Maharaja Sree Rama Varma Kochaniyan, Valiya Thampuran
His Highness the Maharajah of Cochin,Rama Varma (102), of the Lakshmithoppu Palace died at 0640 hours on Wednesday the 5th of February, 2013. The body was laid-in-state at the Kalikotta Palace in Tripunithura for the public to pay tributes before being cremated with state-honours at the royal cremation-grounds.
Born on the 2nd of June,1912 in the royal-town of Tripunithura as the youngest son of Kunjikavu Thampuran, the niece of the last Maharajah of Cochin by her husband Kunnathu Padinjaredathu Sankara Bhattatathiripad. He completed his education at the Maharajah's College in Cochin and graduated in Commerce from University of Calcutta.
Popularly known as 'Sixer' Thampuran for his ability to hit consecutive sixes, the Maharajah was an allrouunder sportsman: a first class pace-bowler and hard-hitting batsman, football & tennis player as happy as he was on the ground whilst staying indoors to play table-tennis or bridge on rainy afternoons. From 1937 until Cochin acceded to the Indian Union, the Thampuran was the leading batsman in the Princes'-team for inter-state cricket matches and as Captain of the Tripunithura Cricket Club, played for his team in many subsequent Ranji Trophy matches. A very active sporting-career meant he could drive by himself until very recently when his health deteriorated.
A voracious reader and member of many well-known libraries, His Highness's favourite authors were Hardy & Tolstoy.
Dr Kocha. Varma and Mrs Usha Varma of the Cochin Royal Family Heritage Society, and as the representatives of the Cochin Royal Family met the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on TRH’s recent visit to Kerala.
He was one of the few-royals who was happy taking up a gainful career in the financial departments of various Government bodies including the Food Dept.(United State of Travancore & Cochin) State Road Transport Corporation(Kerala) retiring in 1968. The writer remembers being told about an incident when he used his cool wit to amuse the incoming Director for the Dept. of Food (Civil Supplies) from Travancore--after the merger of Travancore and Cochin into the United State of Travancore and Cochin—who was reluctant to have a blue-blooded person serve as his deputy. They ended up as great friends and the latter took him on his annual pilgrimage to the famous hill-temple at Sabarimala.
He was one of the veteran members of the Trivandrum Tennis Club and an active patron of the Rama Varma Club in Ernakulam. His centenary was celebrated two years ago with remarkable simplicity but with the participation by members from all walks of life.
The Thampuran is survived by his wife Saradamani, granddaughter of Maharaja Ravi Varma V who ruled from 1943 to 1946 and four children. Ravi Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran (91) has succeeded as Maharajah and head of the Cochin Royal Family. The Maharajah is a Sanskrit scholar, true to his great-heritage of classics-scholars like Parikshit Thampuran of Cochin. His Highness had recently translated the Narayaneeyam of the celebrated linguist and bhakta, Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri into Malayalam.
With the demise of Rama Varma, a witness to the historical moment when his maternal uncle ''the Aikya-Kerala Thampuran'' abdicated in favour of the Maharajah of Travancore in creating the state of Kerala, is lost forever to history. He is the last of the three royalties of Kerala to have witnessed the end days of their kingdoms: Malabar & Travancore left the mortal-world in quick succession to each other, in the past year.
Rama Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran, Maharajah of Cochin, died 5th February 2013 survived by wife Saradamony, sons Balagopal and Gokul Das and daughters Radhika and Nirmala. Ravi Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran(91) has succeeded as Maharajah of Cochin.