Head of Travancore royal family dies at 91, Narendra Modi `saddened`
Maharaja Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Verma of the royal family of Travancore died of cardiac arrest.
Zee Media Bureau
Trivandrum: The titular Maharaja of Travancore Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma died of cardiac arrest on Monday.
He was 91 and the last ruling monarch of the royal family of Travancore. He is survived by a son and a daughter.
Uthradam Thirunal was admitted to a hospital on December 06 due to age-related illness, doctors said.
He will be cremated before sunset at the Kavadiyar Palace Grounds today. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was in Delhi for official work, has cut short his trip and will attend his funeral here.
Uthradom Thirunal was the younger brother of the last ruling monarch of the Travancore Kingdom Maharajah Chitra Thirunal Rama Varma.
Though having no real administrative power, he held the prestigious post of the custodian of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, billed as the richest temple in the country.
A Sanskrit scholar, England educated Marthanda Varma was a photography enthusiast and his memoir has a chapter entirely dedicated to royals from different parts of the world he had photographed.
The state government declared a public holiday as a mark of respect to the late Maharajah.
People from different walks of life turned up to pay last respects to the departed royal family head at the Levi Hall in the city where the body has been kept.
As soon as the news of his death came, tributes began pouring in.
Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi described Uthradom Thirunal as a kind, warm and erudite personality.
Saddened by demise of Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Travancore. His contribution to strengthen our culture will always be remembered.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2013
On microblogging website Twitter, Union minister Shashi Tharoor`s wife, Sunanda Pushkar, tweeted:
Deeply Sad The Maharaja Travancore Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma passed away . A wonderful gracious kind &loving person.shall miss him
— SunandaPTharoor (@sptvrock) December 16, 2013
Former Indian ambassador to the US and China, Nirupama Rao, tweeted:
Saddened by passing of Maharaja Sree Padmanabhadasa Marthanda Varma of erstwhile State of Travancore. Erudite, cultured, compassionate soul.
— Nirupama Rao (@NMenonRao) December 16, 2013