This interesting country was known under different names at different periods of its history. Vanchidesam or the land of treasure ; DHarma Bhoomi or the land of charity ; Vanavav" nad, abridged into Venaiidy or the land of the celestial ; Tripapur or the land of the bearers of the sacred feet ; Rama Rajyam or the kingdom of Rama Rajah and Kerala or the land of coconut palms, are some of the names.
Travancore may be from of the Sanskrit Srivardhanapuri or the land where the Goddess of prosperity resides.
It is a tributary Native State situated in the southwest extremity of the Madras
Boundaries. — It is bounded on the North by the Cochin State and the Coimbatore District ; on the East by the Madura and Tianevelly Districts ; and on the South and West by the Arabian Sea
. Area and Population. —
The extreme length from North to South is 172 miles and its extreme breadth is 76 miles, the total area is 6,370 Sq. miles.
The population of Travancore according to the recent Census is 29,52,157.
Relation with Foreign Power. — The State is in subsidiary alliance with the British Government to which it pays an annual tribute of 8 lakhs of Rupees.
Officially, however,- the State is " an ally under the suzerainty of His Majesty '\ This was settled by the Treaty of 1805 which has placed on a permanent basis of security, for all .time to come, the treaty of perpetual friendship
country is buttressed on the east by a chain of mountains 200 miles long, generally spoken of as the Western Ghats.The average altitude of these summits is 4,000 feet.At several points, they rise to an elevation of over 8000 feet above the sea. They slope in successive tiers towards the tableland,
Further south, are the Cardamom Hills and the Peermed plateau. . In the former, cardamoms which was till quite recently a State-monopoly, grows abundantly, and the latter is called after the Mahomedan Saint, Peer Mohamed, who is said to have resided there
Beyond these, the range descends to the Shencotta pass. Here it ia only 800 feet high, but rises to 4000 leet further south and stretches for over 60 miles. Its termination is
Agastiakudom or the abode of Agastia,
one of the seven sages who, having escaped at the flood of Manu, is supposed to have dwelt apart in proud isolation on the top of this peak where popular tradition considers him to reside even to this day. Its height is 9150 feet and on this was built,
in 1854, an Observatory under the direction of Mr. Brown who recorded meteorological observ-ations for a long time.
The southern most peak of the Travancore Ghats is Mahendragiri.the other peaks of note are Amarthamala, Kodayathur Mala, Nedumpara Mala, Papanasa Mala, Marithva Mala and the Peria Mala.
Its enormous volume of water is now diverted into Madura by the Periyar water- works for which the Durbar has leased out to the Britiah Government over 8,000 acres of land above the river-line for a consideration of 40,000 Rupees. It is worthy of note that Mr. Nelson records, in his. '' Madura Manual", that this project was under contemplation even during the days of the Madura Naicks".
Proceeding South, the next is the Muvattu- puzhai river;Then comes the Meenachil river
formed by the confluence at Errattupettah of several streams that descend from Kodayattur and Kodamurutti hills, pours its waters into the Vembanad lake- which is the reservoir of the copious tribute of many large rivers.
Then comes the Pamba or Banni river which is one of the finest streams of Travancore. It owes much of its waters to the confluence of the three large streams. — Kallar, Kakkattar, and Pamba, which have their sources in the hilly tract above the Ranni. About 20 miles above the mouth it unites with the Achenkoil or Kula- kada river which issues from the foot of the pass of the same name. Five miles down, this rapid stream is joined by the Manimala river which proceeds from the Peermade plateau .Further south is the Kallada, the third largest river
It flows into the Ashtamudi lake by several mouths which, in some parts, are 300 yards wide.
The Ittikarai is a less important stream which flows into the Parur Lake,
while farther south we have the Attangal river called also Bhavanipuram.
We have again the Karamanal river and the Neyyar; both of which have their sources at the Agastya slopes, and discharge themselves into the sea — the one near Poonthura and the other near Poovar The former has a bridge remarkable for its strength. It was opened on l7th December 1853. Its architecture is so perfect that it has never re- quired any beyond slight repairs.
The river that next claims attention is the Thamravarni Which descends from the mountains north of the Mahendra- giri peak. Several dams divide and divert its waters for irrigation purposes. To it, Nanjanaud which is justly known as the granary of the South, owes inuch of its fertility. It forms several water-falls during its course. One of these falls is near Tri- parap, renowned for an old Siva shrine. It receives the Kothai that comes down from the Mulanchi mountains. Project works are now going on to divert its waters for irrigation purposes. The execution of the project is calculated to confer fertility on a large tract of the south country. The Paralayar is the most southern of the rivers