Friday, 15 November 2013

A Kocha from Cochin Royal family.

                                                                               Photo courtesy to Thaha Ibrahim
The British royal couple visited the Jewish Synagogue at Mattanchery, Cochin.

 Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles of Wales with Reema Selam, Juliet Hallegua, Sarah Cohen and Queenie Hallegua.
                                                                Photo courtesy to Praveen Chandran,Anandha Kini
 Among the invited guests to meet the royal couple from London was Dr. Kocha Varma and his wife Usha Varma from Tripunithura, representing the Cochin Royal Family. Prince Charles and his wife Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles walked up to the members of the Jewish Community and their guests to share a few moments of pleasantry. Dr. Kocha Varma said to the King in Waiting Prince Charles: “My wife Usha and I Kocha Varma come here representing our family and we bring to you warm greetings from the members of the entire Cochin Family.” 

 Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Bowles conversing with Usha Varma.
                                                          Photo courtesy to Praveen Chandran, Anandha Kini
Prince Charles looked at them and acknowledged his appreciation while Camilla Parker- Bowles said “We just have come back from visiting Mattanchery Palace and it was beautiful.” 

Interestingly, Dr. Kocha Varma and Usha Varma were invited not by the Government of Kerala or any such entity. They were there at the behest of the Jewish Community who perhaps did this in commemoration of how the royal family of Cochin stood with them in times of struggle and strife when the rest of the world looked the other way…

It’s interesting, royal couple meeting another Royal couple but the more remarkable is the long lasting or a ten century old relation between the Cochin royal family and the Cochin Jewish community, established by granting the copper charter by Bhaskara Ravi Varma to Joseph Ramban.

 Dr. Kocha Varma and his wife Usha Varma.

Rama Varma Kochaniyan Thampuran, popularly known as Dr. Kocha Varma is the founding patron, of Cochin royal family historical and heritage society. He had visited the British royal library in London and many other libraries in Holland and Portugal. He had fetched more authentic historical data about the rule of Cochin under the domination of these foreign powers.

Another interesting fact, his name Kochaniyan is shortened and he is known as “Kocha” within the family circle, as a happenstance the same word was used to address an elderly Jew in Cochin. But now that name is apt for him...

Vijay R Varma 


  1. hi thoufeek, I am an interior design student and currently doing a research on the synagogues of kerala. I am indebted to you for all your work and blog that was of immense help. Also, would like to show you my work as I am writing a book on the same with an architects perspective. Hope to contact you soon for sharing my work.

  2. Today on 19/02/2017 I was there in the cochin synagogue,when guides were explaining the history to tourists,the naration was somewhere mis guiding,who knows the truth