Rama Varma Kulashekhara
|King of Later Chera Kingdom, later|
King of Venad (Kollam)
|Predecessor||Ravi Rama Varma|
|House||Later Chera dynasty|
|Father||Ravi Rama Varma|
Rama Varma (reign 1090–1102 AD; 1089–1122 AD as per MGS; full name Raja Sri Rama Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal, alternatively Ramar Tiruvati or Kulasekhara Koyiladhikarikal) was the last ruler of the Later Chera dynasty (Kulasekharas of Mahodayapuram). With his transfer of capital from Mahodayapuram near present-day Kodungallur to the city of Kollam, the Later Chera state came to an end, and Venad (Kingdom of Kollam) attained status of an independent kingdom. His son Kotha Varma succeeded him as the ruler of Kollam.
Rama Varma ascended the throne of the Later Chera Kingdom during a period of severe political crisis and instability. The Chola king Kulothunga's army captured the southern city of Kollam in 1096, and now controlled all regions of the Chera state south to the city.
Rama Varma resolved to beat back the Later Cholas this time and rallied all his forces behind him. During the following long war even the capital city of Mahodayapuram and surrounding places were destroyed and burned down by the Chola army. After the fall of the capital, Rama Varma, without even a palace of his own, stayed at alternative frugal accommodations such as Kodungallur and Kollam. In order to the stem the Cholas from the south, Rama Varma moved his base of operations to Quilon. Sometime before 1100 AD, after saving Kollam from the Cholas, he marched against the Cholas ahead of a large army. The newly formed chaver akramanam suicide forces sustained heavy losses to the Chola army. Kulothunga Chola was defeated and withdrew towards Kottar. This was the first fatal blow to Chola imperialism in the region and ended the century long Chola domination in Chera state.
The Cholas never tried to regain their influence beyond Nanjanad after this defeat. Rama Varma continued to stay at Kollam even after the war and managed the affairs of the kingdom for some time more. He seems to have abdicated the throne in favor of his son Kotha Varma (1102–1125) and retired from public life and perhaps later died at a local palace. Kotha Varma later conquered Kottar and portions of Nanjanad from Pandyas.
- The title Kulasekhara Perumal assumed by the ruler of Mahodayapuram was taken over by the rulers of Venadu since Rama Varma.
- It seems that a Brahmin from Perumpadappu near Ponnani married a sister of Rama Varma. With fall of the kingdom, the Brahmin's son inherited Later Cheras religious authority. The Perumpadappu rulers used the title Gangadhara Koyiladhikarikal.
The Rameswarathukoil inscription of Quilon (dated Kollam era 278/1102 AD) shows one Ramar Tiruvati (Rama Varma Kulasekhara) as staying at Panamkavil palace during that year. It is on the evidence of this inscription it is inferred that the last Chera ruler shifted his capital from Mahodayapuram to Quilon. The inscription also shows that he granted certain lands to the temple under pressure from the Brahmin Namboothiri Janmis.
- Menon, A Sreedhara; "A Survey Of Kerala History"; D C Books, 01-Jan-2007