Kingdom of Cochin

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Kingdom of Cochin
Before 12th century CE [1] –1949
Cochin flag.svg
Anthem: Om Namo Narayanaya[ citation needed ]
Map of the Kingdom of Cochin.jpg
  • Independent Kingdom (early 12th Century CE-1766)
Capital Perumpadappu Ponnani
Common languages Malayalam
Majority: Hinduism (official)
Government Absolute monarchy
Princely state
Before 12th century CE [1]
GDP  (PPP)estimate
600.03 crores USD
Currency Rupee and Other Local Currencies
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Chera dynasty
Travancore-Cochin Flag of India.svg
Today part ofIndia

The Kingdom of Cochin, named after its capital in the city of Kochi (Cochin), was a kingdom in the central part of present-day Kerala state. It commenced at the early part of the 12th century and continued to rule until 1949, when monarchy was abolished by the dominion of India.


Historically, the capital of Cochin was in Kodungallur (Cranganore), but in 1341 the capital was moved to Cochin inorder to remedy a disastrous flood. By the early 15th century, Cochin lost its ability to fully defend itself. By the late 15th century, the Cochin kingdom shrank to its minimal extent as a result of invasions by the Zamorin of Calicut.

When Portuguese armadas arrived in India, the Kingdom of Cochin had lost its vassals to the Zamorins, including Edapalli and Cranganore, the later of which had even been at the centre of the kingdom historically. Cochin was looking for an opportunity to preserve its independence, which was at risk. King Unni Goda Varma warmly welcomed Pedro Álvares Cabral on 24 December 1500 and negotiated a treaty of alliance between Portugal and the Cochin kingdom, directed against the Zamorin of Calicut. A number of forts were built in the area and controlled by the Portuguese East Indies, the most important of which was Fort Manuel. Cochin became a long-term Portuguese protectorate (1503–1663) providing assistance against native and foreign powers in India. After the Luso-Dutch War, the Dutch East India Company (1663–1795) was an ally of Cochin. That was followed by the British East India Company (1795–1858, confirmed on 6 May 1809) after the Anglo-Dutch War, with British paramountcy over the Cochin state.

The Kingdom of Travancore merged with the Kingdom of Cochin to form the state of Travancore-Cochin in 1950. The five Tamil-majority taluks of Vilavancode, Kalkulam, Thovalai, Agastheeswaram, and Sengottai were transferred from Travancore-Cochin to Madras State in 1956. [2] The Malayalam-speaking regions of Travancore-Cochin merged with the Malabar District (excluding Laccadive and Minicoy Islands) and the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district in Madras State to form the modern Malayalam-state of Kerala on 1 November 1956, according to the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 of the Government of India. [2]

The Kingdom of Cochin, originally known as Perumpadappu Swarupam, was under the rule of the Later Cheras in the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Mahodayapuram Cheras in the 12th century, along with numerous other provinces Perumpadappu Swarupam became a free political entity. However, it was only after the arrival of Portuguese on the Malabar Coast that the Perumpadappu Swarupam acquires any political importance. Perumpadappu rulers had family relationships with the Nambudiri rulers of Edappally. After the transfer of Kochi and Vypin from the Edappally rulers to the Perumpadappu rulers, the latter came to be known as kings of Kochi.


Cochin in the 1960s, just a few years after joining the union Kochi 1960 street.jpg
Cochin in the 1960s, just a few years after joining the union

During 1800 to 1947, the Kingdom of Cochin included much of modern-day Thrissur district excluding Chavakkad taluk, a few areas of Alathur taluk and the whole of Chittur taluk of the Palakkad district and Kochi taluk (excluding Fort Kochi), most of Kanayannur taluk (excluding Edappally), parts of Aluva taluk (Karukutty, Angamaly, Kalady, Chowwara, Kanjoor, Sreemoolanagaram, Malayattoor, Manjapra), parts of Kunnathunad taluk and parts of Paravur Taluk (Chendamangalam) of the Ernakulam district which are now the part of Kerala.



There is no extant written evidence about the emergence of the Kingdom of Cochin or of the Cochin royal family, also known as Perumpadapu Swaroopam. [3] All that is recorded are folk tales and stories, and a somewhat blurred historical picture about the origins of the ruling dynasty.

The surviving manuscripts, such as Keralolpathi , Keralamahatmyam, and Perumpadapu Grandavari, are collections of myths and legends that are less than reliable as conventional historical sources.

The Perumpadapu Grandavari contains an additional account of the dynastic origins:

The last Thavazhi of Perumpadapu Swaroopam came into existence on the Kaliyuga day shodashangamsurajyam. Cheraman Perumal divided the land in half, 17 "amsa" north of Neelaeswaram and 17 amsa south, totaling 34 amsa, and gave his powers to his nephews and sons. Thirty-four kingdoms between Kanyakumari and Gokarna (now in Karnataka) were given to the "thampuran" who was the daughter of the last niece of Cheraman Perumal.

