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തിരുവിതാംകൂര്‍
Kingdom of Travancore
1102–1949

Flag

Capital Trivandrum
Padmanabhapuram
Government Absolute monarchy
Princely state (1858-1947)
Indian state (1947-1949)
History
 - Established 1102
 - Disestablished 1949
Kingdom of Travancore
Part of History of Kerala
Travancore.jpg
Travancore Kings
Rama Varma 1663-1672
Aditya Varma 1672-1677
Umayamma Rani 1677-1684
Ravi Varma 1684-1718
Aditya Varma 1718-1719
Unni Kerala Varma 1719-1724
Rajah Rama Varma 1724-1729
Marthanda Varma 1729-1758
Dharma Raja 1758-1798
Balarama Varma 1798-1810
Gowri Lakshmi Bayi 1810-1815
Gowri Parvati Bayi 1815-1829
Swathi Thirunal 1829-1846
Uthram Thirunal 1846-1860
Ayilyam Thirunal 1860-1880
Visakham Thirunal 1880-1885
Moolam Thirunal 1885-1924
Sethu Lakshmi Bayi 1924-1931
Chithira Thirunal 1931-1949

‡ Regent Queens

Capitals
Padmanabhapuram 1721-1795
Thiruvananthapuram 1795-1949
Palaces
Padmanabhapuram Palace
Kilimanoor palace
Kuthira Malika
Kowdiar Palace
edit

Kingdom of Travancore (IPA: [/ˈtrævənˌkɔr, -ˌkoʊr/]Malayalamതിരുവിതാംകൂര്‍, Tiruvitāṃkūr, IPA: [/t̪iɾuʋit̪aːɱkuːr/] [?]) was a princely state from the Indian subcontinent, with its capital at Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram) ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. It comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, the Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of Tamil Nadu. Its ruler was accorded a 19-gun salute during the long period under the suzerainty of the British Empire. Maharaja Marthanda Varma is usually credited as the founder of "modern Travancore". Presently the titleholder of Ananthapadmanabhan is Chempil Arayan Ananthapadmanabhan. Valiya Arayan was the commander in chief of Marthanda Varma. The state's flag was red with a silver, dextrally-coiled, sacred conch shell (Turbinella pyrum). Post India's independence in 1947, Travancore and the princely state of Cochin merged on 1 July 1949 to form the Indian state of Travancore-Cochin. Later Travancore-Cochin joined with the Malabar district of the Madras State (modern day Tamil Nadu), on 1 November 1956, to form the Indian state of Kerala. The last Maharajah was Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and the last Dewan was PGN Unnithan.

Contents

Geography

Travancore in India during the times of Robert Clive
Map of Travancore in 1871

Travancore was located in present day southern Kerala. The rulers of this state were named Sree Padmanabhadasan - servant of the Deity, Padmanabha Swamy, an aspect of Lord Vishnu. The former Kingdom's geography is defined by three natural terrains - a coastal area to the west, a midland in the centre and mountain peaks as high as 9,000 feet on the east.

Known History of Travancore

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Early Recorded History of the region

The region was ruled by the Tamil Ay Dynasty during the Sangam age (circa 300 B.C. – 600 A.D.) with the capital at Nelkinda or Nelcynda near present day Thiruvalla, as mentioned by Plini who visited the Kerala region in the first century AD, under the suzerainty of the Madurai Pandyan Dynasty[1]. The Union of Patriarchal Tamil Venad (Kollam) rulers with the Ay Dynasty around 1100 A.D. formed the Venad kingdom. After the invasion of Malik Kafur in 1310 the Tamil Venad kings accepted Matriarchy in 1314s, thus ceding their authority to two Matriarchal Princesses from the house of Kolathiris in Northern Kerala.

Eighteenth century

The rulers of Travancore were Malayala Kshatriyas[2], who were originally of the Nair caste[3] before ascension to official Kshatriya status, indicated by performing the Upanayanam of the Dvija and wearing the Janeu (sacred thread). Unlike other Kshatriyas found in India, the Malayala Kshatriyas did not actively take part in warfare (apart from rare instances), relying instead on their Nair cousins to command the armies. The Malayala Kshatriyas also followed a Matrilineal system of inheritance known as Marumakkathayam like the Nair caste and unlike other Kshatriya castes.

