Monday, March 30, 2009

TALES FROM THE CAPITAL CITY - XI

THE TRAGIC STORY OF A RAJPUT PRINCESS

Yesterday (29-03-2009) V. George Mathew (para-phsycologist), Uma Maheshwari (freelance journalist), Anil Bhaskar (photographer- Rashtra Deepika) and I had the opportunity to visit Krishna Singh’s house. Krishna Singh, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, as his name suggests claims to have Rajput ancestry, and interestingly he had a very different story to tell, a tragic story of a Rajput princess who came to Travancore.

Krishna Singh’s house is located in Manacaud, near the famed Manacaud Shasta temple. Earlier George sir had told us that Krishna Singh was a very old man, who was about 90 years old. However, later we found out that Krishna Singh was a man in his late seventies. There was a large wall, resembling a fortress, dotted with shops and small rooms surrounding the house. The huge wooden gates, painted in sky blue opened to reveal a large two-storied building, about 70 years old.

Krishna Singh - Photograph taken by the author.
According to Krishna Singh history and hearsay mentions the arrival of Rajpoots in Travancore during the reign of Rama Varma, the preceedor of Marthanda Varma. And their history is linked with the mysterious lady of Travancore, ‘Abhirami’, wife of Rama Varma.. According to Krishna Singh, Abhirami’s real name is not known, it is generally said (with in the family circles) that her name was ‘Sandhya’- derived from ‘Syndhya’, the title of a sect of Rajput royals. He said that this girl (let us call her Sandhya) was a princess, born in Ayodhya. It is said that the child had some problems with her horoscope and the royal pundit told her father to send her for 14 years pilgrimage. It is said that one of her brothers (for her protection), some of her close relatives and attendants accompanied her.

Sandhya reached Suchindram. During that period, Thiruvithamkodu was the capital of Travancore. The king, Rama Varma on a routine visit to the temple heard Sandhya singing a bhajan and fell in love with her. He married her and promised that her sons will be the next rulers. The relatives and attendants who came with her settled in ‘Madhava layam’, near Nagercoil. ‘Layam’ means stable- Rajputs were master horse riders, they had horses with them, and so the place got that name. He said that before that also there were Rajput settlements in Travancore, so the people had no problem in finding new partners here (of their own caste).

The conflict between Marthanda Varma and Thampi’s is famous, I am not going to it, but according to Ramayyan’s plans, Marthanda Varma imprisoned Sandhya and her daughter Ummini Thanka in a palace. Sandhya died and daughter had to guard her dead body for five days. It is said that unknowingly at the same time Marthanda Varma came there with all preparations to marry Ummini Thanka. On seeing the ‘thalam’ she lost her control and kicked it, she then committed suicide, pulling out her tongue. She also cursed that Travancore family will always be short of women. According to Krishna Singh that is the reason why, there are so many adoptions in the family. After conducting pujas, both mother and daughter were installed in a temple. It is said that the plot to marry Ummini Thanka was Marthanda Varma’s idea to calm down her brothers, Pappu (Padmanabhan) Thampi and Raman Thampi.

The relatives of Sandhya did not revolt against Marthanda Varma, so they were spared and brought to Trivandrum when the capital was shifted. For many years, the members of the family served as ‘Palliyara kaval’, and some in Travancore cavalry force.

Krishna Singh said that an old document of his ancestral property at Alappuzha mentions that his ancestors came from Ayodhya. He demands that his family has descendant from the royal Rajput clan, and still they have customs and rituals similar to their North Indian ancestors.

Sharat Sunder Rajeev
30-03-2009.

61 comments:

aniuu said...

I googled andf found out that ummini thankachi was killed by marthanda verma or committed suicide folloewing her brother's murders.Moreover A pic at the padmanaburam palace thuckalay demonstrates that She was martanda verma's wife who commited suicide pulling her tongue out since her 2 brothers were killed.Later she became melankode yakshi.

sharat sunder rajeev said...

dear aniuu,
as a matter of fact, our historians are still not sure whether thanka was the wife of marthanda varma, it is said that marthanda varma married a daughter or anantharaval of kazhakootathu pilla(?),later killed her etc.....but it seems less probable that the kunji thampimar would allow their enemy to marry their only sister.

even the death of this thankachi is shrouded in mystery, it may be true that she comitted suicide,and later became a yakshi, but the real situation is still unknown....all the history that we know abt the pillamar and thampimar were later written down during the reign of uthran tirunal,for kathakali plays.....these fabricated tales, unfortunately ,later became history

manoj said...

