Showing posts with label Archaeology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archaeology. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tirukovalur, Ancient Capital of Malainadu (Maladu): History of Malaiyamans and Tirumudi Kari

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Tirukovalur or Thirukkovalur, also known in various names such as Tirukoilur, Tirukoyilur, Tirukovilur, is a panchayat town in Tirukkoyilur taluk, Villuppuram district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN 605757. The nondescript pastoral town, located on the banks of Pennai river, is 202 km away from Chennai (through NH 45 and SH 9), 74.7 km from Pondicherry and 238.5 km from Bangalore and it is placed on the State Highway (SH 9) linking Tiruvannamalai (34.7 km in south-east direction) and the district head quarters Villupuram (49.2 km in Southwest direction). The region is bounded in the west by the Kalrayan hills and the Javadu hills and they meet at the Chengam pass. This ancient town is in the border of the Villupuram district and Tiruvannamalai district. The geographical coordinates of Tirukovalur are 11.95°N  latitude and 79.2°E longitude and the elevation / altitude is 73 m (239 feet) from sea-level.  It has a population of 39,108 (males constitute 49% and females 51%.) according to  2014 census.

This taluk head quarter has great historical and religious significance. This place was once the capital of Malayaman dynasty of Sangam era (3rd century B.C to 3rd century A.D.) Malayaman Thirumudi Kari was  the renowned chieftain of Malayaman dynasty and also known as one of the seven greatest "Bestowers" of the last Sangam era.

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Parambu Hill (Piranmalai)
Kapilar, the most prominent poet of Sangam era composed inspiring poems of merit in Tamil language, was the bosom friend and confidant of Vel Pari, one of the Velir kings  After Vel Pari's killing in a war, Kapilar helped the two daughters of Vel Pari by getting them married to Malayaman of Tirukovalur. After this the poet observed his Vadakkiruthal (fast unto death by facing north). Another version is that he immolated himself in fire on top of a hillock. Kapilar rock or Kapilar Kundru is a hill rock in the middle of the Pennai River on the south bank of Tirukovalur. Kapilar hillock has a shrine on top of the hillock and a flight of steps leads to the shrine. The monument is protected and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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Meipporul Nayanar, the Malayaman chieftain of Malainadu (Miladudaiyar) and one of the 63 Saivite saints glorified in Sekkilar's Periyapuranam, is connected with Tirukovalur. The chieftain was also known as Cediraja, the king of Cedi. The kingdom of Cedi existed around Tirukovalur. Narasinga Muniyaraiyar Nayanar, chieftain of Tirumunaipadi nadu and one of the 63 Saivite saints glorified in Sekkilar's Periyapuranam, is also connected with Tirukovalur.  .Narasinga Muniyaraiyar was the foster-father of saint Sundarar (one of the Tevaram Trios) and Narasinga Muniyaraiyar brought up Sundarar as a prince.

The town is also known for its ancient Shiva shrine (Virattanam of Tirukovalur) at Kilur (Kilaiyur) and is glorified in Thevaram by Sambandar and Appar, one decad each. The Shiva temple has some inscriptions of Vijayālaya. Yet the scholars assign the date to Parantaka. It is also known for its Vishnu temple of Trivikrama at Melur, exalted by the first three early Vaishnavite Alwars (Muthal Alwars).

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Veeratteswarar temple, Tirukoyilur
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Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Tirukoyilur
Rajaraja Chola I and his brother, the Chola Prince Aditya Karikalan, were born in Tirukovalur. Rajaraja Chola I , born as Arunmozhivarman, the third child of Parantaka Sundara Chola and Vanavanmadevi, the princess of Malayaman dynasty.  Vanavanmadevi was born in Tirukovalur as a lovable daughter of Malayaman chieftain of Thirukovalur (ARE 236 / 1902 S.I.I. Vol.VII.No 863).She committed sati when her husband Sundara Chola expired.

Sangam Polity and Sangam Literature

Tamilakam (தமிழகம்) during Sangam period was divided among the three political powers, the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras and the three capitals were Pukar (புகார்), Madurai (மதுரை), and Vanji (வஞ்சி). They are known as crowned kings (முடியுடை மூவேந்தர்). Whenever the crowned kings conquered the feudal territories, they never annexed them to their kingdom. Instead they  allowed the feudal to function as an autonomous states under their suzerainty. Thus there were number of feudatories or chieftaincies  in Tamilakam These chieftaincies evolved as a landed aristocracy and in course of time they might have acted as soldiers, warriors, generals and even ministers to their suzerains..

Some chieftains exercised vast powers of internal autonomy within their respective territories. However they owned some kind of nominal allegiance to one or more of the the crowned kings. Number of references can be seen about the internecine warfare between the crowned kings and the vassals in Sangam literature, The reason for these feuds  could be the breaking of personal loyalty to their over-lords and refusal to pay tribute.

The chieftains are also tribal clan in character. For example Pegan belongs to Aviyar tribe or clan, Athiyan and Ori belongs to Malavar, tribe or clan. Velir chieftains ruled various parts of Tamilakam and enjoyed the privilege giving their daughters in marriage to the crowned kings. They are celebrated personalities and treated next to the crowned kings. Those chieftains who acted as the guardians of the garrisons (known as Kurumbu) in the border areas. .

According to A. K. Ramanujan, the word Sangam “means an academy or fraternity.   The word is probably borrowed from the vocabulary of Buddhism and Jainism, the two religions competing with Hinduism in the 6th and 7th centuries in South India”. Sangam literature constitutes a total of 2381 poems (26,350 lines of poems) composed by 473 poets (including 30 poetesses and 102 poems by anonymous authors).  Both men and women including kings, noble men, learned men, doctors, businessmen, teachers, metal smiths,  goldsmiths, cattle  herders etc have become poets.

Sangam poems are the panegyrics or the court poetry in praise of the crowned kings and chieftains of Sangam era and are composed by court-bards or the poets. Sangam literature is still the main source for the early Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Most of the poems are secular in nature.   Only sixteen poets have composed 1177 poems (fifty two percent) of the total 2279 non-anonymous poems. They are Ammoovanar (127 poems), Kapilar (235 poems), Orampokiyar (110 poems), Peyanar (105 poems), Othalanthaiyar (103 poems), Paranar, Maruthan Ilanākanar, Palai Padiya Perunkadunko, Avvaiyar, Nallanthuvanar, Nakkeerar, Ulochanar, Mamoolanar, Kayamanar, Perunkundrur Kilar and Perisathanar.  Out of 473 poets, 144 poets have eulogized their patrons in their poems.

Sangam poems, especially in Purananuru and Patirruppattu have a mine of information regarding the heroic exploits of the Sangam era chieftains i.e., Purananuru provides 164 direct references about 59 chieftains, vassals, princes, which are the only available source of information for Sangam polity. Many poems in the Purananuru were written by various Kings of the Tamilakam.  Though the Akam poem books listed above represent the dramatic monologues of the heroes, loved ones, their companions and the heroine's mothers / stepmothers, they have copious historical allusions to the crowned kings and chieftains. In the Ten Idylls there are 27 references  to 12 chieftains.

Sirupanatruppadai, one of the Ten Idylls,  is sung on Oyman Nalliyakodan, the chieftain Oyma nadu by Nallur Nathathanar of Idaikkazhinadu, The poem lines 84 to 112 also speaks about the greatness of the Seven Great Benefactors or Bestowers or Patrons of the last Sangam era a.k.a Kadai ezhu vallalgal (கடையேழு வள்ளல்கள்) and they include: 1. Pegan of Aviyar clan (வையாவிக் கோப்பெரும் பேகன்), 2. Vel Pari, the Lord of Parambu (வேள் பாரி), 3. Kari (மலையமான் திருமுடி காரி), 4. Ay Andiran (ஆய் அண்டிரன்), 5. Athikan (அதிகன்), 6. Nalli (நளி மலை நாடன் நள்ளி) and 7. Valvil Ori (வல்வில் ஓரி). Athikan is also known as Athiyaman.

