Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma

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Erstwhile Titular Maharajah of Travancore.

Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma| Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma with the full name Sree Padmanabhadasa Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma (March 22, 1922December 16, 2013) was the titular Maharaja of Travancore.

Quotes[edit]

Ancestral temple of the Royal family -Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
  • When we have guests, my wife and I serve them sometimes. In fact, a mediaperson from Germany who probably expected me to dress in fine clothes, once mistook me for my secretary.
    • Entertaining his guests at the modest Pattom palace, in "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"
  • From the age of eight, I have grown up in an atmosphere pervaded by religion. The State was surrendered to Lord Padmanabhaswamy in 1750 by my ancestor whose name I bear. Nothing is greater than this concept and since that day, every morning, the ruler has the tradition of rendering an account of the previous day's administrative events to the lord. Whether I can communicate this attachment and devotion to others — the younger people in the family — is what worries me. Are they in attendance at the right time at the temple? This alone bothers me.
    • In "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"
  • Sri Chithira Tirunal Maharaja was a visionary. Gandhiji came here after the Temple Entry Proclamation was made by my brother, throwing open the temples to all the castes. The Mahatma said it was not a trip but a pilgrimage. The carpet on which he sat is now a prized possession of the family.
    • In "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"
    • We are an egalitarian State, (royalty) should go....to either keep this temple or else become president of a thousand other temples. Except Pallivetta (the royal ritualistic hunt of the deities) and the Arat, when the deity is taken in procession to the seashore, we lost all other privileges. We sold our personal assets to keep this temple.
    • In 1971, when the privy purse was abolished to the royal families, in "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"
  • I am what I am because I was the son of a princess. Women have always been very educated and progressive in my family.
    • On the matrilineal system of inheritance in vogue among the royal family, in "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"
Radha Devi consort of Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma
  • In 1954, I was invited to a tea party hosted in honour of the Queen in Bangalore. She came with her husband to the party held at the Vidhan Soudha. I was keen to meet the Queen personally. I conveyed my desire to Vijayalakshmi Pandit, sister of India's first premier Jawaharlal Nehru, who was present. She immediately facilitated a meeting with the Queen for me and my wife Radhadevi.
    • In "When 'Maharaja of Travancore' met Queen Elizabeth II (8 July 2012)".
  • You are the elayaraja (crown prince) of Travancore?' She then recollected our first meeting years back in England. I was amazed when she asked if Travancore was in the southern tip of India?
    • After exchanging pleasantries with the Queen, quoted in "When 'Maharaja of Travancore' met Queen Elizabeth II (8 July 2012)".
  • She had great knowledge about India. I again got startled when the Queen asked about my house in Bangalore. She said she had twice passed by my house at Nandi Hills during her visit to the place with the Maharaja of Mysore, who told her it belonged to the Elayaraja of Travancore.
    • Quoted in "When 'Maharaja of Travancore' met Queen Elizabeth II (8 July 2012)".
  • It is nice to see that the royal family of England has easily adapted to the changed times. They are well-trained to retain their memories, updated their knowledge and live according to the new conditions.
    • In "When 'Maharaja of Travancore' met Queen Elizabeth II (8 July 2012)".
  • If my knowledge is correct, the government in the United Kingdom even took away the tax concessions given to the Royals. But the British royal family seems to have no complaint about that. It is a rare quality," he said.
    • In "When 'Maharaja of Travancore' met Queen Elizabeth II (8 July 2012)".

