For the 1961 film of the same name, see Unniyarcha (film).

Unniyarcha (or sometimes spelled Unniarcha) is a popular legendary Thiyya warrior and heroine mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal, the old ballads of North Malabar. She is a popular character in Kerala's folklore. She is believed to have lived in northern part of Kerala, India during 16th century.[1]


Attummanammel Unniyarcha was from the famous Puthooram Veedu a (Thiyya) family of North Malabar.[2] She was the sister of Aromal Chekavar and Unnikannan (another legendary warrior). She was trained in the arts of the kalari, and an expert at wielding the urumi, a flexible sword used in kalaripayat. She saved the women of her village from being forcibly kidnapped by a Moplahs (Muslims). [3] Unniyarcha spurned Chandu (or Chanthu) Chekavar's love for her, which led to the murder of her brother Aromal by Chanthu. Later, Aromalunni, the son of Unniyarcha, took revenge against Chanthu.[4] Unniyarcha is praised for her bravery and beauty ngs and chronicles have to this day kept the legend alive.

In popular culture

The legend of Unniyarcha has been made into films such as Unniyarcha (1961), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989), and Puthooramputhri Unniyarcha (2002). A television serial titled Unniyarcha was aired in Asianet (2006).

See also


  1. History of Malayalam Literature: Folk literature
  2. History of Malayalam Literature: Folk literature
  3. Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra; Madhavananda (1980) [1953]. Great Women of India. Vedanta. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-0-87481-111-7.
  4. Ayyappapanicker, K. (2000). Medieval Indian Literature: An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. p. 316. ISBN 81-260-0365-0.
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