Purananuru poem 158 sung on Kumanan (குமணன்), chieftain of Mutiram hills (முதிரமலை) by Poet Perunchithiranar (பெருஞ்சித்திரனார்) also mentions about the greatness of the Seven Great Benefactors or Bestowers or Patrons of the last Sangam era a.k.a Kadai ezhu vallalgal (கடையேழு வள்ளல்கள்). Instead Athikan (அதிகன்) at srl. no. 5, the poem includes Ezhini (எழினி), the chieftain of Kutirai hills (குதிரைமலை நாடு) 

ஊராது ஏந்திய குதிரைக் கூர் வேல்
கூவிளங் கண்ணிக் கொடும் பூண் எழினி
(Poet Perunchithiranar sang to Kumanan. Purananuru 158: 8 - 9)

Elini Athiyaman carrying a spear who ruled over Kuthirai Mountain wearing a koovilam garland and curved necklace

The poets, bards and minstrels indicated the path of virtue to the crowned kings and chieftains. Their political diplomacy has prevented bloody feuds and internecine warfare and even safeguarded the lives of young princes. Kari was captured and killed by Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan (குலமுற்றத்துத் துஞ்சிய கிள்ளி வளவன்), the Chola king in a battle. The Chola king was also planned to have his children crushed by an elephant. Poet Kovur Kilar intercedes in a timely manner and saves the children. (Purananuru 46).

Miladu Maladu Malainadu

Tolkappiyam (தொல்காப்பியம்) is the earliest available work in Tamil. The dating of this earliest Tamil grammatical work has been disputed much and its date is still inaccurate and doubtful. Proposing a date has witnessed wide disagreements among scholars. It has been dated variously between 8000 BC and 10th AD. It is composed in the form of short formulaic compositions a.k.a noorpaa (நூற்பா). Its three books include the Ezhuttadikaram, the Solladikaram and the Poruladikaram. This seminal work assigns to classes the Tamil language into classical Tamil or Sentamil (செந்தமிழ்) and dialectal Tamil or koduntamil (கொடுந்தமிழ்). The former is employed almost exclusively in literary works and the latter was spoken by the people in the various regions of ancient Tamilakam. According to Tolkappiyar (தொல்காப்பியர்) there were twelve ancient regions (panniru nilam = பன்னிரு நிலம்) as the sources of the dialectisms (கொடுந்தமிழ்):

செந்தமிழ் சேர்ந்த பன்னிரு நிலத்தும்
தம் குறிப்பினவே திசைச்சொல் கிளவி.

He never mentioned about the names of those regions.  According to a poem or venba by latter commentators, there were twelve regions (panniru nilam) which were the sources of the dialectisms (கொடுந்தமிழ்):

தென்பாண்டி குட்டம் குடம்கற்கா வேண்பூழி
பன்றிஅருவா அதன்வடக்கு — நன்றாய
சீதமலநாடு புனல்நாடு செந்தமிழ்சேர்
ஏதமில் பன்னிரு நாட்டெண்

Malayaman nadu or Malainadu was included as one of the twelve region.

The geographical region of the present Villupuram district was forming part of Nadunadu (நடுநாடு) and included the regions of two Sangam era feudatories or chieftaincies.  One among them was known as Malayaman nadu (மலையமான் நாடு) a.k.a Malainadu (மலைநாடு) or Maladu (மலாடு) or Miladu (மிலாடு). The other one is the Oymanadu (ஓய்மாநாடு). Malainadu or Maladu included the present Kallakurichi, Tirukoyilur, Sankarapuram, Villupuram, Ulundurpet regions as well as Kalvararayan hills. Oymanadu included coasts of present Pondicherry, Marakkanam, Tindivanam and Gingee regions.

According to an inscription (Epigraphia Indica, Vol. No: 7. K.P. No. 146) Malainadu included 2000 bhumi (பூமி) (bhumi is an area measuring unit i.e., one bhumi included ten veli land). Malainadu or Maladu was having 1. Kurukkai-kurram (குறுக்கைக் கூற்றம்): - Tirukovalur, Sirringur (சிற்றிங்கூர்) (Siddhalingamadam) and 2. Panur-kurram (பானூர் கூற்றம்): - Iraiyanaraiyur (இறையநாரையூர்) (present name Elvanasur எலவனசூர்)  was a large independent village. It was also called as Pennaiyam Padappai Nadu

பெண்ணையம் படப்பை நாடு கிழவோயே. (Poet Marokathu Nappasalaiyr. Purannuru 126: 23)
O lord of the country with the lovely Pennai River!

Back in time, when it was at the peak of its glory, the region was also known as Chedi Kingdom or Chethi Nadu (சேதி நாடு). Cedi chieftains ruled this region and the Cholas acted as their suzerains. The Cedi kings have entered marital relationship with Cholas. A number Kurrams constituted Valanadu. Commencing from the reign of Rajaraja Chola I till the end of 13th century A.D. this region was known as Jananatha Valanadu.  Several Valanadus made up one Mandalam or province i.e., Jayangondasora mandalam. During the reign of Vijayanagara dynasty this region was known as Tiruvathi Rajyam and Tiruvathi Seemai during the reign of Achyudha Rayar (1529 - 1542) as well as Sadashiva Rayar (1535 - 1575).

Malayaman Tirumudi Kari

Malayaman Tirumudi Kari was one of the Seven Great Benefactors or Bestowers or Patrons of the last Sangam era a.k.a Kadai ezhu vallalgal (கடையேழு வள்ளல்கள்). He was a good and kind chieftain in many respects and never sent the bards and mendicants, who visit his abode seeking munificence, with empty handed. The poets mention about the shower of lavish gifts of gold, gems, elephants, sturdy horses, chariots, food grains and fine muslin garments made to the bards.

Kari was eulogized for his generosity and valour in four of the eight anthologies (Ettuthokai) books such as Akananuru (அகநானுறு), Kuruntokai (குறுந்தோகை), Natrinai (நற்றிணை) and Purananuru (புறநானுறு) as well as in one of the Ten Idylls (பத்துப்பாட்டு) book - Sirupanatruppadai (சிறுபாணாற்றுப்படை). Sangam poets such as Ammuvanar (அம்மூவனார்), Kalladanar (கல்லாடனார்), Kapilar (கபிலர்), Marokathu Nappasalaiyar (மாறோக்கத்து நப்பசலையார்), Perunchithiranar (பெருஞ்சித்திரனார்) and Vadama Vannakkan Perunchathanar (வடம வண்ணக்கன் பெருஞ்சாத்தனார்) lauded Kari. 

In Sirupanatruppadai (சிறுபாணாற்றுப்படை), poet Nallur Nathathanar of Idaikkazhinadu (இடைக்கழி நாட்டு நல்லூர் நத்தத்தனார்) eulogizes Malayaman Tirumudi Kari in the poem lines 91 to 95. 
……………………… கறங்கு மணி
வால் உளைப் புரவியொடு வையகம் மருள
ஈர நல் மொழி இரவலர்க்கு ஈந்த
அழல் திகழ்ந்து இமைக்கும் அஞ்சுவரு நெடு வேல்
கழல் தொடித் தடக் கை காரியும் (Pathuppattu – Sirupanatruppadai 91-95)
Kari, adorned with sliding bracelets on his huge hands, has gifted horses with jingling bells and white plumes. He inspired people with his kind, good words. His bright, tall spear caused terror.

In Purananuru poem 158 poet Perunchithiranar praises about Malayaman Tirumudi Kari in the poem lines 6 to 7. The genorosity of Kari is being compared with the rain cloud. 
காரி ஊர்ந்து பேர் அமர்க் கடந்த
மாரி ஈகை மறப்போர் மலையனும்
(Poet Perunchithiranar sang to Kumanan. Purananuru 158: 6 - 7)
Malayan, brave in war, who was as charitable as the rain cloud and won battles riding on his stallion Kari

Malayaman dynasty ruled over Malainadu and the mountain plateau called Mullur-malai (முள்ளூர் மலை) a.k.a Mullur nadu (முள்ளூர் நாடு).formed part of his territory.
முள்ளூர் மன்னன் கழறொடிக் காரி (Akananuru 209)
Mullur King Kari with warrior anklets and bracelets,

Therefore the region was known as Malainadu. Malayaman dynasty was also known by this name. Tirumudi Kari was the chieftain of the mountain plateau of Mullur or Mullur-malai. Malaiyamān Tirumudi Kari was the chief of the renowned warrior clan of Malavar. His capital was Tirukovalur.
துஞ்சா முழவின் கோவல் கோமான் (Akananuru 35)
Kari the Lord of Kovalur, the town with non-stopping drums

The people of his time considered him the most modest of kings. Nobody left empty-handed after paying a visit to him and the visitor who came on barefoot would usually return mounted on a horse or an elephant of his choice. He called himself not a king but a "rightful servant of his beloved people".

