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The Travancore Kingdom

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The erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore was a princely state in the Indian subcontinent, with its capital at Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum. The Kingdom of Travancore, ruled by the Travancore Royal Family, consisted most of southern Kerala, the Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of Tamil Nadu. Maharaja Marthanda Varma is regarded as the founder of "modern Travancore. Travancore and the princely state of Cochin united in 1949 to constitute the Indian state of Travancore-Cochin. Travancore-Cochin, later, merged with the Malabar district of the Madras State (modern day Tamil Nadu) in 1956 to form the Indian state of Kerala. The last Maharajah of Travancore was Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma.

We can come across certain distinctive and outstanding features in the recorded history of Travancore especially, related to its formation, and that of its geographical territory. One of the unique features was the religious and social tolerance which was witnessed during the period. The Jewish community settled in Travancore considered it to be the only safe haven on earth where they were free from all sorts of religious persecution. Christianity made its foray into Travancore at a significantly earlier period and is believed to have been propagated by one of the prominent disciples of Jesus Christ namely; St. Thomas, who reached here in 52 A.D.  Muslims regarded Travancore to be one among the few places where their messenger, Malik Dinar, was gladly welcomed. The Travancore royal family also donated vast acres of land and material for the construction of churches and mosques. Some of the major progressive social reforms of the period included the universality of education, temple entry permission for those considered as 'untouchables' and the high social status and freedom accorded to women.

The Kowdiar Palace in Travancore was highly renowned for the popularity of its rulers. The Kings of Travancore utilized only a meagre portion of their State's resources to their personal advantage. They were  noted,  especially, for their remarkable simplicity and whole-hearted devotion to their subjects. As they spent a good portion of the State's revenue for the benefit of the public, they were well- loved by their subjects.

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