Pothenpuram is a beautiful hill which interlocks the places Pampady and Meenadom. Pampady lies in the Eastern region of the hill and the rest is Meenadom. It was told that a deep hum was heard if someone stamps the Hill, and hence the origin of the name “Pothenpuram”. It is also believed that the name originated because there were many Bisons during that time and hence the name “Pothenpuram”. (A literal translation may well be ‘Bison – Back’). Pigs, porcupines and bisons used to roam freely along this tract. Mar Kuriakose Dayara and the Church is situated on the raised plateau, amidst this hill.
Pampady Dayara, amidst Pothenpuram Hill
Placed centrally between Meenadom and Pampady, it invites co-operative effort from both Meenadom and Pampady region for its all round development. The mile long hill is skirted by fertile paddy fields yielding a rich harvest of ‘mundakan’ and ‘viruppu’ varieties of paddy. Till well into the 20th century human inhabitation was limited to the fringes of these paddy fields, it is said. The land was ideal for coconut and areca nut farms. Treated and processed areca nut found ready market in bordering Tamil Nadu areas. Traders from Tamil Nadu used to come and stay in Pothenpuram to deal in ‘Korappakku’ giving the name ‘adakkakalom’ to one of the plain stretches on the hill.
The Pothenpuram Hill was initially in the hands of an ancient aristocratic Nair family (Karthavu Family), who resided at a place called Kothala in Pampady. Later this family grew financially weak and hence the various regions of the Hill was sold to different people. Thus the place where the Dayara lies came in the hands of Madathil Aashan, the revered teacher of Pampady Thirumeni.
Reason for the establishment of Dayara:
In the mean time, Pampady Church was closed due to the fight between the two factions. This disturbed Ramban’s prayerful and pious life. It came to the extent that Ramban had to move away from the Church. It was indeed painful for Ramban to leave behind Pampady Church where he was staying the past ten years and which was his home church.
One day, on the way to the Pallithazham school, Madathil Aashan visited Ramban. Seeing the grief-stricken face of Ramban, Aashan understood the situation. Ramban explained about the fight and the result of the same in a sorrowful tone. Aashan comforted the Ramban by suggesting that the Ramban make an ashram and a Church and to move over there. Ramban wanted to know how it could be done, as there was no money. Aashan assured that he would give the land and that the rest would all take place without any worry. Ramban conceded to his beloved master’s advice. Ramban invited Cheriya Madathil Velyachan (Valiya Yacob Kathanar) also to see the place. Hence along with the Achan and Aashan, Ramban went and saw Pothenpuram. They liked it immensely and the registration took place on 15 Chingam, 1087.
Construction of the Well:
The construction of a well was started on 8th Idavom, 1089. Ramban used to come from Pampady to inspect the work. On 25th of that month, Ramban built a tent. On 31st, water was seen in the well. On 1st Midhunam, Ramban started staying in the tent there. After the construction of the well was over, Ramban thought about constructing the Dayara. But due to lack of money, it did not proceed. Instead Ramban decided to rent a house. But due to unavailability of a suitable house, even that idea was abandoned. Slowly Ramban, with the help of a few others started collecting money for the construction of Dayara from the people of Meenadom and Pampady.
Construction of the Church:
Ramban decided to build a temporary church there at the earliest. Thus the church was built at the place of the current ‘Nadakashala’ of the Church. Ramban celebrated the Holy Mass for the first time here on 15th Makaram, 1090 along with the celebration of Mother Mary’s Festival of Seeds (vithu vila perunnal). Many people attended this function. Karinganamattathil Chacko used to stay with Ramban during this time, as a token of his love and respect for the Ramban.
Church at Pampady Dayara
Ramban: A Guardian for all
Ramban soon became a guardian for those in and around the place. He used to take Syriac classes for the children and devoted his time in prayers. Everyday devotees used to bring fruits and other crops to the Dayara. All these were given away to those who came to visit Ramban. Ramban made it a point to show hospitality to who ever came to visit him and gave them food till their stomachs were full!! The same was the case with social service and alms giving.
Ramban: Kuriakose Mar Gregorios
Soon after the church construction was over, on 13th Medom 1090, Vattasseril Mar Dionysius Thirumeni visited the Dayara. He liked the place very much and stayed there for three days and later proceeded to the Pazhaya Seminary. He christened the Dayara as “Thabore Dayara”.
Ramban: A strict teacher
Ramban was a very strict teacher. He used to beat even the best students if they showed lack in studies or indiscipline. Afterwards Ramban used to feel sad about the incident. He used to apply oil and hot water bags to the hurt areas. He also used to buy eatables and present to his disciples later.
The stone laying function of today’s Dayara Church took place on 28th May, 1920. This was conducted by Yuyakim Mar Ivanios Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese. When the central pillar of the church was constructed, many witnessed a shining star in the sky. This took place in the after noon. The Church was consecrated on 20th January, 1923 by Geevarghese Mar Dionysius Thirumeni and Vakathanathu Mar Pilaksinos Thirumeni.
Words of Vattasseril Thirumeni after seeing the Thabore Hill:
Vattasseril Thirumeni who termed Pampady Dayara as “Thabore Dayara”
Poem on Thabore by Mahakavi Puthenkavu Mathen Tharakan
Extracted from the biography of Thirumeni, “Thaborile Thapasavaryan” by K. V Mammen