TRAVANCORE

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The Kulasekhara Dynasty

The Rajas of Venad

The predecessors of the Travancore Rajas reigned at Venad for more than 500 years. Although their names are known from inscriptions on monuments and temples, their precise relationships and reign dates are not accurately recorded. What follows is based on the best available sources and constitute a considerable revision of the succession lists published by Menon and the Travancore State Manuals. Both these sources seem to suffer from a certain eagerness to co-opt every distinguished personality from the family into the list, without much regard as to whether or not they were actually rulers of Venad. The rulers from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, begining with  Raja Sri Aditya Varman (d. January 1544) were carefully derived through extensive investigations using palace sources and published by the Royal historian, M. Rajaraja Varma Raja, in “Some Travancore Dynastic Records” 1928-1931. It is clear from the records he presents of accession, coronations and temple ceremonies, of land grants and adoptions, that the lists in Menon and the State Manual can be dismissed.
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Fl 1102 Raja Sri Rama Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. Mentioned in the Rameswarathukoil Inscription as the founder of Venad as an independent state. He d. 1102, having had issue, a son:
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1102 – 1125      Raja Sri Kotha Varma Marthandam, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, son of Raja Sri Rama Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. Succeeded on the death of his father, 1102. He conquered Kottar and Nanjanad from the Pandyas. He d. 1125, having had issue, including four sons:
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1125 – 1145      Raja Sri Vira Kerala Varma I, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, eldest son of Raja Kotha Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. Succeeded on the death of his father, 1125. A great religious benefactor, responsible for the rebuilding of Padmanabhaswamy and the endowment of Suchindram Temples. He d. 1145.
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1145 – 1150 Raja Sri Kodai Kerala Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad.
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1161 – 1164 Raja Sri Vira Ravi Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, second son of Raja Kotha Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. Succeeded ca 1161. He d. 1164.
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1164 - 1167 Raja Vira Kerala Varma II, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, third son of Raja Kotha Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. Succeeded on the death of his elder brother, 1164. He d. 1167.
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1167 – 1173      Raja Vira Aditya Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, fourth son of Raja Kotha Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. He d. 1173?
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1173 – 1192      Raja Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, youngest son of Raja Kotha Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, educ. privately. Succeeded on the death of his elder brother, 1167. He established his seat at Kulikkod and allied himself to the Pandya Kings. He d. at Kolidaikuru, 1192, having had issue, a daughter:
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1192 – 1195      Raja Sri Devadaram Vira Kerala Varma III, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. Fl 1192. He d. December 1195.
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1195 -               Raja Sri Vira Manikantha Rama Varma Tiruvadi, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. From Kilapperur Illam. Mentioned in the Vellayani inscriptions. Succeeded December 1195.
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1209 – 1214    Raja Sri Vira Rama Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. He d. 1214, having had issue, a daughter:
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1214 – 1240      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. Mentioned in the Kandiyoor inscription in 1218, and the Manalikara inscription of 1236. m. Rani Unniachi, responsible for the Subramanyaswamy shrine, near Suchindram Temple.
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1240 – 1252      Raja Sri Vira Padmanabha Martanda Varma Tiruvadi, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. The Pandya kings asserted their dominance over Venad during his reign.
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Fl 1266-1267    Raja Sri Jayasimha Deva, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, from the Yadu family of the Lunar race. He became a powerful ruler, who succeeded in bringing the whole of Kerala under his control. He esrablished his seat at Quilon, the surrounding areas becoming known as Jayasimhanad or Desinganad. m. Rani Umma Devi, Rani of Venad, of the Kupaka family, probably joint ruler with her husband. He d. at Quilon, leaving several sons who quarrelled with his nephews over the succession, causing a long and disruptive civil war. He had issue:
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1299 – 1313      Raja Sri Ravi Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Sangramadhiran Trikshatra Chudamani, Raja of Venad. b. 1266, son of Raja Sri Jayasimha Deva, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, by his wife, Rani Umma Devi, Rani of Venad, educ. privately. Adopted by the childless Rani Aavani Amma Thampuran of Attingal. Succeeded to the throne of Kerala, at Kolambapuram (Quilon) 1299 (in his 33rd year). He asserted his independence in 1310 and claimed the Pandyan throne after marrying a Pandyan princess, ultimately defeating Jatavarman Vira Pandya, the illegitimate son of Maravarman Kulasekhara I, twice and assuming control of his realm. The garrisons established in the Tamil country by the Muslim invader, Malik Kafur, were expelled by him. He established his rule over most of the southern countries between Kanyakumari and Madras, and as far north as Nellore. Crowned at Madurai, 1312 (in his 46th year). He then defeated the Cholas and was crowned as Chakravathi on the banks of the Vegavati River, at Coonjevaram (Kanchipuram), 1314. During his reign, Quilon rose to great prominance as a centre of trade and international commerce. Author of “Pradyumnabhudayam”. m. before 1310, a daughter of the Pandya ruler Maravarman Kulasekhara. He d. at Quilon, 1313.
