Raja Ravi Varma was the youngest brother of Raja Vera Kerala Varma ( Kashiyil Theepetta Thampuran). Both these Rajas got along well with the Dewan Sankara Variyar. But in 1856 Sankara Variyar died after a short illness. The picture below of the Raja has a caption in Malayalam stating that he ruled from 1855 to 1864. Historical records leave no doubt that he came to the Gadi ( Throne) in 1853 . The Malayalam caption also states that he died in the malayalam month of Makaram.
Venkata Rau succeeded as Dewan. Resident Cullen had demanded that the Dewan continue the same policies as his predecessor and at that time Cullen had been a powerful Resident of both the States. Venkata Rau had considerable interference from the Sarvadhi Kariakar Parameswara Pattar who had undue influence over the Raja. Raja started to demand removal of the Dewan and opposition to the Dewan grew rapidly and ultimately he was retired with pension in 1860. General Cullen also retired in 1860 after being the Resident for twenty years. Fortunately for the Raja and Cochin, the next Dewan, Mr. Sankunni Menon became a great administrator.
Charles Allen Lawson in 1861, published his book “British and Native Cochin” in London. This book gives a detailed account of various aspects of Cochin at that time. At the time of Raja RaviVarma his mother was the Valiyamma Thampuran and his four sisters and nine nieces constituted the female members of the Cochin Royal Family. Rama Varma, one of the nephews was the Elaya Raja and there were seven Princes. Thus there were 22 members in the Cochin Royal Family. Lawson adds “There is little probability of the extinction of this Family, for many years. On a few occasions such a circumstance has happened in the history of Cochin, and recourse been had to adoption from two other families distantly connected with that on the throne.” Lawson noted that the Raja receives an allowance of Rs 5500 per month, Rs 1000 for the mother and his sisters, Elaya Raja Rs 500 and to the First Prince Rs 250. In addition further grants are allowed by the Government. He also states that “The Raja has saved a handsome sum of money, and invested it (with the balance of a revenue of about nine or ten lacs) in East India Co.’s paper. His mother has a large interest in British solvency.”
Dewan Sankunni Menon 1860 - 1879
Sankunny Menon was the son of Shankara Variyar. He grew up amongst Cochinites all his life. They considered him almost perfect, well-educated, experienced under the British service, resourceful and handsome. For the first few years, he was handicapped by the machinations of Parameswara Pattar. He was able to work successfully with Raja Ravi Varma and his successor.
Raja died in 1864 and was succeeded by his nephew Raja Rama Varma.