Kari revolted against Killivalavan

The chieftains were subdued by the empire builders i.e., Muvendars - Chera, Chola and Pandya of ancient Tamilakam and their paramountacy was accepted. He was a vassal to the early Chola king Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan (குலமுற்றத்துத் துஞ்சிய கிள்ளி வளவன்). Over the period of time he broke his loyalty to the over-lord and wore a crown and declared himself as Tirumudi Kari. Thus he became virtually an independent ruler. He was very powerful and had his own administration and army. He enjoyed certain rights and privileges. He was a revolting vassal and was one of the most dangerous threats to the crowned king and neighboring vassals. 

Kari supported Cheral Irumporai in Chera - Chola War

Yanaikatcei Maandaran Cheral Irumporai (சேரமான் யானைகட்சேய் மாந்தரஞ்சேரல் இரும்பொறை)
was a Chera king  The Chola ruler Rajasuyam-vetta-peru-nar-killi (சோழன் இராசசூயம் வேட்ட பெருநற்கிள்ளி) and Maandaran Cheral Irumporai encountered each other in a pitched battle. Kari and his army supported the Cholas in this battle and helped the Chola to conquer the Chera. Without the support of Kari this victory could not have possible for Cholas. For this they have lost huge number of elephants in the battle, yet Kari never mind about loss and brought victory to Cholas.

குன்றத்து அன்ன களிறு பெயரக்
கடந்துஅட்டு வென்றோனும் நிற்கூ றும்மே
வெலீஇயோன் இவன் எனக்
கழல்அணிப் பொலிந்த சேவடி நிலம்கவர்பு
விரைந்துவந்து சமம் தாங்கிய
வல்வேல் மலையன் அல்லன் ஆயின்
நல்அமர் கடத்தல் எளிதுமன் நமக்குஎனத்
தோற்றோன் தானும் நிற்கூ றும்மே
(Poet Vadama Vannakkan Perunchathan, Purananuru 125)

The victor who slayed mountain-like elephants says, that you gave him victory.  The defeated one thinks that without Malaiyan with his strong spear who came swiftly to the field, his handsome legs gleaming with war anklets, he would have won easily. He praises you when he says that you were the one who made him lose.  Greatness!  

Kari - Athiyaman Neduman Anci: Encounter

Athiyaman Neduman Anci was the chief of the renowned warrior clan of Malavar. Thagadoor was his capital (identified with modern Dharmapuri district. Kari waged war on Thagadoor against Athiyaman Neduman Anci. It was an attempt fueled by his longtime desire to become an emperor equivalent in power to the Cholas. Kari was defeated and lost Kovalur to Athiyaman.  After sometime Athiyaman believed to have demolished the Kovalur town and the inscription in Thanjavur Big Temple seems to have the evidence.

Kari Killed Ori in a War

Paalai paadiya Perum Cheral Irumporai (பாலை பாடிய பெருஞ்சேரல் இரும்பொறை), the Chera monarch was in agreement with Malayaman Tirumudi Kari and the Chera was expecting Kari's support in defeating Valvil Ori (வல்வில் ஓரி), the chieftain of neighboring Kolli hills (கொல்லிமலை). Kari defeated and killed Ori and took Kolli Hills. An Akananuru poem 209 registers this event.

முள்ளூர் மன்னன் கழல்தொடிக் காரி
செல்லா நல்இசை நிறுத்த வல்வில்
ஓரிக் கொன்று சேரலர்க்கு ஈந்த (Akananuru 209)
Mullur King Kari with warrior anklets and bracelets, owning bloody spears, gifted to the Cheras after killing Ori of unfading fame and strong bows.
"ஓரிக்கொன்றவொருபெருந் திருவிற், காரி புக்க நேரார் புலம்போற், கல்லென் றன்றாலூரே" (Poet Kapilar, Natrinai. 320)

The whole town laughs with great uproar. This is like when Kāri killed Ori of ancient victories, and then entered his wide avenue which had no match, and his people raised uproars.

Perum Cheral Irumporrai Killed Athiyaman

Kari, in order to avenge his earlier defeat, also sought the support of Chera to invade and conquer Thagadoor Accordingly the Chera king attacked and Athiyaman was killed in this battle. After this encounter Kari was able to regain back Kovalur. In "Thagadoor Yathirai," (தகடூர் யாத்திரை) the Sangam poets detail about Thagadoor attack by Perum Cheral Irumporrai.

Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan Defeated and Killed Kari

Kari commenced to dominate or overshadow the early Chola king Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan (குலமுற்றத்துத் துஞ்சிய கிள்ளி வளவன்). The Chola king wanted teach him a lesson by invading Tirukovalur. There was a pitched battle. Kari was resolute enough to win or die. During the early encounter Chola army met with huge casualty and lost around 10000 soldiers. The Chola intelligence captured the twin sons of Kari as war prison. Kari followed them up to the Chola army camp, where he was captured and killed by the Chola. Further to this Killivalavan, Chola king was getting ready to have his children crushed by an elephant. Poet Kovūr Kilar intercedes in a timely manner and saves the children. (Purananuru 46 by Poet Kovur Kilar).

Malayaman Choliya Enati Tirukkannan

Malayaman Choliya Enati Tirukkannan (மலையமான் சோழிய ஏனாதி திருக்கண்ணன்) was a descendant of Malayaman Tirumudi Kari. He was the Chietain of Maladu and the Lord of Mullur. He might be Kari's son. He succeeded as the chieftain of Maladu after Kari's death. Kulamuttrathu Tunjiya Killivalavan (குலமுற்றத்துத் துஞ்சிய கிள்ளி வளவன்),  an early Chola king, was the over-lord of Tirukkannan. He was not only the chieftain of Malayaman dynasty, but also a feudatory as well as military chief to Chola king. He was awarded with the title "Choliya Enati" (Choliya = Chola; Enati = army chief) i.e., the chief of the Chola army. 

கவலை நெஞ்சத்து அவலந் தீர
நீ தோன்றினையே நிரைத் தார் அண்ணல்
கல் கண் பொடியக் கானம் வெம்ப
மல்கு நீர் வரைப்பில் கயம் பல உணங்கக்
கோடை நீடிய பைதறு காலை
இரு நிலம் நெளிய ஈண்டி
உரும் உரறு கருவிய மழை பொழிந்தாங்கே.
(Poet Marokathu Nappasalaiyar Purananuru 174: 23 - 29)

Poetess Nappasalaiyar of Marokam has composed this Purananuru poem 174 Malayaman Choliya Enati Tirukkannan  In a Purananuru poem 174 Marokam Nappasalaiyar praises that Tirukkannan played an important and significant role in regaining the falling Chola  kingdom. His appearance is being compared rains falling with loud thunder and lightning, during a long summer when mountains crumbled, forests burned and reservoirs filled with water dried up.

Mullur a.k.a Mullurmalai

At present there is a village / hamlet called Mullur and is located in Gingee taluk, Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN 605201. It comes under Anaiyeri Panchayat.. The village  located 28 km towards north of district head quarters Villupuram, 7 km from Gingee and 162 km from Chennai. This village is in the border of the Villupuram district and Tiruvannamalai district.

A Purananuru poem 123 by poet Kapilar assigns about the tallness of Mullur mountain plateau and this hilly region receives abundant rain..

தொலையா நல்லிசை விளங்கு மலயன்
மகிழாது ஈத்த இழையணி நெடுந்தேர்
பயங் கெழு முள்ளூர் மீமிசைப்
பட்ட மாரி உறையினும் பலவே.
(Poet Kapilar. Purannuru 123: 3 - 6)
Shining Malaiyan with untarnished fame gives away beautifully decorated chariots without drinking, their numbers higher than the rain drops that fall on fertile Mullur Mountain.

Further to this another Purananuru poem 126 by poetess Marokathu Nappasalaiyar describes about the dense and dark forest of Mullur and the roaring sound produced by the waterfalls resembles the hard beats of the drum.
துயில் மடிந்தன்ன தூங்கிருள் இறும்பின்
பறை இசை அருவி முள்ளூர்ப் பொருநர்
தெறல் அரும் மரபின் நின் கிளையொடும் பொலிய
(Poet Marokathu Nappasalaiyr. Purannuru 126: 7 - 9), 
O lord of Mullur Mountain, where waterfalls roar like drums of war and the fores t seems to be sleeping through nights with pitch darkness! 

Kuruntokai and Natrinai also refer Mullur as:

செவ்வேல் மலையன் முள்ளூர் (Poet Kapilar. Kuruntokai 312)
Malayan with lance)

"மாயிரு முள்ளூர் மன்னன் மாவூர்ந்தெல்லித் தரீஇய வினநிரைப், பல்லான் கிழவரின்" -(Natrinai. 291)
Kari rode up with his horse and seized the cattle herd with many cows.