The history of modern Travancore begins with Marthanda Varma who inherited the Kingdom of Venad, and expanded it into Travancore during his reign 1729– 1758. Padmanabhapuram near Nagercoil of Kanyakumari District was the capital of Travancore before the shifting of the capital to Thiruvananthapuram.

Marthanda Varma

Maharajah Marthanda Varma

Marthanda Varma was a powerful ruler who expanded the Kingdom from Kanyakumari in the South to Kodungallur in the North. He signed a treaty with the British East India company and with their help destroyed the power of the eight feudal land lords (Ettuveetil Pillamar) and the Ettara Yogam who supported the Thampi sons of the previous King Rajah Rama Varma, Travancore Royal Family followed the Nair "Marumakkathayam" system, so inheritance went to the sister's children, instead of the children of the king. In successive battles, he defeated and absorbed the Kingdoms right up to Cochin including Attingal, Kollam, Kayamkulam, Kottarakara, Kottayam, Changanassery, Meenachil, Poonjar and Ambalapuzha. He succeeded in defeating the Dutch East India Company during the Travancore–Dutch war (1739-1753 A.D.), the most decisive engagement of which was the Battle of Colachel (10 August 1741) in which the Dutch Admiral Eustachius De Lannoy was captured. On January 3, 1750 A.D., (Makaram 5, 725 M.E.), he dedicated his Kingdom to his tutelary deity Sri. Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu) of Trivandrum (the Trippadidaanam) and from then on the rulers of Travancore ruled the Kingdom as the servants of Sri Padmanabha (Padmnabhadasan). In 1753 A.D., the Dutch signed a peace treaty with the Maharajah. With the battle of Amballapuzha (3 January 1754) in which he defeated the union of the deposed Kings and the Raja of Cochin, Marthanda Varma crushed all opposition to his rule. In 1757 A.D., a treaty was concluded between Travancore and Cochin, ensuring peace and stability on the Northern border. He organised the tax system and constructed many irrigation works. Admiral Eustachius De Lannoy, who was captured as a Prisoner of war in the famous Battle of Colachel was appointed as the Senior Admiral (Valiya kappithan)and he modernised the Travancore army by introducing firearms and artillery. Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai served as the "Sarvadi Karykar" (Head of the Army Nair pattalam). Marthanda Varma introduced titles such as Chempaka Raman and honours such as Ettarayum Koppum to honour the Lords and his relatives who had remained faithful to him during his problems with the Ettuveetil Pillamar. His able minister during his entire military career was Ramayyan Dalawa.

Dharma Raja

His successor Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma who was popularly known as Dharma Raja, shifted the capital in 1795 from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram. Rama Varma's period is considered as a golden age in the history of Travancore. He not only retained the territorial gains of his predecessor Marthanda Varma, but also improved and encouraged social developments. He was greatly assisted by a very efficient administrator, Raja Kesavadas Pillai, who was the Diwan of Travancore.

Maharajah Karthika Thirunal Dharma Raja

During his reign, Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore attacked Travancore in A.D.1791. The Sultan was displeased because the Dharma Raja rejected his overtures and was moving for alliance with the English East India Company. Dharma Raja had also refused to hand over the refugees from the Mysorean occupation of Malabar, who had been given asylum in Travancore. The Travancore forces withstood the Sultan for less than 6 months and then the Maharajah appealed to the British East India Company for aid, starting a precedent which later led to the installation of a British resident in the country and a military alliance with the English East India Company. The British resident, Colonel Macaulay, managed to engage the ruler in treaties which effectively made the state a protectorate of the East India Company and ended its autonomy resulting finally in the revolt of Velu Thampi Dalawa. Tipu Sultan was defeated by the English East India Company in A.D.1791 and he did not trouble Travancore anymore till his death in A.D.1799 during the Fourth Mysore War. The Dharma Raja improved trade in the country. During his reign however the districts of Kalakkad and parts of Shencottah were annexed to Arcot.

