The British had made fun of the dream of railway line by selling royal property

The British had made fun of the dream of railway line by selling royal property

Image Source : AP


  • Railway project budget 64,000 crore
  • The first steam train reached Ernakulam with passengers on 6 July 1902.
  • Sri Poornatharaisa was the totem of the then Cochin kings.

ROYAL FAMILY KOCHIN: The debate is yet to end whether Kerala can afford the huge budget for the proposed Silver Line semi-high speed rail corridor, but the state government has made it clear that it will not stop the multi-crore project at any cost. A similar situation had arisen here a century ago, when an infrastructure project worried a princely state, and the visionary king sold his palace elephant gold jewelery to make his dream a reality. fund was earned. When the first passenger train passed through the newly constructed Shoranur-Cochin railway line on 6 July 1902, it was followed by the hard work of the then king, who had dreamed of seeing a train running in his princely state.

The British had made fun

This progressive king was none other than the then Maharaja of Cochin, Ram Varma Panchadasa. It is said that when he went to the British with a proposal to annex his small princely state with Shoranur, he ridiculed him. The border of Shoranur was with the then princely state of Malabar, ruled by the British District Magistrate. The British did not take the king and his proposal seriously because they felt that a princely state like Cochin could not afford the budget for railway line construction. Even in the 19th century, its budget was in lakhs of rupees. According to a souvenir published by the Kochi Municipal Corporation, Varma surprised the British by raising substantial funds by selling 14-15 gold ornaments of the palace elephants housed in the famous Sri Poornatharaisa temple in Tirupunithura here.

There was no money to lay the railway line
Sri Poornatharaisa was the totem of the then Cochin kings. The king, who had a firm intention for the railway line, also sold the ornaments of some of the surrounding temples and donated the currency reserves of the palace. An article published in Souvenir states that at that time there was a railway line from Madras to Shoranur. The people of Cochin also loved to hear the sound of the train but what to do? There was no money. The souvenir states that the Maharaja of Cochin came up with a solution and collected funds for the railway line. It said that there were 15 thanga nettipattams (crowns of gold) in the Sri Poornathraisa temple during that time. Among them 14 crowns, ornaments from some nearby temples and money from the palace were used for the railway line.

50 lakh rupees were given to fulfill the dreams
Thus the first steam train reached Ernakulam with passengers on 6 July 1902. In his autobiography Sir Sri Ram Varma Rajarshi, his grandson IKK Menon said that the king had given 50 lakh rupees to realize the dream of a railway line. Eminent historian MG Shashibhushan told PTI-Bhasha, Raja Ram Varma Panchadasa is actually an unsung hero. He is the man who paved the way for the construction of the Chalakudy Forest Tramway, which was built for the transportation of timber and passengers. He was also the builder of the city of Chalakudy.

Railway project budget 64,000 crore
Congress MLA K. Babu, who represents Thripunithura constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly, said the kings of Cochin were known for their humility, simple lifestyle and welfare measures taken for the people. He pointed out that the royal families of Cochin were not richer than their counterparts in other erstwhile princely states. He said that Ram Verma’s move to raise money for the railway line by selling the properties of the royal family, including elephant accessories, is one of the best examples for the welfare and development of the people. An estimated Rs 64,000 crore budget has been earmarked for the Left government’s ambitious Silver Line rail project.

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