Keralolpathi recorded the division of his kingdom in 345 Common Era, Perumpadapu Grandavari in 385 Common Era, William Logan in 825 Common Era. There are no written records on these earlier divisions of Kerala, but according to some historians the division might have occurred during the Second Chera Kingdom at the beginning of the 12th century. [4]

Early history

The original headquarters of the kingdom was at Perumpadappu near Ponnani in present-day Malappuram district. [1] The ruler of Perumpadappu (near Ponnani) fled to Kodungallur in the early medieval period, when the Zamorin of Calicut annexed Ponnani region, after Tirunavaya war. [1]

Cochin kingdom ruled over a vast area in central Kerala before the Portuguese arrival. Their state stretched up to Ponnani and Pukkaitha in the north, Aanamala in the east, and Cochin and Porakkad[ citation needed ] in the south, with a capital at Perumpadappu on the northern border. Calicut (Polathiri kingdom) was conquered by Zamorin of Eranad, who then conquered large parts of Cochin Kingdom, and began trying to assert suzerainty over Cochin.

Flood of 1341 and the shift of the capital

In 1341, a flood resulted in the creation of the island of Vypin, and Cochin received a natural harbor. After this, the capital of the kingdom shifted from Kodungallur to Vypin in present day Kochi. [5] Hence ,the Perumpadappu Swaroopam was renamed as the Kingdom of Cochin. [1]

Ming dynasty alliance (1411-1433)

The port at Kozhikode held superior economic and political position on the medieval Kerala coast, while Kannur, Kollam, and Kochi, were commercially important secondary ports, where the traders from various parts of the world would gather. [6] On the Malabar coast during the early 15th century, Calicut and Cochin were in an intense rivalry, so the Ming dynasty of China decided to intervene by granting special status to Cochin and its ruler, known as Keyili (可亦里) to the Chinese. [7] Calicut had been the dominant port-city in the region, but Cochin was emerging as its main rival. [7] For the fifth Ming treasure voyage, Admiral Zheng He was instructed to confer a seal upon Keyili of Cochin and designate a mountain in his kingdom as the Zhenguo Zhi Shan (鎮國之山, Mountain Which Protects the Country). [7] Zheng He delivered a stone tablet, inscribed with a proclamation composed by the Yongle Emperor himself, to Cochin. [7] As long as Cochin remained under the protection of Ming China, the Zamorin of Calicut was unable to invade Cochin and a military conflict was averted. [7] The cessation of the Ming treasure voyages consequently had negative results for Cochin, as the Zamorin of Calicut later launched an invasion against Cochin. [7] In the late 15th century, the Zamorin occupied Cochin and installed his representative as the king. [7]

Portuguese alliance (1500–1663)

Mattancherry Palace-temple, built during the Portuguese period by the Cochin Raja Veera Kerala Varma Mattancherry palace bhagvathy kshetram.JPG
Mattancherry Palace-temple, built during the Portuguese period by the Cochin Raja Veera Kerala Varma

The Portuguese arrived at Kappad, Kozhikode in 1498 during the Age of Discovery, thus opening a direct sea route from Europe to India. [8] Cochin was the scene of the first European settlement in India. In the year 1500, the Portuguese Admiral Pedro Álvares Cabral landed at Cochin after being repelled from Calicut. The Raja of Cochin welcomed the Portuguese and a treaty of friendship was signed. The raja allowed them to build a factory at Cochin (and upon Cabral's departure Cochin allowed thirty Portuguese and four Franciscan friars to stay in the kingdom). Assured by the offer of support, the raja declared war on his enemy, the Zamorins of Calicut.

In 1502, a new expedition under the command of Vasco da Gama arrived at Cochin, and the friendship was renewed. Vasco da Gama later bombarded Calicut[ citation needed ] and destroyed the Arab factories there. This enraged the Zamorin, the ruler of Calicut, and he attacked Cochin after the departure of Vasco da Gama and destroyed the Portuguese factory. The raja of Cochin and his Portuguese allies were forced to withdraw to Vypin Island. However, the arrival of a small reinforcement Portuguese fleet and, some days later of Duarte Pacheco Pereira and the oncoming monsoons alarmed the Zamorin. Calicut recalled the army and abandoned the siege.

Relic of Thomas the Apostle, kept in the sanatorium of a Syrian Church Thomasreliquiar Kondungallur.jpg
Relic of Thomas the Apostle, kept in the sanatorium of a Syrian Church

After securing the throne for the Raja of Cochin, the Portuguese got permission to build a fort – Fort Emmanuel (at Fort Kochi, named after the king of Portugal) – surrounding the Portuguese factory, in order to protect it from any further attacks from Calicut and on 27 September 1503 the foundations of a timber fort, the first fort erected by the Portuguese in India, were laid. The entire work of construction was commissioned by the local raja, who supplied workers and material. In 1505, the stone fortress replaced the wooden fort. Later, for a better defence of the town, a fort called "Castelo de Cima" was built on Vypeen Island. At the departure of the Portuguese fleet, only Duarte Pacheco Pereira and a small fleet were left in Cochin. Meanwhile, the Zamorin of Calicut formed a massive force and attacked them. For five months, Cochin kingdom was able to drive back Calicut's assaults, with the help of Pacheco Pereira and his men.

