Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gatti Mudali Dynasty of Salem Region Part I: History


Attur Fort held by Gatti Mudalis
Taramangalam Temple near Salem (Facade)
Taramangalam Temple Insignia Gatti Mudali
Taramangalam Thousand Pillared Hall - Pillar seen before temple. The Hindu
The Gatti (Getty) Mudali aka Katti (Ketti) Mudali dynasty ruled parts of Salem, Karur and Erode districts in the 17th century as chieftains underneath the Madurai Nayak dynasty. The word 'gatti (katti)' or 'getti (ketti)'   meant firm determination or resolution or solidness or unshakeable and the other word 'Mudali' meant 'primary.'    Edgar Thurstan construes the origin of the word 'Mudaliars' from the root word 'muthal' in a literal sense 'the first', the first in Society. The term may also denote money invested or working capital in business. Mudali appears to be the title. The Gatti rulers were known for their univocal statement, reliability and resoluteness.

The Nayak kingdom of Madurai (1530 A.D to 1736 A.D.) was divided into 72 palayams during the reign of Viswanatha Nayak by his minister Dalavoy Ariyanatha Mudaliar. The Palayakars were allowed to collect land tax and pay a portion of it as tribute. They were assigned to train the army and to offer military support to Madurai Nayak ruler to counter enemies. The domination of Gatti Mudali rulers extended as far as Thalaivasal (Salem district) to the east, Dharapuram (Erode district) to the west and Karur district to the south. Gatti Mudali reigned land was considered as the most dangerously exposed region of the Madurai Nayak kingdom. They held two important strategic forts to guard against invasion from Mysore kingdom: one at Omalur (near Salem) and the other at Attur (near Salem). The Gatti Mudali chieftains coined the unique insignia by combining the green mat, garland of flowers and tiger and this representation finds a definite place in all the temples originally built, extended and renovated by them.

Akananuru (அகநானுறு), a classical Tamil poetic work and the seventh book in the secular anthology of Sangam literature (600 BCE - 300 CE), namely Ettuthokai (eight anthologies) lists these people as one of the chieftains i.e,  Konganar, Kalingar, Karunadar, Gangar and Gatti.

அகநானுறு: 44. முல்லை
Akananuru 44, Kudavoyil Keerathanar, Mullai Thinai - What the hero told his charioteer (வினை முற்றி மீளும் தலைமகன் தேர்ப்பாகற்குச் சொல்லியது.- குடவாயிற் கீரத்தனார்)

... ... ... ... ஒரு வினை, கழிய
நன்னன், ஏற்றை, நறும் பூண் அத்தி,
துன் அருங் கடுந் திறற் கங்கன், கட்டி,
பொன் அணி வல்வில் புன்றுறை, என்று ஆங்கு
அன்று அவர் குழீஇய அளப்பு அருங் கட்டூர்,
பருந்து படப் பண்ணி, பழையன் பட்டென,
கண்டது நோனானாகித் திண் தேர்க்
கணையன் அகப்படக் கழுமலம் தந்த
பிணையல் அம் கண்ணிப் பெரும் பூண் சென்னி
அழும்பில் அன்ன அறாஅ யாணர்
பழம் பல் நெல்லின் பல் குடிப் பரவை
பொங்கடி படி கயம் மண்டிய பசு மிளை
தண் குட வாயில் அன்னோள்
பண்புடை ஆகத்து இன் துயில் பெறவே.
  
Meaning: Ride your chariot faster to get ahead of other chariots, my charioteer! Let me receive sweet sleep on the chest of the one with character, who is like Alumpil town with abundant prosperity, many lands with paddy fields, ponds where elephants bathe, surrounded by protective forests, belonging to Perumpootchenni wearing a victory garland, who attacked his enemies and won a battle in Kalumalam where Chōla commander Palaiyan died, and as kites soared above the battlefield, he defeated the Chēra supporters, Nannan, Ētrai, Athi wearing fine jewels, able and fierce Kankan who enemies fear, Katti, and Pundrurai wearing gold jewels, who had great talents and bowmanship. (Source: Learn Sangam Tamil) http://learnsangamtamil.com/akananuru/
Akananuru 226, Paranar, Marutham Thinai – What the heroine’s friend said to the unfaithful hero
    
தொடி அணி முன்கை நீ வெய்யோளொடு
முன் நாள் ஆடிய கவ்வை, இந் நாள்,
வலி மிகும் முன்பின் பாணனொடு, மலி தார்த்
தித்தன் வெளியன் உறந்தை நாள் அவைப்
பாடு இன் தெண் கிணைப் பாடு கேட்டு அஞ்சி,
போர் அடு தானைக் கட்டி
பொராஅது ஓடிய ஆர்ப்பினும் பெரிதே.
தலைமகற்குத் தோழி வாயில் மறுத்தது. - பரணர்

Meaning: The gossip risen is larger than the uproar in the day assembly of Thithan Veliyan wearing large garlands, in Uraiyur, when Katti with a large army came to fight along with the brave and strong Pānan, and on hearing the sweet roars of the panai drums, ran away. (Source: Learn Sangam Tamil) http://learnsangamtamil.com/akananuru/

The 7th century A.D. hero stone (நடுகல்) evidence speaks about 'Kunra Gatti (குன்ற கட்டி).'  

