Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Muthumakkathazi (nannangadi)

The muthumakkathazhi or nannangadi is a megalithic burial monument in which the corpse is buried in a big urn. The word muthumakkathazhi is derived from muthumakkal (predecessors in local parlance) and thazhi (big urn). Some claim that the pot was named so as it was used to bury the corpses of prominent persons like village chieftains.

Ottakuthan, the author of the ancient text ‘Kulothungan Chola Ula’ says that Muthumakkathazhi was an invention of the twelfth King of the Chola dynasty. Another ancient text ‘Sankara Cholan Ula’ also has the same reference.

During the Sangha era these burial urns were called Muthumakkachadi (chadi and thazhi have the same   meaning - big urn). The burial function was called ‘eemam.’ In Tamil, a cemetery is called Eemakkadu.  In north Kerala these burial pots are called nannangadis.

There was also a practice to keep weapons along with the corpse in the muthumakkathazhis. The nannangadis were mostly discovered from the coastal areas. Thazhis were found in Kodungallur, Panangad and Eaniyoor areas.

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