The ruler of the Kingdom of Tanur, who was a vassal to the Zamorin of Calicut, sided with the Portuguese against his overlord at Kozhikode. [1] As a result, the Kingdom of Tanur ( Vettathunadu ) became one of the earliest Portuguese colonies in India. The ruler of Tanur also sided with Cochin. [1] Many of the members of the royal family of Cochin in 16th and 17th centuries were selected from Vettom. [1] However, the Tanur forces under the king fought for the Zamorin of Calicut in the Battle of Cochin (1504). [9] However, the allegiance of the Muslim Mappila merchants in Tanur region stayed with the Zamorin of Calicut. [10]

The raja of Cochin continued to rule with the help of the Portuguese. Meanwhile, the Portuguese secretly tried to enter into an alliance with the Zamorin. A few later attempts by the Zamorin to conquer the Cochin port were thwarted by the raja of Cochin with the help of the Portuguese. Slowly, the Portuguese armoury at Cochin was increased, presumably to help the king protect Cochin. And for a long a time, right after Goa, Cochin situated in the center of East Indies, was the best place Portugal had in India. From there the Portuguese exported large volumes of spices, particularly pepper.

In 1530, Saint Francis Xavier arrived and founded a Latin Christian mission. Cochin hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese viceroy, who was buried at St. Francis Church until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. [11] Soon after the time of Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese influence in Kerala declined. [3]

Dutch alliance (1663–1766)

The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1744 by Dutch traders, is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside the Netherlands boo[?]gaatttti.jpg
The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1744 by Dutch traders, is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside the Netherlands

Portuguese alliance was followed by that of the Dutch, who had by then conquered Quilon after various encounters with the Portuguese and their allies. Discontented members of the Cochin Royal family called on the assistance of the Dutch for help in overthrowing the Cochin Raja. The Dutch successfully landed at Njarakal and went on to capture the fort at Pallippuram, which they handed over to the Zamorin.

Mysorean invasion (1766-1799)

Mysorian ruler Hyder Ali conquered Cochin. After his conquest of Bednur reached Ali Rajah of Cannanore in 1763, he promptly asked Ali to invade Kerala and help him deal with the Zamorin of Calicut. The Muslim chieftain of Cannanore, an old rival of the neighbouring powerful Kolathiri, was an active ally of Mysore under the occupation.

Ali Raja seized and set fire to the palace of Kolathiri Raja. The latter escaped with his followers to the then-British settlement at Tellicherry. After the victory, Ali entered the Kingdom of Kottayam in present-day North Malabar and occupied it, with assistance from native Muslims, after some resistance by the Kottayam army.

After taking Calicut in a bloody battle, Ali, with a large amount of money, marched south-east towards Coimbatore through Palghat. Mysore appointed Raja as military governor and Madonna (a former revenue officer) as civil governor of the newly acquired province of Malabar.

British princely state (1814–1947)

Cochin in 1913 59Cochin Canal.jpg
Cochin in 1913

In 1814, according to the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, the islands of Kochi, including Fort Kochi and its territory, were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Banca. Even prior to the signing of the treaty, there is evidence of English residents in Kochi. [12] During the British Raj, the Princely State of Cochin was surrounded by British Malabar District to three sides (i.e., To north, west, and east), and by Travancore to the south. [12] Towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased substantially and the king wanted to develop the port even further. The king brought a harbour engineer Robert Bristow to Cochin in 1920, with the help of Lord Willingdon, then Governor of Madras. Over a span of 21 years he helped the king of Cochin to transform Cochin into the safest harbour in south Asia, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbour, which was equipped with a long array of steam cranes. [13]

Meanwhile, Fort Cochin, which was a part of Malabar District until 1956, was made a municipality on 1 November 1866, along with Kannur, Thalassery, Kozhikode, and Palakkad, according to the Madras Act 10 of 1865 (Amendment of the Improvements in Towns act 1850) [14] [15] [16] [17] of the British Indian Empire, and its first Municipal Council election with a board of 18 members was conducted in 1883. The Maharajah of Cochin initiated local administration in 1896 by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1925, a Kochi legislative assembly was also constituted to help the public participate in the administration. The assembly consisted of 45 members, 10 were officially nominated. Thottakkattu Madhaviamma was the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India. [18]

Cochin was the first princely state to willingly join the new Dominion of India in 1947. [19] India became a republic on 26 January 1950. Travancore merged with Cochin to create Travancore-Cochin, which was in turn unified with the Malabar district of Madras Presidency. Kasaragod was merged into it and Kanyakumari was removed from it. On 1 November 1956, the Indian state of Kerala was formed. [20]


For administrative purposes, Cochin was divided into seven taluks.(from 1860 to 1905 AD) Chittur, Cochin, Cranganore, Kanayannur, Mukundapuram, Trichur and Talapilly.