Balarama Varma

On his death in 1798, Balarama Varma took over at the age of sixteen. The maharaja was weaker than his predecessors and the divan or prime ministers started taking control of the kingdom. Velu Thampi emerged as the divan following the dismissal of Shankaran Namboothiri for corruption. Initially, Velu Thampi and the English East India Company got along well. A section of the army mutinied in AD 1805 against Velu Thampi and Thampi sought refuge with the British Resident and later used British troops to crush the mutiny. Velu Thampi also played a key role in renegotitaing a new treaty with the English East India Company. However, the demands by the Company for the payment of compensation for their involvement in the AD 1791 Travancore-Mysore war on behalf of Travancore, led to tension between the Diwan and the Resident. Velu Thampi and the diwan of Cochin, Paliath Achan, declared war on the Company. The maharajahs of both kingdoms did not support the war openly. Initially, the allies were successful and on December 18, 1808 AD, the allied forces stormed the Residents house in Cochin. The tide turned when an assault on Cochin itself by the allies on January 19, 1809 AD, was forced back with heavy allied losses. Col. Leger led an army of the Companys soldiers through the Aramboli Ghat and occupied the forts of Udayagiri and Padmanabhapuram on Feb 19, 1809 AD. The Companys forces defeated Paliath Achan in Cochin on Feb 27, 1809 AD. Paliath Achan surrendered to the British and was exiled to Madras and later to Benaras. The Company defeated Velu Thampi at battles near Nagercoil and Kollam and inflicted heavy casulaties on his army. The Companys army then camped in Pappanamcode, just outside Trivandrum. Following this development, the Maharajah of Travancore who till then had refused to take any open part in the fight, turned against Velu Thampi. Velu Thampi organised a guerilla struggle against the Company, but committed suicide to avoid capture by the Company's soldiers. After the mutiny of AD 1805 against Velu Thampi, most of the Nair battalions of Travancore had been disbanded, and after Velu Thampi's revolt, almost all of the remaining Travancore forces were also disbanded, with the Company undertaking to serve the Raja in cases of external and internal aggression.

19th and early 20th century

Her Highness Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore

Balarama Varma was succeeded by Rani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi in A.D. 1810–1815 with the blessings of the British. When a boy was born to her in 1813, the infant was declared the King, but the Rani continued to rule as the regent. The British Colonel Munro served as her Diwan. On Rani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi's death in 1815, Maharani Gowri Parvati Bayi followed her as regent. Both of the regencies saw great progresses in social issues and in education. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma assumed the throne in 1829. He was a famous exponent of Carnatic and Hindustani music. He abolished many unnecessary taxes, and started an English school and a charity hospital in Trivandrum in 1834.

Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma

During the Sangam age, the caste restrictions were not strict. However, following the Chera-Chola wars of the 11th century, the social structure of the region changed and remained so up to the mid-nineteenth century. In Travancore, the caste system was more rigiourously enforced than in many other parts of India. The rule of discriminative hierarchical caste order was deeply entrenched in the social system and was supported by the government which had transformed this caste-based social system into a religious institution.[4] In such a context, the belief of Ayyavazhi, apart from being a religious system, served also as a reform movement in uplifting the downtrodden section of the society, both socially and as well as religiously. The ritual corpus of Ayyavazhi conducted a social discourse. Its beliefs, mode of worship and religious organisation seem to have enabled the group to negotiate, cope with and resist the relation of authority.[5] The hard tone of Vaikundar towards this was perceived as a revolution against the government.[6] So the King Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma imprisoned Vaikundar but later released him.[7] In fact, it is notable that after the release of Vaikundar, the caste-based discrimination by the Kingdom underwent a considerable change.

Maharajah Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore

The next ruler Maharajah Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma A.D. 1847–1860 , following the recommendations of the Protestant clergy of C.M.S. and L.M.S. associations [8] abolished slavery in the Kingdom in 1855, and restrictions on the dress codes of certain castes in 1859. His acts on these social issues won him praise and was copied by the neighbouring State of Cochin. The maharajah started the postal system in 1857 and a school for girls in 1859. He was succeeded by Ayilyam Thirunal A.D. 1860–1880, during whose rule, agriculture, irrigation works and road ways were promoted. Humane codes of law were enforced in 1861 and a college was established in 1866. He also built many charity hospitals including a lunatic asylum. The first systematic Census of Travancore was taken on May 18, 1875. he also introduced vaccination in the country. Rama Varma Visakham Thirunal ruled from A.D. 1880–1885. He became the first Indian Prince to be offered a seat in the Viceroy's Executive Council and also authored a number of books and essays. He reorganised the police force, and abolished many oppressive taxes.

The reign of Sri Moolam Thirunal Sir Rama Varma A.D. 1885–1924 saw the establishment of many colleges and schools. When Jawaharlal Nehru visited the area in the 1920s, he remarked that the education was superior to British India. The medical system was reorganised and Legislative Council, the first of its kind in an Indian state, was established in 1888. The principle of election was established and women too were allowed to vote.

Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, Regent of Travancore (1924-1931)

Sethu Lakshmi Bayi ruled as the regent from A.D. 1924–1931. She abolished animal sacrifice and replaced the matrilineal system of inheritance with the patrilineal one. She ended the Devdasi system in Temples and was commended by Mahatma Gandhi for spending a fifth of the state revenue on education.

Maharajah Ayilyam Thirunal of Travancore (center) with the first prince (left) and Dewan Sit T. Madhava Rao (right)

The last ruler of Travancore was Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma A.D. 1931–1949. He made the temple entry proclamation on 12 November 1936, which opened all the Kshetrams (Hindu temples in Kerala) in Travancore to all Hindus, a privilege reserved to only upper caste Hindus till then. This act won him praise from across India, most notably from Mahatma Gandhi. He also started the industrialisation of the state. However, his minister Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer was unpopular among the general public of Travancore. When the British decided to grant independence to India, the minister declared that Travancore would remain as an independent country, based on an "American model." The tension between the local people, led by the Indian National Congress and the Communists, and Sir. C. P. Ramaswami Iyer led to revolts in various places of the country. In one such revolt in Punnapra-Vayalar in 1946, the Communists established their own government in the area. This was brutally crushed by the Travancore army and navy leading to hundreds of deaths. This led to further disturbances in the State, leading to more killings. The minister issued a statement in June 1947 that Travancore would never join India, and subsequently, an attempt was made on the life of Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer following which he resigned and fled to Madras, to be succeeded by Sri PGN Unnithan. After these events, the Maharajah agreed to join India and Travancore was absorbed into the Indian union. The first public transport system (Trivandrum - Mavelikkara)and telecommunication system (Trivandrum Palace - Mavelikkara Palace) were launched at the rein of Sri. Chithira Thirunal.

Cessation of the practice of mahādanams

The Maharajas of Travancore had been conditionally provorted to Kshatryahood with periodic performance of 16 mahādānams (great gifts in charity) such as Hiranya-garbh ā, Hiranya-Kāmdhenu, Hiranyāswaratā, and Tulāpurushad ānam in which each of which thousands of Brahmins had been given costly gifts apart from each getting a minimum of 1 kazhanch (78.65 gms) of gold[9].The Nambudiri Brahmins had stipulated that Rajas of Travancore could retain their dignity of Sāmanta permanently but the Kshatriyhood conferred on them by the yāgās and mahādanams would be valid only for 6 years and thus latter purchased kshatriyhood at a heavy recurring cost. During 1848, Lord Dalhousie the then Governor general of British India who was also an eager annexationist was appraised that the depressed condition of the finances in Tranavcore was owing to mal-administration and practices of treasury by the ruling elite [10]. Lord Dalhousie, who was indignant at the colossal wasteful expenditure of Travancore state treasury through mah ādanams among others, instructed Lord Harris Governor of Madras, warn the Rāja under the ninth article of the treaty of 1805. On 21 November 1855, Lord Harris dispatched a strongly worded communication to the then R ā ja of Travancore alias Martanda varma (Uttram Tirunal 1847–1860 A.D) that if he did not put a stop to his periodic re-incarnation as Kshatriya by squandering away huge sums of tax payer´s money, among others, his state administration would be taken over by the Madras government. This sled to the cessation of the practice of mah ādanams and the Rājas of Travancore were unable to purchase their Kshatriyahood further.

Travancore after 1947

Travancore in the Madras Presidency in 1859

The movement for the unification of the lands where Malayalam was spoken as the mother tongue took concrete shape at the State People's Conference held in Ernakulam in April 1928, and a resolution was passed therein calling for Aikya Kerala ("United Kerala"). On July 1, 1949 A.D., the State of Travancore-Cochin was established, with the Maharajah of Travancore as the Rajapramukh of the new State. A number of popular ministries were elected and fell and in A.D. 1954, the Travancore Tamilnadu Congress launched a campaign for the merger of the Tamil speaking regions of Southern Travancore with the neighbouring area of Madras. The agitation took a violent turn and some police and many local people were killed at Marthandam and Puthukkada, irrepairably alienating the entire Tamil speaking population from merger into Kerala. Under the State Reorganisation Act of 1956, the four southern taluks of Travancore, namely Thovalai, Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam and Vilavancode and a part of the Chencotta Taluk was merged with Madras state. The State of Kerala came into existence on November 1, 1956 A.D. with a Governor, appointed by the President of India, as the head of the State instead of the Maharajah.