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1313 – 1333      Raja Sri Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, Vira Pandya Deva, Raja of Venad. Succeeded on the death of his cousin, 1313. Subjugated by King Ravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal in 1316. He d. 1333, having adopted two daughters of the Kolathunad family, whom he installed as Attingal Mootha Tampuran (Senior Princess of Attingal) and Attingal Elaya Tampuran (Junior Princess of Attingal) in 1305 AD. The Senior Princess of Attingal being the ancestress of the branches of the ruling house settled at Quilon and Trivandrum. The younger princess being the ancestress of the Elayadathu Swarupam of Kottarakara and the Peraka Thavazhi branch of Nedumangad.
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1333 – 1335      Raja Sri Aditya Varma Tiruvadi, Raja of Venad.
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1335 – 1342      Raja Sri Vira Rama Udaya Martanda Varma Tiruvadi, Raja of Venad. b. 1307, eldest son of the Senior Rani of Attingal, educ. privately. Senior Tiruvadi of Chiravay. Succeeded 1335. Crowned, January 1336. He d. July 1342.
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1342 – 1363      Raja Sri Vira Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Raja of Venad.
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1363 – 1366      Raja Sri Vira Martanda Varma III, Raja of Venad. Ascended the gadi October 1363. He d. at Trivandrum Fort, September 1366 AD.
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1366 – 1382      Raja Sri Vira Rama Martanda Varma, Raja of Venad. b. 1338, eldest son of the Senior Rani of Attingal, educ. privately. Installed with full ruling powers, 1366. He d. at Trivandrum, 1382.
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1383 – 1416      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Varma, Raja of Venad. Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi (Kilapperur).
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1416 – 1417      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Ravi Varma, Raja of Venad. Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi.
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1383                   Raja Sri Vira Kerala Martanda Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Vanad. b. 1366, elder twin son of the Junior Rani of Attingal, educ. privately. Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi (Kilapperur). Succeeded on the death of his maternal uncle, 1382. Reigned for three months before his death.
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1383 – 1444      Raja Sri Chera Udaya Martanda Varma, Vira Padya Deva, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. b. 1366, younger twin son of the Junior Rani of Attingal, educ. privately.  Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi. He enjoyed the longest reign in Travancore history. He d. at the Chera Mahadevi Palace, 1444, aged 78 years.
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1444 – 1458      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Varma, Raja of Venad [“Venad Mootha Raja”=“the First Prince of Venad”)]. He d. 1458.
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1458 – 1468      Raja Sankhara Sri Vira Rama Martanda Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad.  From the Trippappur princely house. Jayasimhanad Mutta Tiruvadi. Ruled until October 1468.
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1468 – 1484      Raja Sri Vira Kodai Sri Aditya Varma, Raja of Venad. From Kilapperur. Jayasimhanad Mutta Tiruvadi and Chiravay Mutta Tiruvadi. He established his capital at Kallidaikurichi. A religious minded and learned ruler who devoted his time to artistic pursuits, charitable and public works. He d. at Kallidaikurichi, 1484.
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1484 – 1503      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Ravi Varma, Raja of Venad. Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi. Established his capital at Padmanabhapuram, ca. 1500. His rule witnessed a growing enmity with the rulers of Vijayanagar and the arrival of the Portuguese. He d. 1504.
