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About Kanippayyur Family

Kanippayyur Shankaran Nambudiripad

The family of Kanippayyur hails from Kerala, a culturally rich coastal state in South India. Legends have it that, Parasurama, after creating the land from the sea, brought Brahmins to populate the land. Various professions, which were essential for the upkeep of the society, were distributed among them. Architecture and Construction of Temples, Residences, etc. were devolved on a few Nambudiri families and Kanippayyur was prominent among them.

All over India, Vastuvidya the science of architecture - was promoted through two Institutions. They were the Institutions of Silpins, the traditional craftsman with whom the hereditary knowledge of crafts was preserved and the Institution of traditional schools imparting theoretical instructions from which the silpins invariably sought their advices. In Kerala, the school giving instructions in traditional knowledge was known as Sabhamatham. In the beginning of the 18th century there were many such institutions in Kerala well known in the area of applied traditional knowledge. Kanipayyur Namboodiripad's belong to one such family of Acharyas in the central Kerala. This family was adept not only in Vastuvidya but also in Vedic study, Tantra and Astrology.

One of the most well known Acharyas among the Kanipayyur family was Subrahmanian Namboodiripad (1839-1910). He was well versed in Vastu Sastra, Jyotisa, Music, Paintings (Citra) and mathematics and found royal patronage by being appointed as the superintendent of public works in erstwhile Cochin state. He was responsible for preparing the designs and estimates not only for buildings but also for bridges culverts and other public works. His brother Parameswaran Namboodiripad was also an expert in Vastusastra and wood sculpture.

The twentieth century brought the trail blazing Kanippayyur Shankaran Namboodiripad, who single handedly popularized the Vaastu Shastra (Sthapthya Veda). His impressive and charismatic personality, forceful writing and no-nonsense attitude made him a legend in his lifetime. Sankaran Namboodiripad was recognized as the consultant for all temple renovation works in Cochin and Malabar. His opinions were also sought for temple works in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. He also started work centers for making icons and other ancillaries connected with temples. He started a printing press, wrote and published many books on traditional knowledge. The Yogakshema Panchangam (Almanac), was established by the Kanippayyur Nambudiris. This almanac in addition to being a calendar is referred to find out the auspicious time for carrying out all functions like marriage, name giving ceremonies, starting of house construction, etc. in Kerala.

Kanippayyur Krishnan Namboodiripad, grandnephew of Shankaran Namboodiripad and selected by him to carry on the Vaastu tradition, has designed thousands of residential buildings, temples, churches, commercial and industrial establishments. His brother Kanippayyur Parameswaran Namboodiripad looks after the family press and publications, library, in addition to practicing traditional architecture. The youngest brother Kanippayyur Narayanan Namboodiripad carries on the astrological tradition and is consulted daily by hundreds of people. He calculates and compiles the Yogakshema Panchangam. The family has Kanippayyur Krishnan Namboodiripad (Udayamperoor, Cochin), Kanippayyur Unni Namboodiripad and Kanippayyur Kuttan Namboodiripad also practicing the Vasthu Shastra.

According to Kanippayyur, the principle of Vasthu Shastra is to build without harming Nature. The sun, earth with its varied motions and magnetic field, and the direction of wind create forces, which are to be kept in mind while deciding the location and orientation of any building, so that it is harmonious with Nature. Also the local weather, nature of soil and slope of the land affect the design.