Rama Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran is all set to complete 100 years of his royal life. He is not as sharp as he was, his hearing capability has seen a drop and he needs aid in walking around. However, he still insists on being independent, setting role model to the royal family and others. Rama Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran is the senior most member of the Cochin royal family and will celebrate his 100th birthday on June 4 at Kalikotta Palace in Tripunithura.
Thampuran, like his eminent predecessors, remains a worthy proof of chivalrous royalty. His politeness and down-to-earth attitude stand out as his best characteristic features. An avid reader and a sportsman, he is also known as ‘Sixer Thampuran’.
During his youth, his keen interest in sports has inspired many. For Rama Varma, any sports activity started with cricket. He had participated in the Ranji Trophy matches held in Thiruvananthapuram and was the captain of the Tripunithura Cricket Club. He was a pace bowler as well as a hard hitting batsman. He was known for hitting sixes and hence, earned the nickname ‘Sixer Thampuran’. Apart from cricket, he loved tennis and was an active member of Trivandrum Tennis Club. He was a regular at tennis matches including Davis Cup matches.
The ‘Sixer Thampuran’ is now residing with his youngest daughter Radhika Sankunny. She says, “He still remembers poems of Vallathol Narayana Menon. He used to recite poems to his grand children. Also, he has been a voracious reader and was a member of all major libraries in Thiruvananthapuram. Being an ardent literary buff who enjoyed both Malayalam and English literature, he spend most of his time reading. He has told me that his favourite authors are Thomas Hardy and Tolstoy.”
Regarding the secret behind the Thampuran’s health, Radhika says, “He maintains a disciplined lifestyle and follows a strict diet, something that the present generation should take notice of. He loved driving, which he did till he was 78.”
Kochaniyan Thampuran can only remember few sepia tinted images and incidents of his eventful past. He was born to Kunnathoor Padinjaredathu Sankaran Bhattathiripad and Kunjikavu Thampuran (Nallamma) of Lakshmi Thoppu Palace on June 2, 1912.
His memorable childhood and schooling was in Tripunithura. Though he remembers that he completed his intermediate from Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam and graduated in commerce from Calcutta University, he has forgotten further details regarding his college days.
Thampuran got married 73 years ago to Saradamani, the granddaughter of the erstwhile Maharaja of Cochin Ravi Varma who ruled from 1943 to 1945 and daughter of Rama Varma Kochunni Thampuran. About her husband, Sharadamani says, “I am blessed to spent a long and satisfying married life with the Thampuran.”