The male members of these families were called ‘Thampi’ and women were called ‘Thankachi’ and ‘Kochamma’. The very term Thampi and Thankachi meant, in Tamil language, brother and sister respectively, which indicated the position of the Thampi families as relatives of the Royal House of Travancore. However, as the Travancore royal family strictly followed matriarchal succession, the offspring’s of the Thankachi’s of these families never had the fortune to sit on royal throne.
Later when Travancore revolted against the British rule, under the leadership of Velu Thampi, there was a noble lady from this house to help him. It is said that Velu Thampi, during his revolt when he was in hiding, secured Palace secrets and confidential information with the help of an Arumana Amma, a noblewoman of the Arumana Amma Veedu who was the wife of the then Maharaja Bala Rama Varma.
Arumana Amma Veedu has passed hands from the original owners and is now owned by the distant relatives of the former owners. The old house, probably built during the reign of Visakam Tirunal has large rooms with high ceiling, a courtyard and separate kitchen connected to the house by a corridor. However, when I recently visited Kizhakkemadhom Pratap, who is a descendant of Visakam Tirunal, he told me that the original tharavad of the family was a great ‘Ettu Kettu’, built in pure traditional style. Later it was demolished and the present building was built during Visakam Tirunal. It is said that as a prince, Visakam Tirunal spend most of his time in Arumana. Nearby there are the remains of a very old nalukettu, which unlike the new house, which had many evident European features, were made in pure traditional style using timbre. This old house was the Madhom used by the ‘pottys’ (priests) of the family. There is a story that Marthanda Varma murdered the last potty brothers who lived there, for their involvement in the conspiracy against him. Later their mortal remains were found inside a secret tunnel, which connected the temple and the Madhom. The house has a small Kavu and some idols of ‘Nagas’ are worshipped there.
The owners took away many of the old furniture used in the house, however the house still has a wooden bed used by the Maharaja Visakam Thirunal when he visited his beloved wife.
Later many prominent members of the royal family had married from this family. The old Arumana Amma Veedu in Thiruvananthapuram is a stately mansion, which still stands holding its head high, among the other Ammaveedus that line both sides of the aarattu road.