ஆரியர் துவன்றிய பேர் இசை முள்ளூர்
பலர் உடன் கழித்த ஒள் வாள் மலையன, தொருவேற் கோடி யாங்கு (Natrinai 170: 6 - 7)
Malaiyan with bright sword, who along with his army, repelled Aryan invaders in renowned Mullur.

There was a battle at renowned Mullur. Aryans attacked with their army. King Malaiyan (Malayaman Tirumudi Kari) fought with them with bright sword. Malaiyan repelled the Aryan invaders. Viralis were artists who sang and danced.  They were related to bards. The dancing skills of the beauteous Virali will be like Malaiyan (Malayaman Tirumudi Kari) with bright sword, who along with his army, repelled Aryan invaders in renowned Mullur.
ஊராது ஏந்திய குதிரைக் கூர் வேல்
கூவிளங் கண்ணிக் கொடும் பூண் எழினி
எள் அறு சிறப்பின் முள்ளூர் மீமிசை
அரு வழி இருந்த பெரு விறல் வளவன்
மதி மருள் வெண் குடை காட்டி அக்குடை
புதுமையின் நிறுத்த புகழ் மேம்படுந
விடர்ப்புலி பொறித்த கோட்டைச் சுடர்ப் பூண்
சுரும்பு ஆர்  கண்ணிப் பெரும் பெயர் நும் முன்
ஈண்டுச் செய் நல்வினை யாண்டுச் சென்று உணீஇயர்
உயர்ந்தோர் உலகத்துப் பெயர்ந்தனன் ஆகலின்
(Poet Marrokathu Nappasalaiyr. Purannuru 174: 13 - 20)
At a difficult time when the Chola kingdom was lost, your ancestor with drums roaring in his front yard, ended the sorrow of the fine country where Kaviri flows with abundant water hitting its shores, set the moon-like white umbrella in its place, of Valavan who was in hiding firmly on the tall Mullūr Mountain decorated with clouds. sung by poet Kapilar whose tongue never lied, as brave enemy warriors ran away rapidly showing their backs.  May his fame soar!
Your famous ancestor whose fortress was carved with the symbol of the tiger that lives in caves, he who wore gleaming jewels and a garland humming with bees, has gone to the higher world to enjoy the benefits of his good deeds here, and so you have come here to relieve the misery of those in all directions whose hearts are in pain.

There was a town on the banks of Pennai and it was known as "Kotunkal" (கொடுங்கால்).  At present there is a place called Kodungal and is located in Mugaiyur block, Tirukoyilur taluk, Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN 605755. It is a village Panchayat.. The village,  located on the south banks of Pennai river, is 14 km away from Tirukoyilur, 15 km from Tiruvennainallur, 7 km from Mugaiyur, and 5.9 km from Arkandanallur. The nearest railway station to Kodungal is Mambalappattu which is located in and around 7.2 km distance. This village is in the border of the Villupuram district and Tiruvannamalai district. The geographical coordinates of Kodungal are 11.961022 N  latitude and 79.2757237 E longitude and the elevation / altitude is 75 m from sea-level.  It has a population of 3090  (male 1558 and female 1532) according to  2011 census. Some scholars consider this village as Sangam age Kotunkal. Pennai river flows to the south of Kodungal.  At this place the Pennai river splits into two and flows towards east and merges back into single river. Thus an island is formed (like the Srirengam island formed between  Cauvery and Kollidam rivers). The southern branch of Pennai river is broad and the flow of water is vast when compared with northern branch of Pennai river. Since the north Pennai is narrow and left with less water flow, Sangam poet Ammuvanar (of Akananuru poem 35) draws comparison of fine sands of the huge shores of Pennai river with the dark hair of the heroine.

துஞ்சா முழவின் கோவல் கோமான்
நெடுந்தேர்க் காரி கொடுங்கால் முன் துறை
பெண்ணையம் பேரியாற்று நுண் அறல் கடுக்கும்
நெறி இருங்கதுப்பின் என் பேதைக்கு
அறியாத் தேஎத்து ஆற்றிய துணையே.
(Akananuru 35: 13 - 17)
May he be a partner to her in the paths of unknown lands, my daughter with straight, dark hair, resembling the fine sands of the huge shores of the Pennai River at Kodunkāl, belonging to King Kāri of Kovalur owning tall chariots, where drumsdon’t rest!


Jambai inscription of Athiyaman Neduman Anci (அதியமான் நெடுமான் அஞ்சி) is found on a rock inside a cavern, Dasimadam (தாசிமடம் குகை) on the hillock of Jambai, a village in Villupuram district. It was discovered in 1981 by Tamilnadu State Department of Archaeology. The village, located on the north bank of the Pennai river, is just 19.6 km away from Tirukovalur. The epigraph, dated the 1st century A.D.,  is in Tamil Brahmi  (தமிழ் பிரம்மி) and reads as:

Satiyaputo Atiyan Natuman Anci itta Pali 
The abode given by Athiyan Neduman Anji, the Satyaputo

It is the Jambai inscription that prove that the “Satyaputo” mentioned by Asoka was none other than the Adhiyaman dynasty, which ruled from Thagadur. The Tamil Brahmi inscription also links Adhiyaman Netuman Anci with the Tamil Sangam Age (தமிழ் சங்க காலம்) (the Eight Anthologies (எட்டுத்தொகை) and Ten Idyls (பத்துப்பாட்டு) and the Tamil-Brahmi age (தமிழ் பிரம்மி காலம்)

Jambai Inscription (Wikimedia)

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has copied 79 (77+2) inscriptions in the year 1902 vide ARE nos. 230 to 306 1902; 23 inscriptions in the year 1905 vide ARE nos. 3 to 25; and 2 inscriptions in the year 1935 vide ARE nos. 200 to 201 in Tirukovalur Virataneswarar Temple.  The temple has 104 inscriptions in Grantha and ancient Tamil. South Indian Inscription (S.I.I.) volume VII has published the full text of the 79 inscriptions from no. 857 to 935. Inscriptions copied during 1905 and 1935 are yet to be published in S.I.I.

The Pallava inscriptions of this temple include inscriptions of Nandivarman II (731–795 AD), Dantivarman (795–846 AD) and Nandivarman III (846-869 AD);  Chola inscriptions include inscriptions of Parantaka Chola I (907–950 AD), Rajaraja Chola I (985–1014 AD), Rajendra Chola I (1012–1044 AD), Rajadhiraja Chola (1044–1054 AD), Virarajendra Chola (1063–1067 AD), Kulotunga Chola I (1070–1120 AD), Vikrama Chola (1118–1135 AD), and Kulothunga Chola II (1133–1150 AD). The Rashtrakuta inscription was inscribed by Krishna III or Kannara Deva (938 - 967 AD) and the Pandya inscriptions belongs to, Sundara Pandya, Vikrama Pandya (1180 - 1190 AD) and Vijayaraya Marayar (Deva Raya II) (1424–1446 AD).

Inscription (ARE 236 / 1902 S.I.I. Vol.VII.No 863) of Rajaraja Chola I inscribed Kamban Maniyan, a Chola official in the Virattaneswarar temple in Tirukovalur.  Dr.R.Nagaswamy has conveniently categorized this inscription into eight portions for his study. The first portion devotes to Rajaraja Chola I and his achievements; the second portion addresses about Vanavanmadevi the mother of Rajaraja Chola I; and her link with Tirukovalur as the princess of Malayamans. the third portion speaks about Pennai ricer; the fourth portion is about Kapilar hillock and supreme sacrifice after handing over Vel Pari's daughters with Avvaiyar; the fifth portion praises the Viratteneswarar temple in Tirukovalur; the sixth portion registers the Devadana of land for daily puja rituals and offerings made to Lord Viratteneswarar and goddess Parvati;  the seventh portion is about the temple personnel and their emoluments;  the eighth portion concludes with the bestower Vithi vitankan Kamban, who was the trustworthy officer under Rajaraja Chola I.
... ... ... கம்பத் தடிகள்       245
மாதி விடங்கு வருபரி வல்ல
வீதி விடங்கன்

Sundara Chola and Vanavanmadevi were the parents of Rajaraja Chola I. His birth name was Arunmozhivarman. His brother was Aditya Karikala. These two Chola prices had their birth in Tirukovalur and spent their early childhood in Tirukovalur Malayaman palace. Sundara Chola died of broken heart due to the murder of Aditya Karikala in a mysterious circumstances. Vanavanmadevi committed sati (entering the funeral pyre of her husband) leaving her tender child. This was the supreme sacrifice by the Chola queen and it is being highlighted in the second portion of the inscription. Vanavanmadevii is described in this inscription as a "lovely female deer that gave birth to a tiger".

