC 238 - 1778 CE and later came under Kochi kingdom. The amazing thing is this age-old tradition is held even today with same interest as in the past centuries ago.

In Kerala, only the Rig Veda used to have an institutionalised teaching system whereas the Yajur and Sama Vedas were traditionally taught in Namboodiri homes. “Such a contest for Rig Veda scholars is held nowhere else. Similar exercises for the other Vedas too are unheard-of,” says Kannippayyur Krishnan Namboodiripad of the Kadavallur Anyonyam Parishad.

Varamirikkal’ constitutes the competition. ‘Kadannirikkal’ and ‘Valia Kadannirikkal’ are the titles conferred on the winners.

Kadavallur Sree Rama temple, Kerala.

During the Anyonyam (face-to-face) one could see a large group of  Rig vedic scholars  at the  Kadavallur Sree Rama temple, where the presiding deity is four-armed Vishnu represented by Sri Rama, an avatar of Sri Vishnu. At this temple  seminars and discussions are held as part of the annual event and  the scholars including participants from abroad, engage  in  discussion on Vedas, etc. The main purpose is to preserve vedic culture and subject it to modern multi-disciplinary subjects.

Vedic  chanting is a way to keep the vedic study alice as the study of Vedas in on the decline in the past few decades in the southern states. Well trained participants  engage in down-to-earth competitions in the chanting of Rigveda which will continue for for 8 days.  It is an opportunity for the participants, particularly young Brahmins  to test their depth of knowledge and emerge as Vedic Scholars after the event.