Bhageerathi, The Wife Of Raja Ravi Varma, 1870 Photo

Raja Ravi Varma's Wife Bhageerathi Bayi, Rare 1870 Photo

An 1870 photo of Bhageerathi the wife of Raja Ravi Varma. This is a very rare photo of Raja Ravi Varma’s wife Pooruruttati Nal Bhageerathi Bayi Thampuratty. Lovingly known by her pet name Kochupanki. Shown here probably as a 16-year-old, and five years after she was wedded to Raja Ravi Varma. Raja Ravi Varma was one of the greatest Indian artists who is still a household name in India.

He was born in 1848 to an aristocratic family in Kilimanoor, 40 km from Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). In 1866 he married an 11-year-old child bride, Bhageerathi, lovingly known by her pet name Kochupanki. She hailed from an equally aristocratic family from Mavelikkara. Kochupanki was the youngest sister of the Senior and Junior Ranis of Travancore Kingdom.

For the Travancore dynasty historically, there were more males born than females in their bloodline. Since the 14th century, it was customary to adopt girls from another family in Kerala and install them as Ranis in Travancore. Thus, taking the matrilineal dynasty to the next generation. Five children were born in the union of Ravi Varma and Bhageerathi.

Two of these were boys, Kerala Varma and Rama Varma. The former is believed to have died in 1912 like his mother at the age of 36. Rama Varma followed in the creative footsteps of his father and studied art at the Sir JJ School of Art in Bombay (Mumbai). Although he did not achieve any comparable fame or celebrity like his father.

Of the three daughters, the eldest was named Mahaprabha born in 1872, followed by Bhageerathi in 1878, and Uma in 1882. Mahaprabha was the beauty of the family, Ravi Varma featured her in one of his most famous paintings, There Comes Papa (1893). And depicted her in many of his paintings of goddesses and celestial beauties. Kochupanki died in 1891 at the very young age of only 36. Click on the photo for better view.

Did you know- the first oleograph print that was to come out of his newly established Raja Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic press in 1894 was the Birth of Shakuntala. 

From the collection- 1903 Delhi Durbar King’s Succession – Old Photo., King George’s Statue Chennai – Old Postcard 1914., Arrival Of Lord Mountbatten At Delhi – Old Print 1947., Old Book 1895 – The English in India (1700-1805).

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.