|Anizhom Thirunal Marthanda Varma was the first maharaja to usher in [this] concept of Padmanabha Dasa in the 18th century.
The ruler Ravi Varma (1721-29) entered into a formal treaty with the English East India Company with the aim of strengthening his position in the fight against these noble elements and other hostile elements. He also entered into a treaty with the Nayaks of Madurai with the same object. On his death in 1729 Marthanda Varma who was to become famous in history as “the Maker of Modern Travancore”
King Marthanda Varma founder of Travancore, made Trivandrum his capital and even after his rule ended the city continued to be the capital of the State of Travancore. When Kerala was formed as a state in 1956 the city was unanimously chosen to continue as the capital continuing two centuries of tradition.... It is a small city compared to the other state capitals and thus retains its charm.
Those two ancestors - Swati Thirunal and Raja Ravi Varma - gave music and art , divinity and humanity respectively.
Raja Ravi Varma, another member of the Travancore royal family and renowned painter , spent an important part of his lifetime in Trivandrum. While he painted many gods and even printed them as oleographs , he never painted Padmanabha or the temple.
The Travancore royal family took a different approach to ruling its territories and managing the properties of the State. The king served as Padmanabha Dasa [who] ruled on behalf of god and swore allegiance only to god. In 1949, Maharaja Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma came close to refusing the post of Rajpramukh because he could not “give oath to the Indian government".