செந்திரு மடந்தைமன் ஸரீராச ராசன்
இந்திர சேனன் ராஜசர் வஞ்ஞ னெனும்
புலியைப் பயந்த பொன்மான் கலியைக் - - - - - - 40
கரந்து கரவாக் காரிகை சுரந்த
முலைமிகப் பிரிந்து முழங்கெரி நடுவணுந்
தலைமகற் பிரியாத் தைய்யல் நிலைபெறும்
தூண்டா விளக்கு..............
........ ......... .......சி சொல்லிய - - - - - - - - - - -45
வரைசர்தம் பெருமா னதுலனெம் பெருமான்
பரைசைவண் களிற்றுப் பூழியன் விரைசெயு
மாதவித் தொங்கல் மணிமுடி வளவன்
சுந்தர சோழன் மந்தர தாரன்
திருப்புய முயங்குந் தேவி விருப்புடன் - - - - - - - 50
வந்துதித் தருளிய மலையர் திருக்குலத்
தோரன் மையாக தமரகத் தொன்மையிற்
குலதெய்வ ........ கொண்டது
(ARE 236 / 1902 S.I.I. Vol.VII.No 863 Inscription of Rajaraja Chola I inscribed Kamban Maniyan, a Chola official  in the Shiva temple in Tirukovalur in Kurukkai-kurram, a subdivision of Miladu (Jananatha-valanadu).

The fourth part of the inscription details about the supreme sacrifice made by poet Kapilar. It has historic significance. Purananuru poems 113, 117 and 201 by Kapilan brings out the story of Vel Pari and his two daughters. Vel Pari, one of the seven great bestowers, ruled Parambu hills (presently called as Pranmalai, located near Singampunari village in Sivagangai district). Poet Kapilar, his bosom friend and life long companion, extolled Vel Pari for his valour and generosity. 
‘பாரி ஒருவனும் அல்லன்;  மாரியும் உண்டு, ஈங்கு உலகு புரப்பதுவே’  (Purananuru, 107)

He is being praised for the act of giving away his chariot to a climber plant.The three crowned Tamil kings Chera, Chola and Pandya wanted expand their kingdoms ruthlessly and turned their attention towards Vel Pari. Vel Pari refused to accept their suzerainty. They laid siege to the heavily fortified Parambu hills and the war dragged for years. Kapilar moved towards the three crowned kings and pacified them to lift the siege. (Purananuru: 109). After prolonged war  Vel Pari was killed by treachery. After his death Kapilar became the guardian for Angavai and Sangavai, the two daughters of Vel Pari and the poet unsuccessfully approached few Velir chieftains to find  grooms. However Kapilar sacrificed his own life by entering fire and immolated himself on top the hillock on the banks of the river Pennai. Later, poet Avvaiyar took care of the daughters of Vel Pari and married them off successfully into the family of Malayaman and the marriage ceremony took place in Karapuranathar Temple, Uthamacholapuram, Salem district. The portion of inscription is in abidance with what is best known through the anthology of poems by Sangam era poets.

வன்கரை பொருது வருபுனல் பெண்னை    67
தென்கரை உள்ளது தீர்த்தத் துறையது 
மொய்வைத்து இயலும் முத்தமிழ் நான்மைத்  
தெய்வக் கவிதைச் செஞ்சொற் கபிலன் 
மூரிவண் தடக்கைப் பாரிதன் அடைக்கலப் 
பெண்ணை மலையர்க் குதவிப் பெண்ணை 
அலைபுனல் அழுவத்து அந்தரிட் சஞ்செல 
மினல்புகும் விசும்பின் வீடுபேறு எண்ணிக்  
கனல்புகுங் கபிலக் கல்லது புனல்வளர் .........  75
(ARE 236 / 1902 S.I.I. Vol.VII.No 863 Inscription of Rajaraja Chola I inscribed Kamban Maniyan, a Chola official  in the Shiva temple in Tirukovalur in Kurukkai-kurram, a subdivision of Miladu (Jananatha-valanadu).

The widely known Kapilar kundru or Kapilakkal is in the middle of the Pennai river in the vicinity of Shiva temple. A small shrine is found on this little hillock. 

Archaeological Excavations at Tirukovalur

The Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology conducted excavations in Tirukovalur in the year 1994. The team laid six trenches. The excavations help us to understand the history of three different cultures since from first century B.C. till the end of 17th century A.D. Fragments of Roman amphora jars (large storage jars used to transport wine, olive oil, fish products, and so on throughout the Roman empire) were excavated in Tirukovalur i.e., outside the boundaries of Roman empire. The Amphora shreds stand as evidence to Indo-Roman trade in Tirukovalur. Coins issued in ancient Rome have also been excavated near Tirukovalur and this also confirms ancient Indo-Roman trade. The site is also marked by the presence of number of decorated red ware shreds and Indian roulette ware (which were made in the northern parts of India) The Indian roulette collected from this site. indicates the ancient trade links with the rest of the country. They have also unearthed terracotta dolls used by the ancient children as toy. Ancient people have laid 9.5 m long drinking water channel by joining together fifty terracotta pipes. Each pipe measured about 19 cm x 16.5 cm x 2 cm.  The unearthing of terracotta spindle reveal the prevalence weaving craft in this region. They have used timber, iron nails and terracotta tiles for constructing the roof in their houses. The excavation also include the pieces of bangles, made in glass, conch and copper, as well as terracotta ear studs. Excavators have also discovered terracotta  smoking pipes datable between 13th and 17th century A.D.

How to get there?

Nearest Bus station: Tirukoilure is well connected with Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai. People will get buses from these two prominent towns.
Nearest Railway station:  Tirukkoyilur Railway station, the very nearby railwaystation, is located on the section line between Villupuram and Katpadi and passes through Tiruvannamalai. Katpadi Junction Railway station, a major railway station, is located 130 km from Tirukkoyilur

  1. Chieftains of the Sangam Age. Tirunavukkarasu, KD. IITS, Madras. 100p.
  2. Sri Thiruvikrama swamy temple. Dinamalar.
  3. Sri Veeratteswarar temple. Dinamalar.
  4. Thiruk-koyilur inscription. R.Nagaswamy. Tamil Arts Academy.
  5. Thanjavur Brihadhiswara Temple Inscriptions. South Indian Inscriptions.
  6. Thiruk-koyilur inscription R.Nagaswamy. Tamil Arts Academy.
  7. Tirukoyilur. One Five Nine.
  8. Tirukoilur temples.  Dr.Ravishankar's blog. October 16, 2011
  9. Veeratteswarar Temple of Shiva
  10. கொடுந்தமிழ் நாடு
  11. சங்ககாலதிற்கு முன்பிருந்த சோழர்கள்
  12. சோழ மன்னர் மெய்க்கீர்த்திகள்
  13. திருக்கோயிலூர். அப்துல் மஜீத், அ. in ஆய்வில் பூத்த மலர்கள். தமிழ்நாடு அரசு தொல்லியல் துறை, சென்னை, 2001. 20 - 25 பக்.    
  14. திருக்கோயிலூர் கீழூர் வீராட்டனேஸ்வரர் திருக்கோயில்.. பிச்சைபிள்ளை கூ. விஜயா பதிப்பகம், உளுந்தூர்ப்பேட்டை, 2016. 144 பக்.   
  15. மலையமான் திருமுடிக்காரியும் முள்ளுர் நாட்டு வளமும்


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Padavedu - Land of Thousand Temples: History of Sambuvaraya and Their Capital

Padavedu_GHO71E_20_1500865g.jpg (630×385)
Vijayanagar style Venugopala and Rukmani statues amidst fields PC The Hindu
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Renugambal Temple PC Flickr Raju
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Entry to Padavedu from Santhavasal PC Flickr Raju
Padavedu (படவேடு) (Padaiveedu (படைவீடு) = Garrison), is a pastoral village located in Polur taluk, Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, India Pin Code 632315. The place wherein Renugambal temple located is known as 'A.K.Padavedu' (Amman Koil Padavedu). Padavedu village is 2 km away from A.K. Padavedu and forming part of Padavedu village Panchayat. The nondescript village, surrounded by mist-soaked Javadu hills, sugarcane fields, banana plantations, brick kilns and paddy fields, is 137.3 km away from Chennai, 112 km from Pondicherry and 170.6 km from Bangalore and it is situated in a strategic point among Vellore (30.9 km), Thiruvannamalai (56.7 km) and Arani (20.5 km) in the Vellore – Polur (Thiruvannamalai) route. You will find a junction called Santhavasal (சாந்தவாசல்) at the 32nd km while proceeding from Vellore town. From Santhavasal the village is just 6 km away. Alternate route from Chennai is Arcot - Arani - Santhavasal through the bumpy road. The geographical coordinates of Padavedu are  12° 38' 54.5672" latitude and 79° 7' 58.2449" longitude and the elevation / altitude is 172 m from sea-level.

