Showing posts with label Musical Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Musical Instruments. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Naviram Hills (Parvathamalai) and Chieftain Nannan as Portrayed in Sangam Poem Malaipadukadam

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Naviram Hill (Nanviramalai) (நவிரமலை) is one of the hill range described in Malaipadukadam (மலைபடுகடாம்),  a Sangam poetic work in Pattuppattu (பத்துப்பாட்டு) anthology. Before two thousand years ago the Javadhu hill-range (ஜவ்வாதுமலை), an extension of the Eastern Ghats comprising the modern Tiruvannamalai and Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu, was known as Palkunrakkottam ('பல்குன்றக் கோட்டம்'). Thondai Nadu (தொண்டைநாடு), a historical region situated in the northern part of Tamil Nadu, was divided into 24 districts or 'Kottams.' Palkunrakkottam was one among the 24 kottams. Palkunrakkottam means the land surrounded by hillocks (குன்று சூழிருக்கை நாடு). The Javadhu hill range extends about 50 miles (80 km) wide and 20 miles (32 km) long and lies at about 2350 feet to 3500 feet above sea level. In the opinion of U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, the Naviram hill range, situated in Thenmathimangalam village, Kalasapakkam taluk,  Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, India, is now known as "Parvathamalai. Most of the scholars agree his view. Lines 81-84 and 579 of Malaipadukadam refers Naviram hills and "Kariyundikkadavul," (காரி உண்டிக் கடவுள) "the god who drank poison," as the Lord of Naviram Hills.

நீரகம் பனிக்கும் அஞ்சுவரு கடுந்திறல்
பேரிசை நவிர மேஎ யுறையும்
காரி உண்டிக் கடவுள தியற்கையும் (மலைபடுகடாம்.81-84)
(Know the greatness of the god who resides in Naviram who ate poison, who causes the earth surrounded with water to tremble!)

கழைவளர் நவிரத்து மீமிசை ஞெரேரென (மலைபடுகடாம்,579)
Nannan showers unspoiled wealth like the rain showers on Naviram Mountain, the lord of the country surrounded by mountains... )

The present presiding deity of the hill temple of Parvatamalai (பர்வதமலை) is named in Sanskrit as "Kalakanteshvarah" (காலகண்டேஸ்வரர்) - 'the god whose neck is dark blue.' The hill temple is popularly known as Lord Mallikarjunaswamy (மல்லிகார்ச்சுணசுவாமி) (Lord Shiva) temple. The resemblance of the name of the presiding deity stands as evidence for assigning Naviram Hill as Parvatamalai. Parvathamalai is also known as Kandhamalai, Mallikarjunamalai, Naviramalai, Parvathagiri, Sanjeevigiri, Thenkailayam and Trisulagiri.

அடிக்கொரு லிங்கம் அண்ணாமலை,பிடிக்கொரு லிங்கம் பர்வதமலை

Palkunrakkottam was ruled by Nannan, son of Nannan, the Velir Chieftain of Chenkanmä (பல்குன்றக் கோட்டத்துச் செங்கண்மாத்துவேண்மான் நன்னன் சேய் நன்னன்), a Velir chieftain. Naviram Hill formed part of his country. He was also the lord of Cheyaru valley.

குன்று சூழ் இருக்கை நாடு கிழவோனே
(Nannan, the lord of the country surrounded by mountains)

Malaipadukadam narrates Naviram hill as Nannan's hill. The poet Perunkausikanar addresses a group of Kuttar and advises them to seek the patronage of king Nannan son of Nannan whose territory includes Naviram Hill. Chenkanma (செங்கண்மா) was the capital of Nannan's country. Chenkanma is presently identified as Chengam (செங்கம்), a town in Chengam taluk in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu state, India.

Parvatamalai (பர்வதமலை)

The geographical coordinates of Parvathamalai are 12°26'11"N latitude and 78°58'19"E longitude. The steep vertical rock cliff is 1219 m (4000 feet) high from sea level and spans around 5500 acres.  The hill is 20 km from Polur 25 km from Chengam, 25 km from Kadaladi and 35 km (approx) from Tiruvannamalai.. Chengam, Kadaladi, Tiruvannamalai and Polur are located on the south eastern side of the Javadhu hills.

How to Get There?

There are two routes to reach on top of Parvathamalai hill. One route is through Thenmathimangalam village located in Polur - Chengam road. Another route is through Kadaladi (north of Tiruvannamalai). Kadaladi route is shorter than Thenmadhimangalam route. People find it is easy to climb through Thenmathimangalam route.The flight of steps leading to the hill commences from foot hills and there is a balipeeta as well as shrines of Vinayaka and Subramaniyar with consorts Valli and Devayani.

