image courtesy: wikipedia

The world is slowly becoming aware of itself and the qualities inherited from the god within. Among them, the arts that facilitate a high-quality living originated from the people who realized that that divine essence is what provides them. Among these arts, Kalaripayattu stands as an extrasensory defense system against the invader-propagandas. Among Kalari Warriors, Lady Unniyarcha has a unique place.

In the ballads of Vadakkan Pattukal, it was written that Lady Unniyarcha hails from a warriors family of Chevakars in the 16th century. Her father is a legendary warrior Kannappa Chevakar. She’s the master of multi-bladed urumi – the fierce weapon among all. She started when she’s seven. She has two brothers who are great warriors too. She married Attumanammel Kunjiraman, the master of puthussaery Kalari which remains in Kannur of Tamil Nadu. The form of Kalari Payattu taught by Unniyarcha still remains in North Malabar.

Lady Unniyarcha is a Majestic warrior blended with magnificence and genius, she’s also a wonderful dancer. One day when she decided to perform at the festival of Koothu in an ancient temple, she’s been warned not to go in that route as it has been infested by invader-backed marauding groups. So, her in-laws suggested her husband Kunjiraman to accompany her. As they expected, in the way they’ve been circled by the enemies who first underestimated the couple. However, Unniyarcha, being a fierce warrior contrary to her husband who insists upon peacemaking first rather than combat, found that there will be no use in negotiating with the enemies. She vehemently fought with them with just her urumi even made Kunjiraman awestruck, that the enemy leader had to surrender before Unniyarcha.

Lady Unniyarcha, who later became an ascended master, is said to be roaming here and there in Kerala even today and her tale is widely told among Kalari Practitioners to tell the learners the values of this ancient martial art.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari

Previous articleHow did Sinauli excavations reaffirm The Mahabharata?
Next articleThe Temple Dance: A revival of ancient glory