Sambuvaraya dynasty, who ruled in the 12th and 13th Centuries, had Munnur (முன்னூர்), Virinjipuram (விரிஞ்சிபுரம்) and Kanchipuram (காஞ்சிபுரம்) as their capitals. After becoming independent from Pandyas, Sambuvaraya chose Padaiveedu as their capital for its strategic defensive location i.e., the land bastioned by tall hills and dense forests. The formation of Malayalam forests (மலையாளக்காடு), Shenbaga grove (செண்பகத்தோப்பு) and Athtimalai (அத்திமலை)  on the north-west, Kalimathu hillock (களிமத்துக் குன்று) on the south-west and Santhavasal reserve forests (சாந்தவாசல் காப்புக்காடு) on the south provided adequate defensive measures. Santhavasal was the entry point to the capital. 

The scenic Javadu hill is surrounded by seventeen villages and lush green paddy fields and coconut groves. It is believed that the region was known as the 'land of thousand temples' since it was the home to 1008 Shiva temples and 108 Vishnu temples. Now it is reduced to ten ancient (12th century) temples excluding the most popular Renugambal temple (ரேணுகாம்பாள் கோவில்).

Renugambal Temple (Renuka Paramesvari Temple (ரேணுகா பரமேஸ்வரி கோவில்) also known as Yellamma Temple (எல்லம்மா கோவில்), Padavedu was built by Sambuvaraya. It is one of the most important ‘Sakthi Sthalas’ in Thondainadu. Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested here and a Banalingam is present. Adi Sankarar has consecrated the Nanakarshna Chakra   This south facing ancient temple exists even today. Three inscriptions have been copied from this temple.

Also there is a newly constructed temple. The outer walls of the granite structured vimana is decorated with bas relief images depicting puranic scenes. The goddess resides in the east facing sanctum. There are ardhamandapam, mahamandapam and there are shrines minor deities.

The Sri Venugopalaswami Kainkaryam Trust,(வேணுகோபாலஸ்வாமி கைங்கர்யம் டிரஸ்ட்), a part of TVS group, takes over the village about 20 years back and maintains the age old temples flawlessly. Number of temples were identified, unearthed and renovated by the trust during 1990s. Very few of these temples retain their original facade and the temples include:

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  1. Lord Venugopala Swamy temple (வேணுகோலஸ்வாமி கோவில்) is located on the top of Rajagambhiramalai (hill top) popularly known as Kottaimalai (Athimalai). The temple opens only on Saturdays from 9 am  to 4 pm. A ghat road runs through the dense forest and leads to the hill top. People used to travel by using the off-road wheeled tractor from the foothill to the hill top over this bumpy route.
  2. Yoga Ramachandraswamy Temple (யோக இராமச்சந்திரஸ்வாமி கோவில்), Padavedu, constructed before 12th Century AD, is located 1 km west of Renugambal Temple. Lord Rama is uncommonly seated in Artha Padmasana posture showing “Chin Mudra” and his hand is not holding his bow (Kothandam). He is accompanied by his consort Seetha and brother Lakshmana by his side. Hanuman appears seated before Rama and engaged in reading Palm leaf manuscripts. Lord Rama is also appear seated and showing 'Chin Mudra' at Nedungunam and Ragunatha Samudram temples, both are located in Tiruvannamalai dist..
  3. Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple (லட்சுமி நரசிம்மர் கோவில்), Ramanathapuram, Padavedu located on a hill top. Kamandala river (கமண்டல நதி) flows by the side of this temple. It was built by Mankonda Sambuvarayar (மண்கொண்ட சம்புவராயர்).  Temple ruined due to natural disaster and now renovated by TVS Group trust. The bridge, built at a later date by the trust, connects the temple and the village. Also there is a cement path leading to the hill top. Goddess Lakshmi is seated on the right side of Narasimhar. 
  4. Velmurugan temple (வேல்முருகன் கோவில்) is located on top of Natchathra Kundru (நட்சத்திரக் குன்று) (Star Hill). A Vel (வேல்) (lance of Lord Muruga) is consecrated by the Bhogar (போகர் சித்தர்), one of the 18  Siddhars and Poojas are performed daily.
  5. Chinna Kottai Varadhar Temple, Padavedu is located 2 km north west of Renugambal temple.
  6. Kailasa Vinayagar Temple (கைலாச விநாயகர் கோவில்), Padavedu is located on the northern side of Renugambal temple with a distance of 2 km. The prime deity Lord Vinayagar is huge and has a height of five and a half feet and looks very majestic. The ancient temple built hundreds of years back was fully destroyed.  The renovation work of this temple was carried out by TVS trust.
  7. Rishi Temple (ரிஷி கோவில்) or (Lord Budha Temple) is located near Renugambal Temple. Rishi idol was retrieved at this spot and consecrated in the newly built temple.
  8. Ammayappa Esvarar Temple, Padavedu, a 12th century temple, is considered as the most ancient temple and located one km west of Renugambal temple. It is the family deity of Sambuvarayas. The prime deity is Ammayappa Esvarar (Lord Shiva) and his consort is five feet tall goddess Aparnambigai. The temple totally buried due to sand storms and excavated. The procession deities hidden underground were also discovered and installed in Utsava Mandapam.
  9. Periya Kottai Varadhar Temple, Padavedu is located 2 km north west of Renugambal temple.
  10. Sadasivan Temple (சதாசிவன் கோவில்) is devoted to Lord Shiva and his consort and located in Vettagiripalayam, Padavedu. 
Also there are few temples built and maintained by the trust:
  1. Kailasanathar Temple (கைலாசநாதர் கோவில்), Kailasaparai (கைலாசப் பாறை), Padavedu is totally in ruin and is located towards north on top of Kailasaparai hillock. There is no provision for flight of steps to climb. The prime deity is Lord Kailasanathar (Lord Shiva) who appears with his consort Parvathi in a ruined sanctum (no ceiling). The four hands of the Lords are lost. Also a Shivalingam is found. Vimanam is in Gajaprishta style. No pooja rituals are performed. 
  2. Subramanya Swamy Temple is located on a hill top, on the southern side of Arulmigu Renugambal Temple. The flight of three hundred well laid stone steps leads to this hill temple.
  3. The village once had eight Anjaneya statues placed in eight cardinal directions to guard the place. Now only five of them remain. Installation of guardian deities is characteristic of the Vijayanagar empire. Veera Anjaneyar Temple  is located on the way leading to Ramar temple from Renugambal temple and also located close to the Draupadhi Mandapam. Eight feet tall sthanaka Veera Anjaneyar appeared majestically in open air. Only 3 years back the Lord was consecrated to the present shrine. 
The visitors can find several statues in the field. The statue of Hanuman is found under the banyan tree. The statues of Sri Venugopala with flute and his consort Rukmani are found, along with a heap of crumbled rocks, from ruined temple, in a lush green banana grove. The whole village is kept under the control of Department of Archeology and the people are not allowed to dig out any land except for cultivation. In spite of its illustrious history of Sambuvaraya and their Rajagambhiram fort, the village  still remain as the less traveled destination.

