Welcome to Arakkal Dynasty
- The one and only Royal Family in Kerala.
(Kingdom of Cannanore, Sultanate of Laccadive and Cannanore) was a former city-state on the Malabar Coast, ruled by a dynasty
of the same name. The ruling King was called Ali Raja and the ruling queen was called Arakkal Beevi. Arakkal Kingdom included
little more than the Cannanore town and the southern Laccadive Islands (Agatti, Kavaratti, Androth and Kalpeni, as well as
Minicoy). The royal family is said to be originally a branch of the Kolattiri, descended from a princess of that family who
converted to Islam.They owed allegiance to the Kolattiri rulers, whose ministers they had been at one time. The rulers followed
a particular law of inheritance general among the Hindus of Malabar under which the succession is always to the offspring
of its female members only.
There is a consensus among scholars that
the Arakkal family had Nair origins : In the 17th century, one of the Padanairs (generals) of Kolathiri,
Arayankulangara Nair, converted to Islam. His wife was the daughter of Kolathiri, and they later came to be known as Arakkal.
Around this time, many Muslim merchant families became financially influential in the Malabar region. When the Arakkal family
took control of Lakshadweep, they achieved near-royal status.
is a legend that, centuries ago, Kolathu Nadu (presently Kannur district) was ruled by Chirakkal Raja. His daughter began
to drown while bathing in the Chirakkal kulam (pond). Her friends cried and shouted but were unable to rescue her. A passing
Muslim boy named Muhammad Ali, usually called as Mammali, heard a shouting and came to find out what was wrong. He recognized
the girl drowning in the pond as the princess, but was hesitant about saving her because untouchability and if a lower-caste
person touched an upper-caste person it was considered a sin, possibly punishable by death. However, the boy rescued her and
gave her his mundu to cover herself. When the news reached the Chirakkal Raja, he called his daughter and the Muslim boy to
At that time, if a man gave a "pudava" (a
long cloth used for covering the body) to an unmarried woman, they were considered married. The scholars of the court told
the Raja that since his daughter was touched by a Muslim, she was no longer allowed to enter the palace. However, the boy
had given her his pudava so she was married to him as well. However, the Raja was unhappy to give his daughter to a poor family
but as per the custom the king had no other choice but to give his daughter to the Muslim boy. Consequently she was declared
an outcaste but since she was married to Mammali, the King granted her the land at Kannur and the palace of Arakkal Kettu
as dowry and so he became the ruler of part of the country.
The area given to the boy was known as Arakkal and his family was called the Arakkal
family. The ruler's daughter was known as Arakkal Beevi.
In course of time, Arakkal family
became the masters of the Kannur market. Their income mainly came from the foreign trade. The Poruguese,the Dutch and the
English tried to maintain friendly relations with the Arakkal family due to their influence in the field of commerce. Arakkal
family also had the possession of the Lakshadwwep islands. Arakkal Bibi’s palace was vey huge and one of thr finest
buildings in Malabar.
Ali Raja had become a prominent figure
after the acquisition of Fort St:Angelo,Kannur from the Dutch in 1772. But after some years, Arakkal Bibi had forced
to surrender her political independence to English. Even after that, during the 1921 Malabar Rebellion Arakkal family
stood on the side of the British Government and appealed to the Moplahs not to participate in any outbreak. When there was
a riot between the Thiyyas and Moplahs in Kannur,the Arakkal house played a prominent role in restoring peace. Ali Raja
Sultana Zainaba Aysha Beevi was the last head of the Arakkal dynasty.
Location : The
palace is three kilometers from Kannur, Kerala, India, in what is now called Kannur City. The Arakkal family was the only
Muslim royal family of Kerala to control parts of the coast andLakshadweep.