However both Thenmathimagalam and Kadaladi routes meet at the common junction and from there it is a single route leading to the summit of the hill.  It is the steep and rocky terrain. Trekking on top of Parvathamalai cliff is a very challenging task. A steep climb offering more than 1219 m (4000 feet) vertical feet . The rough terrain path has iron rod steps, track steps, ladder steps, and sky steps (Agaya padi) usually not found at other such sacred mountains. Kadapparai (crow bar) path section is considered as the most toughest phase of the hike. Iron rods are planted after drilling the rock and the chains between the rods help the trekkers to cross the sharp ascent. The view on the way up is scenic with medicinal flora. Mounaguruswamy Ashram is located near to the temple. Feeding the devotees (Annadhanam) is taking place during full moon day occasions.

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The prime deity of the hill-temple is Sri Mallikarjunaswamy and goddess Sri Bramarambigai also known as Sri Akilandesvari amman.  The temple is not protected by doors or compound wall. Surprisingly no priests are available to perform puja rituals or ablution. The devotees is free to do puja and ablution. The hill attracts a lot of devotees every full moon day.

Chenkanma (Chengam) செங்கண்மா (செங்கம்)

Chenkanma was the capital of Nannan son of Nannan. At present this Sangam era town is known as Chengam and is located in Chengam taluk in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu state, India PIN 606701. Chengam lies on the geographical coordinates of 10.15654°N and 76.208982°E and the elevation / altitude is 272 meter (892 feet).  It is located 36 km towards west from district head quarters Tiruvannamalai. There is no railway station near to Chengam in less than 10 km. However Katpadi Jn. Railway station is the major railway station located 92 km from to Chengam.

Nannan, son of Nannan, the Velir Chieftain of Chenkanmä of Palkunrakkottam ruled the town Chenkanma. Over the period of time the name Chenkanma transformed into Chengam. Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Ayyar and other scholars unanimously hold this view. Inscriptions also refer this town as Chenkanma as well as Chengama. Literally Chenkanma in Tamil means the animal with red eyes (Chenkan = red eye and Ma = animal). Perhaps this town might have named after an animal. The town according to Malaipadukadam was located on the southern bank of the river Cheyaru. Present town also located on the southern bank of the river Cheyyaru.

இரை தேர்ந்து இவரும் கொடுந்தாள் முதலையொடு 
திரைபடக் குழிந் தகல்அகழ் கிடங்கின்
வரை புரை நிவப்பின் வான்தோய் இஞ்சி
உரை செல வெறுத்த அவன் மூதூர் மாலையும் 
"Listen now to what I have to tell you about his town with sky-high fort walls surrounded by a wide moat with waves, where crocodiles with curved legs search for prey!" (Malaipadukadam 89 - 94)

வியல் இடம் பெறாஅ விழுப்பெரு நியமத்து … 
யாறு எனக் கிடந்த தெருவின் சாறு என
இகழுநர் வெரூஉம் கவலை மறுகின்
கடல் என கார் என ஒலிக்கும் சும்மையொடு
மலைஎன மழை என மாடம் ஓங்கி
துனிதீர் காதலின் இனிது அமர்ந்து உறையும்
பனி வார் காவின் பல் வண்டு இமிரும்
நனி சேய்த்தன்று அவன் பழவிறல் மூதூர் (480 – 487)
"The streets are wide as rivers and the opulent markets are huge.  People gather together like constant festivities.  The forked streets cause fear in enemies.  There are loud sounds like those from the ocean and the rain.  In the tall mansions that are like mountains and clouds, there are loving people.  There are groves with dew where flowers are swarmed by bees in his ancient, old town that is not far away." (Malaipadukadam 480 - 487)

பொருந்தாத் தெவ்வர் இருந்தலை துமிய
பருந்துபடக் கடக்கும் ஒள் வாள் மறவர்
கருங்கடை எஃகம் சாத்திய புதவின்
அருங்கடி வாயில் ... (488 - 491)
"The protected gates of Nannan is guarded by warriors who chopped the black heads of enemies for kites to descend. The warriors lean their bright spears with black handles on the walls of the gate.." (Malaipadukadam 488 - 491)
Cheyaru (Cheyyaru) சேயாறு (செய்யாறு)

Cheyyaru also known as Ceyaru is a river which originates in Javadhu hills and flows through Tiruvannamalai district before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Northeast and Southwest monsoons bring most of its rain and is the major source of irrigation for several villages, including the town Cheyyaru. It is the main tributary of Palar river. In Malaipadukadam, the river Cheyyar is called "Cheyaru," the river of Cey, usually understood to be Murugan (The word Cey means "ed" and "son" Today the river goes by the name Shanmuganadhi, the river of Shanmuga or Muruga.

