About the Fort
- Originally constructed as a mud fort during Venadu King Sri Vira Ravivarma’s period (1565-1607).
- It was reconstructed with stone during the reign of King Marthanda Varma (1729-1758), the maker of modern Travancore.
- When Marthanda Varma decided to strengthen all the forts of his kingdom, he assigned the task to De Lonnony, who was defeated and captured in a war at Colachel.
- The king was fascinated by De Lonnoy’s appearance and asked him to train his bodyguards in modern warfare. He gradually gained the confidence of the king and reached the position of the Commander-in-Chief of the Travancore Army.
- An iron foundry was established at the Udayagiri Fort where cannons, mortars and balls were cast, and all the batteries were supplied with the necessary pieces of artillery
Why in News?
Conservation work for Udayagiri Fort has started.
Battle of Colachel
- The Battle of Colachel (or Battle of Kulachal) was fought on 10 August 1741 between the Indian kingdom of Travancore and the Dutch East India Company, during the Travancore-Dutch War. Travancore, under Raja Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company.
- The defeat of the Dutch by Travancore is considered the earliest example of an organised power from Asia overcoming European military technology and tactics. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India
Travancore Royal Family
- The Travancore royal family follows the Matrilineal inheritance. Marumakkathayam or the matrilineal system with inheritance and succession through the sisters’ children in the female line
- Maharajah Marthanda Varma dedicated (Thrippadidanam) the Kingdom of Travancore to his family deity Sri Padmanabhaswamy and ruled the kingdom as the servant of that deity. Travancore as a whole, thus became the property of Sri Padmanabhaswamy, the deity of the Travancore royal family
- Prominence of Thrippadidanam in modern day social/political setup-
- Separation of the newly formed “unitary kingship” (and political power) from the disputes and frictions in civil society.
- Formalisation of the new power structure in Travancore.
- To integrate the existing social divisions in Kerala under the emerging power structure
- Swathi Thirunal was one of the most popular rulers of the Travancore Royal Family in the 19th century. He made contributions both in the field of administration as well as music.
- The reign of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma brought about revolutionary reforms like the Temple Entry Proclamation, Free and Compulsory education for all etc
Channar Lahala or the Upper Cloth Mutiny (Maaru Marakkal Samaram)- Right to cover Breasts
- Widely seen as the transformative event that triggered a wave of renaissance movements that shaped modern Kerala. The breast tax or the Mula Karam, which was one among the many oppressive taxes levied on the lower caste, meant that a woman was granted the right to cover her breasts only if she paid a fee to the government
- Travancore Maharaja Aayilyam Thirunal made an official declaration granting lower caste Nadar/Channar women the right to cover their breasts.
- Interestingly, this is one of the few examples where the success of the Nadar women (lower caste) inspired higher caste women to adopt a dress code of their choice. Brahmin ladies could not wear upper body cloth while at home. Though they were allowed to cover their breasts while venturing out, they had to remove it in the temple, in front of the idol. In the case of Nair women ( higher in the caste ladder ), they could not cover their breasts in front of Brahmins( highest in the case ladder)
Sri PadmanabhaSwamy Temple
- The Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital of Kerala, India. The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the Chera style and the Dravidian style of architecture, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century gopura.
- The principal deity Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu) is enshrined in the “Anantha Shayana” posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the serpent Adi Shesha.
- Recently, the Supreme Court of India upheld the right of the Travancore royal family to manage the property of deity at Sri PadmanabhaSwamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The Supreme Court (SC) reversed the 2011 Kerala High Court decision. High Court earlier ruled that the successor to the erstwhile royals could not claim to be in control of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple after the amendment of definition of “Ruler” in Article 366 (22)
- The Supreme Court held that the erstwhile Travancore royal family is the “human ministrant” or the shebait (manager) of the properties belonging to Sri Padmanabha, chief deity of the famed and fabulously rich Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.
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