I heard this story from my grandpa.it is said that ummini thanka was married to marthanda varma and she killed herself because her family was killed

sharat sunder rajeev said...

hai manoj,
there are many stories saying that marthanda varma and ummini thanka were married, but there are no historic records to prove it true......however, it is sad that much of our history is shrouded in mystery and legends.

cheryl nicholson said...

Hi Sharat, I'm from Malaysia. I recently made a short trip with some family members to Trivandrum the birthplace of my parents who are since deceased. I was shown a sword by a relative who told me that my great grandfather was a guard to the Maharaja. I can't seem to find any information on this. Wonder if you can hlp in any way. Our family name is Netto. I'm assuming that my great grandfather has the same name. Thanks.
Rgds,
Cheryl

sharat sunder rajeev said...

Hi Cheryl,
The name 'Netto' seems quite familiar. Think I can help if you could provide me some more details about your family and ancestors…..from the name I presume that yours is a Christian family, from the time of Marthanda Varma there were some Christian families concentrated in coastal regions who were the protectors of the king (especially during the time of Aarat, when the king accompanies his family deity to Sangumugham beach). It’s possible that your ancestor, the member of the family would have acquired the hereditary title.

Sonu.S.Karanavar said...

My family surname is karanavar.i am a nair.can you please tell me the origin of our family with details.

Mukti said...

Hi Sharat,

It was a refreshing read... quite nostalgic also as marthanda verma, ettuveetil pillamar and the thampis were my mother's favourite topics while narrating stories when I was a kid. In her stories Marthanda Verma was always the righteous one. Puzzling though, as now historians have not been able to prove the atrocities of ettu veetil pillamar.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Veera Marthanda Varma the Great was a Brahmachari till his 'naaduneengal' and would have never killed women. Please don't go by 'amar chithra kathas' and musings of people like Krishna Singh. It is also said that Aviraama (not Sandhya?)met Veera Rama Varma at Suchindram at the Pallitheradi Festival. So, History needs lot of facts and not speculations. The doubt that Marthanda Varma married the niece of Kazakoottam Pilla is absurd.

Mitra said...

If kunju thampimar were the sons of a Rajput princess, how did they get the surname 'Thampi'. In my understanding thampi denotes a person born to nair mother and kshetriya father .

Sharat Sunder Rajeev said...

Gautam Padmanabhan, first of all thanks for going through the post and for the comment. While reading you must have noticed that it is the musing of an old man (he passed away a couple of months back), yes, it is and I do not claim this story to be 100 % true. However, one cannot discard the oral traditions, it is often seen that the oral traditions that circulates amongst the local population also have some sparks of truth in it.
I do have respect for the Travancore royal family, but I won’t agree with your claims. It is well known that the women of the Ettuveettil Pillai families were sold / given to the fishermen community after the men were massacred. Unable to bear this fate, many of them committed suicide and Veera Marthanda Varma was responsible for this. If not directly, he was responsible for the deaths of innocent women and children.
And about history, the stuff written about royalty by many old historians are no better than the stories you come across in ‘Amar Chitrakatha’, so don’t believe all of it. And while mentioning about Pallitheradi Festival, you have written ‘It is also said that’, ….it is said that, it is believed that…….this explains all, sometimes we are not sure what exactly happened in history.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Thanks for your response.
Let me add few points here.
Veera Bala Marthanda Varma did the right thing by killing the Pillamar.
He had two options before him, to kill or to get killed. Which one would one prefer?

Regarding your statement that the women and children were sold to fishermen requires a correction. They were de-promoted from Nair Caste to Fishermen community, because many of the ladies wanted to see the end of Bala Marthanda Varma, when he was 'Neyyantikara Rajakumaran' for many reasons. Even today the fisherwomen in Valyathura and Puthenthope who owe their origins to Nair Community are called 'Vella achies'.

Venadu was in a complete state of Anarchy and Choas at the time of VMV. Unlike Mughals and Nawabs, VMV was actually tolerant towards the women of his enemy familes.

Actually Subhadra who was the niece of Kudamon Pillai was linked to VMV and not the niece of Kazhakoottathu Pillai. But CV Raman Pillai said that Subhadra was in love with another person and not VMV.

