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List of Marthandavarma characters

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List of Marthandavarma characters

The following is a list of characters from Marthandavarma, the 1891 historical novel by C. V. Raman Pillai; as well as its allusions to personalities from legends, history, and real life.


Marthanda Varma (Prince)

Marthanda Varma is also mentioned as Yuvarajavu (Prince). Marthanda Varma is described as a young man between 20 and 25 years of age with a heroic attire. He is the rightful heir to the throne after the period of king Rama Varma. He is generous towards the conspirators and shows unwillingness to take strict action against them as suggested by Ramayyan. He often disguises himself to evade the attackers. He shows great respect to Subhadra's words, pertains to which he releases Kudamon Pillai from detention, once he becomes the king.


Ananthapadmanabhan is also mentioned as Mad Channan / The Beggar / The Diglot / Dweller of Kasi / Shamsudeen. Ananthapadmanabhan is described as a young man of 22 years of age and an expert in disguise with superior fighting skills. He is the son of Thurumukhathu Pillai from his father’s relationship with another spouse following the relationship with Kudaman Pillai's maternal niece. He is the half-brother (younger) of Subhadra. He is in love with Parukutty of Chembakassery. He has been attacked and left for dead at Panchavan forest, however after being rescued by Pathan merchants, he disguises himself as Shamsudeen as well as a mad Channan and rescues Marthanda Varma from Mangoikkal and facilitates Hakkim to help the prince. He also introduces Mangoikkal Kuruppu to the Pathan people, and helps latter to learn Hindustani language.


Subhadra is also mentioned as Chembakam Akka. Subhadra is the daughter of Thirumukhathu Pillai and Kundamon Pillai's maternal niece. She is the half-sister of Ananthapadmanabhan. Subhadra is described as a woman of 25 years of age, who is as beautiful as a fairy. She was married to a relative of Kudamon Pillai, however they got separated after living together for six months as a relationship was forged between her and Padmanabhan Thambi. She is bold and determined to take revenge on those who spoiled her marital life. She helps Marthanda Varma to escape from the plans of conspirators. She is killed by Kudamon Pillai.

Padmanabhan Thambi

Padmanabhan Thambi is also mentioned as Shri Rayi Padmanabhan Thambi / Pappu Thambi / Thambi. Padmanabhan Thambi is the elder son of the king Rama Varma. Thambi is described as a man with well built body and fair complexion, he has an affinity to wear ornaments. He yearns for beautiful woman and has relationships with Sivakami and a parmaour of Ezhamkudi (Seventh house). He wants to become the next king, after the period of his father, Rama Varma. He desires to have Subhadra and Parukutty in relationships.


Sundrayyan is also mentioned as Pulamadan. Sunadaryyan, a man of 40 years, is the son of a Brahmin from Madurai and a Marava lady. He married the niece of Kalakkutty. He is described as main conspirator who contrives to make Thambi as the next king. He arranges the marriage proposal of Thambi to Parukutty. He is killed by Beram Khan at Manakkadu.


Parukutty is also mentioned as Parvathi Amma / Parvathi Pillai / Thankam. Parukutty is the daughter of Karthyayani Amma and Ugran Kazhakkoottathu Pillai. She is described as a beauty of 16 years of age with a considerable height. She is slim and fair as Magnolia champaca. She has studied Mathematics, Amarakosha and Sidharoopa. She is exceptionally fluent in reciting Ramayana in her sweet voice. She is in love with Ananthapadmanabhan. Padmanabhan Thambi wanted to have a relationship with her.

Beeram Khan

Maternal nephew of householder, who is a relative of Kudamon Pillai. He married Subhadra, with whom he breaks up after believing the false news about her relationships with other men, especially Padmanabhan Thambi. He later gets converted into Islam as Beeram Khan and marries Fathima. When Ananthapadmanabhan is found at Panchavan forest, he persuades to nurse after seeing the former's resemblance to his first wife. He kills Sundarayyan for the deeds, latter did to separate him from Subhadra.

Velu Kurup

An ace fighter, swordsman, lancer, who is an utmost loyalist of Padmanabhan Thambi. He attacked Ananthapadmanabhan at Panchavan forest. He tries to kill Marthanda Varma at Charottu Palace, Mangoikkal house, and on the way to the palace of prince. One of his ears is sliced down by Ananthapadmanabhan, also gets killed by him at dungeon at Sree Pandarathu house.