The Maharajah was stripped of all his ranks and privileges according to the twenty-sixth amendment of the Indian constitution act of July 31, 1971 A.D[11] He died on July 19, 1991 A.D.

Kulasekhara Dynasty (1721 onwards)

  1. Rajah Rama Varma 1721-1729
  2. Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma 1729–1758
  3. Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma (Dharma Raja) 1758-1798
  4. Balarama Varma 1798-1810
  5. Gowri Lakshmi Bayi 1810-1815 (Queen from 1810–1813 and Regent Queen from 1813–1815)
  6. Gowri Parvati Bayi (Regent) 1815-1829
  7. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma 1829-1846
  8. Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1846–1860
  9. Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma 1860–1880
  10. Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma 1880–1885
  11. Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma 1885–1924
  12. Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (Regent) 1924–1931
  13. Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma 1931–1949
  14. Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma 1991-
His Highness Maharaja Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma as the first Vice Chancellor of University of Kerala.

STYLES & TITLES: The ruling prince: Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala (personal name) Varma, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, with the style of His Highness. The Heir Apparent: Maharajkumar (personal name) Varma, Eliya Raja of Travancore. The Heiress: Sri Patmanabha Sevini Vanchi Dharma Vardhini Raja Rajeshwari Maharani (personal name) Bai, Senior Maharani of Travancore, with the style of Her Highness. The Second Heiress, if mother of the ruling prince: Sri Patmanabha Sevini Vanchipala Dyumani Raj Rajeshwari Maharani Maharani (personal name) Bai, Junior Maharani of Travancore, with the style of Her Highness. The consort of the ruling prince: (mother's house name) Ammachi Panapilla Amma Srimathi (personal name) Pilla Kochamma. The sons of the ruling prince: Sri (mother's house name) (personal name) Tampi. The daughters of the ruling prince: (mother's house name) Ammaveetil Srimathi (personal name) Pilla Kochamma.


NB: all members of the ruling family receive two names, an official personal name and a name associated with the star under which they are born. The latter usually end with the suffix Tirunal.

Unique features

Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma of the Travancore Royal Family

When one looks at the recorded history of Travancore since its formation, and that of the geographical territory that comprised it before that, one is struck by some of its unique features. The religious and social tolerance was one of the notable features. The Jewish community considers this to be the only place on earth where they were not persecuted in some way or other. Christianity reached here before it reached many of the leading European 'Christian' territories, and that too brought here by one of the disciples of Jesus Christ - St. Thomas - who is believed to have reached here in 52 A.D. Muslims consider this land to be one of the very few places where their messenger - Malik Dinar - met with no resistance. Not only that, the reigning King (the last emperor of the first Chera Dynasty) is said to have adopted the faith and left the land to live in Mecca. Unlike the situation in many parts of India, religious and caste based violence was very rare in Travancore, apart from a few incidents in 1821, 1829, 1858 and 1921, which themselves, when compared to similar riots elsewhere, were very mild. The Travancore royal family not only proved themselves as very devout and sincere Hindus, but also donated land and material to the construction of churches and mosques. This genuine concern for the welfare of all the subjects was reciprocated by the devotion of the people, and the example of the local christians, who, during the Tranvancore-Dutch War, actively supported Maharajah Marthanda Varma against the Dutch East India Company, will suffice to highlight this point. This tolerance of different faiths was equally applicable when it came to social and ideological matters too. Every political ideology and social reform was welcomed here. The universality of education and the now historic temple entry permission for those considered as 'untouchable' throughout India, were unique to this part of the sub-continent. Unlike in the rest of Medieval India or almost all of medieval world, in Travancore (and in Malabar and Kochi), the social status and freedom of women were high. In many communities, the daughters (not the sons) inherited the property, were educated, and had the right to divorce, right up to 1925.

Kowdiar Palace, Trivandrum

Travancore was also characterized by the popularity of its rulers. When the Kings of Travancore 'declared themselves as servants of Lord Vishnu and ruled His State according to His wishes' it was not a mere lip service. The Kings of Travancore, unlike their counter-parts in the other Princely States of India, utilized only a small portion of their State's resources for their personal use. This was in sharp contrast with some of the North Indian Rajas. When contrasted with the examples of Rajas in the north-west of India who utilized more than half of their State's revenues for their own uses, the simplicity and frugality of the Rajas of Travancore, and their sincere devotion to their subjects, are highlighted. Since they spent most of the State's revenue for the benefit of the public, they were naturally much loved by their subjects. This was so even in the context of the high-handedness of some of their Dewans.