One thing is clear VMV was solely responsible for the formation of united Travancore and was a great visionary of the time. He did the right thing by destroying his enemies. No tint of cruelty in that step at all. They deserved it.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Actually Veera Ramah Varma, uncle of VMV met Aviraama at Suchindrom. When I said, 'it is said that' it means an event in Travancore History and not my doubt. Ofcoursethese are subject to interpretations by others.

It is sad to know that Krishna Singh passeed away. In this part of the State, many stories are said and retold as history, but the real history is different and those who had nothing to do with Royal Family had infact praised VMV for his vision of a modern state which became the land of Thrippada Swaroopam.

Ettuveetil Pillamar were no less than demons. They were directly linked to killing of small princes
(Kalipankulam event) and the attack on Attingal Thampuran (Budhanoor Incident) and were responsible for the plight of Padmanabha Swamy Temple. So, nothing wrong in eliminating them.

Actually they paved the way for their destruction and not in anycase the Great King, Anizhom Thirunal Ponnuthampuran Thirumanassu...

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

It's is so unfortunate that the then pagans who were anti VMV had erected a Temple some where in Naanchinnadu in respect of Kunju thampimar and their kin. Once I had received a sketch of this temple.

There was also one 'scripture' narrating the lives of kunju thampimar called 'Thampimar Kadai' which is still popular in southern Tamil Nadu.

So, let me humbly say that all these grandeur seen in Trivandrum including the great Padmanabha Swamy Temple are all due to VMV, the maker of modern Travancore.

Anuradha Warrier said...

Hi, found this blog while searching for information on Ummini Thanka. It was a very interesting read. I love collecting old legends (I'm originally from Trichur) of Kerala, and this is a part that is shrouded in much mystery.

Achu said...

Dear Gautam,

It seems you follow C.V Raman Pillai's so called historic novels, not the real history. The novel has the names of some of the individuals who lived then in Venad, but it is after all a love story. If you take these stories for true history, I pity you. (Please read Three Musketeers of Dumas and check in the history of England and France whether the Queen of France had any illicit relationship with Duke of Buckingham. Novels are just fantacies of the novelist not the history).

We have many such 'Veerpurushas' viz.Kunjali Marakkar and Pazhassi Raja who played virtually no role in the history but became immortal through the plays written by K. P. Kesavamenon.

History gets distorted/diluted or twisted in their favour by the rulers.An inquiry deep into the circumstances prevailed at that point of time in history would help you reveal the truth. 'veera aradhana' has nothing to do with history.

Do understand that ettuveetil pillamar were not responsible for managing the affairs of Sree Padmanabha Temple, but the ettara yogam. In the ettara yogam the ruler of Venad was also a party. It is evident from the history of Venad that the Thiruvattattu Adikesava Swamy temple was more prominent until the reconstruction of Sree Padmanabha Temple in the present form and Thripadi danam. History says that Marthanda Varma received his sword after pooja at the Adikesava Temple before marching with his troupes to Kolachal.

In every kingdom in kerala there existed a strong nair group guarding different provinces of the kingdom, which acted as a corrective force between the king and his subjects if the king does any injustice towads his subjects. The autocracy was thus curtailed to a certain extent and Ettuveettil Madambimar not pillamar were such a group of nair chieftains. And what was the cruelty they committed towards Marthanda Varma? They stood by the word given by Ravi Varma to his North indian wife. No wonder if Marthanda Varma had enmity with them.

Kalippan kulam event is shrouded by mistery. This also is like a folklore and people have Umakeralam of Ulloor in their hands to prove it which again is the fantacy of Ulloor not history. As sharat truely said 'these fabricated tales(/tails), unfortunately, later became history'.

maharana said...

hi sonu karnavar.....Marthandavarma”s nephew (later Karthikathirunal “dharmaraja) sister and her husband (koyi thapuran)were living under the protection of a Nair Chieftain known as Vattaparampil unnithan near Keerikattu (later became “valiyathan” and current decedents lives in pandalam, thiruvala(“Thotathil” family)etc, related to the royal houses of these areas,Dr.Marthandavarma shankaran valiyathan(ms valiyathan)and artist Valiyathan belongs to this family )once they were passing though the Budanoor paddy field near Mannar were attacked by Nairs loyal to the Kayamkulam Raja and Ettuvittil Pillamar.so the clever old lady of Vattaparampil posed as the rani and tried to save the prince and his mother, that time one old nair (karanavar) arranged some nairs and informed the incidents to “Vakkavanjipuzha pandarathil of Chenganoor (chief of vanjipuzha) and saved the prince. later Marthandavarma became king and assimilated kayamkulam and destroyed the Ettuvittil pillamar and he divided and diverted the Achankovil river to destroy the budhanoor paddy field near “vettiyar”(the name comes b’cose of tht) and nairs of Ennakadu,Budhnoor areas were called “palakkel vettikal”(one who attack “pallak”)all their properties were became “Pandaram vaka” and later gave to the related royals settled after the attack of Tippu .the nephews, decedents of the “karanavar” got the title of same.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Dear A----?