The guiding bard gives a detailed account on the ways and means to reach Nannan Sei Nannan's ancient town situated on the bank of Cheyaru. The lines 474 - 477 points out the prosperous Cheyaru river:

வனைகலத் திகிரியின் குமிழி சுழலும்
துனை செலல் தலைவாய் ஓவு இறந்து வரிக்கும்
காணுநர் வயாஅம் கட்கு இன் சேயாற்றின்
யாணர் ஒரு கரைக் கொண்டனிர் கழிமின்
"If you see a rushing stream with bubbles and whirlpools that whirl like wheels of potters, go on the other  side of the prosperous river Cheyaru which is sweet to behold." (Malaipadukadam 474 - 477)

Malaipadukadam மலைபடுகடாம்

Malaipadukadam (Tamil: மலைபடுகடாம்) (also known as Kuttar Arruppadai (கூத்தர் ஆற்றுப்படை) is one of the poetic work forming part of Patiṉeṇmelkaṇakku (Tamilபதினெண்மேல்கணக்கு) collection and further categorized under Pattuppattu (Tamil: பத்துப்பாட்டு) sub-collection (Ten Idylls). The meaning of the title Malaipadukadam is the "rut that produced by the mountain."  The author is Kousikanar of Iranyamuttam Perungunrur  (இரணிய முட்டத்துப் பெருங்குன்றூர்ப் பெருங்கெளசிகனார்). The lengthy Sangam anthology comprise 583 lines of poetry in the Aciriyappa meter.

Arruppadai (ஆற்றுப்படை)

Among the 'puram' poems, the Arruppadai (ஆற்றுப்படை) had been the earliest. In Pattuppattu there are five Arruppadai poems i.e., Tirumurugarruppadai (திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை), Porunararruppadai (பொருநராற்றுப்படை), Perumpanarruppadai (பெரும்பாணாற்றுப்படை), Cirupanarruppadai (சிறுபாணாற்றுப்படை) and Malaipadukadam (மலைபடுகடாம்)..The title of the poem is 'Malaipadukadam' is unique since this poem in the Pattuppattu anthology do not have the Arruppadai suffix.

Tolkappiyam,  an ancient Tamil Sangam grammatical treatise, prescribes rules for the different types of poetic composition. The third book is Porul adhikaram. Of its nine sections, five deals with aham, one section with puram (புறம்), one each with similes, prosody and idioms. The puram section is concerned with the activities connected with war and also grouped into seven categories or 'tinai.' Patan tinai prescribes grammar to praise the victorious king. Arruppadai poems fall in this category.

கூத்தரும் பாணரும் பொருநரும் விறலியும்
ஆற்றிடைக் ஆட்சி யுறழத் தோன்றிப்
பெற்ற பெருவளம் பெறாஅர்க் கறிவுறி இச்
சென்றுபய னெதிரச் சொன்ன பக்கமும் 
(Tolkappiyam தொல்காப்பியம்-1037)

Arruppadai poems, the unique Sangam literary form, where in one bard or the minstrel (பாணர்), who is returning with bounteous gifts from a Maecenas or Patron (usually the king / chieftain). In all arruppadai poems the bard or the minstrel gained immense opportunity to detail the nature of 'Sangam' terrain', (its beauty, fertility, and other resources) and its territory to be traversed. There is an emphasis on the tedious journey to reach the fort palace of the Maecenas. Among the five arruppadai poems, one of them differs from the others i.e., Tirumurugarruppadai, which directs devotees not to a  Maecenas but to God Murugan.

