Pazhassi Raja

Pazhassi Raja

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Category: Royal

Pazhassi Raja Profile

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Pazhassi Raja Biography

Pazhassi Raja was the prince regent of the princely state of Kottayam and one of the earliest freedom fighters of India. He was a king of Malabar who ruled between 1774 and 1805. He is always remembered as one of the greatest freedom fighters from Royal Family of Kerala who sacrificed his life in his resistance against East India Company of British. His full name is Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja. On account of his martial exploits he is also known as Lion of Kerala. His battles against Mysore kings, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan are also famous.


Pazhassi Raja was born in Padinjare Kovilakam of Purannattu Swarupam- the royal clan of the kingdom of Kottayam. His Kovilakam (home) was located in the place named Pazhassi. So his name got added with Pazhassi tag. But now Kingdom of Kottayam covers Thalassery taluk of the Kannur District. Raja’s fights against Mysore kings are quite popular. It was done in two phases, one against Hyder Ali (1773 to 1782) and second against Tipu Sultan (1784 to 1793).  After the war of 1768, Kings of Malabar agreed to pay tributes to Mysore. When Malabar kings refused to pay in later, Hyder Ali marched to Malabar. It happened in the year 1773. When his uncle fled to Travancore, Pazhassi Raja took over the throne in 1774 at the age of 21. His second struggle was against Hyder Ali’s son, Tipu Sulthan is also equally popular.


Pazhassi Raja resisted British imperialism from 1793 onwards till his death in 1805. He was against British intervention in the domestic matters in his kingdom and fought two wars against them.  From 1793-1797, the prime issue was management of Kottayam where he was able to achieve victory at Periya Pass. The second battle was fought in the time period 1800-1805 over the issue of who was to be master of Wynad and it ended with Pazhassi Raja’s death in 1805. His struggle against British was termed by them as Cotiote War. Talakkal Chandu, his follower was also executed by British at Panamaram.

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Updated: September 24, 2017

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