Maharaja Marthanda Varma making over the Kingdom To Padmanabha Swamy
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Travancore royal family
House of Travancore Country Travancore Parent house Chera dynasty Titles Maharaja of Travancore Founded 1750 Founder Veera Bala Marthanda Varma Final ruler Balarama Varma II Current head Under dispute Dissolution 1949
- 1 Recorded history of the dynasty
- 2 Merger of Attingal
- 3 Thrippadidaanam and Sree Padmanabhadasa
- 4 Adoption
- 5 Titles and precedence
- 6 Marriage and other customs
- 7 The Royal Family Members
- 8 Palaces
- 9 List of Maharajahs of Travancore
- 10 Family tree of the Maharajas of Travancore
- 11 See also
- 12 Further reading
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Recorded history of the dynasty are said to have come to Kerala, from the banks of the Narmada river. Another belief is that Parashurama himself crowned the first official ruler in the dynasty. Officially, their lineage can be traced definitively to at least 820 C.E, which is based on the claim of descent from the Later Cheras of the three southern Indian Mandala Kingdoms namely Chera Mandalam, Pandya Mandalam and Chola Mandalam. As per popular tales in circulation, few members of the Royal Travancore Family also settled down in west godavari region of now Andhra Pradesh and after about 8 generations transformed into brahminhood from kshatriyahood. Most notable are the people who have Ambareesa as one of their gotra rishi. According to another legend, a branch of the Chera family was sent to the extreme north of the Kerala region, where they settled and came to be known as the Mooshika Royal family, or the later Kolathiris, while another branch was deputed to go south to grapple with the Pandyan invasions.
One of the two branches of the Chera dynasty shifted to Venad/Quilon where it merged with the Ay kingdom. Sangramadhira Ravivarman Kulaśēkhara (1266–1314) was the most famed ruler of this Chera Ay dynasty.Numerous places are named after this Chera-Ay dynasty. Ravi Varman invaded the territories of the Pandyas and Cholas and performed imperial coronations at Madurai and Kanchipuram and thus threw off the Pandyan hegemony in the region. However his success was short lived and after him his successors could not hold on to these acquisitions of the Pandyas and Cholas. Sangramadhira Ravivarman Kulaśēkhara adopted two princesses from the related Kolathiri dynasty called Attingal and Kunnumel Ranis in 1305 C.E. The line of kings after Ravi Varman followed the Marumakkathayam law of matrilineal succession. The Royal family continued thus in the female line. Whenever there were no females to take forth the line, princesses were adopted from the Kolathiri family, the latest adoption being in 1994. Umayamma Rani who reigned towards the end of the 17th century was a prominent ruler. Marthanda Varma, the "maker of modern Travancore" and Dharma Raja were powerful rulers who re-established the power of monarchy in the state and destroyed that of the nobles. By the early 19th century the kingdom became a princely state under the British. The British government accorded the Maharajah of Travancore a high 19 gun salute outside Travancore, whereas locally and for all temple festivals, the highest salute of 21 guns were fired.Swathi Thirunal was one of the most popular rulers of the 19th century. He made contributions both in the field of administration as well as music. The reign of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma brought about revolutionary reforms like the Temple Entry Proclamation, Free and Compulsory education for all etc. He was referred to as the Father of Travancore industrialization by A. Sreedhara Menon. V. P. Menon in his book stated that, under Chithira Thirunal's reign, Travancore had become the second most prosperous Princely State in the British Empire.
Merger of AttingalThe women of Travancore Royal Family were popularly referred to as Attingal Queens. Attingal was also considered as the ancestral homes of Travancore royals. Historians like V. Nagam Ayya, A. Sreedhara Menon etc. say that Attingal was never a separate Kingdom but the estates and provinces given to the royal women by the male head of the family(King). AS the Kings of Travancore were the sons of Attingal Queens, the latter were held in high respect by the royal family as well as the public. This respect and high status led to the wrong notion that Attingal Queens were once sovereigns which was further compounded by the writings of many foreign historians and travellers. Even if they had any power, it was taken away by Maharajah Sree Anizham Thirunal Veerabaala Marthanda Varma. Many Attingal Queens misused their status and signed potentially dangerous treaties with foreign forces, without even consulting with the reigning Travancore Kings. Maharajah Sree Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, anticipating the threat to the Kingdom's security, removed the powers of the Attingal Queens permanently and brought them under the complete control of the King. Thus, the Attingal Queens lost all private rights in the family properties, their power limited to the role of just a supervisor of such properties.
