Kodungallur Kunhikuttan Thampuran , who won the fame later as Kerala Vysan for his inimitable rendering of the Mahabharata translation in Malayalam, was born on 4th Kanni, 1040 of Malayalam era (1865 in Christian era) at Chirakkal Kovilakam, Kodungallur. Though his original name was Rama Varma, he became popular throughout the length and breadth of Kerala and elsewhere through his pet name ‘Kunhikuttan’. He had his early education, which was informal, in the palace itself. His chief “guru” was his uncle Kunjirama Varma, who taught him grammar.
He excelled in producing ‘instant poems’(drutakavita) from the tender age of seven onwards, a practice he was to continue till the very end of his life. The whole corpus of his literary output consists of more than 140 books which include both original creations and translations. He was an outstanding genius of Malayalam literature . He was a poet, historian, essayist and journalist. He translated the Epic, Mahabharatha, which consists of 1,25,000 Sanskrit slokas (stanzas) within a short period of 874 days. This shows his amazing and in-depth knowledge in Sanskrit and Malayalam. It was he who found out the Leelathilakom, an important grammatical work and scientific study of Malayalam language. He has contributed innumerable poems in Sanskrit and Malayalam,translations, essays and satires . “Aryasathakom”, “Kiratharudarsthavam”, “Subhadraharanam”,“Dashakumaracharitham” (all in Sanskrit), “Dakshayagasathakom”, “Hamsasandesam”, “Mangalamala”, “Keralam”, “Bhasha Bharatham” (all in Malayalam) are his famous works.
A poet, critic, historian and translator, Thampuran was a polymath in the real sense of the word.