December 8, 2023
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The Enigmatic Trail: Unveiling the Legend of Thamarassery Churam and Karinthandan

Thamarassery Churam, a winding 12 km stretch of road in Kerala, is not just a picturesque route but a passage imbued with history and mystery. For those familiar with the region, the name conjures images of Kuthiravattom Pappu’s iconic dialogue from the movie “Vellanakalude Nadu,” highlighting the road’s steep hairpin bends. Yet, beyond its scenic beauty lies a tale of treachery, bravery, and a spirit that continues to linger – the legend of Karinthandan.

The Challenge of Transporting Spices:

In the era of British rule, transporting spices from Kerala to Mysore was a daunting task. The dense forest along the route, teeming with wild animals, posed a significant challenge to the British. Faced with this dilemma, local allies proposed a solution – Karinthandan, the chief of the Paniya tribe residing in the foothills of the ghats.

Karinthandan, the Tribal Chief:

Karinthandan, known for his robust physique, emerged as the key figure to guide the British through the intimidating forest. His ability to navigate the wilderness struck awe in the hearts of the British who were otherwise fearful to tread that path. Despite being a crucial ally, Karinthandan’s fate took a dark turn orchestrated by the very people he helped.

Betrayal and Tragedy:

The completion of the path through the forest led to the engineer’s desire for fame and reward. To claim the credit, a nefarious plan was set in motion. In a tragic turn of events, Karinthandan was deceived, led to the hilltop in darkness, and mercilessly shot dead by the British.

The Curse of Thamarassery Churam:

As the 1800s unfolded, Thamarassery Churam gained notoriety for accidents and misfortunes. Travelers spoke of encountering troubles, and the path became feared even in daylight. The legend suggests that Karinthandan’s spirit haunted the pass, causing mishaps as a vengeful force.

The Chained Spirit:

To alleviate the curse, a priest was summoned to capture Karinthandan’s soul. Legend has it that the spirit was chained to a banyan tree at the beginning of Lakkidi, now transformed into the revered Changala Maram or Karinthandan Temple. The chains on the tree are said to grow, symbolizing the enduring presence of the tribal chief’s spirit.

Encounters with the Supernatural:

Visitors to Thamarassery Churam claim to hear Karinthandan’s laughter as they traverse the pass, sensing his watchful presence. The banyan tree, now a tourist attraction, has become a testament to the enduring power of folklore and the supernatural.


Thamarassery Churam, with its hairpin bends and scenic beauty, carries a tale etched in betrayal, tragedy, and the lingering spirit of Karinthandan. The legend has transcended time, becoming an integral part of the region’s cultural heritage. As tourists explore the path, they not only witness breathtaking landscapes but also embark on a journey through the mystical corridors of history and folklore, where the past continues to echo in the present.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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