RAMACHARITHAM

Ramacharitham is a collection of poems written at the end of the preliminary stage in Malayalam literature’s evolution. It is the oldest Malayalam book available. The collection has 1,814 poems in it. Ramacharitham mainly consists of stories from the Yuddha Kanda the of Ramayana. It was written by a poet with the pen name Cheeramakavi who, according to poet Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer, was Sree Veerarama Varman, a king of Travancore from AD 1195 to 1208.

Other experts, like Dr. K.M. George and P.V. Krishnan Nair, claim that the origins of the book can be found in north Kerala. They cite the use of certain words in the book and also the fact that the manuscript of the book was recovered from Neeleshwaram in north Kerala.

A. R. Rajaraja Varma, who heavily contributed to the development of Malayalam grammar, is of the opinion that Malayalam originated from ancient Tamil. Ramacharitham is considered a book written during the formative years of Malayalam. According to Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert, who compiled the first dictionary of the Malayalam language, Ramacharitham shows the ancient style of the Malayalam language.