Panapillai Amma was the title held by the consort of the ruling Maharajah of Travancore. Its literal translation is 'the royal consort' since as per the formerly existent matriarchal system in Travancore, the Maharajah's sister, and not his wife, was the Maharani. Thus the wife took the title of Panapillai Amma. The Panapillai Amma's were always from families of the Thampi caste of the Nair nobility and their homes were called Ammaveedus.The Maharajah married these Thampi ladies through the Sambandham form of wedlock known as Pattum Parivattavum. Similarly Royal consorts of the Maharajahs of Cochin were known as Nethyar Ammas, most popular of whom was Parukutty Nethyar Amma who was awarded the "Kaiser-i-Hind" by the British only to eventually earn their displeasure due to her nationalist work. As common among the matriarchical castes of Kerala, the form of marriage was Sambandham here also.