Kozhikode: A large family here in Kerala is prized by political parties for its number of voters. The ancestral house of the family here at Kuttichira hosts many voters, though several other members of the family are staying in different parts of the constituency and over 100 members live overseas. As per last count, the Maliekkal family has 4,500 members out of which 3,000 have voting rights.
All the candidates in fray from the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency are looking forward to a grand get-together of the family members. It will be held on April 15 at the Tagore Hall in Kozhikode town after a proclamation rally headed by the elders of the family. A treasure hunt contest is also scheduled. The mega event is set to take place only a few days before the elections in Kerala on April 23.
The family has also planned a cricket tournament on March 31 wherein different teams comprising the family members would vie with each other. A camp for eye check-up and a badminton tournament were earlier held in connection with the event.
The ancestral mansion of the family is called Kunhithan Tharavadu and it stands tall on the western banks of a pond. It comprises a two-storied complex and two adjoining buildings. The property on 2 acres has 40 bedrooms, six kitchens and 5 wells! Initially, a traditional mansion in the typical 'naalukettu' architecture was built and the structure was expanded periodically.
Though vital facts relating to the mansion's architecture are unavailable, the rich intricate details seen in the structure point to the fact that the building is nearly 500 years old, says historian M G S Narayan.
The weddings in the Maliekkal family, which follows the age-old matriarchal system, are elaborate and last for a week. A lush green carpet, the front porch of the heritage building with exquisite seating facilities dotted with reclining cushions, and window panes which double up as chair remind one of a glorious bygone era.
It is said Arakkal Beevi, the head of the erstwhile Arakkal royal family, was given an impressive reception at the mansion.
Presently, 88-year-old Aaminabi and 85-year-old K M C Mammadkoya are the senior-most members of Maliekkal family.