Mayur Sandesam

Mayur Sandesam

Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Tampuran, the husband of Senior Rani Bharani Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi, was a poet and scholar par excellence. Marriage to the Senior Rani brought him close to Travancore Royal family, however, palace intrigues and Maharajah Ayilyam Thirunal’s personal disaffection saw Kerala Varma being put in prison in 1875.

After being imprisoned for 15 months, Kerala Varma was released but placed under house arrest at his sister’s house in Harippad. It was during this period of incarceration that Kerala Varma’s literary skills took off as he poured his heart out in his writings.

He not only translated Kalidas’s Abhijnana Sakuntalam into the Manipravala Sakuntalam (1882)—but also authored a magnificent work, namely the Mayurasandesam (1894), conveying his angst and distress on being separated from his royal wife.

Mayursandesam was borrowed from Kalidasa’s Meghaduta and Kerala Varma’s poignant feelings for his wife wherein he sends messages through the peacocks in Harippad are stirring and impactful.

The consequence of all these writings was that in 1883 he was made a Fellow of the Madras University, and by 1895 a “Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India” (CSI) by Queen Victoria—to mark which distinction, Ravi Varma executed a portrait of the man.

Mayur Sandesam is the artist’s tribute to Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Tampuran or popularly referred to as Kerala Kalidasa.

Rukmini Varma

Rukmini Varma is a leading Indian artist who paints in the classical tradition.