TalukArea (in square miles)Headquarters
Chittur285 Chittur
Cochin63 Mattancherry
Cranganore19 Cranganore (Now Kodungallur)
Kanayannur81 Ernakulam
Mukundapuram418 Irinjalakuda
Talapalli271 Wadakkanchery
Trichur225 Trichur (Now Thrissur)


The capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam was located at Chitrakooda in the Perumpadapu village of Vanneri from the beginning of the 12th century to the end of the 13th century. Even though the capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam was in Vanneri, the Perumpadapu king had a palace in Mahodayapuram.

When the Zamorins attacked Vanneri in the later part of the 13th century, Perumpadapu Swaroopam shifted their capital from Vanneri to Mahodayapuram. In 1405, Perumpadapu Swaroopam changed their capital from Mahodayapuram to Cochin. By the end of the 14th century the Zamorin conquered Thrikkanamathilakam and it became a threat for Mahodayapuram (Thiruvanchikulam), which may be the reason that Perumpadapu Swaroopam changed their capital to Cochin from Mahodayapuram. Moreover, in the year 1341 a flood created an island, Puthuvippu (Vypin), and Cochin became a noted natural harbour for the Indian Ocean trade. [21] The old Kodungallore (Cranganore) port lost its importance, which may also be a cause for the shift of the capital. From there on Perumpadapu Swaroopam used the name Cochin Royal Family.

Finally, the arrival of the Portuguese on the Indian subcontinent in the sixteenth century likely influenced Cochin politics. The Kingdom of Cochin was among the first Indian nations to sign a formal treaty with a European power, negotiating trade terms with Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500.

The palace at Kalvathhi was originally the residence of the kings. In 1555, though, the royal palace moved to Mattancherry, [22] and later relocated to Thrissur. At that time Penvazithampuran (Female Thampuran) and the other Kochuthampurans (other Thampurans except the Valliathampuran (King)) stayed at a palace in Vellarapilly.

In the beginning of the 18th century Thripunithura started gaining prominence. The kingdom was ruled from Thrissur, Cochin and Thripunithura. [23] Around 1755 Penvazithampuran (Female Thampuran) and the other Kochuthampurans (other Thampurans) left Vellarapalli and started to live in Thripunithura. Thus Thripunithura became the capital of the Cochin Royal Family.

List of Maharajas of Cochin

Veerakerala Varma, nephew of Cheraman Perumal, is the person traditionally believed to be the first Maharaja of Cochin. The written records of the dynasty, however, date from 1503 CE. The Maharaja of Cochin was also called Gangadhara Kovil Adhikaarikal, meaning Head of all Temples. [24]

Hill Palace, the main palace Hill Palace Museum Tripunithura DSC 1243 11.jpg
Hill Palace, the main palace
Rama Varma XIV, The Rajah of Cochin in 1868 Rajah of Cochin 1868 (2).jpg
Rama Varma XIV, The Rajah of Cochin in 1868
Rama Varma XV better known as His Abdicated Highness H H Raja of Cochin.jpg
Rama Varma XV better known as His Abdicated Highness
Maharaja Kerala Varma Thampuran a.k.a.
Aikya Keralam Thampuran Keralavarma king.jpg
Maharaja Kerala Varma Thampuran a.k.a.
Aikya Keralam Thampuran

As a Portuguese ally

  1. Unniraman Koyikal II (1503 to 1537)
  2. Veera Kerala Varma I (1537–1565)
  3. Keshava Rama Varma (1565–1601)
  4. Veera Kerala Varma II (1601–1615)
  5. Ravi Varma I (1615–1624)
  6. Veera Kerala Varma III (1624–1637)
  7. Goda Varma I (1637–1645)
  8. Veerarayira Varma (1645–1646)
  9. Veera Kerala Varma IV (1646–1650)
  10. Rama Varma I (1650–1656)
  11. Rani Gangadharalakshmi (1656–1658)
  12. Rama Varma II (1658–1662)
  13. Goda Varma II (1662–1663)

As a Dutch ally

  1. Veera Kerala Varma V (1663–1687)
  2. Rama Varma III (1687–1693)
  3. Ravi Varma II (1693–1697)
  4. Rama Varma IV (1697–1701)
  5. Rama Varma V (1701–1721)
  6. Ravi Varma III (1721–1731)
  7. Rama Varma VI (1731–1746)
  8. Kerala Varma I (1746–1749)
  9. Rama Varma VII (1749–1760)
  10. Kerala Varma II (1760–1775)
  11. Rama Varma VIII (1775–1790)
  12. Rama Varma IX (Shaktan Thampuran) (1790–1805)