Kerala historian, Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon wrote : "Early in his reign Marthanda Varma assumed direct control over the so-called Attingal 'Queendom'. This was not an annexation or conquest, but "the amalgamation of Travancore with Attingal". The theory that the Ranis of Attingal exercised sovereign powers is incorrect. The fact is that in political matters, the Ranis exercised no sovereign rights. Any grant of rights over immovable property by the Ranis required the King's previous assent or subsequent confirmation for its validity. The so-called Queendom of Attingal had its origin in the 5th century when two Princesses were adopted into the Venad family and the revenues from certain estates in and around Attingal were assigned to them. Since then, the female members of the ruling family of Travancore had come to be known as Attingal Ranis. It was only the male children of these Tamburatties who could inherit the throne. When Marthanda Varma decided to assume direct control over the estates of Attingal, he was not interfering in the affairs of a sovereign State. As the head of the royal family and the ruler of the State, he had every right to interfere in the affairs of a part of his kingdom. The Rani had neither territory nor subjects. What she possessed was nothing more than the control over the revenues of the estates, powers she exercised were delegated to her by the sovereign of the State."
Thrippadidaanam and Sree Padmanabhadasa Travancore as a whole, thus became the property of Sri Padmanabhaswamy, the deity of the Travancore Royal family or in other words "God's Own Country". It is erroneously believed that use of the title "Sree Padmanabhadasa" before royal male members' names came into being after Thrippadidaanam, but this title was in use even in the 16th century. During the first birthday ceremony of Maharajah Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma(Dharmaraja) in 1725, he is referred to as "Sree Padmanabhadasa" which was much before the Thrippadidaanam(1750) by Maharajah Anizham Thirunal Veerabaala Marthanda Varma. The title of "Sree Padmanabhadasa" is prefixed to the name of every Travancore King while the royal women are "Sree Padmanabhasevinis". In order to get the eligibility for attaining the title of "Sree Padmanabhadasa", certain rituals must be completed at the birth of new royal male members. On the first birthday of every royal male members would be put on the 'Ottakkalmandapam' of the Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple and holy water from the temple will be sprinkled on the baby and only after completion of this ceremony, the royal child is proclaimed as "Sree Padmanabhadasa". The female members also have a ritual called "Padiyettam" which is conducted only after their "Pallikettu" (wedding of Travancore Princesses and Queens). Only those male and female members who complete these ceremonies are allowed in the temple affairs and are also provided respect as well as the titles associated with temple as well as the royal family.'
Adoption The first adoption to the Travancore Royal Family was in the early 14th century from the Kolathiri family because the Kolathiris are considered a sister dynasty by the Travancore Royalty. This adoption resulted in the branching of the Royal family into four families namely the branch at Trivandrum, another at Kottarakara known as Elayadathu Swaroopam, the Peraka Thavazhi branch of Nedumangad and the Quilon branch. The later two branches died out into the 18th century whereas the last Rani of Kottarakara fled after battle with Maharajah Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. In 1630 two males were adopted from the Cochin Royal Family sowing the seed of dissension between the branches of the Royal family. Later in 1684 one male and two females were adopted from the Kolathiri family, from which family all subsequent adoptions were made, by Umayamma Rani. In 1688 two males, including Rajah Rama Varma, and 2 females were adopted and the famous Travancore King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma was born to one of these princesses. In 1718 a princess was adopted, whose son was the later King Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma Dharma Raja. In 1748 again four princesses were adopted and Balarama Varma (1798–1810) belonged to this line. The next adoption of 1788 brought forth the famous Maharanis, Gowri Lakshmi Bayi and Gowri Parvati Bayi and all the male rulers up to 1924, the last ruler in this line being Maharajah Moolam Thirunal. In 1857 two princesses, including Rani Lakshmi Bayi, were adopted from a branch of the Kolathiri family residing at Mavelikara since the 1790s, but by 1901 both these princesses and all their issue died. In 1900 again two princesses were adopted from Mavelikara, granddaughters of Raja Ravi Varma, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi and Sethu Parvathi Bayi (gave birth to the last ruling monarch of Travancore, Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma). The latest adoption occurred in 1994 by Princess Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi who adopted a princess named Lekha Parvathi Bayi. However, Princess Lekha was disqualified by Hon. Supreme Court of India because of the lapses in adoption laws of the Constitution of India.