I think this Achu is a fake person.

I never tried to legalize fables as facts...

The father of kunju thampimar was Veera Rama Varma and not Ravi Varma.

I never said that Ettuveetil Pillamar were managing the Temple of Sri Padmanabha. I only said they were tax collectors who had acquired power and influence through their illegal activities.

I sincerely believe that we all r students of history.

Achus's? comments were really childish and funny.
They were no arguments at all........

sonukaranavar said...

Thanks maharana...do you know about the main family today..?

georges said...

I am going off-topic and I hope you guys are not inconvenienced much...
I was interested in knowing which suburbs of present-day Kochi area, in olden days (i.e., before 1949), fell in Travancore state? e.g.,I know for certain that the Edapally Railway Station was situated within erstwhile Travancore state. I wanted to know about Vyttila, Kaloor and other prominent Kochi suburbs. All help/infrmation would be most graciously received and well appreciated.

Soheb Vahab said...

Dear Sir,
As far as I know, the State extended from Kanya Kumari in the south to North Paravoor. There is a wrong idea that it extended till Kodangallur. I happened to read the same in a booklet and enquired the authorities from where they acquired this information. Their response was that as Kodangallur was socially and culturally important, it was written thus.
Soheb Vahab

Renjith Leen said...

Can anyone shed light on the descendants of the Ettuveetil Pillamar, who are said to be living in the coastal villages of TVM. Almost all of them are Catholics. I once happened to see a documentary in Doordarshan where one Mr Pereira confessed that he was descended from one of the ladies of Ramanamadom who were sold to the Catholic fishermen. He said that he visited Vettadi Temple of Changanasseri every year to pray at the spot where the spirits of his slain ancestors are said to be enshrined.

Arockiaraj said...

Dear All, Do you have any information on the children of the Padmanabhan Thampi and Raman Thampi and also their sister. Listening to stories from my grandmother (she is from Colachel/Trivandrum)she is a descendant of Kosala princess, Neela-ma-arasi(-ma- means great; -arasi- means queeen). I doubt she is none other than Princess Abhirami/Sandhya. One of my ancestor name is King Vira Thoma Marthanda. Do you have any information on them?

Thanks,
Arockiaraj.

Arya said...

Dear all,ma ancestral temple is the melancode temple at Thukkalay and my grandmother hails from the Kochikkal thampi family.Could you please help me with the family history?

vennu said...

hello,
i like to say some words.cv raman pilla is not a historian,but a novelist.but he had read many folk stories and songs of previous centuries and knows many things at that time.
in his novel marthanda varma ,a hero like character is there ,anantha padmanabhan and also the mangoikkal tharavadu.we align ourself behind them while reading the novel.they are actually channar or nadar and not and never can be a nair or pillai as stated in the novel.anantha padmanabhans tomb is still in kanyakumari district.mankoikkal family is also there.anatha padmanabhan later became the army cheif of travancore.he also served as the body guard of marthanda varma.marthanda varma lived in his house secretly for some time due to madampimars attempts to kill him.
more over the army formed by marthanda varma to defeat ettuveetil pillmar were many consists of channars and parayar.a particular division which helped him and saved in crucial battle consists of parayars only.
later when he became king and removed the ettuveetil pillamars and started campaign ,his army was formed with marvars brought from thirunelveli.i dont think there was a nair army at that time.

joceee said...

there was some one asking about the boundaries of erst while kochin in vaikom side travancore extended till kureekad near chottanikara a place hardly 3 km from hillpalace the palace of king , main other cities perumbavoor aluva , paravur was in travancore kodungaloor trichur shornur was in kochin rule. part of kochin fort kochi and partof vypin where under direct britsh rule called British Kochi. i remember my grand fathers sisters talking about restriction they had to suffer because although
they where living near by they where living in different ountries

LKNAIR said...

