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The Thampis are the sons of the Samanthan Nair Maharajahs of Travancore and their morganatic wives belonging to Illathu Nair or other similar Kshatriya castes. They form a part of the Nair caste (even if the mother is a Rajput or some other non-Nair, as in the case of the Kunju Thampies) and had no title of succession to the throne.


Since the Varma kings or Maharajahs of South Kerala (Travancore) also belong to the warrior race of the Nairs, they followed the matrilineal system (Marumakkathayam) of inheritance. Hence when a king died his sister's son would become the next Varma (Samanthan Nair) ruler and his own son born of his wife, usually of the Illathu Nair caste would be called Thampi with the title "Kannaku Chempakaraman" which was also one of the highest titles of nobility in Travancore.

All of the Maharajahs' female descendants were known by the style of Kochamma or Thankachi added to their name. The sons, as mentioned, were styled Thampis with the title of Kanakku Chempakaraman. Since the Marumakkathayam law of matrilineal inheritance existed in Travancore, the sons of these Thampi gentlemen would, however, not gain any distinguishing title.

Families from where Maharajas got married are known as "Ammaveedus". Arumana Ammaveedu, Vadasseri Ammaveedu, Nagercoil Ammaveedu, Thiruvattar Ammaveedu, etc. are some of the prominent families in Trivandrum from where the Maharajas of Travancore married. The Rajahs of Travancore traditionally took...
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