Titles and precedenceAll members of the ruling family receive two names, an official personal name and a name associated with the 'star' or 'Thirunal' under which they are born,(e.g.: Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma).
- The senior most male or the Valiya Thampuran is the head of the Royal family, born in the female line, to a Queen of Attingal, becomes King with the title of Sree Padmanabhadasa Vanchi Paala (Personal Name) Varma Kulasekhara Perumal Kiritapathi Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharajah of Travancore.
- The Heir Apparent is known as the Maharajkumar (personal name) Varma, Eliya Raja of Travancore.
- The senior most female of the Royal family is the Attingal Mootha Thampuran and is known as Sree Padmanabhasevini Vanchidharma Vardhini Raja Rajeshwari Maharani (personal name) Bai, Senior Maharani of Travancore, with the style of Her Highness.. The Junior Maharani is the Attingal Elaya Thampuran and if mother of the ruling prince is known as Sree Padmanabhasevini Vanchipala Dyumani Raja Rajeshwari Maharani Maharani (personal name) Bai, Junior Maharani of Travancore, with the style of Her Highness. The First Princess is known as Kochu Thampuran and is known as (personal name) Sree Padmanabhasevini Vanchidharma Vardhini Attingal Kochu Thampuran.
- Prince Consorts of the Senior and Junior Maharani are known as the Valiya Koyi Thampuran and Kochu Koyi Thampuran respectively, selected from one of four or five royal houses (or 'palaces') who were closely related to the ruling family . Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran, consort of Maharani Bharani Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi, and Col. G. V. Raja, consort of Maharani Karthika Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi, went on to become famous in their own terms.
- Consorts of the Maharajahs are usually Nair women, and never Kshatriya (royalty), and hence, are ranked as nobility, and not royalty. They are known as Ammachi Panapillai Amma and hold the title of (mother's house name) Ammachi Panapilla Amma Srimathi (personal name) Pilla.. The Maharajahs are only allowed morganatic marriages so as to maintain Marumakkathayam. The Travancore Maharajahs' children do not succeed to the throne under the Marumakkathayam Law, as they belong to their Nair mother's family and are not royalty. Instead they get a title of nobility, namely Thampi and Kochamma. The sons of the ruling Kings are known as Sri (mother's house name) (personal name) Chempakaraman Thampi. The daughters of the Kings are known as (mother's house name) Ammaveetil Srimathi (personal name) Pilla Kochamma. The descendents of Ammachis get the title of Thankachi (female) & Thampi (male).
SuccessionThe Travancore Royal Family follows the Matrilineal inheritance. Marumakkathayam or the matrilineal system with inheritance and succession through the sisters' children in the female line.
- The surviving younger brothers of the Maharajah, according to age, and by the same mother.
- The sons of the sisters of the Maharajah, according to age. If there were more than one sister, the first born male child of that generation would be the heir, regardless of whether his mother was older or younger than other sisters.
- The sons of the eldest maternal aunt of the Maharajah, according to age.
- The sons of the daughters of the eldest maternal aunt of the Maharajah, according to age. The sons of elder daughters succeeded before those of the younger sisters.
Marriage and other customsThe marriages of the princesses are known as Pallikettus while those of the Maharajahs are known as Pattum Parivattavum Chaarthal. The form of marriage is Sambandham and the consorts of the Princesses are from certain select families of Koyi Thampurans came from one of four or five royal houses or 'palaces' who were closely related to the royal family whereas the consorts of the Maharajahs belong to four houses known as Ammaveedus. The spouses of the Maharajahs and Maharanis are not considered members of the royal house owing to the prevalent Marumakkathayam Law. However they received many royal dignities and privileges owing to their position as consorts. An exception to this rule of selection and status of Prince Consort was made when Sree Сhithira Thirunal chose Colonel Godavarma Raja of Poonjar Royal House (not from the normal select royal houses) as the Consort for his only sister, Maharani Karthika Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi in 1934. Col. G. V. Raja went on to become a resourceful ally of Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal, made pivotal contributions to Kerala's infrastructure development as well as sports and tourism.
Cessation of the practice of mahādanams