Hi All,
Just came across this thread. Renjith Leen was asking about the descendants of Ettuveettil Pillamar. This is what I have heard from my grand mother. She told me that our family is of the same family of Chempazhanthi Pillai and while other Pillamars where exiled , only he was freed, since a woman from Chempazhanthi Pillai family had safe guarded Marthanda Varma during a war. Not only he was freed but also given 2000 'para' Nilam. This is told by my father's mom. However, my mom's mom also told the same and they are from two different branches of the same family.
Now, my mom vaguely remembers that an 'Ettu Kettu' (called Padipurra Veedu)was also part of family property and due to some internal fights , a receiver was also appointed to rule that. These indicate the wealth of the family accumulated over years. So I believe that Chempazhanthi Pillai was indeed exempted from any kind of punishment.
Another fact is, since we had received such a large amount of land, during every Ekadashi my mom's mom used to visit Padmanabha Swami temple and provide offering from the land to Padmanabha Swami.Have you come across any such facts/tales during your research ? Just curious to know.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Hi Mr Nair,
Even I had heard from my father that Chempazhanthi Pillai and his family were excused by the King.
Can you please tell me where exactly this Chempazhanthi tharavadu is located? We can find a huge pond at the site of the households of all the other pillamar as their ancestral homes were destroyed and the King had ordered to dig a huge pond there. "Kulam thondi kullam kuzhikkuka"
We can find such ponds at Kazhakootam, Kudaman which is now called Kudavoor near Thonnakkal etc. Lets also not forget the 'vella achies' who were the descendants of the ettuveetar.....

LKNAIR said...

HI Gautham,

Thanks for your response. I am Laxmy . My mom's house is in Edathara , Chempazhanthi. Mom told that this Ettukettu tharavadu was at this place itself and she said no remains of that house exists, and people moved to diffrent places.However, this didnt happen as part of any enemity with the KIng, bue due to internal family fights ! This may have happened in 1970s - 1980s time period.

A branch of Chempazhanthi pillai (my dad's family) has the family temple Alyavoor(same as family name) temple (Siva Temple) is at a place called Pothencode, near Chempazhanthi in Trivandrum.

Also,my mom's grand mom's grand mom :) was adopted from 'Chittalloor' family in Trivandrum(Muttada), as there were no girl child to continue the family thread !

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Ok Laxmy..so sorry for my wrong addressing..The Chittalloor House you told is very near to my place in Kaudiar...even that tharavadu is no more and their family deity of Vanadurga is under renovation....
I'm very sad to hear the condition of Chempazhanthi tharavadu....You have old photographs of that house...?
I have gone to pothencode and is now very famous bcoz of Shantigiri......
Do you know that you great great great grandma's name who protected Marthanda Varma? any clues?

LKNAIR said...

Hey Gautham,

One correction, the temple is in Powdikonam and not Pothencode, my bad :D

I don't have any photographs right now. Let me check with my relatives.

I heard these stories from my grandparents in my childhood and never bothered to ask further questions at that time. My grandparents(maternal and paternal) are no more and now I understand the importance of understanding our history.

Let me see ,if I can get some more info.

I am not sure if the Chittalloor House near Kaudiar is the one. My mom told that it is near Muttada.

Sharat Sunder Rajeev said...

LKNAIR, Laxmy and Gautham Padmanabhan for visiting the blog and for following up the discussion. It seems that the stories and mysteries of the Ettuvettil Pillamar will captivate us in the following centuries also. I hope that the historical research will shed more light on their origins.
I have seen the old Chittaloor Tharawad and had once sneaked inside the compound to take some pictures. We had a submission on traditional buildings and took Chittaloor Elankam as my case study. I still have some splendid photographs of the house, taken by my friend. Unfortunately, the house was demolished some years back. Two years back when I visited Ulloor Subramanya temple, I was surprised to see a house that was being built adjacent to the temple pond, the house looked just like the old Chittaloor Tharawad. I asked the contractor who was there and he told me that the architectural elements from the old structure and had reused it. I was happy to see the old Tharawad, in its new avatar.

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Chittaloor house is just one example of the plight of the old nair houses...its near Muttada only..infact its between amabalamukku n muttada....happy to know from Sarath that chittaloor house has anew avtar.....well this can be a good convention.....Kuttikalude kottaram, a venture like Balbhavan was there in the old Chittaloor house for some years b4 it was demolished...it was superb structure.....well i wana find kundamon pillas house near kudavar in thonnakkal....its beleived that thekke kottaram was kudaman pilla's house and was destroyed and every part of it was brought to PAdmanabhapuram for re-construction.....