As a British princely state

  1. Rama Varma X (1805 - 1809) – Vellarapalli-yil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Vellarapali")
  2. Kerala Varma III (Veera Kerala Varma) (1809–1828) – Karkidaka Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "karkidaka" month(ME))
  3. Rama Varma XI (1828–1837) – Thulam-Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Thulam" month (ME))
  4. Rama Varma XII (1837–1844) – Edava-Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Edavam" month (ME))
  5. Rama Varma XIII (1844–1851) – Thrishur-il Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Thrishivaperoor" or Thrishur)
  6. Kerala Varma IV (Veera Kerala Varma) (1851–1853) – Kashi-yil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Kashi" or Varanasi)
  7. Ravi Varma IV (1853–1864) – Makara Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Makaram" month (ME))
  8. Rama Varma XIV (1864–1888) – Mithuna Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Mithunam" month (ME))
  9. Kerala Varma V (1888–1895) – Chingam Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Chingam" month (ME))
  10. Rama Varma XV (Sir Sri Rama Varma) (1895–1914) – aka Rajarshi, Abdicated Highness (died in 1932)
  11. Rama Varma XVI (1914–1932) – Madrasil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in Madras or Chennai)
  12. Rama Varma XVII (1932–1941) – Dhaarmika Chakravarthi (King of Dharma), Chowara-yil Theepetta Thampuran (King who died in "Chowara")
  13. Kerala Varma VI (1941–1943) – Midukkan Thampuran
  14. Ravi Varma V (Ravi Varma Kunjappan Thampuran) (1943–1946) – Kunjappan Thampuran (Brother of Midukkan Thampuran)
  15. Kerala Varma VII (1946–1948) – Aikya Keralam Thampuran (The King who unified Kerala)
  16. Rama Varma XVIII (1948-1964) was known by the name of Parikshith Thampuran. He was the last official ruler of the princely state of Cochin. He had signed, in 1949, the accession agreement to Indian Union. The integration was completed in another year.

Post-independence (Titular only)

  1. Rama Varma XVIII (1948-1964) was known by the name of Parikshith Thampuran.
  2. Rama Varma XIX (1964–1975) – Lalan Thampuran - stripped of official recognition in 1971 under the 26th Amendment of the Constitution of India by Indira Gandhi's Government.
  3. Rama Varma XX (1975–2004) – Anyian Kochunni Thampuran
  4. Kerala Varma VIII (2004–2011) – Kochunni Thampuran
  5. Rama Varma XXI (2011–2014) – Kochaniyan Thampuran
  6. Ravi Varma VI (2014–2020) – Kochaniyan Thampuran
  7. Ravi Varma (2020–present)

Prime Ministers of Cochin (1947–49)

No. [lower-alpha 1] NamePortraitTerm of office [25] PartyAssemblyAppointed by


FromToDays in office
1 Panampilly Govinda Menon Panampilly statue.jpg 14 August 1947 22 October 1947 51 daysIndependent Sixth Council


Kerala Varna VII,

Maharaja of Cochin

2 T. K. Nair 27 October 1947 20 September 1948 334 days
3 E. Ikkanda Warrier Ikkanda variar.jpg 20 September 1948 30 June 1949 283 daysLegislative



Chiefs of Cochin

The Paliath Achan, or head of the Paliam Nair family of Chendamangalam, played an important part in the politics of Cochin State since the early seventeenth century, and held hereditary rights to the ministership of Cochin. The Paliath Achan was the most powerful person after the king, and he sometimes exerted more power than the king.

In addition, there were many Desavazhis around the Cochin area, among them Paliyam swaroopam, who was second to the Perumpadappu swaroopam. Other powerful lords around these areas were Cheranellore Karthavu who was the head of the Anchi Kaimals, Muriyanatt (Mukundapuram-Nadavarambu) Nambiar who was the head of Arunattil Prabhus, Kodassery Kartha Mappranam Prabhu-Vellose Nair, Chengazhi Nambiar (Chengazhinad Naduvazhi), and Edappali Nampiyathiri.