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Yoga Ramachandraswamy Temple, Padavedu PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Venugopala Swamy temple, Rajagambhiramalai (Kottaimalai) PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Kailasanathar Temple, Kailasaparai, Padavedu. PC Tamilnadu Tourism
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Kailasa Vinayagar Temple, Padavedu PC Tamilnadu Tourism
Sambuvaraya Dynasty

Sambuvaraya kings (சம்புவராய மன்னர்கள்) hailed from Velir clans (வேளிர் குலம்). The Velirs were minor feudatory chieftains in the ancient Tamilakam. They were vassals as well as rivals of Chola, Chera and Pandyas and maintained marital relationships with them and enjoyed coronation rights. During 12th and 13th Centuries, the Sambuvarayar chieftains ruled Tondaimandalam region. Ethirili Chola Sambuvaraya (எதிரிலி சோழ சம்புவராயர்) , who ruled the northern part of Tondaimandalam, was.a vassal under Rajadhiraja Chola II (இரண்டாம் இராஜதிராஜ சோழர்) and Kulotunga Chola III (மூன்றாம் குலோத்துங்க சோழன்) and this chieftain hailed from the family of Sengeni. Omaindha Munnutruvan Palliyana Karanamanikyam (செங்கேணி ஓமைந்த முந்நூற்றுவன் பள்ளியன் கரணமாணிக்யம்) was his ancestor. His father was Sengeni Ammaiyappan Kannudaiya Peruman Vikrama Chola Sambuvarayar (செங்கேணி அம்மையப்ப கண்ணுடைய பெருமான் விக்கிரம சோழ சம்புவராயர்). He was decorated with the titles such as Virasani (விராசனி), Viruchola (வீறுசோழ) and Pallavandan (பல்லவந்தன்).

Sambuvarayas stationed their troops to maintain and guard at Padavedu fort and hence the name 'Padaiveedu' (garrison or fortified military post) and inscriptions mention this as Marudaraisan Padaiveedu (மருதரைசன் படைவீடு) (Cantonment of the king Madurai). At the time Sambuvarayas were under the patronage of Pandyas. During the reign of Jatavarma Sundara Pandya I ((Tamil: முதலாம் சடையவர்மன் சுந்தரபாண்டியன்) (1250 - 1268 A.D). Sundara Pandya Sambuvaraya was ruling the land as a feudatory from Kanchipuram (ref. inscription at Kalavai S.I.I. vol XII no. 446). 

Vira Pandya Sambuvaraya, the son of  Sundara Pandya Sambuvaraya was also a loyal feudatory of Pandya. Sambuvaraya became independent after the Delhi Sultans uprooted Pandyas. They made Padaiveedu as their capital and ruled till the rise of Vijayanagar kingdom in Karnataka.

Inscription A.R.E 18 of 1889 mention this region as the 'Rajagambhira Rajyam' (இராஜகம்பீர இராஜ்யம்) named after Rajagambhira Sambuvraya (இராஜகம்பீர சம்புவராயர்) (1236 - 1268 A.D.) as well as 'Padavittu Rajyam' (படைவீட்டு இராஜ்யம்). The bordering hillock around the Padaiveedu is mentioned in an inscription no. A.R.E no. 220 of 1919 as 'Rajagambhiran Malai' (இராஜகம்பீரன் மலை) which also named after Rajagambhira Sambuvrayar. The capital of this illustrious kingdom was mentioned as 'Marudaraisan Padaiveedu,' in inscription S.I.I vol. 1, no. 81 Sambuvaraya rulers built their palace structures and protected them with 'Rajagambhiram Fort' and a wide moat. 

Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya (ஏகாம்பரநாத சம்புவராயர்), a Sambuvaraya feudatory under Maravarman Kulasekara Pandya (மாறவர்மன் குலசேகர பாண்டியன்),  ruled parts of Tondaimandalam independently from 1306 AD. An inscription from Tiruvannamalai district speaks about this subject. Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya witnessed the invasion of Malik Kafur (மாலிக் காபூர்) in 1311 A.D and Kushru khan (குஸ்ரு கான்) in 1319 A.D. In 1322 Ekambaranatha Venru Mankonda Sambuvaraya (ஏகாம்பரநாத வென்று மண்கொண்ட சம்புவராயர்) (1322 - 1337 A.D.), the son and successor of Ekambaranatha Sambuvaraya became the ruler of a major portion of Tondaimandalam. The village donated to great vedic scholars by this Sambuvaraya king after he won in the war, hence the village is called Mankonda Kolathur (now termed as Mandakolathur) and the king was known in the name of Vendru Mankonda Sambuvaraya. Also during his reign in 1324 A.D. Mohamed Bin Tugklaq's army invaded the land and destroyed many Hindu shrines. Tiruvamathore (திருவாமத்தூர்) (Villupuram District) inscription informs about the renovation of the destroyed temples by the Sambuvarayar king. 

Venru Mankonda Sambuvarayar was succeeded by Rajanarayana Sambuvaraya I (முதலாம் இராஜநாராயண சம்புவராயர்) (1337 - 1373 A.D.). In the year 1363 Vira-Kampana-Udaiyar (வீர கம்பண உடையார்), also known as Kumara Kampanna II (இரண்டாம் குமார கம்பண்ணா) , second son of Bukka Raya I (முதலாம் புக்க இராயர்) and the prince of Vijayanagar who ruled from Kanchipuram, attacked Rajanarayana Sambuvarayar I and captured him as the prisoner.

Rajagambhiram fort

During 11th regnal year (1247 A.D.) Rajagambhira Sambuvarayar (1236 - 1268 A.D.) built Rajagambhiram fort on top of the hill, 'Rajagambhiran Malai.' An inscription on top of the hill informs about this. The fort straddled the entire hill. They have used granite boulders and 10 inches by 7 inches bricks, sand and lime mortar to construct the fort wall. The perimeter of the fort extends up to two kilometers. In fact this fort was hard to conquer for it can be accessed only through four gates and cannot be accessed easily through other means. It was constructed for surveillance and control the movements Delhi Sultanates and Vijayanagar rulers. The fort had provision for shelters for soldiers posted on surveillance duties. The rock surface do show pits for erecting poles for tents and they could have erected nine tents on top of the hill. They have also made provision for storing water in tanks as well as in natural ponds. They have also made one foot diameter by one foot deep pits for provision and use of mortar weapon.  The fort also exhibits evidences for the existence of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vinayaga.

The northern gate is presently called as Santhavasal (Santha gate). A hero stone is discovered near Santhavasal. The eastern gate is in ruined state and the western gate, named after Puvandai alias Cholakon, one of the Mudalis in the military service of Ethirili Chola Sambhuvaraya, is fully destroyed. There was a moat encircling the fort.

Madura Vijaya ('The Conquest of Madurai')

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Ganga Devi, the chief queen of Vira Kampana-Udaiyar and a leaned poetess, elaborately detailed the unapproachable nature of the Rajagambhiram fort in 'Madura Vijaya' (மதுரா விஜயம்) ('The Conquest of Madurai'), also named as 'Vira Kamparaya Charitha', a Sanskrit historical poem composed by Ganga Devi.  The poetic work was brought to public by G.Harihara Sastri and V Srinivasa Sastri of Trivandrum in 1916. Shri. S Thiruvankatachary translated the poetical work into English and Annamalai University published it in 1957. The poetical work includes nine chapters and the early chapters are devoted to the historical background of Vijayanagar empire i.e., rule of Bukka Raya I and the childhood and early life of Vira Kampana (Kumara Kampana). The chapters in the middle deal with the heroism of Vira Kampana and his invasion towards the south and the conquest of Kanchipuram. Bukka Raya I directed his prince to invade Tamil land. Vira Kampana marched towards Tamil land along with his three generals i.e., Gopana, Saluva Mangu and Muddappa.  Ganga Devi accompanied her husband in his southern expedition.The first encounter was at the Rajagambhira Rajyam (Padaiveedu Rajyam). The poetic description is as follows:

“King Kampana, then converted the Tamil king’s town into an encampment for his own force, and from there began to lay siege to the hill fortress named Rajagambhira (Rajagambhiramalai) in which the enemy had sought asylum.

The sound of his war drums raised echoes from every cave of the hill and it looked as if the hill itself had begun to yell out in freight.

With the flags flying in the direction of high winds, the hill (fort) gave the impression that it was greeting king (Kampana) and welcome him with its arms (the flags) to come up to its top.

Again, fierce fighting commenced between the two sides, and the weapons falling down and shooting up, lit up both earth and sky by their resplendence.

Heads severed by arrows resembled palmyra fruits as they fell down from the ramparts and caused an illusion that the balls belong to the deity of war (for playing (with).

Like messengers (tax-collectors) sent by the strong hold themselves claiming the tolls for the entry (of the Karnataka troops) the stones let down from the catapults fell just in front of the king.

The hill, with the houses lit up by fire from the missiles of bow-men looked like holding the lamp in readiness harati for the happy ceremony to mark the auspicious victory of the king.

With all means (and chances of escape) coming completely blocked, the strong hold was subjected to such great distress that embryos of women, big with children slipped out at the very sight of the fierce jumping in, and people immersed in the river of blood of the slain prayed for their life.

Sambuvaraya, the monarch withdrawn sword, came out of his palace in great anger, even as a snake with its lolling tongue might come out of a mole-hill.

