Ayilyam Thirunal

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Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma
Maharaja of Travancore
Ayilyam Thirunal Bala Rama Varma II, Travancore (1832-1880).jpg
Born (1832-03-14)March 14, 1832
Died May 30, 1880(1880-05-30) (aged 48)
Predecessor Uthram Thirunal
Successor Visakham Thirunal
Consort Panapillai Madhavi Pillai Lakshmi Pillai Kochamma
Consort to Kalyanikutty Amma
Royal house Venad Swaroopam
Dynasty Kulasekhara
Royal anthem Vancheesamangalam
Father Punartham Thirunal Rama Varma Koil Thampuran
Mother Rani Rukmini Bayi
Religious beliefs Hinduism
Princess Rukmini Bayi,the mother of H.H. Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma

Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma (1832–1880) was the ruler of the princely state of Travancore in India from 1860 to 1880. His reign was highly successful with Travancore gaining the appellation of "model state of India". Ayilyam Thirunal was the nephew of Uthram Thirunal and Swathi Thirunal and grandson of the celebrated Gowri Lakshmi Bayi.

Early life[edit]

Ayilyam Thirunal was born on the 14th of March, 1832 to H.H. Rani Rukmini Bayi, the only sister of Maharajahs Swathi Thirunal and Uthram Thirunal. In the Travancore Royal Family inheritance and primogeniture was determined by the Marumakkathayam system i.e. through the female line. With the accession of Uthram Thirunal in 1846 and his elder brother's exclusion from the line of succession due to imbecility, Ayilyam Thirunal became the Elaya Rajah or heir apparent of Travancore State. Of the seven children born to Rukmini Bayi, only four, including a daughter, Rani Lakshmi Bayi, survived and the eldest and third son were declared unfit to rule owing to mental incapacity. Ayilyam Thirunal's youngest brother Visakham Thirunal was therefore to be his successor.

Ayilyam Thirunal's early education was provided privately and later T. Madhava Rao was appointed tutor to the Elaya Rajah and his brother in 1848. Madhava Rao eventually rose in service and was appointed by Uthram Thirunal in 1857 as Dewan of Travancore and remained in that capacity during the initial decade of Ayilyam Thirunal's reign, until, owing to personal disaffection, he was retired in 1872. In 1854 Ayilyam Thirunal was married to his uncle's daughter, Panapillai Madhavi Pillai Lakshmi Pillai Kochamma of the Thiruvattar Ammaveedu. His consort however died a few years later. In 1860 Maharajah Uthram Thirunal died and Ayilyam Thirunal ascended the musnud as Maharajah.

Maharajah of Travancore[edit]

Rajah Sir T. Madhava Rao served as Dewan during The Maharaja's reign

The accession of Ayilyam Thirunal ushered in a new era in Travancore. Assisted by his Dewan T. Madhava Rao, the Maharajah implemented many reforms and changes in Travancore, which were all agreeably beneficial for the state. At the time of his accession, the Travancore Government was struggling with its many debts and mismanaged financial department. Nevertheless, many monopolies, taxes and cessations were abolished by the government. In 1863 the Dewan finally declared that Travancore no longer had any public debt. Gradually salaries of public servants were raised by more than 50% and its efficiency was bettered. A great deal of development in Education, legislation, public works, medicine, vaccination and public health, agriculture etc. was made. Year after year Travancore was commended by the Madras Government. Important proclamations such as the Jenmi-Kudiyan Proclamation of 1867 were made. In 1866 the Maharajah was admitted into the Order of the Star of India while his Dewan was admitted into the Order of the Indian Empire. In the same year the British Government officially granted the title of Maharajah to Ayilyam Thirunal, who was in formal communications so far addressed only as Rajah. By 1872 Travancore was in a prosperous state with a surplus revenue of 4 million rupees. However by now the relations between the Maharajah and his Dewan, now styled Rajah Sir T. Madhava Rao had turned sour and the latter was retired on a lavish pension of Rs. 1000 per mensem. Seshayya Sastri was now appointed Dewan, a position he held until 1877. The new Dewan concentrated on the development of roads and infrastructure in the state. In 1874 the Maharajah's College in Trivandrum started a Law class and other developments in the education department were made. In 1875 the first systematic census of Travancore was taken by the government. in 1877 Seshayya Sastri was retired on a pension of Rs. 500 per mensem. In accepting this liberal pension, the outgoing Dewan said:

Seshayya Sastri was later admitted into the Order of the Star of India. He was succeeded by Dewan Nanoo Pillai, a native of Travancore. During his premiership which lasted until 1880 irrigation was expanded in Travancore, museums and other institutions were established, surveys of land and agriculture etc. were taken and several other legislative and judicial reforms were passed. With the death of Ayilyam Thirunal in 1880, Nanoo Pillay was retired by his successor, Visakham Thirunal. Prior to this Ayilyam Thirunal had been admitted into the Order of the Indian Empire.