KP Padmanabha Menon in his History of Kerala, Vol 2 mentions the Anji Kaimals whose Chief was the Cheranellur Kartha as owning all of Eranakulam. In fact, Eranakulam is known as Anji Kaimal in the early maps of Kerala. See Dutch in Malabar (Dutch Records No 13), 1910 shows a map from Common Era1740 that shows the area of AnjiKaimal as almost twice as large as the Cochin State. The other chiefs he mentions quoting Gollennesse (Dutch East India Company) is the 1) Moorianatt Nambiar 2) Paliath Achan (mentioned above), 3)Codacherry (Kotasseri) Kaimal, 4) Caimalieone (female Kaimal) of Corretty, 5) Changera Codda Kaimal, and 6) Panamoocattu Kaimal (Panambakadu Kaimal). The last four Kaimals are known as the Kaimals of Nandietter Nadu. The Kaimals of Nandietter Nadu had Nayar troops of 43,000 according to Heer Van Reede of the Dutch East India Company from 1694. [26]

Matrilineal inheritance

The Cochin royal family followed the system of matrilineal succession known as Marumakkatayam. Traditionally the female members of the family marry (Sambandham) with Namboodiri Brahmins while male members marry women of the Samanthan Nair class. These wives of the male members are not Ranis or Queens as per the matrilineal system but instead get the title of Nethyar Amma. [27]

Traditional rituals

The term "Shodasakriyakal" refers to sixteen rites to be performed by all members, as structured through "Smruthi".

  1. Sekom (Garbhaadhaanam): A rite to be performed just before the first sexual intercourse after marriage.
  2. Pumsavanom: To be performed just after conception.
  3. Seemantham: Performed after Pumsavanom.
  4. Jathakarmam: Performed just after birth.
  5. Naamakaranam: Naming ceremony of the child.
  6. (Upa)nishkramanam (Vaathilpurappadu): Involves taking the child out of the house for the first time.
  7. Choroonu: The first ceremonial intake of rice by the child.
  8. Choulam: The first haircut ceremony of the boy/ girl.
  9. Upanayanam: The wearing of sacred thread, known as poonool in Malayalam (only for boys).
  10. Mahaanamneevrutham (Aanduvrutham):
  11. Mahaavrutham
  12. Upanishadvrutham
  13. Godaanam: Rites as part of thanks-giving to the Aacharyan (priest or teacher), which includes giving cows.
  14. Samaavarthanam: A long ritual for the completion of the above said Vedic education.
  15. Marriage
  16. Agniadhaanam: A rite performed as an extension of Oupaasanam and introduction to Sroutha rites, after the death.


Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple SreePoornathrayeesa.jpg
Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple

Naming practice of male Thampuran

In the Cochin royal family all the male Thampurans were named according to the following convention.

Naming practice of female Thampuran

In the Cochin royal family the female Thampurans were named according to the following convention.

This naming convention is followed again to the third daughter and fourth etc.

Both the female and male members are called by the name "Thampuran" and have same last name (Thampuran). [28]

Parukutty Nethyar Amma

Maharaja Rama Varma (popularly known as Madrassil Theepetta Thampuran), who reigned from 1914 to 1932, was assisted by a particularly able consort named Parukutty Nethyar Amma. [29] She was a member of the family that had the traditional honour of anointing the kings of Palakkad. [30] She married the Maharaja, then fourth in line to the succession when she was fourteen years old in 1888. Her husband ascended the throne as a result of the abdication of his predecessor. Since the Maharaja was a scholar and had other interests, she took over the finances of the state. Under her guidance salaries were quadrupled and the increased revenue earned her a 17-gun salute. Parukutty Nethyar Amma was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by King George V in 1919 for public work and came to be known as Lady Rama Varma of Cochin. [31]

Cochin royal family today

Members of the dynasty are spread all over the world. The family is one of the world's largest royal families, numbering more than 1000 people, and many members of the family still live in and around Thripunithura, Thrissur (Chazhur), and other parts of Kochi. [32] The current head of the Royal Family of Cochin is believed to be a man known as Dr. Kocha Varma (b. 1937) [33]

See also


  1. A parenthetical number indicates that the incumbent has previously held office.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Travancore</span> Kingdom in southern India from 1729 to 1949

The Kingdom of Travancore (/ˈtrævənkɔːr/), also known as the Kingdom of Thiruvithamkoor, was an Indian kingdom from c. 1729 until 1949. It was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family from Padmanabhapuram, and later Thiruvananthapuram. At its zenith, the kingdom covered most of the south of modern-day Kerala, and the southernmost part of modern-day Tamil Nadu with the Thachudaya Kaimal's enclave of Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam temple in the neighbouring Kingdom of Cochin. However Tangasseri area of Kollam city and Anchuthengu near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district, were British colonies and were part of the Malabar District until 30 June 1927, and Tirunelveli district from 1 July 1927 onwards. Travancore merged with the erstwhile princely state of Cochin to form Travancore-Cochin in 1950. The five Tamil-majority Taluks of Vilavancode, Kalkulam, Thovalai, Agastheeswaram, and Sengottai were transferred from Travancore-Cochin to Madras State in 1956. The Malayalam-speaking regions of Travancore-Cochin merged with the Malabar District and the Kasaragod taluk of the South Canara district in Madras State to form the modern Malayalam-state of Kerala on 1 November 1956, according to the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 passed by the Government of India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kodungallur</span> Municipality in Kerala, India