The Ilameekaramutaiya Nayanar temple inscription of Viraramanathan inscribed in the year 1274 A.D. observes about the Devadanam made to Ilameekaramutaiya Nayanar (temple) by six Mudalis of Taramangalam including 'Niruni Periya Ilaman'. Another inscription at the same temple by Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandyan II inscribed in the year 1281 A.D. reports about 'Niruni Ilaiyan Nalla Udaiyappan', one of the Mudalis of Taramangalam, whose ancestors developed Latchumana Saturvedimangalam after winning the battle. Yet another inscription at the same temple by Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandyan II mentions about Niruni Ilaiyan Nalla Udaiyappan, one of the eight Mudalis of Taramangalam, who made gift of tax free land (karaikalam) to priests of Latchumana Saturvedimangalam. One more inscription at the same temple points out about the same chieftain, one of the nine Mudalis of Taramangalam, who made gift of tax free villages from Amarakunthi to Vellaraipalli bound by and irrigated through Perumal Lake to priests of Latchumana Saturvedimangalam. The inscription retrieved from Taramangalam mentions about the 'Niruniar' clan of Kongu Vellala Goundar: 'Mudalikalil Niruni Periya Ilaman'; 'Mudalikalil suvatan seyyan kunra kamundan'; Mudalikalil sakatan Ilaman Perumal kamundan'.  One more inscription from the Taramangalam records that during the reign of Sadasiva (1542-1552 A.D) a village was given as a gift to the temple of 'Ramakudal' by one of the Mudalis of the same place. 'From this time onwards the names of these Mudaliars occur every frequently in inscriptions records of Amarakundi, Sankaridurg. Triuchengodu, Mecheri, Idangasalai and Pallampatti places in and around the Taramangalam region.'

Mackenzie collection of manuscripts refer about 13 Gatti Mudalis and provides the list comprising six in the order of succession: 1. Siyazhi Gatti; 2. Ragunatha Gatti; 3. Immudi Gatti; 4. Punkkan Gatti;  5. Vangamudi Gatti and 6. Kumara Gatti. Few scholars viewed the descendants of Gatti Mudali are the Kongu Vellala clan of Athiyan, Kanavalar, Marhavar, Narmudiyar, Vadakaraiyar.

Mackenzie manuscript also records the service rendered by the founder of Gatti Mudali dynasty as personal attendant to Tirumalai Nayak, the most notable of the thirteen Madurai Nayak rulers in the 17th century. Due to some petty misdeed, he left the Imperial service and settled in a village called Amarakunthi and learned indigenous medicine (as barber) and attended the ailment of Kunni Vettuvan, the local Vettuvan chieftain and also cured it. For this act of medical attendance, the Ketti Mudali was honored as chieftain. In the initial stages this region was under Vijayanagar empire. Later in 1623 this region became one of the Palayams (Madurai Nayak's Palayam divisions). Taramangalam, the temple town near Salem became the capital of the Palayam of Gatti Mudali and Amarakundhi (Omalur Taluk, Salem district, Tamil Nadu) also served as the alternate capital. Kaveripuram (Kolathur Taluk, Salem District, Tamil Nadu State) became another strategic centre at the border of Mysore.

  • Mummudi Gatti Mudali: Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple,  the most beautiful of its kind in Salem District, features exquisite stone carvings. During 13th Century reconstruction and elaboration of this temple commenced by Mummudi Gatti Mudali.
  • Siyazhi Gatti: Reconstruction and elaboration of Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple was continued during Siyazhi Gatti's reign.
  • Immudi Gatti: He ruled over parts of Erode and Namakkal. He made an endowment in 1564 A.D for the upkeep of the temples of Kailasanathar and Hamisvaram Udaiya Nayanar in Taramangalam. At Bhavani Sangameswarar Temple, one of his inscriptions was retrieved and placed along the wall of the temple. It speaks about his wife's contribution to the temple.
  • Vangamudi Gatti: Vanangamudi Gatti completed the reconstruction and elaboration of Taramangalam Kailasanathar temple in the 17th century. He also had plan to construct a Thousand Pillared Hall and for this purposes his sculptors chiseled several gigantic monolithic pillars of pink granite carved, polished, and ready for erection. Since he was killed in a war in Omalur in 1667 A.D., this hall could not be completed. About 20 pillars lie around the temple and some more are believed to have got buried. However in 1975, the Salem district collector initiated a project to retrieve the pillars and complete the Pillared hall with the available pillars and this project discontinued due to declaration of emergency. Vanagamudi Gatti  also built a Pillaiyar temple and a matam in Chidambaram. He has granted the village of Ilavampatti to the Kailasanathar temple in Taramangalam.

Reference:
  1. Attur Fort in Aragalur blog http://aragalur.blogspot.in/2005/08/attur-fort.html
  2. Call to restore 374-year-old exquisitely carved pillars SP.Saravanan. The Hindu. July 01, 2014 http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/call-to-restore-374yearold-exquisitely-carved-pillars/article6166597.ece
  3. Gatti Mudali http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatti_Mudalis
  4. Gatti Mudhali Dynasty http://attur.in/town/mudhali.html
  5. Historic inscription lies uncared for at temple.  Karthik Madhavan. The Hindu. January 28, 2007 http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/historic-inscription-lies-uncared-for-at-temple/article1788604.ece
  6. Mackenzie manuscripts; summaries of the historical manuscripts in the Mackenzie collection, Volume 1,Colin Mackenzie,University of Madras, 1972
  7. Talk: Gatti Mudalis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AGatti_Mudalis
  8. Taramangalam Growth. http://tharamangalaminfo.blogspot.in/p/history.html

1 comment:

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