LKNAIR said...

Awesome news Sharat!!! If you don't mind would you please send some of the snaps of the tharavadu to lknairnair@gmail.com.
Next time I am in TVM, will try to visit that house near Ulloor Temple.

Did you study in CET by any chance, as you have mentioned that your case study was in TVM? I studied Civil Engg: from CET, though working as a Sr Consultant in an IT firm now.

Gautham - I have observed that most of the old tharavads in TVM have this plight. However, one can see many old Tharavads in areas like Alappuzha, Thrissur,etc; In TVM rather than Naalukettu or Ettukettu, i have seen many old bungalows.

LKNAIR said...

Thanks Sharat for sharing the pics and Thanks to Gautham for giving important info.

prem kurien said...

are there any direct descendants of the ettuveetil pillmar right now in this present day?

prem kurien said...

muttada is just 1/2 km from my house in analachira

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

Mr Pereira who is descandent of Kazhakootathu Pillai is in valiyathura now.

Sridevi Aiyar said...

Thnx 4 de in4mation abt Melankottu Yakshi... Have u heard abt Kanjirottu Yakshi doing upasana of Lord Narasimha residing in Bharatakkon Kallara (B Kallara) of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple?

Ram Govind said...

Old timers say that there are many divine beings including gods, mahatmas and a yakshi in the B Vault... That is the reason why the Royal Family is deadly against opening this Vault... I dont know why people like Ms Aiyar call Vault B Bharata Konathu Kallara... Is it not Mahabhaarata Konathu Kallara?

Renjith Leen said...

Thank you Gautham Padmanabhan for the valuable bit of info on Mr Pereira, who is supposed to be a descendant of Kazhakootathu Pillai.

Renjith Leen said...

In a souvenir published by the village of Mayyanadu in Kollam a few years ago, it is mentioned that a certain Catholic family used to have the surname of Pillai till the middle of the twentieth century. Legend has it that certain male relatives of one of the Ettuveetil Pillais, while fleeing the soldiers of Marthanda Varma, landed in the fishing hamlet of Mayyanadu and embraced Catholicism from the Portuguese Padres there and settled down. Apparently, they came via Chirayenkeezhu and Paravur. This particular family used to practice marumakkathayam, pointing to their Nair ancestry.

Unknown said...

Hi All,
I am Anoop; a christian. My grandfather ( maternal ) used to tell us that they were descendants of ettuveetil pillamar. Actually, there's something that makes me curious about Mr.Renjith's info. Grandpa used to tell us that his great grandpa ( don't exactly know like how many 'greats' should be there )was baptised & became a christian. He/they had stolen some materials from church & were cursed. My grandpa was the 7 th genereation from then. I have just heard all these stories & i don't have any evidences. My Grandparents are no more.
Just want to know if this story has any base. Also would like to know where can I get some info on the same as I have no idea where to get these details.

Hope somebody can help me....

Anoop

Arjun Krishnan said...

I am Arjun Krishnan .. My dad's family hails from Colachel(kanyakumari distrct now)..I cme from Nair community..Do they have any relation with the erswhile Travancore guards or know anything ??Could you please help me out??

Adarsh Gireesh said...

I think i heard a stry about umminithanka...she committed suicide and her soul is rested in the southmost room in padmanabhapuram palace...During the shoot of manichitrathazhu the authorities refused to open that room for them due to this reason...is this true,..is her soul present in that room..

iyermr2007 said...

Thank you very much Sharath for the historic details of the Travancore Royal family. I belong to Trivandrum now settled in Mumbai and has been a close follower of the developments in the Padmabhaswamy temple. The serial of Amrita TV Sri Padmanabham aroused my curiosity further about the life and time of Veera Marthanda Varma the founder of the modern Travancore and Shri Padmanbahswamy temple. I was curious about the personal details of the King in the serial and was looking around for the details which were not available in standard historical books. That is when I goggled and stumbled upon your blog. I wish somebody write a historical account of the details. Do you think the famous mural of yakshi at the Padmanbaswamy temple has anything to do with Yakshi of Ummani Thankachi?

K E said...

