MAHARAJAHS OF COCHIN AND THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Q1. Prior to independence, how was the territory of Kerala ruled and by whom?
Not much authentic information is available the various rulers of various territories of Kerala. However evidences are there that
the rulers of Kerala are the descendants of the Chera Dynasty which ruled Tamilnadu and bordering areas of Kerala. The
individual dynastic rulings of various rulers of Kerala, started from Rama Kulasekara Varma (1090-1102), perhaps the last ruler of Kerala,
founded the Varma dynasty ruling in the territory of Kerala. Similarly a number of such individual rulers branched out or formed of
their own, controlling smaller and different areas. Among thesese , only the Travancore, Cochin are the prominent ones because of
their cultural, social and educational contribution to the society. Besides them, the Zamorins of Calicut are also considered as
historically important as the arrival of Europeans into India took place during their period and area.
Over the years, the Zamorins also lost out to Portuguese and Travancore dynasty. Thus only the Travancore and Cochin royal
dynasty came into prominence in the history.
All the three of them, since the beginning of 16th Century, in one way or the other, at different times, entered into different cooperation agreements with Portuguese, Danish and British, thus, they could not function independently right from their formation and till the
end . Thus all of them remained as ornamental rulers throughout till independence. However, the Travancore and Cochin rulers,
while being not able to do anything on administration, they concentrated on the development of cultural, social and education
developments of the state under their control.
Q2. After independence how the history of Kerala turned out and what were the arrangements?
Though the British had complete control over both the Travancore and Cochin dynastic rulings, they were allowed to function as
independent princely states till independence.
To begin with, on 1.7.1949, both the two independent kingdoms were united and made into a single kingdom of United Travancore
Cochin . From January 1950, it came to be known as Travancore-Cochin State and from November 1956 it became the State of
When the Unification took place, the Cochin Kingdom was ruled by Rama Varma XVIII, and the Travancore Kingdom was ruled
by Chitra Tirunaal Balarama Varma.
Both the Kingdoms had a number of kings during their rule. However the following are the ones who are remembered and spoken about for their contributions.
Q3. What is Travancore Kingdom, their territory, and founder of this kingdom?
KINGDOM OF TRAVANCORE: 1729-1949. This kingdom was founded by the last ruler of the Chera dynaty of Tamilnadu,
Rama Varma Kulasekara in 1729. This territory was earlier known as ""Venaadu"" and thus the Malayalees call this kingdom as
""Venaadu Swaroopam"" , and also as ""Koopaka Swaroopam"", ""Tripappur Swaroopam"" and ""Vaanchi Swaroopam"".
Initially Padmanabhapuram was their headquarters and later in 1745 it was changed to Thiruvananthapuram. The territory
controlled by them included, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanniyakumari and some southernmost parts . This dynasty's rules gains
political and social prominence from the rule of King Marthaanda Varma 1729-1758 . --
The Kings of this dynasty had their names with a suffix of ""Varma"" and in Malayalam, called by their birth star.
This kingdom has many kings during their period, but the following are the important ones by their contributions in different field.
Q4. Who were the kings of the Travancore Dynasty?
1. Anizham Thirunaal Veerabaala Maarthanda Varma -- 1729 - 1758
2. Karthika Thirunaal Rama Varma (Dharma Raja) -- 1758 - 1798
3. Avittom Thirunaal Balarama Varma -- 1798 - 1810
4. Gowri Lakshmi Bai -- 1810 -1815
5. Gowri Parvati Bai -- 1815 - 1829
6. Swati Thirunaal Rama Varma -- 1829 - 1846
7. Uthiram Thirunaal Maarthaanda Varma -- 1846 - 1860
8. Aayilyam Thirunaal Rama Varma -- 1860 - 1880
9. Visakam Thirunaal Rama Varma -- 1880 - 1885
10. Moolam Thirunaal Rama Varma -- 1885 - 1924
11. Sethu Lakshmi Bai -- 1924 - 1931
12. Chitra Thirunaal Balarama Varma -- 1931 - 1948 -- 1971 -- 1991 (மறைவு).
1. Uthiraadam Thirunaal Maarthanda Varma -- 1991 -- 2013
2. Moolam Thirunaal Rama Varma -- 2013 --.
Q5. Who were the famous rulers of the Travancore dynasty?
ANIZHAM THIRUNAAL VEERABAALA MAARTHANDA VARMA - 1729-1758 - Born in 1706, he founded this dynasty and assumed the throne in 1729. Among the rulers of this dynasty, he is considered the most valiant, intelligent and able warrior and administrator. The
important events during his rule -----
1. Founder of this dynasty, with Padmanabhapuram as capital.
2. Entered into a Defence Protection agreement with the British in 1723 .
3. Created one of the powerful army, and captured some of the lost territories and also new territories.
4. In 1741, during the war of Colachel, he defeated the Danish Army and captured its commander Istachius De Lennoy and
appointed him as his personal bodyguard and commander of the army. With his help, he captured territories upto Cochin.
5. Renovated the 8th Century Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
6. Died in 1758.
DHARMARAAJA KAARTHIKA THIRUNAAL RAMA VARMA -- 1758-1798 - Born in 1733, assumed the throne in 1758 after the
demise of Maarthaanda Varma. He followed the principles of ""Dharma"" and ruled strictly according to it, and thus came to be
known as ""Dharma Raja"". Events during his tenure :
1. In 1745 he shiftd the capital from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram.
2. Helped the Cochin ruler from the attck of Zamorin. Thus entered into an agreement of cooperation with the Cochin ruler.