The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family, 2009[edit]

'The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family' July 09, 2011

  • We are the Cheras, one of the four erstwhile royal families of South India and have a long and dynastic family tree. By 1750 Travancore had become rich and big. So my ancestor, the then king, made a unique spiritual and historical contribution. He decided to surrender all his riches to the temple - Padmanabhaswamy is also our family deity. He said our family would look after that wealth, the temple and the kingdom forever. But he did want the ego that comes with possessing it. He was influenced by Emperor Ashoka's catharsis in the killing fields of Kalinga. So he declared our family to be Padmanabha's 'dasas', devotees. A servant can resign his job, but a dasa can do so only when he dies.
    • On his family links with the Padmanabhaswamy temple in
  • I have to go back a bit in time, to explain why. Everybody thinks that we Indians first rose against British colonial rule in 1857. In 1741, Travancore was the only Asian power to defeat the Dutch when they arrived here. After the battle, all the Dutch soldiers kneeled before my ancestors. One Dutchman, Benedictus Eustachius, even joined our army. We called him the Great Kapitan. Later, I learned that he was [US president] Franklin Roosevelt's ancestor when the latter's grandson came to look at our historical records.
    • On his being to frugal in lifestyle in spite of being one of the richest families in India, and the British rule in “The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family.”
  • Then in 1839, almost two decades before the mutiny, we rose against the British. Our punishment was severe. They disbanded our police and army of 50,000, transferred our capital to Kollam, dumped two British regiments on us, and ordered us to pay for their upkeep. Thomas Munroe named himself Diwan of Travancore. When our spirit still did not flag, they brought in missionaries. But we did not get gobbled up by Western thought. We travel abroad occasionally, but it has not affected or changed our simple way of life. Why am I telling you this? So that you get an idea of how much our life has revolved around our faith, despite so many outside influences and kept us going.
    • On retaining his identity inspite of Britih control, in “The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family.”

About Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma[edit]

  • He held the prestigious post as trustee of the famous Padmanabaswamy temple, which is deemed as the richest temple in the country.
    • Sangeetha Seshagiri, in "Marthanda Varma, Titular Head of Travancore Royal Family, Passes Away (16 December 2013)"
  • His passion for photography took him to take an air sortie on the VTAYK aircraft that the Travancore Royal Family owned in 1939, all over the erstwhile Travancore region.
    • The New Indian Express, in “An Avid Shutterbug, Driving Enthusiast, Sanskrit Scholar (17 December 2013)”
  • During his Bangalore days he was a motor enthusiastic who clocked 4 million miles in his Mercedes Benz 180 D.. During those days Mercedes used to honour drivers who crossed one-lakh miles and it had presented him with 10 medals.
    • The New Indian Express, in “An Avid Shutterbug, Driving Enthusiast, Sanskrit Scholar (17 December 2013)”
  • His favourite car, the copper blue 180D Mercedes Benz, was in his possession till he breathed his last. A person with varied interests, he had to his credit several trophies won as an amateur horse rider at various places in the country.
    • The New Indian Express, in “An Avid Shutterbug, Driving Enthusiast, Sanskrit Scholar (17 December 2013)”
  • The man still called “king” in Travancore, south India, found himself the centre of world attention in his nineties in June 2011 when the temple hoard of which he was guardian came to light. The rubies, diamonds, 18ft gold chains, golden bows and arrows, gold umbrellas, coins, and diadems piled in six vaults under the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, Travancore’s capital, were estimated as being worth £26 billion.
    • Anne Keleny, in "Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma: The Maharajah of Travancore 4 March 2014"
Uthradom Thirunal at a public function
  • He remained well-loved, and presided over about 200 ceremonies annually such as the deity’s sea-bathing. He received visitors including, in 2013, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and, farther back, Somerset Maugham, Agatha Christie and Eleanor Roosevelt, who noted the matrilineal rules of succession, saying she did not understand them, but thought they were good for women
    • Anne Keleny, in "Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma: The Maharajah of Travancore 4 March 2014"
  • I went to a State at the extreme tip of India. Here the king's son is not the king, but the king's sister is a very important person. Anyway, it is very good for the women.
    • Eleanor Roosevelt after his visit to Travancore, neote the matrirachial practice of hierarchy among the royal family inheritance quoted in "Royal vignettes: Travancore - Simplicity graces this House (30 March 2003)"

External links[edit]