I am just curious. I understand there was once a coup where the royal family was overthrown by their cousins. The cousins then took over the royal family and the original royal family were saved by some Portuguese fisherman. I also understand that they were then made to adopt Catholicism. Could you please give me some information if any of this happened?

ram kumar said...

i would say something about new researches done about the kerala history.the social side of it is very interest and at the same time unbelievable. one such thing is nairs were soldiers of kerala.or nairs were the only soldiers of kerala. there were no community or sect of people now termed as nairs existed in the entire state of kerala.many families now belive to be nairs doesnot bear the surname nair nor considered were in the same caste.this was long been known for namboothiri families and ambalavsi families.there were a lot of subsects amoung these castes.and marriages were generally not allowed between these castes (now called as subcaste) sometimes even today.

ram kumar said...

the pillai surname was found in the old documents found from travancore. but the pillai was a title given to so some persons by the king.it was more prevelent during time before marthanda varma.marthanda varma introduced new tilte called chempaka raman pillai to specially selected persons.there were many persons in tranvancore from many castes including channar,ezhava,muslim and parayar and christian familes entitled to held this title.there is a caste of tamil orgin called vellala pillai ,living in trivandrum south side.they are very few in trivandrum.they uses this pillai as caste name.authorities used to give caste certificate as vellala pilla.the truth is they dont have a martial history.secondly there is a caste in tamil nadu called illathu pillais ,they sometimes use pillai as caste name.but they consider themselves a ezhavas and even now marriages are occuring between these castes. channars were earlier considered as ezhavars but channar and nadars castes were united in 1925 and its a single caste now.nadar families were given properties and land by marthanda varma and rama varma raja for their services in military.their status were degraded after dharma raja and during establishment of british rule.this caused a problems and a series of revolts occurred during 19th century till the abdication of kingship in travancore.this also happened to ezhavar and other castes.its impossible to deny a vast population rights they possess for a long time.

venu said...

nadars , channars and many ezhavars converted to christianity as a protest due to denial of many rights.if temple entry proclaimation was not given and if there were't activities of the sri narayana guru travancore would have become a christian dominated region. some christians here said that their grandfathers told them of stories of army persons ,it can have a truth as ,upto the time of british rule in travancore ,the main body of the army of travancore consisted of nadar,ezhavar,maravar (some contigencies of parayar were also there)

sarada devi said...

i agree with ram kumar and venu.its also now surfaced that all the ettuveetil pillai mar were not nairs .the term using the documents was ettuveetil madampimar.the ramana madom is not a nair but a bhrahmin.kulathoor and chempazhanthi were not nairs (some hints points they were ezhavars) and venganoor was channar family.ramana madom is now considered were the ministers of attingal swaroopam.pillais were small lords of feudal system,appointed by the king and entrusted the authority to collect tax.local acceptance and influence were major factor for this.and not he caste which he belonged.

Unknown said...

Actually I came here through google search, I want to know who is ummini thanka and what is her relation with Marthanda varma, but still I am not clear about. There is a 'serial' showing in Amrita TV named pathmanabham. As a history lover I started to watch the same and eager to know more about Travancore. Please share more and more about Veera Marthanda Varma and Ummini Thanka. Here some are saying Ummini Thanka, wife of Marthanda varma but some places Marthanda varma imprisoned Ummini Thanka. In TV serial it showing they were lovers from young and their parents knows about. But due to brothers eveil eye her parents forced to give ummini thanka to thalasseri raja. What realy happend? Any one knows? Murder or suicide?
Thanks for this blog. Keep it up

Pandia said...

I would be glad to get the details about ettuveettu pillamar. My native is panicka nadar kudiyiruppu near trichendur in Thamizh Nadu. My father used to tell me that our ancestors escaped from travancore during marthanda varman’s period and settled here by solving some disputes among the locals. He says that some of other ettuveettu pillamars ran away to kuttam, Shencottah, Keezha Eeral, and Siruthondanallur.

Dr.M.R.Iyer said...

Historians are silent about the the details of Ummani Thankachi possibly deliberately. From Sharaths information she had a tragic end. How and why we do not know. The Amrita TV serial Sri Padmanabham has made the Ummani thankachi as the central theme at least for the time being. It seems to be taking a course which does not seem to be in line with the other tales. I would like to know Sharaths remarks on this.

Dr.M.R.Iyer

Gautham Padmanabhan said...