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1503 – 1504      Raja Sri Martanda Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. He d. 1504.
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1504 – 1528      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Kerala Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. Succeeded as Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi and as ruler of Venad 1504. He d. 1528.
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1528 – 15xx      Sri Vira Muttavar Sankaranarayana Venrumankonda Bhutalavira Udaya Martanda Varma Raja Jetunganadu Mutta Tiruvadi. Succeeded on the death of his maternal uncle as Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi 1528. He conquered most of Tirunelvelly from the Pandyas and assumed the title of Venrumankonda Bhutalavira in commemoration of that victory. The Vijayanagar generalissimo, Salakaraja Chinna Tirumalayyadeva subsequently defeated him in battle near  Tamraparni 1535. Forced to surrender all the Pandya territories that he had previously won, and reduced to the position of a vassal of the Vijayanagar Empire. Fl 685 ME, 688 ME, 707 ME and 722 ME. m. Cholakulavalli, a princess from the Chola dynasty. He d. 1560.
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15xx – 1544      Raja Sri Aditya Varman, Raja of Venad. He d. January 1544.
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1544 – 1554      Raja Sri Martanda Varma, Raja of Venad. From the Chiravay princely . Succeeded as ruler of Venad and installed on the same day at Vilavur Madom, Attur, Kulkulam, 6th January 1544.
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1554 – 1575      Raja Sri Aditya Varma, Raja of Venad. From Vanchi. Ascended the gadi, at the Tiruvitancode Temple, Kulkulam, 9th March 1554. He d. at Keralapuram Palace, Attur, Kalkulam, 25th March 1575.
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1575 – 1577      Raja Sri Ravi Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad. Succeeded and installed on the same day at Attur, 25th March 1575. Installed at the Tiruvattar Shrine, 3rd June 1575.  He d. at Keralapuram Palace, Attur, Kalkulam, 19th January 1577, having adopted a princess and a prince from the Attingal Royal Family into the Chiravay Swarupam 1575, including:
  • 1) Prince Cheriya Rama Varma, of Manalikkara, in Kalkulam, a nephew of the Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi.
  • 1) Princess ...
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1577 – 1578      interregnum?
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1578 – 1592      Raja Sri Martanda Varma, Raja of Venad. Assumed the headship of the Chiravay Swarupam as Chiravay Mutta Tiruvadi 18th November 1578. Ascended the gadi as ruler of Venad, 19th November 1578. Assumed the headship of the Trippappur Swarupam as Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi 1587 and formally installed as such at the Trippappur Mahadevar Temple, 26th October 1588. He d. June 1592, having adopted three princes into the Venad family.
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1592 – 1609      Raja Sri Vira Ravi Ravi Varma [Kettai Tirunal], Kulasekhara Perumal, Raja of Venad, son of Rani Umayammai. A prince of from the Kilapperur Illam of the Trippappur Swarupam. Succeeded as ruler of Venad and ascended the gadi, 19th June 1592. Assumed the headship of the Trippappur Swarupam as Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi in 1605. He d. at Toniman Palace, Tiruvattar, 30th March 1609.
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1609 – 1610      Raja Sri Rama Varma, Raja of Venad. From Iraniel (the traditional appanage of the Heir Apparent). Adopted into the Chiravay Swaruppam by Raja Sri Martanda Varma, at the Kulittura Palace, April 1579. Succeeded on the death of his adoptive brother, as ruler of Venad, 30th March 1609. He d. eleven months later, at the Karuppu Palace, Trivandrum, 28th February 1610.
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1610                 Raja Sri Aditya Varma, Raja of Venad. Adopted into the Chiravay Swaruppam by Raja Sri Martanda Varma, at the Kulittura Palace, April 1579. Succeeded on the death of his adoptive brother as ruler of Venad, 28th February 1610. He d. at the Pullikkottu Palace, Trivandrum, 13th May 1610.
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1610                 Raja Sri Ilaya Rama Varma, Raja of Venad. From the Manalikkara branch of the family in Kalkulam. Succeeded 13th May 1610. He d. at the Tikkurichi Palace, Kalkulam, 6th September 1610.
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continued on the next page.
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