Umayamma Rani - Adoption of Heirs

Adoption of Heirs

It is generally believed that Umayamma Rani had six sons of whom five were drowned by the Ettuveetil Pillamar and that Ravi Varma was her eldest and only surviving son. However with the help of the records of the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum and other credible sources, modern historians have not only disproved this fable but also positively concluded that Umayamma Rani did not have any children at all. Similarly the story of the poisoning of Rajah Aditya Varma has also been disproved and it is now clear that he died a natural death in 1677 at Darpakulangara Palace.

In 1682 the Senior Rani of Attingal died and Umayamma Rani succeeded as principal Queen of Venad. The Royal family followed Marumakkathayam or matrilineal system of inheritance and family for which presence of females in the royal family were essential. In 1682 Umayamma Rani adopted one male, Aditya Varma, and two females from the related Kolathunad Royal family. This was followed by war with an enraged Kerala Varma of Nedumangad which the Rani won and the claims of the Nedumangad family were found to be untenable. In 1684 Umayamma Rani also adopted an adult male from the related Royal family of Kottayam, Malabar, a branch of the Kolathunad house. This adopted male was Kerala Varma and was given the title of 'Prince of Hiranyasimhallur' (Eraniel). This prince took the reins of the kingdom into his hands by first silencing the collateral branches and asserting the power of the chief branch. During that period Mallan Pillai a Warrior near Nedumangad successfully defeated and killed a Mughal raider who attacked Venad in 1684 . He also abolished certain abhorrent customs known as Pulappedi, Mannapedi etc. in 1695. He was however haughty in his bearing and offended the nobles and lords of the land and was subsequently murdered in 1695 and his obsequies were performed by Aditya Varma. Meanwhile Ravi Varma became the Rajah and in 1688 adopted two males, Unni Kerala Varma and Rajah Rama Varma from Kolathunad, and two princesses from Kolathunad. The succession continued in these lines and again adoptions were made in 1705, 1718 and so on.

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