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Welcome to Arakkal Family  - The one and only Royal Family in Kerala. 

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.

There 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 heard the 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 him.

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. As per the custom the king had no other choice but to give his daughter to the Muslim boy. The Raja was unhappy to give his daughter to a poor family, so he made the boy 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.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 and Lakshadweep.

Ali Rajas and Arakkal Beevis

Former ruler Sultana Aysha Aliraja.

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 27, 2006.


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 the Portuguese, 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 Beevi Thangal. After her rule, the family broke up.

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 Moslil 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 Museum

Arakkal Museum

The durbar hall section of the Arakkalkettu (Arakkal Palace) has been converted into a museum housing artifacts from the times of the Arakkal dynasty. The work was carried out by the Government of Kerala at a cost of Rs. 9,000,000. The museum opened in July 2005.

Although renovated by the government, the Arakkalkettu is still owned by the Arakkal Family Trust and does not fall under the control of the country's archaeology department, the Archaeological Survey of India. The government had taken a keen interest in preserving the heritage of the Arakkal Family, which had played a prominent role in the history of Malabar. A nominal entry fee is charged by the Arakkal Family Trust.

Arakkal dynasty

Reigning rajas

  • Ali Raja Ali (1545 - 1591)
  • Ali Raja Abubakar I (1591 - 1607)
  • Ali Raja Abubakar II (1607 - 1610)
  • Ali Raja Muhammad Ali I (1610 - 1647)
  • Ali 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)
  • Ali Raja Muhammad Ali IV (1720 - 1728)
  • Ali Raja Bibi Harrabichi Kadavube (1728 - 1732)
  • Ali 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)
  • Ali 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)
  • Ali Raja Bibi Arakkal Mariumma (1946 - 1947)
  • Ali Raja Sultan Hamza (1947-?)
  • Ali Raja Sultana Aysha (?-2006)
  • Ali Raja Sultana Zainaba Aysha 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 Arakkal museum


Ancient telephones used at Arakkal Palace.


A pillar at Arakkal Palace