Mangoikkal Kurup

Mangoikkal Kurup is also mentioned as Iraviperuman Kandan Kumaran Kurup. Mangoikkal Kurup is head of Mangoikkal family. He offers shelter for Marthanda Varma and Parameswaran Pillai while evading Velu Kurup. He arranges for additional forces under his nephews to support Marthanda Varma.

Marthanda Varma

Marthanda Varma, who is distinctively known as Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, ascended to the throne of Venad in 1729, and thereafter expanded the kingdom to form the state of Travancore. At the age of one, he lost his parents among whom, his father was a Kilimanoor Koithampuran who, died of severe fever and his mother was adapted to Venad royal family during the period of Umayamma Rani from Kolathunadu. The novel does not give any explicit references to the hereditary roots of Marthanda Varma. In the novel, he refers king Rama Varma as his maternal uncle and refers Kilimanoor Koithampuran, who sacrificed his life for saving the little prince Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma from the plans of Ramanamadathil Pillai, as elder brother.

Thambi Duo

Thambi duo or Thambimar or Thambi brothers refers to the two sons of king Rama Varma. In the royal edicts, Mathilakam Records, the sons of king Rama Varma are mentioned as Kunchu Thambi and Ilaya Thambi for elder and younger brothers respectively. In royal edicts it is also mentioned that, they had a paterfamilias named Kumara Pillai. P. Shangoony Menon stated their names as Papu Thambi and Raman Thambi in the History of Travancore from the Earliest Times, whereas in The Sketch of Progress of Travancore, Dewan Nanoo Pillai stated that they were commonly known as Coonju Thambimar and their names are Pulpu Thumbi and Raman Thambi. In the folk songs and ballads the elder one is mentioned as Valiya Thambi and younger one is Kunju Thambi, and also mentions that their mother’s name as Abhirami or Kittanathalamma and they have a younger sister named Kochumani Thanka or Kochu Madamma. In the novel the elder brother is Pappu Thambi alias Padmanabhan Thambi, whereas the younger brother is Raman Thambi. In the biography of author, C. V. Raman Pillai, it is mentioned that the caretaker of the author in his childhood, Kesavan Thambi Karyakkar had two sons named Padmanabhan Thambi and Raman Thambi, with whom author had grown up. The novel mentions about Padmanabhan Thambi's mother as deceased during the timeline of the novel and did not link her to Raman Thambi, about whom Padmanabhan Thambi raises the concern of being upset, if he is to claim the throne through lineal descent system implying that Raman Thambi is equally eligible like him for the throne as possibly born to a different mother.

Ananthan / Ananthapadmanabhan

Ananthapadmanabhan was a warrior and expert in martial arts who played a pivotal role in defending the plans of conspirators against Marthanda Varma. According to Prof. N. Krishna Pillai and Prof. Anandakkuttan Nair, Ananthapadmanabhan served in the Travancore forces somewhere after Kollavarsham 904 (Gregorian Calendar: 1729) and he was awarded with royal properties in Kollavarsham 920 (1745). According to Dr. A. P. Ibrahim Kunju the award of royal properties happened in 1748. Ananthapadmanabhan was born as Ananthan Perumal to Thanumalaya Perumal and Lakshmi Devi in Sanror clan, he was affectionately addressed as Padmanabhan by his maternal uncle. In the novel, the author did not affirm the caste of Ananthapadmanabhan, by not providing any details of his mother and he is not been referred as a Pillai or Nair throughout the novel, even though he is described as the son of Thirumukhathu Pillai. The name of character’s love interest in the novel, Parukkutty alias Parvathi Amma is in reminiscence of the name of real life of spouse of Ananthan, Parvathi Ammal. Ananthapadmanabhan is been referred as Ananthapadmanabha Pillai in the ballads about Thambi brothers and referred as Ananthan in other ballads such as Aṉantan Pāṭṭŭ and Ōṭṭan Katai. In the novel, alter ego of the character named Shamsudeen dwells with the Pathans at Manacaud. The author of the novel, C. V. Raman Pillai happened to go for an expedition to Hyderabad following a heatbreak due to unfulfilled love. In Hyderabad, the author was staying with some Muslim people and was suggested to get married to a Muslim lady after getting converted to Islam. The characterization of Shamsudeen is in resemblance with the experiences of the author.