Though many a soldier of valour eagerly came forward to fight saying “let me do it,” King Kampana preferred to face the Sambuvaraya himself.

With forepart of their body bent and eyes fixed, the two kings sword in hand, stood still for a moment like a picture on a piece of painting.

The gods were thankful for the total absence of winking their eyes, as they looking on with fixed gaze, the flight (of the two horses) their bodies divided at the waist.

Kampana’s sword, reflecting as it the image of the Sambuvaraya monarch, looked like a pregnant daughter about to give birth to a husband for the celestial nymphs.

Then escaping deftly a sword thrust, King Kampana despatched the Sambuvaraya (monarch) as a guest to Indra’s city.

Having thus reduced (killed) Sambuvaraya in the field of battle, King Kampana received the decree of his father that he should rule (the territory he conquered).”

From the above poem it is presumed that there was a palace and  huge fort wall, both of which were guarded by large number of soldiers, wielded by bow and arrows and lances. The citadel located in the Rajagambhiram hill was sieged and the ruler was stabbed to death by Vira Kampana in 1361 A.D. After this Vira Kampana marched to Kanchipuram and conquered.

In 1311 A.D. Malik Kafur attacked Madurai and plundered all temples.  Ghiyasuddin Tughlak made second invasion to Madurai and established Madurai Sultanate. Madurai suffered a lot during 1335 - 1371 A.D. The temple remain closed for nearly 40 years. Madura Vijaya details the sufferings of Hindus in the hands of Madurai Sultans. Hoysala ruler Veera Vallala encountered with Sultan and was killed in the battle. The huge army of Vira Kampana stormed Madurai Sultanate and Vira Kampana killed  the Madurai Sultan Qurbat Hasan Kangu in the battle. Later the entire Madurai country and Chola country were included with Vijayanagar kingdom. Two divisions namely Rajagambhira Rajyam and Tiruvathigai Rajyam were formed.

Padavedu Excavations

The Tamil Nadu State Department of Archeology conducted excavations in Padavedu in the year 1992-93 at two sites namely Vetagiripalayam (வேட்டைகிரிபாளையம்) and Kottaikaraimedu (கோட்டைக்கரைமேடு). The existence of the palace and the fort wall was ascertained  by the Department of Archeology during excavations. A mound, just on the west of Padavedu village, was popularly known as 'Kottaimedu' (கோட்டைமேடு). Kottaimedu is located one km away from Yoga Ramachandraswamy temple. Presently the Kottaimedu lands have been converted into cultivable patta land and paddy, sugarcane and plantain crops are cultivated. Two Vishnu idols namely Chinna Kottai Varadar (சின்னக்கோட்டை வரதர்) (Varadar of Small Fort) and Periya Kottai Varadar (பெரியகோட்டை வரதர்) (Varadar of big fort) were found near the Kottaimedu mound. Sculptures of Kottai Talayari (கோட்டைத் தலையாரி), Viraanjaneya (வீரஞ்சநேயர்), Mahaganapathy (மகாகணபதி) and two Tirthankaras (தீர்த்தங்கரர்கள்) were discovered in 'Kottaimedu' itself. The sculptures found in these locations clearly lead the archaeologists to conclude  that there was a fort at the site. Further to this, occurrence of bricks in huge quantities as well as sizable number of ring wells also suggest the presence of fort at the site. The traces of fort gates on the Kottaimalai (Athimalai) (அத்திமலை) or Rajagambhiram hill and the existence of Venugopala temple and brick graneries assignable to Nayak period suggest the scholars to conclude about the fort.

The team laid 14 trenches. At Vetagiripalayam two trenches were laid to fully expose the age old brick structure appeared out due to rain. At the first trench they discovered  terracotta tube with a tiny hole (bellows tube) (துருத்திக் குழாய்). It could have been the mechanical device, made in clay, used as blow pipe for glass making. The glass slag piece retrieved from this trench supports this view. The second trench dug to the west of the first trench exposed the relics of the brick wall fully.

At Kottaikaraimedu twelve trenches were laid. This site is marked with the occurrence of brick structure, with the channels used for bringing drinking water and draining out sewage water and ring wells. They have used granite boulders to construct both the sides of the wall and filled the middle portion with the mixture of clay and crushed brick stones and they could ascertain the width as 1 m 15 cm and the height of the brick wall structure could not be ascertained. The site is marked by the presence of smoking pipes, Sultan coins and a number of decorated red ware shreds and bangle pieces were collected from this site.

On the basis of cultural sequences of these sites, the archaeologists have classified as period one and period two. The date assignable to period one could be between 13th and 14th Century A.D.  The date assignable to period two could be between 14th and 16th century A.D.

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Structural Remains and Flooring PC Dept. of Archeology

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Closed Channel PC Dept. of Archeology

S.I.I Vol. V, No.78. on the east and north bases of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

Inscription S.I.I. vol V, no. 78 dated - on the nakshatra Revati and Monday, the seventh lunar day of the former half of the month of Karkataka, in the year, which was current after the expiration of the Saka year 1180 (1258 A.D.), and records a grant, which Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan made to the temple of Ammaiappa esvara.  The name of the object of the grant must be contained in the final portion of the first line, which is buried underground.  The donor is evidently identical with that Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan, who is mentioned in a Tirumalai inscription (No.74), which seems to be dated in Saka 1157-58.  It may be further conjectured, that the Ammaiappesvara Temple at Padavedu had received its name from Ammaiappan or Ammaiyappan, one of the birudas of another Sambuvarayan, who was a contemporary and probably a relation of Rajagambhira-Sambuvarayan.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.79. on the south-east of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated during the reign of Vira-Devaraya-maharayar (of Vijayanagara) and On the tenth day of the month of Masi of the Pramadicha (i.e., Saka 1356) (1434 A.D.). It records a grant to the lord Ammaiappa-nayanar of the Ammaiappa eswara Temple.  The name of the donor is obliterated (Madhayavanar?). This meritorious gift shall last as long as the moon and the sun.  He who shall injure this meritorious gift, [shall incur the sin of one has killed] a black cow on the bank of the Ganga.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.80. on the south wall of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated during the reign of Vira-Devaraya-maharayar (of  Vijayanagara) and on the 2nd day of the month of Adi on the Ananda year,.  (i.e.,Saka 1357).  It records the gift of a village to the lord Ammaiappa-nayanar of the Ammaiappa esvara Temple.  The middle portion is defaced by three cracks. The donor is Ulagalantha Suryadeva of Kalavai.

S.I.I Vol. V, No.81. on the east wall of the Somanatha eswara Temple, Padavedu

This inscription is dated on the day of (the nakshatra) Uttiradam, which corresponds to the Yoga Ayushmat and to Saturday, the thirteenth lunar day of the former half of the month of Simha of the Sukla year, which was current after the Saka year 1371 (had passed) (1449 A.D.), and during the reign of Virapratapa Praudha-Immadi-Devaraya-maharayar.  This is the latest hitherto-known date of Devaraja II.  In the preserved portion, mention is made of the kingdom of Padaividu (Padaivitttu rajyam),which belonged to Tondai-mandalam, of the right and left had castes and of the Somanatha esvara Temple at Padaividu.

How to Get There?

Nearest Bus stand: Padavedu is located around 30.9 km away from Vellore and around 56.7 kilometer away from its district head quarter Tiruvannamalai. Santhavasal (Padavedu) is well connected with major nearby towns like Arani, Arcot, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai and Polur. Frequent buses ply to Santhavasal from Kancheepuram, Vellore, Polur, Arcot and Arani.

Nearest Railway station: The nearest railway station to Padavedu is Aliyabad which is located in and around 11.5 km distance. Both Arni Road railway station and Vellore Cantt. railway station are 28.8 km away from Padavedu..

Nearest Airport: Chennai airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 139.7 km. Bengaluru airport is also a nearer airport located at a distance of 211.8 km. 

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  4. Madura Vijayam Wikipedia
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  7. Sambuvaraya Wikipedia
  8. Sambuvarayar period stone inscription found The Hindu. April 07, 2002
  9. Visit to Padavedu Kottaimalai Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple. Raju's Temple Visits. June 13, 2008 (
  10. Visit to Padavedu Temples. Raju's Temple Visits. May 26, 2008. (
  11. What is India. South Indian Inscriptions. Part B: Tamil and Grantha Inscriptions. V Inscriptions at Padavedu (
Mann Pesum Sarithiram epi 290

Kottaimalai Trip

Vel Temple at Padavedu

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