THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma,the head of Travancore Royal family had a rare, three-century-old gift on his 90th birthday.
It was the affectionate greetings from the members of Singapetti zamindari family near Kuttalam when they were paying back the gratitude of their clan to Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the founder of Modern Travancore, for his magnanimity that saved their forefathers from the invasion by a rival principality. Saturday had many similar gifts in store for the thirteenth head of the Travancore Royal family. It was a day with a little difference for Uthradom Thirunal. He came for the routine morning ‘darsan’ of his deity, Sree Padmanabha in a white Rolls Royce, a birthday gift. The ‘darsan’ lasted for nearly 30 minutes from 7.20 a.m.
He was gifted with a memento by his personal staff at the temple before attending the ‘mrithyunjaya pooja’ at Bhajanappura. He had a simple breakfast at Krishnavilasom palace at Kottakkakam with some dignitaries including NRI businessman B R Shetty and singer G Venugopal. Then it was the turn of the staff members from all the palaces in the city to greet their master. More than a hundred of them stood in queue to gift him the twin rose bouquet. The lunch at Rengavilasom Palace was not as simple as his routine frugal meals, but sumptuous with ‘royal’ dishes. Nearly 400 people from various walks of life including bureaucrats, politicians,film stars and members of the royal family joined him for the ‘sadya’. Members of the erstwhile princely state of Puthukkotta also greeted the royal scion on his birthday. The city bestowed its gratitude in an affectionate manner at a meeting held at Nishagandhi open air auditorium at Kanakakkunnu. The year-long Navathy celebrations were inaugurated by Speaker G Karthikeyan.
It was attended by former Union Minister O Rajagopal, former Minister M Vijayakumar, Major Archbishop Baselios Mar Cleemis, Sivagiri Mutt president Swami Prakasananda, Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram director P Parameswaran, Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar and Shiv Sena leader M S Bhuvanachandran. Hariharan with his ghazals and U Sreenivas with his Mandolin flavoured the birthday fete. The birthday of the 55th Padmanbaha dasa in the Chera dynasty as per the Gregorian calendar would fall five more days later, on March 22.