Sakthan Thampuran

Shakthan Thamparan
Maharaja of Cochin
Shakthan Thamparan statue.jpg
Sakthan Thampuran statue in Sakthan Thampuran Nagar in Thrissur city
Reign 1769 to 1805
Coronation 1791
Full name Raja Rama Varma
Malayalam രാജാ രാമ വര്‍മ്മ
Titles Sakthan Thampuran
Born (1751-08-26)August 26, 1751
Birthplace Vellarapally Palace, Puthiyedam, Kaladi
Died September 26, 1805(1805-09-26) (aged 54)
Place of death Thrissur City
Buried Thrissur City
Predecessor Rama Varma VIII
Successor Rama Varma X
Consort Chummukutty Nethyar Amma
Royal House Cochin royal family
Royal motto Honour is our Family Treasure
Father Chennose Namboodiripad
Mother Ambika Thampuratti
Religious beliefs Hinduism

Rama Varma Kunhjipilla Thampuran (1751–1805), or Rama Varma IX, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran (Sakthan meaning powerful), was the ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin. He was the King of Cochin and his palace was in Thrissur City. City of Thrissur is the Cultural Capital of Kerala and Sakthan Thampuran is the very architect of City of Thrissur. Thrissur Pooram was also introduced by him.


Early life

Born on Karkidakom, 926 (ME) (August 26, 1751 AD) at Vellarapally Palace to Anujan Namboodiripad of the Chennamangalam Mana and Ambika Thampuran of the Cochin Royal Family.[1] His mother died when he was only three years old. The prince was brought up by his maternal aunt, famously known as Chittamma (meaning mother's younger sister) Thampuran. His early education took place under the tutelage of scholars such as Kallenkara Pisharody. Sakthan Thampuran was a very powerful Maharaja as his name indicate. [2][3] [4]


A view of the entrance of Shakthan Thampuran Palace where he was cremated.

Thampuran married twice. His first wife was a Nair lady from the reputed Vadakke Kuruppath family of Thrissur whom he married when he was 30 years old. He is said to have had a daughter from this first wife. However, this Nethyar Amma (title of the consort of the Cochin Rajah) died soon after an unhappy marriage. Thereafter the Thampuran remained single for a few decades, marrying again at the age of 52. The second wife of the Thampuran was Chummukutty Nethyar Amma of the Karimpatta family and was a talented musician and dancer of Kaikottikalli. She was 17 at the time of her marriage with the Thampuran. This marriage was without issue and within 4 years the Thampuran died. In those days the widowed Nethyar Ammas did not have any special provisions from the state and hence Chummukutty, at the age of 21, returned to her ancestral home.[5][6]


After his 55th birthday Sakthan Thampuran fell ill and died in Kanni 11, 980 (ME) (September 26, 1805 AD), at Thrissur City. He was buried in Shakthan Thampuran Palace, Thrissur. His palace in Thrissur City is preserved as a monument and he was responsible for developing the Thrissur City and also making it the Cultural Capital of Kerala. [7][8]


After Thampuran ascended the throne of Cochin, he crushed the power of the feudal chieftains and consolidated the royal power. At that time temples were controlled by Namboodiri community, called Yogiatiripppads. The Yogiatiripppads was elected from different temples in the Thrissur District. Thampuran wrested the control of the temples and banished the system of Yogiatiripppads. Thampuran was strict and merciless with criminals which earned his name, Sakthan. British authorities enjoyed a good relation with Thampuran. He was also a personal friend of Dharma Raja of Travancore.


City of Thrissur

A bird's view of Swaraj Round which was built by the Sakthan Thampuran himself


The modern day Town of Thrissur owes its origin to Sakthan Thampuran. The reason for the love of Thrissur came from his two wives who were the native of Thrissur. They belonged to Kuruppath and Karimpatta families in Thrissur.[9] He transferred his capital from Thrippunithura to Thrissur and founded the modern city of Thrissur. He cleared the 60 acre teak forests around Vadakkunnathan Temple and developed the Thekkinkadu Maidan which is now heart of the city. After clearing forest, he made a circular concrete road named now as Swaraj Round.

Thrissur Pooram

Mother of all Poorams, as it was told, was the brainchild of Sakthan Thampuran. In those days Arattupuzha Pooram was the biggest temple festival of Kerala. The participants of Thrissur Pooram were regular participants of this Pooram. Once they were denied entry to Arattupuzha Pooram because they were late. All the late participant temples went to Sakthan Thampuran, then Maharaja of Cochin, and complained against the bias. Thampuran invited all these temples to bring their deities to Thrissur and pay obeisance to Lord Shiva, the deity of the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Thampuran classified the participants in to two groups the Western and the Eastern. The Western group consists of Thiruvambady, Kanimangalam, Laloor, Ayyanthole, and Nethilakkavu temples. Paramekkavu, Karamukku, Chembukavu, Choorakottukavu and Panamukkamppilly come under eastern group.[10]

Shakthan Thampuran Palace

Shakthan Thampuran Palace, named after King Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, is situated in Thrissur city. The palace is spread over six acres and earlier it was known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam. It is one of the historic, cultural, architectural important palace of the erstwhile Mahraja of Cochin which has been converted into a heritage museum now. This palace is a blend of traditional Kerala and Dutch architectural style. It was reconstructed in Kerala-Dutch style in 1795.

Battle of the colourfull umbrellas (Kudamattam) in Thrissur Pooram



  1. ^ "SAKTHAN THAMPURAN AND THE EMERGENCE OF COCHIN AS A COMMERCIAL CENTRE". Saritha Viswanathan. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Sakthan Thampuran -The powerful ruler of ancient times". Spiderkerala. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  3. ^ "Kerala Celebrities". Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  4. ^ "HH Maharaja Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, Cochin". Geni. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  5. ^ "Sakthan Thampuran -The powerful ruler of ancient times". Spiderkerala. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  6. ^ "Kerala Celebrities". Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  7. ^ "Sakthan Thampuran -The powerful ruler of ancient times". Spiderkerala. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  8. ^ "Kerala Celebrities". Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  9. ^ The Chaldean Syrian Church Of The East. Mar Aprem. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  10. ^ "THRISSUR POORAM - Prologue". Thrissurpooramfestival. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 

See also

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rama Varma VIII
Maharaja of Cochin
Succeeded by
Rama Varma X