Dewans (Prime Ministers) of Travancore

See also

References

Emblm sang1.jpg
  1. ^ Natural History (Pliny)
  2. ^ Nayar History and Cultural Relations
  3. ^ The Eastern Anthropologist, Ethnographic and Folk-Culture Society (Uttar Pradesh, India), Lucknow University Anthropology Laboratory, 1958, p108
  4. ^ Cf. Ward & Conner, Geographical and Statistical Memoir, page 133; V. Nagam Aiya, The Travancore State Manual, Volume-2, Madras:AES, 1989 (1906), page 72.
  5. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, 2003, The Subaltern Agency in Ayyavali, Page 174.
  6. ^ www.education.kerala.gov.inTowards Modern Kerala, 10th Standard Text Book, Chapter 9, Page 101. See this Pdf
  7. ^ C.f. Rev.Samuel Zechariah, The London Missionary Society in South Travancore, Page 201.
  8. ^ Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon, A survey of Kerala History, 1996, S. Viswanathan Printers and Publishers, pp 396.
  9. ^ A Social History of India – (Ashish Publishing House: ISBN 81-7648-170-X / ISBN 81-7648-170-X, Jan 2000).
  10. ^ Administration and social development in Kerala: A study in administrative sociology, By Sadasivan, S.N. published by Indian Institute of Public Administration (New Delhi), 1988.
  11. ^ .THE CONSTITUTION (TWENTY-SIXTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1971

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TRAVANCORE, a state of southern India, in political relation with Madras. Area, 7091 sq. m. In 1901 the population was 2,952,157, showing an increase of 15% in the preceding decade. The state stands sixteenth among the native states of India in area and third in population. Travancore extends more than 150 m. along the west coast as far as Cape Comorin, the southernmost point of the peninsula. The Western Ghats rise to an elevation of 8000 ft. and are clothed with primeval forest; they throw out spurs towards the coast, along which there is a belt of flat country of about 10 m. in width, covered with coco-nut and areca palms, which to a great extent constitute the wealth of the country. The whole surface is undulating, and presents a series of hills and valleys traversed from east to west by many rivers, the floods of which, arrested by the peculiar action of the Arabian Sea, spread themselves out into lagoons or backwaters, connected here and there by artificial canals, and forming an inland line of smooth-water communication for nearly the whole length of the coast. The chief river is the Periyar, 142 m. in length. Other important rivers are the Pambai and its tributary the Achenkoil, the Kallada, and the Western Tambraparni. Iron is abundant and plumbago is worked. Elephants are numerous, and tigers, leopards, bears, bison and various kinds of deer abound in the forests. Travancore has an abundant rainfall, with every variety of temperature. The principal ports are Alleppi, Quilon and Paravur; but there is no real harbour. The state has a fine system of roads, and the Cochin-Shoranur and the Tinnevelly-Quilon railways pass through it. The Periyar irrigation project conducts water through the ghats in a tunnel to irrigate the Madras district of Madura, for which compensation of Rs. 40,000 is annually paid to Travancore. Trade is large and increasing, the chief exports being copra, coir and other coco-nut products, pepper, tea, sugar, areca-nuts, timber, hides, coffee, &c. The capital is Trivandrum. The revenue is £670,000; tribute, f80,000; military force, 1360 infantry, 61 cavalry and 30 artillery with 6 guns. The maharaja of Travancore claims descent from Cheraman Perumal, the last Hindu monarch of united Malabar, whose date is variously given from A.D. 378 to 825. Though he is a Kshatriya, the succession follows the local custom of inheritance through females; consequently his sand y of adoption authorizes him to adopt sisters' sons. For some generations the rulers have been men of education and character, and the state is conspicuous for good administration and prosperity. Education, and female education in particular, is more advanced than in any other part of India. The two dominant sections of the population are the Namburi Brahmins and the Nairs or military caste. Native Christians, chiefly of the Syrian rite, form nearly one-fourth of the whole, being more numerous than in any Madras district.

See V. Nagam Aiya, Travancore State Manual (Trivandrum, 1906).


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