Kerala PSC - Dharma Raja (1758 - 1798)

Dharma Raja (1758 - 1798)

  • Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma who is known to history as the Dharma Raja, succeeded Marthanda Varma on the throne of Travancore.

  • He was helped by distinguished statesmen as Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai and Raja Kesava Das who served as Chief Ministers.

  • The re-organisation of the revenue department and the division of the state into three revenue units 'Tekkemukham', 'Vadakke-mukham' and 'Padinjaremukham' was done by Marthanda Pillai.

  • Built the famous 'Nedumkotta' or Travancore lines in Central Kerala to prevent the incursion of the Mysorean army.

  • Travancore came to be called Dharma Rajyam (Land of Charity) during his reign.

  • The work of revenue collection was systematised and proper accounts were kept. Varkala was developed into the nucleus of a flourishing town by Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai.

  • Raja Kesava Das was the first Chief Minister of Travancore who assumed the title 'Diwan'. He was referred to by his countrymen as 'Valia Diwanji'.

  • He proved himself to be a talented administrator. He took special steps to develop agriculture and industries. Irrigation works were executed and fresh lands were brought under cultivation. Needy agriculturists were helped with loans and remission of taxes.

  • Special attention was bestowed on the development of ports. The existing ports like Colachel and Poontura were improved. Vizhinjam was developed into a small port.

  • Open a new port at Aleppey. A timber depot was also opened at Aleppey with a view of its commercial importance.

  • A network of canals and roads were opened with a view to provide facilities for export and import trade. The Chalai bazar was designed by him.

  • Kottar in South Travancore was developed into an important commercial town.

  • Raja Kesava Das also completed the construction of the Gopuram of the Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple.

  • He bestowed personal attention on the development of Trivandrum city.
  • Governor General, Lord Mornigton conferred on the Diwan the title "Raja Kesava Das".

  • Dharma Raja shifted his capital from Padmanabhapuram to Trivandrum
  • He is also known by the name 'Kizhavan Raja'.
  • Dharma Raja founded the 'Kottaram Kathakali Yogam and introduced the Southern School of Kathakali (Tekkan Kalari).

  • 'Nalacharitam' was composed by Unnayi Warrier.
  • Dharma Raja held a Panditha Sadass or council of learned men.

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