Sangam Era Musicians

The Sangam musicians were generically categorized into Kuttar (கூத்தர்), Panar (பாணர்), Porunar (பொருநர்), and Viraliar (விறலியர்). The Kuttar were dancers and actors; the Panar were both vocalists and instrumentalists; Porunars, also known as war-bards, were well versed in martial music like Parani (பரணி) and they used to travel with warriors. Viraliyars were female dancers cum singers. Porunars were further categorized into Erkalam Paduvar (ஏற்களம் பாடுவார்), Porkkalam Paduvar (போர்க்களம் பாடுவார்) and Parani Paduvar (பரணி படுவார்). The Panar had the following group: Isaippanar (இசைப்பாணர்), Yazhppanar (யாழ்ப்பாணர்) and Mandaippanar (மண்டைப்பாணர்). Maduraikanchi mentions about Perumpanar (பெரும்பாணர்). The panars mentioned in Malaipadukadam were bestowed with knowledge and skills of the 7 notes and 3 octaves. Pattuppattu books also describes Yazh, the stinged instrument of the Sangam period. Perumpanars (பெரும்பாணர்) played Periyazh (பேரியாழ்) (21 strings) and Sirupanar (சிறுபாணர்) played Seeriyazh (சீறியாழ்) (7 strings). The other yazhs (யாழ்) played by panars include Makarayazh (மகரயாழ்) (19 strings), Sagodayazh (சகோடயாழ்) (14 strings) and Sengottuyazh (செங்கோட்டுயாழ்) (7 strings).

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The wind instruments mentioned in Malaipadukadam include 1. Pili (பிளி) also known as Siruchinam (சிறுசினம்) - a small trumpet; 2. Kodu (கோடு) a.k.a Kombu (கொம்பு), letter 'S' shaped long trumpet; 3. Kanvidutumbu (கண்விடுதும்பு), a flute like instrument with larger  circumference and appears like the trunk of an elephant; and 4. Kuruntumbu (குறுந்தும்பு),. a small flute. Pattuppattu refers several percussion instruments and Murasu (முரசு) was the most common instrument and was in use on all occasions. Malaipadukadam details about the construction and tuning of Murasu. The top of the instrument was covered with skin and tied with leather straps. It also mentions about Muzhavu (முழவு), Aguli (ஆகுளி) or Siruparai (சிறுபறை)  and Tattai (தட்டை)  or Karadijai (கரடிஜை) . It also bring outs a drum known as Ellari (எல்லரி) also known in varied names as Salli (சல்லி) or Sallikai (சல்லிகை). The instrument parai, made out of bamboo stick produced sound resembling the croaking of frog or the bear.
The poem opens with the poet Kousikanar of Iranyamuttam addressing to the chief of the clan of artists or ''Panars" or bards accompanied by their dancers or viralis.  The length of the poem is 583 lines and the poet devotes about 380 lines to describe the harmful mountain path, (துன்பமான மலைநாட்டு பாதை) leading through village of forest dwellers (கானவர் குடி), village on the path (வழியிலுள்ள சிற்றூர்), Kariyundikkadavul temple (காரியுண்டிக் கடவுள் கோவில்), sparse woodland in the mountain (குன்றுகளில் உள்ள குறுங்காடு), Nannan's  secondary forest (நன்னனின் கானெயில்), Memorial stone area (நடுகற்கள் அமைந்த பகுதி), enemy's land (பகைவர் நிலம்), Mullai (craggy) land (முல்லை நிலம்), Protected outskirts of craggy land  (நாடு காவலமைந்த முல்லை நில புறங்காடு), Farming land (மருத நிலம்), Cheyaru river (சேயாறு) to reach Nannan's abode in the mountain country (நன்னனது மலைநாடு). Nannan would welcome them promptly. The song describes many facets of life in different communities in the hero’s land.  There are exquisite descriptions of nature. The poet compares the mountain range to a herd of elephants. The tall Naviram peak resembles like the mighty elephants.

Sound scape of Malaipadukadam

In all arruppadai poems there is an emphasis on the tedious journey to the abode of the king or chieftain. The poem also stresses the abundance of Nannan's mountain including hills, forests and farm lands. and narrates vast kingdom of Nannan. The poem details the weary and dangerous way as well as many facets of life in the different communities in Nannan’s land and the journey is marked by short stay at strange habitats. Sound, in Malaipadukadam (lines 292 to 348), is often expressed in habitat. The poet employs the word Chummai (சும்மை) and skillfully brings out the connection between the habitats and the sound scape:

