BOOK - Travancore: The Footprints of Destiny

Jan 01, 2014 | Vol 6, Issue 1
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Published in 2010, the book is an extraordinary work among the chronicles of the amazing history of Travancore. It is literally a work from within.

My life and times under the grace of lord Padmanabha as told to Uma Mahesrari
Author: HH Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma
Publishers: Konark Publishers  Pvt Ltd,  A-149, Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092
Pages: 274, Price: Rs.2000/-

Published in 2010, the book is an extraordinary work among the chronicles of the amazing history of Travancore. It is literally a work from within. That is a fine blend of historiography and autobiography. The author, H H Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma was the titular Maharaja of Travancore, till he passed away on 16 Dec 2013. The Maharaja rendered his life story from the larger perspective of the historical forces that have shaped the life and times of Travancore during the past millennia. The Maharaja has had the rare privilege of witnessing history from close quarters, especially during the time his elder brother his highness Sri Chithira Thirunal was the king of Travancore. His story evocatively traces the evolution of Travancore into one of pre-independent India's most progressive princely states. The rulers of Travancore have regarded themselves as Padmanabha Dasas, or the vassals of the deity. Throughout the rendition of the exceptional history of Travancore and his own story, the benign presence of Sree Padmanabhaswami reinforces the narrative. Therefore, more than dispassionate history, the book is an exceptionally intimate evocation of history.

The book will add considerable value to the Travancore's historiography through an unusual autobiography as told to Uma Maheswari who helped the Maharaja to record history seen live. As a freelance journalist and writer, Uma has contributed to several national and international publications. Her father was an employee of the Padmanabhaswami temple and so the temple has been central to Uma's life and times. Presently she works at the University of Kerala.

H H Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, an erudite and a scholar in Sanskrit, formally assumed the title 'Maharaja' in 1991 after the passing away of his elder brother H H Chihira Thirunal. Born in 1922, Maharaja graduated from the erstwhile Travancore University and led a very active social life. His residence is Pattom Palace in Thiruvananthapuram. 

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