Rama Varma

Rama Varma was the ruler of Venad during Kollavarsham 899-903. He is a descendant of Kolathunadu kingdom, from where he was adopted to Travancore royal family during the period of Umayamma Rani. He was adopted along with Unni Kerala Varma and other two ladies, among whom one became the mother of Marthanda Varma. P. Shangoony Menon and V. Nagam Aiya state that the four members were provided from Kolathunadu to Travancore family on the request of Umayamma Rani. T. K. Velu Pillai states that they were adopted by Ravi Varma in Kollavarsham 863. Rama Varma is the father of Thambimar and he succeeded his brother and ascend to the throne of Venad in Kollavarsham 899. According to T. K. Velu Pillai, Rama Varma was a weak ruler and his reign led to the disorganization of political life in Travancore. He died due to short illness in 1729. In the novel he is presented as bedridden due to illness and dies during the story.

Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma

Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma also known as Dharmaraja ascend to the throne of Travancore in Kollavarsham 933 succeeding Marthanda Varma. He was born in Kollavarsham 899 as the son of a Kilimanoor Thampuran and Attingal Queen, who was adopted as a princess to Travancore royal family from Kolathunadu during the period of Ravi Varma. The novel presents only in his childhood age.

Queen of Attingal

Senior Queen of Attingal, who was the mother of Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. She was adopted to Travancore royal family from Kolathunadu kingdom in Kollavarsham 893 during the period of king Ravi Varma. She gave birth to Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma from the alliance with a lord of Kilmanoor in Kollavarsham 899. In the novel, she is been referred as an unnamed royal mother only along with her son, Rama Varma.

Kilimanoor Thampurans

Kilimanoor Thampurans are the lords of Kilimanoor house, which is situated north to the Thriruvananthapuram. According to V. Nagam Aiya, the house of Kilimanoor has been loyally and honorably connected with Travancore royal family, as the male members of family are chosen for alliance with the queens of Travancore. In the novel two lords of Kilimanoor are mentioned; one referred as Kilimanoor Kerala Varma and another as Kilimanoor Koithampuran among whom, former is the one who sacrifices his life in defending against the plans to endanger the little prince Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma and the mother, whereas the latter one guards the little prince and mother during the attempt to coup d'état by Thambi brothers and Ettuveettil Pillai's at Thiruvananthapuram.

Ettuveettil Pillais / Ettuveetil Pillamar

Ettuveettil Pillais or Ettuveettil Pillamar refers to the chiefs of eight noble Nair families in the yesteryear Venad (Travancore). They were one of the main groups who conspired against the accession of Marthanda Varma. In the royal edicts, one of the Ettuveetiil Pillais mentioned in the novel, Kudamon Pillai is referred among one of the groups of conspirators prevailed against Marthanda Varma. According to Dr. P. Venugopalan, Ettuveettil Pillais mentioned in the novel are based on the verses from Sree Veera Marthandavarmacharitham Aattakatha, which was published during 1883–1884 by P. Govinda Pillai. In the novel except for Thirumadathil Pillai, all other titles of Ettuveettil Pillais are in reminiscence of the references made in the verses, an extract from which is also given as an epigraph to the eleventh chapter of the novel. P. Shangoony Menon stated the eight titles of Ettuveettil Pillais. V. Nagam Aiya states that their titles are the names of the villages they headed and not their family names. According to P. Shangunny Menon, Madambies or Madampimar, the petty chiefs who were confederates of Ettuveettil Pillais, by whom the former group were influenced to become a powerful combination with the latter group. In the Malayalam translation of History of Travancore from the Earliest Times, C. K. Kareem claims that Ettuveettil Pillais were gradually grown as Madambies, even though it conflicts with the source material. Dewan Nanoo Pillai refers that Madampimars and Ettuveettil Pillais were the hereditary enemies of Marthanda Varma. T. K. Velu Pillai calims that Ettuveettil Pillais are mistaken for the Madathil Pillais, who were entrusted to manage the properties of six madams or areas; and that the chiefs or leaders were Ettuveettil Madambimar and not Ettuveettil Pillamar. He also claims that Kulathur Pillai and Kazhakkoottathu Pillai were mentioned as Pillais of six houses including the name of a Tamilian in the royal edicts, even though there are no such explicit informations in the referred royal edicts, Mathilakam Records – M. Doc. CXXX. Dr. Ibrahim Kunju cites the references of conspiracy by Pillais in the British records, Letters to Tellicherry. In the novel, Ettuveettil Pillais play as main supporters of Padmanabhan Thambi by framing and executing lethal plans against Marthanda Varma, and one of the Pillais, Kudamon Pillai is killed by Ananthapadmanabhan.

