About HH Maharaja Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, Cochin (1769 - 1805)
Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran was born in 1751 at the Vellarappilli Kovilakam. He was the only son of Ambica Thampuran and Chennos Anujan Namboothiripad. His mother passed away when he was three years old and he was raised by his maternal aunt- Chittamma Thampuran. His early education took place under the tutelage of scholars such as Kallenkara Pisharody. Sakthan Thampuran officially ascended the throne of Cochin in 1791 and he was the most powerful maharaja of Kochi. But years before becoming the maharaja, at the age of eighteen, his predecessor Rama Varma delegated the administrative authority of Cochin to him at the initiative of the Travancore Raja and the Dutch Governor.
The history of Cochin as a progressive princely state began with his reign. He ruled from 1769 to 1805 with a firm hand and his extensive reforms laid the foundation for a centralized system of administration. He was responsible for strengthening his kingdom and recapturing most of the territories that were taken away by neighboring rulers and for that, he earned the name Sakthan. He ended the powerful hold of feudal lords and the last Yogathiripad chosen by them was banished from Trissur in 1763 for siding with Samoothiri. Under his regime Cochin became a unified territory and enjoyed peace and prosperity.
In his late twenties he married Kuruppath Madhathil Parukutty amma from Trissur. She died after a few years, and years later he married Vadakke Karimpat Chimmukutty amma at the age of fifty.
He was the King of Cochin and his palace was in Thrissur. Thrissur is the cultural capital of Kerala and Sakthan Thampuran is the very architect of Thrissur city. Thrissur Pooram was introduced by him. He was fluent in several languages including Dutch. His Palace in Trissur known as the Sakthan Thampuran Palace was reconstructed in Kerala -Dutch architectural style in 1795. This palace of great historical, cultural and architectural importance is a heritage museum today.
Formerly this palace was known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam. The palace is spread over six acres. This palace is named after King Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran, who is the founder of Thrissur city.