As a poet
Ramavarma's first poetry anthology was Padamudrakal, in 1948 which reflected his affinity towards Gandhian ideals in those days. Between 1950 and 1961, he published a number of anthologies including Konthayum Poonoolum (1950), Naadinte Nadam, Enikku Maramamilla, Mulankadu (1955), Oru Judas Janikkunnu (1955), Ente Mattolikavithakal (1957), and Sargasangeetham (1961), a khandakavyam titled Ayisha, two short story anthologies, Raktham Kalarnna Mannu and Vettum Thiruthum as well as a travelogue by name, Purushantharangaliloode, which detailed his experiences during his first trip to Delhi in 1956 to participate in the Asian Writers' Conference. With the popularity of his poems, he was known to have brought poetry to the common man's domain.
As a lyricist
Ramavarma shifted his base to Madras to take up the editorship of a magazine and this move to the city helped him to get associated with Malayalm film industry which was based there during those days. In 1956, he got the opportunity to write the lyrics for Koodappirappu, a J. D. Thottan film, for which 10 songs composed by K. Raghavan were written by him. Overall, he wrote over 1300 songs for 245 Malayalam movies, 135 songs for 29 music albums and for several plays, of which 755 songs were composed by G. Devarajan. One among the three major lyricists of his times, P. Bhaskaran and O. N. V. Kurup completing the trio, Rama Varma's lyrics were known to have brought the Malayalam film songs closer to poetry.
Awards and honours
Ramavarma received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1962 for his poetry anthology, Sargasangeetham. Kerala State Chalachitra Academy selected his songs for the films, Nadhi and Kadalpalam for the inaugural Kerala State Film Award for Best Lyrics in 1969; he would receive the award three more times, in 1972 for Chembarathi, in 1974 for Nellu and Athidhi and in 1975 for Chuvanna Sandhyakal and Swami Ayyappan. In between, he received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics for the song, Manushyan mathangale srushtichu in the film, Achanum Bappayum in 1972.
An annual literary award, Vayalar Award, has been instituted in his memory by Vayalar Rama Varma Memorial Trust. The award is given on 27 October, the poet's death anniversary and the recipients include Lalithambika Antharjanam, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, Sugathakumari, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, K. Ayyappa Panicker and K. Satchidanandan. The trust has constructed a memorial for Ramavarma at his residence in Vayalar, which houses a literary museum, library, office , auditorium , martyr square and conference room. Vayalar Ramavarma Samskarika Vedi, another Thiruvananthapuram-based eponymous organization, has instituted an annual award, Vayalar Ramavarma award, to recognize excellence in television programmes. The organization has instituted two more awards, Vayalar Ramavarma Sangeetha Puraskaram and Vayalar Ramavarma Natya Ratna Puraskaram, music and dance awards respectively, in honour of the poet. The Government of Kerala installed a bust of Rama Varma at Manaveeyam Veedhi, the road between Althara junction to the Museum-Vellayambalam road in Thiruvananthapuram, on Nov 24, 2005.