I have come across so many people who are confused with Puthooram and Thacholy. This post tries to bring some clarity on these two families.
These were two houses of Kalarippayattu experts (the local martial art of Kerala). Puthooram veedu (veedu literally means house) existed in the sixteenth century and Thacholy manikkottu veedu existed in the eighteenth century. Puthooram was a famous Thiyya (Ezhava) tharavadu (tharavadu means ancestral family house) and Thacholy was a famous Kalari Kurup (Nair) tharavadu. Nairs and Ezhavas are the two major Hindu communities of Kerala.
Puthooram Unniyarcha (AD.1549-1620) was a legendary Thiyya (Ezhava) woman. She was expert in kalrippayyattu and was a well versed in horse riding. She was the daughter of Kannappa Chekavar and sister of Aromal Chekavar. Kunjiraman (Raman Chekavar) was the husband of Puthooram Unniyarcha. Puthooram Chandu (Chandrangada Chekavar) was the nephew of Kannappa Chekavar and cousin of Aromal Chekavar. Chekavar is a surname used by people of Thiyya (Ezhava) community who are warriors. Puthooram veedu was situated in Thalassery.
Vatakara was the native place of Thacholy Othena Kurup (AD.1763-1795) and family. Thacholy Othena Kurup was a legendary Kalarippayyattu expert. Thacholy Chandu (Chandrashekara Kurup) was the younger brother of Thacholy Othena Kurup. There was a woman in Thacholy family by the name Thacholy Unnitharcha. Thacholy Unnitharcha was the daughter of Thacholy Unnichira (eldest sister of Thacholy Othena Kurup) and her husband Chirukantan Kurup. Thacholy Unnitharcha was a beautiful woman but she was not a Kalarippayyattu expert. It is believed that when Thacholy Othena Kurup was alive, Thacholy Unnitharcha was kidnapped by Tippu Sultan, this being the cause of the rivalry between Tippu Sultan and Thacholy Othena Kurup. Thacholy Othenan was shot dead at the age of thirty two by a mercenary named Mayinkutty. Some people believe that Mayinkutty was sent by Tippu and others believe that Mayinkutty was sent by the disciples of Kathiroor Gurukkal who was defeated by Thacholy Othena Kurup in an Ankam ( Ankam means fight with sword and shield between two experts / heads of Kalari clans or family till death).
Northern ballads are two kinds’ Puthooram pattukal and Thacholy pattukal. These ballads were mainly sung to praise and spread the importance of these two families and about the Ankams, these families participated in. The Puthooram pattukal originated in the sixteenth century and Thacholy pattukal originated in the eighteenth century. From the twentieth century onwards people began to mix together the songs from the both ballads and so many people are confused, even famous writers. Yet another reason for the confusion was Thacholy Unnitharcha being mistaken for Puthooram Unniyarcha by some historians later on, either coincidently (as the names are similar) or purposely.
(Above details are from my knowledge and it may or may not be true).