It is very sad to see Ettuveettil Pillamar are being potrayed as Brahmins and Kshatriyas...They were aristocrats undoubtedly...infact many historians like Shivashankaran Nair had said that there were aruveettil pillamar and not 8...anyway one should understand there was no major difference between Nairs and Kshatriyas in Kerala till 15th Century. Ramanaa Madhom and Marthanda Madhom were Ilathu Nairs with Brahmin relation through marriage, but were never Brahmins. Yes, they were ministers also and controlled Monarchy of Venadu..

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Arunpradhap from Tamilnadu I am interested in histories of Tamilnadu especially history of kerala which was part of ancient Tamilakam.I have read that during the period of arrival of dutch it is stated that the language spoken was said to be malabar tamil or malayamma tamil can any one explain when the separate language was formed as malayalam.How the caste system in kerala got deep rooted by suppressing lower community people as untouchables?

GOPIKRISHNAN KOTTOOR said...

sharat, i hope you read this. i need some info about MV with neelakantan pillai. And when it was that Ramaiyyan enterede the scene
would you write to me at gopikottoor@gmail.com . I am also on facebook. Hope I can contact you. This is urgent.
gopikottoor@gmail.com

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visu said...

Hi sharat, my name is Visakh Mohan Thampy.my father is a native of thiruvarampu, marthandam.our family is called as puthenveedu and we were the ruling family of that place.recently my aunt said me that ummini thanka is my great grant mother and raja kesavadas is a close relation of ours.my family members holds the title thampy and thankachi.could you please help me in clarifying abt the ancestral details of mine regarding ummini thanka and raja kesavadas?

Arjun Jagadeesh said...

hi arya... im also member of kochikkal thampi family.im staying at Kochikkal ,Mavelikara at the ancestral house. I have tried obtaining information about kochikkal tampi family upto an extent..im stillworking on it..wi;; upload the details as soon as i det the information..

Anonymous said...

Dear Sharat, Firstly my heartfelt well wishes for maintaining a blog of excellant standard. I admire ur writing style, & appreciate ur efforts behind ur writings. I think the mere mention of Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma sparks a raging debate among history buffs... that itself says a lot about the man. The one positive aspect about the unveiling of Sree Padmanabhaswami wealth, is creating an interest, atleast in the minds of youngsters, about the illustrious history of Travancore & its modern "Maker". I am from central Travancore, & remember that as a small child staring at the pic of Sree Chithira Thiruanl placed in the hallway of my ancestral home. His turban had caught my curious eyes!!! None of us can categorically comment on the morality/character of MV; i believe he did whatever he had to, inorder to secure the future of his kingdom. And Achu's comment caught my eyes. I feel, that if Veera Ravi Varma/Rama Vrma, was serious about the word given to his north indian wife, he would have made that public thru some kind of vilambaram. Correct me if im wrong, i believe he did no such thing. May be he gave his word inorder to get the lovely lady into his bed!!! I am not being disrespectful to her/her descendants, but the Monarchs of the old (most of them, not all) were notorious when it came down to women. And it was MV's same uncle who asked his 14 yr old nephew to intervine, in his stead, regarding the matter of Madurai Nayiks & crowned him as the heir apparent/Neyyattinkara Rajakumaran. Y didn't he asked his sons to do the same/trained them in administration of the kingdom??? Besides, it was against the custom of Travancore as well. The Ettuveettil pillamar/madambimar/aaruveedar, whoever it was, seemed to have had some vested interest to support Thampimars !!! I am not trying to villify them, but wen foreigners were already trying to get a stronghold in the kingdom, revolting against the heir apparent wasn't a wise or right thing to do. MV was the rightful heir to the throne, according to the prevalent Marumakkathayam system of the time. Besides exacting a promise like that from the Monarch by Abhirami/Sandhya's family seems to be a bit manipulative. As far as i have read, the Thampimar also tried to get the enemy king's help to secure their position(kayamkulam raja under the dutch dominance, i think) which is very wrong. That is akin to our modern day politicians improving their positions by means of corruption & favouritism. I do believe that MV's treatment of women was a bit harsh. But if they had been let off, there wud have been more internal strifes. In the long run, MV's actions benefitted the Kingdom. Without his seemingly ruthless actions, we would hav ended up in a worse condition than Bihar due to extreme exploitation. The popular culture (especially old malayalam movies) mostly made a villain out of MV, but we shud show some appreciation to the man for his foresight & statesmanship. Anyways, none of us can make a precise argument due to the lack of historical evidence. Once again, keep on writing Sharat. Have a gud day.