Arukkoottathil Pillais

Arukkoottathil Pillais or Arukoottathil Pillamar refer to members of wealthy noble Nair families prevailed in the yesteryear Travancore. In the royal edicts, it is mentioned that, a set of six members of them are found among the conspirators during the period of Marthanda Varma. In the novel, they are presented as a Thambi clan, Aruveettukar, who stood along with Thirumukhathu Pillai.


Ramayyan or Rama Iyen, better known as Ramayyan Dalawa was the prime minister of Travancore during Kollavarsham 912-931, the period in which the most successful conquests under Marthanda Varma were accomplished. He joined the Travancore ministerial service as a Kuṭṭi Paṭṭar (minor Brahmin assistant), later got promoted as under secretary (Rayasom) and then state secretary following the accession of Marthanda Varma, who made him Dalawa after the demise of Thanu Pillai. In the novel, he is presented as a supporter and adviser to Marthanda Varma, whom he accompanies during the final coup by Thambi brothers. It is also mentioned in the novel that Ramayyan was promoted for Rayasom work by king Rama Varma.


Narayanayyan or Naraayana Iyen was the assistant of Ramayyan, while the latter was state secretary. He assisted Ramanyyan in the deputation to explain and convince Azhagappa Mudaliyar regarding the accession tradition and respective stratum prevailed in Travancore. In the novel he is presented as a royal servant under whom, the forces from Kilimanooor are arranged in support to Marthanda Varma.

Arumukham Pillai

Arumukham Pillai was the acting Dalawa of Venad during Kollavarsham 901-903, and became Dalawa after the accession of Marthanda Varma, to continue in his post till 909. He was once detained by mercenary forces from Madurai due to incomplete payment of their arrears against their service as additional forces to Travancore. The novel presents only his detention by Madurai forces at Boothapandi.

Mangottu Assan

Mangottu Assan is the head of a family at Mancode and one of the masters of 108 Kalaries (martial arts schools) prevailed in Venad. In the ballad Ōṭṭan Katai, it is mentioned that his house was burned down by Kunchukkoottam (men of Kunchu Thambi). In the novel, he is presented as Mangoikkal Kuruppu whose house is burned down by the men of Padmanabhan Thambi, as Marthanda Varma took shelter there.

Valiya Sarwadhi Karyakkar and Sarwadhi Karyakkar

Valiya Sarwadhi Karyakkar is the title for administrative head of Travancore and Sarwadhi Karyakkar is the title for a district officer under Valiya Sarwadhi Karyakkar. During the period of king Rama Varma, Valiya Sarwadhi Karyakkar was under the direct orders of king. In the novel, Valiya Sarwadhi Karyakkar is mentioned to have a wife who is on rest, post the delivery of a newborn, a daughter who is pregnant for ten months, and a niece who is ill. Sarwadhi Karyakkar in the novel is one of those people, who suspects about the actions of Marthanda Varma during the night in which, Shankarachar is killed.

Chadachi Marthandan

According to Dr. P. Venugopalan, Chadachi Marthandan is mentioned in the legends as the one who becomes the supporter of Marthanda Varma, even though earlier he was with the conspirators. Dr. N. Ajithkumar notes the references in the legends that the house of Chadachi Marthandan was located at Chulliyur. In the novel he is presented as Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pillai, who is a servant of Thirumukhathu Pillai and later take sides with the Ettuveettil Pillais.

Madurai Forces

Madurai forces are the mercenaries sent to Travancore as per the agreement of king Rama Varma and Madurai Nayaks of Thiruchirapalli in Kollavarsham 901. T. K. Velu Pillai argues that, there could not be any such agreement, but agrees with detention of Arumukham Pillai by the mercenaries. In the novel they are presented as camped at Boothapandi, where Dalawa Arumukham Pillai is kept under detention.

Subardra, one of the pivotal characters of the novel is based on the character of author’s wife, Bhageerithi Amma. The character of Thirumukhathu Pillai is based on the caretaker and patron of the author, Nangoikkal Kesavan Thambi, who was a Karyakkar (Administrative head of a Taluk) in Travancore. In the novel, there is reference to an Arcot Nawab, who gifted Hakkim for the latter’s medical excellence. There is also reference to a namboothiripad of Akavoor family, and presented as famous for sorcery meant for protective measures against bad luck and danger. There is also a reference to an unnamed Sultan of Turkey, with whom the character of Ugran Kazhakkoottathu Pillai is been compared with. There is a reference to the look of members of Tiruvallā Pōṯimār (Brahmins of ten houses at Thiruvalla); with which the attire of prince Marthanda Varma at Charottu palace is been compared with.


List of Marthandavarma characters Wikipedia