Kodungallur is a historically significant town situated on the banks of river Periyar on the Malabar Coast in Thrissur district of Kerala, India. It is 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of Kochi (Cochin) by National Highway 66 and 38 km (24 mi) from Thrissur. Kodungallur, being a port city at the northern end of the Kerala lagoons, was a strategic entry point for the naval fleets to the extensive Kerala backwaters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingdom of Valluvanad</span>

Valluvanad was an independent chiefdom in present-day central Kerala that held power from the early 12th century to the end of the 18th century. Prior to that, and since the late 10th century, Valluvanad existed as an autonomous chiefdom within the kingdom of the Chera Perumals. The disintegration of the Chera Perumal kingdom in early 12th century led to the independence of the various autonomous chiefdoms of the kingdom, Valluvanad being one of them.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Venad (historical region)</span> Medieval feudal kingdom in south India

Venad was a medieval kingdom lying between the Western Ghat mountains and the Arabian Sea on the south-western tip of India with its headquarters at the port city of Kollam/Quilon. It was one of the major principalities of Kerala, along with kingdoms of Kannur (Kolathunadu), Kozhikode (Nediyiruppu), and Kochi (Perumpadappu) in medieval and early modern period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malabar District</span> Administrative district of British India

Malabar District, also known as Malayalam District, was an administrative district on the southwestern Malabar Coast of Bombay Presidency (1792-1800) and Madras Presidency (1800-1947) in British India, and independent India's Madras State (1947-1956). It was the most populous and the third-largest district in the erstwhile Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad, Chavakad Taluk and parts of Kodungallur Taluk of Thrissur district, and Fort Kochi area of Ernakulam district in the northern and central parts of present Kerala state, the Lakshadweep Islands, and a major portion of the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu. The detached settlements of Tangasseri and Anchuthengu, which were British colonies within the kingdom of Travancore in southern Kerala, also formed part of Malabar District until 1927. Malayalam was the administrative as well as the most spoken lingua franca of Malabar District during British Rule. Jeseri, a distinct dialect of Malayalam, was spoken in the Laccadive Islands. Malabar District merged with the erstwhile state of Travancore-Cochin (1950-1956) to form Kerala according to the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. On the same day, the present Kasaragod district of South Canara District was also attached to Malabar, and the Laccadive & Minicoy Islands of Malabar were reorganised to form a new Union Territory. Malabar was trifurcated to form the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad, on 1 January 1957.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Kochi</span> Brief history of Kochi

Kochi is a metro city located in the Ernakulam District in the Indian state of Kerala. Kochi, which is the largest city in Kerala is located about 200 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dharma Raja</span> Maharaja of Travancore from 1758–1798

Dharma RajaKarthika Thirunal Rama Varma was the Maharajah of Travancore from 1758 until his death in 1798. He succeeded his uncle Marthanda Varma, who is credited with the title of "maker of modern Travancore". During his reign Dharma Raja not only retained all the territories his predecessor had gained but administered the kingdom with success. He was addressed as Dharma Raja on account of his strict adherence to Dharma Sastra, the Hindu principles of justice by providing asylum to thousands of Hindus and Christians fleeing Malabar during the Mysorean conquest of Malabar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shakthan Thampuran Palace</span> Building in City of Thrissur, India

Shakthan Thampuran Palace is situated in City of Thrissur in Kerala state, India. It is named as Vadakkekara Palace, was reconstructed in Kerala-Dutch style in 1795 by Ramavarma Thampuran of the erstwhile Princely State of Cochin, well as Sakthan Thampuran is preserved by Archaeological Department. The palace was converted into a museum in 2005 by State.

Kaimal is an aristocratic title that was historically used by various chiefs from the Nair caste during the feudal period of what is now the Indian state of Kerala. It was the title awarded to notable Samanthan and Kiryathil Nair families, and as such, the Kaimals were one of the highest caste of Hindus in Kerala and South India in general. Various families have used the title, including the Kaimals of Koratti, Angi and Koddachery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Thrissur</span>

Thrissur is the administrative capital of Thrissur District, in the central part of Kerala state, India. Thrissur district was formed on 1 July 1949. It is an important cultural centre, and is known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala. It is famous for the Thrissur Pooram festival, one of the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. From ancient times, Thrissur has been politically, economically and culturally significant to the Indian subcontinent. It has opened the gates for Arabs, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch and English. According to tradition, Thrissur is where Christianity, Islam and Judaism entered the Indian subcontinent. Local Christian tradition holds that Thomas the Apostle arrived in 52 CE, and Muslim tradition states that Methala is the location of country's first mosque.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zamorin</span> Hereditary monarch of historical kingdom in present-day Kerala, India (1124–1806)

