Posts about Travancore
Battle of Colachel: The first time when an Indian and an Asian country defeated a Major European power. Fought between the kingdom of Travancore and the Dutch in 1791, we today celebrate the 231st anniversary of Travancore's victory. In this pic, we can see the Dutch surrendering to Travancore.
The young Vishakam Tirunal Rama Varma, the Elaya Raja or the crown prince of Travancore, was once travelling on horseback with his retinue. A group of young women were bathing when they heard the distant sound of thundering hooves and dressed hurriedly. “Hurry up Lakshmi,” they cried as they ran, but a lone figure stood transfixed. A slender young man slowly rode up to her. He asked her why her friends had run away. “They ran away because they were afraid of you,” she replied. “And you? Are you not afraid?” he asked with a smile. “No,” she said. “I was only curious to know who you are.” “Do you not know who I am?” he asked, while those around him laughed. “Your looks and your speech are the marks of a noble man,” she replied.
He bowed, inquired her name and where she lived, and rode away. Little did young Lakshmi know that her destiny was going to change and that the young man was none other than the crown prince of Travancore. Within a few weeks, messengers came from the palace to Lakshmi Pillai’s house asking her father for her hand in marriage to the crown prince. Since she was from the Arumana Ammaveedu, the proposal was readily accepted and their marriage took place in 1859.
Fluent in English and several other languages, Vishakam Thirunal ensured that his young wife received an English education. Beautiful and educated, she was the female royal who could speak and write in English. Lakshmi Pillai proved to be a perfect wife in every respect.
The happy couple was blessed with four children. The eldest was a son named Sri Narayanan Tampi. The story goes that Vishakam Tirunal was fond of roaming incognito on the streets of the city. Once, dressed in ragged clothes, he saw an astrologer sitting under a tree. He placed a few coins on the floor and asked for his palm to be read. The astrologer looked at the palm and asked sharply, “Who are you? You are no beggar. Your palm says that you are born to rule”. The prince quietly got up and walked away. A few years later, when his son Sri Narayanan Tampi was born, he asked for this astrologer. The astrologer immediately recognised the beggar who had consulted him. After checking the baby’s horoscope he said, “I told you that you are born to rule although you came to me as a beggar. But your son will be a beggar and will die on the streets.”
A visibly shaken Vishakam Tirunal began a lifelong task of building sathrams (resting houses) all over Travancore with instructions to serve food and water and give shelter to his son if he ever needed it. Landed properties, jewels, and money were lavished on the child, perhaps much more than the usual generous share and royal pension usually given to Tampis and Thangachis of the Travancore King . Sri Narayanan Tampi, however, lost all his wealth in speculative businesses(including the first Bus service chain in Travancore) and died on his way to the Railway station, fulfilling the prediction of the astrologer.
Credits: Geetha Narayanan of DNA India