Simultaneously, he entered into a friendship treaty with the Zamorins and thus made the region to have a peaceful atmophre
amongst the three territories. With this treaty with Zamorins, he acquired areas like Parur and Alaangadu and also recieved a
huge amount as compensation for the war. Also made the Zamorins to submit themselves to his ruling.
3. In 1789/90, he successfully defended the attack of Tipu Sultan. To protect himself from future attacks of Tipu Sultan, he
took the help of the British. On one hand, he was able to protect himself, but on the other hand, the British gained advantages
of entering into more treaties with him, which ultimately proved to be the factor for the British to initially become the protectorate
and then to gain full control of the kingdom. The British also forced the induction of one of their representatives into the king's
council, and ultimately forced them to become a princely state later.
4. He was a great scholar and also patronized arts, culture and music to a great extent. He was the one to formalise the
learning of the ""Kathakali"" dance. He also compoosed a number of carnatic keerthanas (songs/ragas).
5. He died in 1798.
UTHIRAM THIRUNAL MAARTHAANDA VARMA 1846-1860 -- When he came to power, the British were in full control of the
state and by their pressure, the British were able to make the Travancore their Princely State.
Q6. Who was the king of Travancore state when India attained independence?
Chitra Thirunaal Balarama Varma.
Q7. Who was the world famous painter in the Travancore State Royal House?
RAJA RAVI VARMA : Born in 1848 and died in 1906 . He is known to the world more as a painter of world class than
belonging to the royal house of Travancore. Through his painting, he brought life to the various incidents depicted in Ramayana
and Mahabharata. His painting brought the Hindu Gods into life and has become the house hold article of entire India and
other parts of the world where Hinduism is present.
In 1873 he won the first prize in the Vienna Art Festival. In his honour, in Mavelikkara in Kerala, a painting school is being run.
Q8. What is the history of Cochin Kingdom?
KINGDOM OF COCHIN - When the Chera Dynasty of Tamilnadu was declining, this dynasty was founded in the modern
day territory of Cochin and its surroundings, including Trichur, Chittoor of Palakkad, Kanayanur, parts of Alleppey, Paravur of
Ernakulam. Because it was headquartered in Cochin, this dynasty was called the Cochin Kingdom and it was considered the
headquarters of the Brahmin community.
The names of most of the kings, as a tradition, begin with Rama, suffixed by Varma and they were identified by the roman
numericals suffixed. and they were called the ""Perumpadappu Swaroopam"" by the Keralites. Besides they were also identified
with the titles based on the month or place of their death. For example, ""Thulam Maasathil (month) Theepetta (death) Thampuran""
or ""Madrasil (Chennai) Theepetta Thampuran"" .
The kingdom of Cochin had their capital at Mahodayapuram and then in 1405 shifted to Cochin.
With the arrival of the Portuguese as traders during the beginning of the 16th century, this kingdom came to be known to the
world and also gained some political prominence. The friendship, cooperation and defence protection of the Portuguese lasted
till 1663. From 1663 to 1773, the Dutch protected them. From 1773 this kingdom came under the protection of the British and
in 1814 asa a British protectorate and finally in 1878 came completely under the control of the British as a Princely State and
remained so till independence.
Q9. Who were the rulers of the Cochin Kingdom?
The list of the kings of Cochin Kingdom from 1775 ------
1. Rama Varma 8 -- 1775 - 1790
2. Rama Varma -- Shakta Thampuran -- 1790 - 1805 (The British protection began here)
3. Rama Varma 10 -- Vellarpalliyil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1805 - 1809
4. Kerala Varma 3 -- Karkkidakka Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1809 - 1828
5. Rama Varma 11 -- Thulam Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1828 - 1837
6. Rama Varma 12 -- Edav Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1837 - 1844
7. Rama Varma 13 -- Tiruchuril Theepppetta Thampuran -- 1844 - 1851
8. Kerala Varma 4 -- Veera Kerala Varma -- Kaasiyil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1851 - 1853
9. Ravi Varma 4 -- Makara Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1853 -- 1864 - (British Monarch ruling began)
10. Rama Varma 14 -- Mithuna Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1864 - 1888
11. Kerala Varma 5 -- Chingam Maasaththil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1888 - 1895
12. Rama Varma 15 -- Sir Sri Rama Varma -- 1895 - 1914
13. Rama Varma 16 -- Madarasil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1914 - 1932
14. Rama Varma 17 -- Dharma Raja -- Chowaravil Theeppetta Thampuran -- 1932 - 1941
15. Kerala Varma 6 -- Midukkann Thampuran - 1941 - 1943
16. Ravi Varma 5 - kuncappan Thamburan -- 1943 - 1946
17. Kerala Varma 7 -- Ikkiya Keralam Thampuran -- 1946 - 1947- Unification of the two kingdoms took place. Because of this
unification of the two kingdoms he is known by this title.
After him, Rama Varma 18 -- 1948-1964) was the last official king of this kingdom. The kings after him were only honorary kings.
Q10. Unification of Cochin and Travancore Kingdoms took place during the rule of ---
Kerala Varma 7
Q11. Who were the Zamorins and what was their territory?
ZAMORINS OF KERALA: They belong to the Eradi clan of the Nair community. They were ruling Calicut, Ponnani and its
surroundings, precisely the Malabar coast, from 12th Century to 1766. Their ruling was of a tribal oriented feudal system. It was on
18.5. 1498, that Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut, thus began the arrival of Europeans to India.
In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore attacked and captured some areas of this rulers. In 1792, the Zamorins sought the help of the
British and protected themselves and by 1799, and by 1806 agreement they came completely under the control of the British.