The bard begins with the musical sound (இன் இசை) produced by celestial maidens (வான் அர மகளிர்) by scooping water with their hands while bathing in waterfalls. The poem draws comparison of the sound with the drums of the dancers. Another din produced is the strident noise (புரிவளைப் பூசல்) of the hunters (மீமிசைப் பணவைக் கானவர்) by encircling the trapped elephant.  The weeping (அழுகை) of wounded hunters (கானவர்) attacked by spines (எஃகு உறு முள்) of the hedgehog (எய்) is heard and the songs of Kodichiyar (கொடிச்சியர்) women who comfort their wounded hunters (husbands) (கொடுவரி பாய்ந்தென கொழுநர் மார்பில் நெடுவசி விழுப்புண்). In the tall mountains, the young women who raise confusing/protective noises (இடி உமிழ் தழங்கு குரல்) (interpreted by commentators as ‘vengai’, ‘vengai’ meaning ‘tiger’ ‘tiger’ (புலி புலி), when she was leaped and attacked by a bright colored mighty tiger (ஒண் கேழ் வயப்புலி பாய்ந்தென). Her spouse went to get food and take care of her. Poet compare noise with the the painful roaring trumpets of a naive, tender-headed pregnant cow elephant and her herd (கன்று அரைப்பட்ட கயந்தலை மடப்பிடி). The aggrieved black-fingered female monkey (கைக் கோள் மறந்த கருவிரல் மந்தி) and her troop (கிளை) produced continuous loud sounds inarticulately (களையாப் பூசல்) when she lost the clung of her untrained baby monkey (கல்லாப் பார்ப்பு) which fell into the rock crevices (அருவிடர் வீழ்ந்த).

Aboriginal hunters (கானவர்) bring forth joyous sound when they harvested huge honeycombs (தேன்கூடு) with honey (தேன்) collected by bees honey  (பெரும் பயன் தொகுத்த தேம் கொள் கொள்ளை) on the tall mountain after climbing on bamboo ladders  (நிலை பெய்து இட்ட மால்பு நெறி ஆக). The hunters, who drank liquor during the day (நறவு நாட் செய்த குறவர்), celebrate happily since they have destroyed forts of their enemies (அருங் குறும்பு எறிந்த கானவர் உவகை), and that the loot got will serve as gifts to Nannan with perfect spears (திருந்து வேல் அண்ணற்கு).    The hunters drink liquor and celebrate loudly (கல்லென) with kuravai dances in the sky-high mountain (வான் தோய் மீமிசை அயரும் குரவை), with their matrons, to the accompaniment of small, loud deer hide parai drums (மான் தோல் சிறு பறை கறங்க). There are roaring sounds produced by rivers with rocks as they enter rocky crannies (கல் யாறு ஒலிக்கும் விடர் முழங்கு இரங்கு இசை), appearing like beautiful chariots riding in a row (நல் எழில் நெடுந்தேர் இயவு வந்தன்ன).

There are clamors of  mahouts (பாகர்கள்) (elephant trainers or keepers), who speak different professional language (விரவு மொழி பயிற்றும் பாகர் ஓதை). The mahouts bind their fierce elephants to tall posts to reduce their rage, after saving them when they fell into huge whirlpools.  The rattle sounds raised by girls by rattling bamboo (ஒலி கழைத் தட்டை புடையுநர்), to scare the parrot from millet fields and protect standing millet crops (கிளி கடி மகளிர் விளிபடு பூசல்). The tumultuous sound heard from the fight with great rage between the fine bull with large hump, that strayed from its herd (இனத்தின் தீர்ந்த துளங்கு இமில் நல் ஏறு) and the male elk that came from the mountains (மலைத் தலைவந்த மரையான்) and this fight ruined thick-petaled kulavi flowers and kurinji plants (வள் இதழ்க் குளவியும் குறிஞ்சியும் குழைய). The vocal sound made by boys (மகாஅர்), who thrash the seeds of sweet arils (bulbs) of the jack fruit (பலாச்சுளை) that was dropped on the ground  by many who ate the fruits (வண் கோட் பலவின் சுளை விளை தீம் பழம் உண்டு), by driving calves (கன்று கடாஅவுறுக்கும்) with the ladle like petals of fragrant gloriosa (kanthal) flowers (காந்தட் துடுப்பின் கமழ் மடல் ஓச்சி). The typical noises of machines which crush sugarcane with nodes rapidly (ஞெரேரெனக் கழை கண் உடைக்கும் கரும்பின் ஏத்தமும்) in all the factories (ஆலைதொறும்), that appear like the sounds of rain (மழை கண்டன்ன). The young women pound the millet by singing Vallai song (a kind of folk song) (தினை குறு மகளிர் இசைபடு வள்ளையும்) The beating of parai drums produced beat sound to chase the pillaging and plundering pigs ( பன்றிப் பறையும்) and protect turmeric plants and chēmpu yam (Colocasia antiquorum, Colocasia esculenta) (சேப்பங்கிழங்கு) crops (சேம்பும் மஞ்சளும் ஓம்பினர் காப்போர்).