The Samoothiri was the hereditary Nair monarch and ruler of the Kingdom of Kozhikode (Calicut) in the South Malabar region of India. Calicut was one of the most important trading ports on the southwest coast of India. At the peak of their reign, they ruled over a region extending from Kozhikode Kollam (Kollam) to the borders of Panthalayini Kollam (Koyilandy). The Zamorins belonged to the Eradi caste of the Samantan Nair community of medieval Kerala.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parappanangadi</span> Municipality in Kerala, India

Parappanangadi, IPA: [pɐɾɐpːɐn̺ɐŋːɐːɖi], is a major town and a municipality in Tirurangadi taluk of Malappuram district, Kerala, India. It is a coastal town located close to the Arabian sea. Parappanangadi railway station is one of the oldest railway stations in Kerala. It was a part of the first rail route (Tirur–Chaliyam) in Kerala. Parappanangadi is located 9 km (5.6 mi) north of Tanur on Tirur-Kadalundi Tipu Sultan Road. The town lies on the bank of Kadalundi River. Parappanangadi town is located north of the estuary of Poorappuzha River, which is a tributary of Kadalundi River, and south of the estuary of Kadalundi River, which lies in Vallikkunnu. Parappanangadi was one of the major ports in the southwestern coast of India during the medieval period. It was ruled by the kingdom of Parappanad, who were vassals to the Zamorin of Calicut, and had the jurisdiction up to Beypore port to the north. In the early medieval period, under the chiefs of Kozhikode and Parappanangadi, Parappanangadi developed as one of the important maritime trade centre on the Malabar Coast. Later it became a part of Eranad Taluk in Malabar District under British Raj.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Travancore royal family</span> Ruling family of travancore

The Travancore royal family was the ruling house of the Kingdom of Travancore. They gave up their ruling rights in 1949 when Travancore merged with India and their political pension privileges were abolished in 1971. The family is descended from the Ay/Venad family and the Chera dynasty.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emblem of Kerala</span> Official seal of the government of the state of Kerala

The Emblem of Kerala used by Government of Kerala, to represent the state in all its official correspondences. The emblem portrays two elephants guarding the state emblem of India and the Shankh of Sri Padmanabhaswamy according to the history of Kerala.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kiryathil Nair</span> Sub-caste

Kiryathil Nair or Kiriyath Nair is a martial nobility caste belonging to the Kshatriya varṇa, which forms one of the highest-ranking subcastes of the Nair community along with the Samantha Kshatriyas with whom they share a close history. They constituted the ruling elites (Naduvazhi) and feudal aristocrats (Jenmimar) in the regions of Malabar and Cochin in present-day Kerala, India. As the pinnacle of the Nair hierarchy, the Samanthan and Kiryathil Nairs were second only to the Namboodiri Brahmins in social status, and outranked even the priestly Ambalavasis.

Kingdom of Tanur was one of the numerous feudal principalities on Malabar Coast during the Middle Ages. It was ruled by a Hindu dynasty, claiming Kshatriya status, known as Tanur dynasty. The kingdom comprised parts of the coastal Taluks of Tirurangadi, Tirur, and Ponnani taluks in present-day Malappuram district and included places such as Tanur, Tirur (Trikkandiyur) and Chaliyam. The coastal villages of Kadalundi and Chaliyam in the southernmost area of Kozhikode district was also under Tanur Swaroopam.

Parappanad was a former feudal city-state in Malabar, India. The headquarters of Parappanad Royal family was at the town Parappanangadi in present-day Malappuram district. In 1425, the country divided into Northern Parappanad and Southern Parappanad. Southern Parappanad included parts of Tirurangadi Taluk and the town Parappanangadi. Northern Parappanad included Panniyankara, Beypore, and Cheruvannur of Kozhikkode Taluk. Parappanad royal family is a cousin dynasty of the Travancore royal family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Calicut (kingdom)</span> A kingdom once stood in the present-day Kerala

The Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, was the kingdom of the Zamorin of Calicut, in the present-day Indian state of Kerala. Present-day Kozhikode is the second largest city in Kerala, as well as the headquarters of Kozhikode district.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Kollam</span>

Quilon or Coulãopronunciation , officially Kollampronunciation  is one of the ancient civilizations in India.It is one of the oldest port cities in the Malabar Coast and was the capital city of historic Venad Kingdom and Travancore Kingdom. Quilon was once an important trading port in India. It was also known as Desinganadu. It is now known as the "Cashew Capital of the World".

Malappuram is one of the 14 districts in the South Indian state of Kerala. The district has a unique and eventful history starting from pre-historic times. During the early medieval period, the district was the home to two of the four major kingdoms that ruled Kerala. Perumpadappu was the original hometown of the Kingdom of Cochin, which is also known as Perumbadappu Swaroopam, and Nediyiruppu was the original hometown of the Zamorin of Calicut, which is also known as Nediyiruppu Swaroopam. Besides, the original headquarters of the Palakkad Rajas were also at Athavanad in the district.


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