Personal life[edit]

Kalyanikutty Amma (right), Consort of Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma

After the death of Thiruvattar Ammachi, his first consort, the Maharajah married again in 1862 Kalyanikutty Amma of Mathruppillil, a prestigious family of Nadavarambu, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur in the neighboring state of Cochin. She was born in 1839 as the only daughter of Nadavarambathu Kunju Krishna Menon, a former Dewan of Cochin and his wife Mathruppillil Lakshmi Amma. She was first married to Punnakkal Easwara Pillai Vicharippukar. Kalyanikutty Amma was a woman of renowned beauty and the first commission given to Raja Ravi Varma by Ayilyam Thirunal was for her portrait. In 1865 after their marriage, she was adopted by the Maharajah into the Nagercoil Ammaveedu after which her full title became Nagercoil Ammachi Panapillai Amma Srimathi Lakshmi Pillai Kalyanikutty Pillai Kochamma. Nagercoil Ammachi was also a scholar of Sanskrit and a poet in her own right, having authored Rasa Krida, Satya Panchakam, Pativrataya Panchakam, Ambarishacharitram and other works. She died in 1909. The Maharajah had no children of his own from either marriage. However along with his consort he adopted two nieces and nephew of hers, one niece Panapillai Ananthalakshmi Pillai Kochamma, who married in 1879 the Maharajah's nephew Moolam Thirunal, the other niece married to a Thirumulpadu and a son Nagercoil Achyuthan Thampi. The Maharajah was also a poet having authored the Meenaketanacharitram and Bhasha Sakuntalam.

The first decade of the Maharajah's reign was happy and peaceful but several problems arose after the dismissal of Dewan Madhava Rao. The Maharajah's relationship with Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran, the consort of his niece, the Rani Lakshmi Bayi (who was adopted in 1857 soon after the Maharajah's sister of the same name died giving birth to Moolam Thirunal) turned sour and subsequently he was imprisoned in Haripad in 1875 where he stayed until his release in 1880 after the Maharajah's death. Ayilyam Thirunal's own brother, Visakham Thirunal was also on bad terms with him until his death. However in the last week before his demise, the brothers reconciled. Maharajah Ayilyam Thirunal died on the 30th of May 1880. The Gazette of Fort St. George of the British Government makes the following comment on the Maharajah's reign:

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 1832 - 1847: Prince Balarama Ayilyam Thirunal
  • 1847 - 1860: Maharajkumar Ayilyam Thirunal Balarama Varma, Elaya Raja of Travancore
  • 1860 - 1866: His Highness Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Rama Raja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Raja of Travancore
  • 1866 - 1877: His Highness Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Sir Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Rama Raja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCSI
  • 1877 - 1878: His Highness Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Sir Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Rama Raja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCSI
  • 1878 - 1880: His Highness Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Sir Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Rama Raja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCSI, CIE

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  • Travancore State Manual (1906) by V. Nagam Aiya
  • Travancore State Manual (1940) by Velu Pillai
  • Visakhavikaya, a study by Poovattoor Ramakrishna Pillai

See also[edit]

Ayilyam Thirunal
Born: 14 March 1832 Died: 30 May 1880
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma
Maharaja of Travancore
1860–1880
Succeeded by
Visakham Thirunal
Kingdom of Travancore
Part of History of Kerala
Flag of Travancore
Travancore Kings
Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1729–1758
Dharma Raja 1758–1798
Avittam Thirunal 1798–1810
Gowri Lakshmi Bayi 1810–1815
Gowri Parvati Bayi 1815–1829
Swathi Thirunal 1813–1846
Uthram Thirunal 1846–1860
Ayilyam Thirunal 1860–1880
Visakham Thirunal 1880–1885
Moolam Thirunal 1885–1924
Sethu Lakshmi Bayi 1924–1931
Chithira Thirunal 1924–1991, (1971-1991 titular)
Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1991-2013 (Titular)
Moolam Thirunal Rama VarmaVI 2013- (Titular)
‡ Regent Queens
Capitals
Padmanabhapuram 1729–1795
Thiruvananthapuram 1795–1947
Palaces
Padmanabhapuram Palace
Kilimanoor palace
Kuthira Malika
Kowdiar Palace