Friday, October 16, 2009

Travencore State Coins

Rama Varma IV (1860-80) Silver chuckram

Bala Rama Varma II (1924-29) Copper 4-cash

Travancore was a princely state in India under the British Raj, with its capital at Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The name Thiruvithankoor might be derived from Thiruvithankode (in Tamil, 'thiru' means wealth, 'vidanam' means roof, and 'kodu' means hill) where the capital Padmanabhapuram was situated. It comprised most of modern day southern Kerala and the modern Nagercoil and Kanyakumari districts of Tamil Nadu. Its ruler was accorded a 19-gun salute during the long period under the suzerainty of the British Empire. The Travancore Royal family claims descent from the Cheras of the three South Indian Mandala Kingdoms namely Chera Mandalam, Pandya Mandalam and Chola Mandalam. A branch of the Chera family was sent to the extreme north of Kerala 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. This became the Kupaka Royal family and were the original ancestors of the Travancore royal family [1]. Later Kerala was ruled by a line of Perumals of whom Cheraman Perumal was the last and he is said to have divided Kerala among his relatives and friends and left for a pilgrimage [2]. However the Kolathiris and Travancore were already existent, although under the suzerainty of the Perumals [3]. From the 11th century onwards began the rise ofindependant Travancore or Venad as it was known then. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara (1299-1314) invaded the territories of the Pandyas and Cholas and performed imperial coronations at Madurai and Kanchipuram and thus threw of the Pandyan hegemony in the region[4]. However his success was short lived and after him his successors could not hold on to these acquisitions of the Pandyas and Cholas. The line of kings after Ravi Varma continued through the Marumakkathayam law of succession and family. Soon after Ravi Varma's death two princesses were adopted from the Kolathiri Royal family and installed as Ranis or Queens at Attingal. The Venad 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 [5]. Travancore went briefly under the subjugation of the Vijayanagar Empire but soon regained its independence. 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 reestablished 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. Swathi Thirunal was one of the most popular rulers of the 19th century. The regency of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi was a time which heralded many new reforms which were continued by Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma.

Kulasekhara Dynasty (1721 onwards)
Rajah Rama Varma 1721-1729
Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma 1729–1758
Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma (Dharma Raja) 1758-1798
Balarama Varma 1798-1810
Gowri Lakshmi Bayi 1810-1815 (Queen from 1810-1813 and Regent Queen from 1813-1815)
Gowri Parvati Bayi (Regent) 1815-1829
Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma 1829-1846
Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1846–1860
Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma 1860–1880
Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma 1880–1885
Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma 1885–1924
Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (Regent) 1924–1931
Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma 1931–1949
Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1991-