The Matriarchal system : The Arakkal family followed a matriarchal system of descent:
the eldest member of the family, whether male or female, became its head and ruler. While male rulers were called Ali Rajah,
female rulers were known as Arakkal Beevis. Sultana Aysha Aliraja was the ruler until her death on the morning of September
History : Muslims
of Kerala believe their origins can be traced back to the 7th century CE when the religion originated in Arabia. The history
of Muslims in Kerala is closely intertwined with the history of Muslims in the nearby Laccadives islands. Kerala's only Muslim
kingdom was Kannur's Arakkal family. Historians however, disagree about the time period of Arakkal rulers. They see the Arakkal
kings come to power in the 16th or 17th century.
By 1909, Arakkal rulers had lost Kannur and the Cannanore Cantonment. By 1911, there was a further decline
with the loss of chenkol and udaval (sword). They allied and clashed with thePortuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British.
The British played the biggest part in removing all vestiges of titles and power from the Arakkal rulers. One of the last
kings, Arakkal Abdu Rahiman Ali Raja (1881 -1946), was active in helping his subjects. The last ruler was Ali Raja Mariumma
During the time
of the Samuthiries the Muslims of Malabar played a major role in the local army and navy, as well as acting as ambassadors
to Arabia and China. They forged alliances with the rulers of Gujarat and Bijapur. Muslims from Pandi Desham migrated to trade
with Erattupetta, Kanjirappalli, Mundakayam, Peruvanthanam and Vandiperiyar in the Kottayam district of Kerala. In the 17th
century, trade links were established with places like Kayamkulam and Aleppy in the west. It was during the time of Samuthiris
that the title of Marakkar was created. Muslim influence reached its peak at the time of Kunjali Marakkar, the fourth in the
line. After Kunjali Marakkar and Samuthiri parted company, Muslim influence declined.
During the Dutch period, a prominent Muslim trader named Moosakoi spearheaded
the development of trade centers in Chenganacherri, Pandalam, Kayamkulam and Alappuza.
During the time of Hyderali and Tippu Sultan there was a revival amongst
the Muslims of Malabar. The Arakkal king signed a treaty with Hyderali. Samathuri followed up with his own treaty with Hyder.
Arakkal dynasty : Reigning Rajas
• Ali Raja Ali (1545 - 1591)
Raja Abubakar I (1591 - 1607)
• Ali Raja Abubakar II (1607 - 1610)
• Ali Raja Muhammad Ali I (1610 - 1647)
Raja Muhammad Ali II (1647 - 1655)
• Ali Raja Kamal (1655 - 1656)
• Ali Raja Muhammad
Ali III (1656 - 1691)
• Ali Raja Ali II (1691 - 1704)
• Ali Raja Kunhi Amsa I (1704 - 1720)
Raja Muhammad Ali IV (1720 - 1728)
• Ali Raja Bibi Harrabichi Kadavube (1728 - 1732)
Raja Bibi Junumabe I (1732 - 1745)
• Ali Raja Kunhi Amsa II (1745 - 1777)
• Ali Raja Bibi
Junumabe II (1777 - 1819)
Heads of the Arakkal dynasty since 1819
• Ali Raja Bibi Mariambe (1819 - 1838)
• Ali Raja Bibi
Hayashabe (1838 - 1852)
• Ali Raja Abdul Rahman I (1852 - 1870)
• Ali Raja Musa Ali (1870 - 1899)
Raja Muhammad Ali V (1899 - 1907)
• Ali Raja Bibi Imbichi (1907 - 1911)
• Ali Raja Ahmad
Ali (1911 - 1921)
• Ali Raja Bibi Ayesha (1921 - 1931)
• Ali Raja Abdul Rahman II (1931 - 1946)
Raja Bibi Arakkal Mariumma (1946 - 1947)
• Ali Raja Sultan Hamza (1947-?)
• Ali Raja Sultana
Aysha Beevi (?-2006)
• Ali Raja Sultana Zainaba Beevi (2006-present)
Aadhara petti (document box) at Arakkal Palace Museum.
Copies of the Holy Qur'an from Arakkal Museum.
Traditional lamps at Arakkal Museum
Furniture at Arakkal Palace.
A pathayam at Arakkal palace.
Arakkal Family Seal.
An ancient telephone at
Ancient telephones used at Arakkal
A pillar at Arakkal Palace