Contribution of Travancore to Karnatic Music

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Item Code: NAG967
Author: Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy
Publisher: Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Kerala
Language: English
Edition: 2004
Pages: 60 (Through out colourful Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 inch X 11.0 inch
Weight 200 gm
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International interest in Kerala increases year by year; the number of cultural tourists shows a proportionate increase. Apart from the geographical peculiarities, scenic beauty and varied cuisines, they, as a rule, show particular interest in the cultural heritage of the region. And the Department of Information and Public Relations has been sensitivised to this growing demand, and has taken active steps to document our rich heritage. A series of books and records in the audio-visual media, depicting the various aspects of our culture and its impact and reflection in art, fine arts, performing arts, architecture, is in the pipeline, and this is a part of the series. The Department has no tall claim that this is a complete, comprehensive or exhaustive work. Here the author concentrates on the contributions of Travancore, especially royal household, to Karnatic music: Of course there are some passing references to those from other parts of Kerala. The valuable contributions of the great artists and patrons of art from Kochi and Malabar region will be compiled and published shortly. By the time Kerala and the Information and Public Relations Department turn fifty in 2006, we sincerely hope that books detailing all the different aspects of our rich tradition and cultural heritage can be published. We wholeheartedly welcome constructive criticism, valuable suggestions and realistic comments on this work.


Kerala, the beautiful land of music, dance, folklore, drama and other art forms possesses a rich cultural heritage and tradition. Generation after generation, Travancore royal household extended patronage for art forms of Kerala. They dedicated themselves for the promotion of art forms, especially music and dance.

The book titled 'Contribution of Travancore to Karnatic Music' deals with the style of music prevalent in Travancore. The origin and development of music such as temple music and Karnatic music in Kerala and the influence of temples on Karnatic music are brought to the lime light.

The book concentrates on the contributions of kings of Travancore to the propagation of music and dance in Travancore. More importance is given to His Highness Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma, Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma Maharaia and other prominent kings. Contributions made by lrayimman Thampi, Kurtikunju Thankachi and K.C. Kesava Pillai are also being dealt with.

Further, the invaluable contributions of the scholars, often qualified as the gems of the royal court of His Highness Swathi Thirunal Maharaja are also mentioned.

The work is concluded with brief descriptions of modern composers and musicians who have played a prominent role in the development and propagation of Karnatic music in Travancore.

I would like to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to my gurus, teachers and scholars whose books and articles I have used for reference. I also express my sincere thanks to the Secretary and Director, Information & Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala for this assignment.

Last but not least, I am thankful to all music lovers and promoters of Karnatic music who have come forward with valuable suggestions.


1Temples as centres of music8
2Origin and development of music in Kerala15
3Royal patronage to Karnatic music22
4H.H. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma Maharaja29
5Musical clusters of Swathi Thirunal38
6Gems of scholars in the court of H. H. Swathi Thirunal42
7Modern composers50
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