All of the Maharajahs' female descendants were known by the style of Kochamma or Thankachi added to their name. The sons, as mentioned, were styled Thampis with the title of Kanakku Chempakaraman. Since the Marumakkathayam law of matrilineal inheritance existed in Travancore, the sons of these Thampi gentlemen would, however, not gain any distinguishing title.
Families from where Maharajas got married are known as "Ammaveedus". Arumana Ammaveedu, Vadasseri Ammaveedu, Nagercoil Ammaveedu, Thiruvattar Ammaveedu, etc. are some of the prominent families in Trivandrum from where the Maharajas of Travancore married. The Rajahs of Travancore traditionally took wives from Ammaveedus and such Royal consorts, known as Ammachis would get the additional title of Panapillai Amma. If at all another lady from outside the Ammaveedu's was to be married to the Rajah, she would be adopted to one of the Ammaveedus first and then wed to the King. This was the case in the marriage of Maharajah Swathi Thirunal, Maharajah Ayilyam Thirunal and Maharajah Moolam Thirunal.
As mentioned previously, the title of Thampi was also given to some loyal noble families in Travancore. Thampis had special privileges in Travancore. Besides the Maharajah, they were the only people permitted the use of Palanquins. They also had the right to visit their cousin, their father's heir as per the Marumakkathayam law, without formally previously announcing their visit. The very term Thampi and Thankachi meant, in Tamil language, brother and sister respectively which indicated the position of the Thampi families as relatives of the Royal House of Travancore.
During the early 18th century a rebellion occurred in Travancore after Maharajah Marthanda Varma succeeded to the throne from his uncle, Rajah Rama Varma in 1729. Rajah Rama Varma had left two sons, namely Sri Padmanabhan Thampi and Sri Raman Thampi, known as the Kunju Thampis. Their mother Abhirami a.k.a. Avirama Kochamma was a Bengali. These were powerful individuals who resided in the palace at Trivandrum. The Kunju Thampis wanted to succeed to the throne of their father by putting an end to the matriarchal system in practice known as Marumakkathayam. With this view, they repaired to Trichinopoly and convinced the Pandyan Governor there, that Marthanda Varma, their cousin, was an usurper and that they were being denied their birth right to the Travancore musnud.
The Governor who was already enraged with the Maharajah Marthanda Varma deputed an army under one of his generals, Azhagappa Mudaliar, to enquire into the claims of the 'Kunju Thampis', the cost of which was entirely borne by the Thampis themselves. However, Marthanda Varma acquainted the Pandyan General about the Marumakkathayam law that persisted in Kerala, which convinced the General who left, severely reprimanding the Kunju Thampis. Recent research by historians, such as A. Sreedhara Menon and others, however, present a different picture stating that the Mudaliar was bribed by Marthanda Varma.
The Kunju Thampis for some time remained low. But their instigators, the Ettuveetil Pillamar against whom the Maharajah had secured documented evidence of conspiracy to assassinate him and instigating the Kunju Thampis to seek Pandyan help, came to their heed once again. On the morning of 28 October 1730, Padmanabhan and Raman Thampi called on Maharajah Marthanda Varma who was then at Nagercoil Palace. The sentries at the door had been particularly informed not to permit the Kunju Thampis entry into his chamber, where he was sleeping on a swinging cot.
Padmanabhan Thampi was enraged when he was stopped by the guard for the sons of the Maharajahs have a birth right to call on their cousin and father's heir without the formality of a pervious announcement. In this rage, he tried to attack the guard but was mortally wounded by another sentry from behind. With that, ended the life of Sri Padmanabhan Thampi alias Pappu Thampi.
Seeing his brother killed, Raman Thampi rushed into the Maharajah's chamber and tried to attack him. He missed his aim and his sword struck the low ceiling of the room giving enough time to Marthanda Varma to recover from the shock, who eventually disarmed Raman Thampi and killed him by plunging his Persian dagger into his heart and then throwing him down from the window onto the street below. With that ended the tale of the Kunju Thampis.
While this is the generally believed story, there is no clarity as to the reason why the sister of the Kunju Thampis, Ummini Thankachi, was also killed by Marthanda Varma, on the same date, in Nagercoil Palace.
Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi was the Dalawa or Prime Minister of Travancore from 1801-1809 AD and is most popular for revolting against British interference in Travancore and is today revered as one of the earliest freedom fighters of India. Velu Thampi, during his revolt when he was in hiding, secured Palace secrets and confidential information with the help of an Arumana Amma, a noblewoman of the Arumana Ammaveedu who was the wife of the then Maharaja Bala Rama Varma.
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