(On the right) Maharaja of Travancore, Marthanda Varma (WikiCommons)
(On the right) Maharaja of Travancore, Marthanda Varma (WikiCommons)WikiCommons/S unnikrishnan

Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the titular head of the Travancore royal family, passed away in the early hours of Monday. He was 91.

Marthanda Varma died of age-related complications at a private hospital at 2.20 am on Monday.

Born to Maharani Sethuparvathi Bayi and Ravi Varma Koyi Thamapuran in 1922, Marthanda Varma was educated in the palace. Later, he graduated from the then Travancore University with specialization in Economics, Politics and History. The varsity honoured him with Moncombu Aandi Iyer Gold Medal for being the best student in Sanskrit, reported The Hindu.

Marthanda Varma took over as the head of the Travancore royal family, following the death of his elder brother Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma (the last ruling monarch of the kingdom of Travancore) in 1991.

He held the prestigious post as trustee of the famous Padmanabaswamy temple, which is deemed as the richest temple in the country.

Marthanda Varma would visit the temple at 7 am and even if he missed one day, he would be fined 157.35 as per traditional rules. He had been visiting the temple every day until his health conditions worsened.

The head of Travancore's royal family had varied interests including photography, sports and motoring. He has won trophies as an amateur horse rider and has even played table hockey, tennis, football and polo. He learned photography in 1934 and had taken several pictures.

Marthanda Varma has also reportedly clocked in his 40 lakh miles in his Mercedes Benz 180 D.

The body of Marthanda Varma has been placed at Levy Hall, which is adjacent to the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple for public homage. His body will be cremated at Kaudiar Palace at 3 pm. He is survived by two children, Padmanabha Varma and Parvati Devi.

Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, the nephew of Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, is the next in line to the throne. Sources have told The Times of India that Rama Varma will take to the throne, but might take some time as he has to give up his current position as MD (planning) at Aspin Wall and Co Ltd, Mangalore.