Experience the Mystique being the legacy
According to legend, the site of Thiruvananthapuram was once a jungle known as Anantan Kādu, this place gained prominence as the abode of Lord Padmanabha. The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th century, the presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent.
The name of the city of Thiruvananthapuram in Malayalam translates to "The City of Lord Ananta", referring to the deity of Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which is believed to be the world's richest temple.
Kings & Royalty offering gifts and contributions to temples was common in India, but dedicating the entire kingdom & ruling a kingdom on behalf of Lord Padmanabha as a servant (dasa) is unique to the Padmanabha swamy temple & the kingdom of Travancore.
Villa Maya’s story goes back many years to a time when Arumana ammaveedu held a prestigious place in the hearts of the kings of Travancore. Its tryst with royalty delves far beyond its 18th century avatar as a Dutch manor, dating back probably to the time when Maharajah Karthika Thirunal Dharma Raja shifted his capital from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) taking along with him his four wives one of whom belonged to the Arumana Ammaveedu.
The famous Arumana Ammaveedu was one of four Ammaveedus to rise to prominence towards the end of the 18th century. Ammaveedus were the residences of the consorts of the Maharajahs of Travancore in Trivandrum. The royal consorts were given the title Panapillai Amma and were entitled to certain royal privileges except the fortune of inheriting the throne.
The male members of ammaveedu families were called Thampi and the women were called Thankachi. The literal translation means brother and sister respectively. This indicated their position as relatives of the Royal House of Travancore. Marriage did not entitle consorts or their descendents with inheritance to the throne. The royal family of Travancore was strictly matrilineal meaning that the throne was inherited by the descendents of the king’s sister, and not by the king’s son or daughter.
Arumana ammaveedu has an interesting tale to tell. Like all ammaveedus it started off with humble beginnings gaining stature through marriage into the royal families of Travancore. The thankachis of Arumana Ammaveedu were the consorts to many kings, starting from Dharmaraja , Bala Rama Varma and Visakam Tirunal Rama Varma.
The original ammaveedu was an ettukettu, a traditional Kerala house with two courtyards. Parts of it were demolished and replaced by European architecture during the time of Maharaja Visakam Tirunal. In its renaissance as Villa Maya its fabled past continues to linger in its classical architecture, traditional cuisine and sophisticated style, mindful of its illustrious legacy.
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