... ... ... .................. குன்றகச் சிலம்பும்
என்று இவ் அனைத்தும் இயைந்து ஒருங்கு ஈண்டி
அவலவும் மிசையவும் துவன்றிப் பல உடன்
அலகைத் தவிர்த்த எண் அருந் திறத்த
மலைபடு கடாஅம் மாதிரத்து இயம்ப (Malaipadukadam 344 - 348)

"All these and other sounds (குன்றகச் சிலம்பும் என்று இவ் அனைத்தும்) , countless in numbers (அலகைத் தவிர்த்த எண்) join together (இயைந்து ஒருங்கு ஈண்டி), are heard in the canyons (அவலவும்) and peaks (மிசையவும்) in all directions (மாதிரத்து இயம்ப). The sounds join together and ooze from the mountain (மலைபடு கடாஅம்) like musth flowing from a bull elephant, rare to hear alone."

Food scape in Malaipadukadam

Food is the perennial theme in Sangam arruppadai poems. The guiding bard praises about the benevolence of the king or chieftain to the travelling bard. In an interesting manner food features an important place in the context of the guiding bard, travelling bard and the patron in Arruppadai poems. In Malaipadukadam the guiding bard speaks about the hospitality of the chieftain Nannan's land as well as his citizens.

"When you reach the prosperous small village of the forest dwellers (கானவர் குடி), who carry honey, tubers and flesh of small-eyed pigs (சிறுகட் பன்றி) with unwanted parts removed, using tusks of dead elephants as carrying poles, you and your large clan of relatives will receive abundant food." (Malaipadukadam 151 - 157).

பரூஉக்குறை பொழிந்த நெய்க்கண் வேவையொடு
குரூஉக்கண் இறடிப் பொம்மல் பெறுகுவிர் (Malaipadukadam 167 – 169)

"Hospitality in a Village on the Path: 

"Now hear what kind of food you will receive. When you reach a village on the mountain slope and if you tell them that you are the respected musicians of the honored king Nannan, you will receive from them dishes with big pieces of deer meat roasted in ghee along with colorful millet rice. Along with food they will give you sweet liquor aged in bamboo pipes (வேய்ப் பெயல் விளையுள் தேக்கட் தேறல்) and toddy made from rice (நறவு மகிழ்ந்து), which you can drink without limits. And for your hangover to go, in the morning they will serve you scattered seeds of fruits brought down by waterfalls mixed with sour-sweet tamarind fruit and buttermilk in just proportion (வெண்புடைக் கொண்ட துய்த்தலைப் பழனின் இன் புளிக் கலந்து மா மோர் ஆக); and while cooking it she stirs it so that  fragrance of the food is felt throughout  the hills. She serves it with boiled white bamboo rice (வால் அவிழ் வல்சி அகம்)." (Malaipadukadam 170 - 185)

அகம் மலி உவகை ஆர்வமொடு அளைஇ
மகமுறை தடுப்ப மனைதொறும் பெறுகுவிர் (183 – 185)

Hospitality on the Mountain Path:

"When you go on the mountain path you will see a dead boar with wounds on his chest, its tusks ruined by digging, killed by a forest guard from high above with arrows. Roast it in the dry bamboo fire which burns without much smoke, remove the hair and eat it. Relax and drink clear water from the beautiful sapphire colored fresh spring. Carry the excess meat in heavy bundles. At night enter a mountain cave and treat it like it is your home". (Malaipadukadam 245 - 255)

Hospitality in Nannan's Enemy Land:

"If you reach the land of Nannan's enemies by night, the noisy place where sounds in the forest are like those from the ocean, with many herds of sheep and goat mixed together (தகர் விரவு துருவை வெள்ளையொடு விரைஇ) like the different colors of rice (பகர் விரவு நெல்லின் பல அரி அன்ன) obtained through bartering, you will be given milk and food that they cooked for themselves". (Malaipadukadam 394 - 420)

“If you see warriors with sharp arrows and curved bows tell them you are going to see Nannan, they will force feed you with abundant meat and tubers. They are the ones that will protect you, not hurt you. Such is the nature of the forest".  (Malaipadukadam 421 - 427) 

Hospitality in Village Huts:

“At night in the villages with huts you will be served cooked bamboo rice and rice grown on high grounds along with tamarind gravy with avarai beans. In all the villages with huts you will receive huge balls of rice made with tiny perfect rice, butter and meat of white goats. You will also get dishes made with fine millet flour mixed with powdered sugar. Leave in the morning when the birds start chirping". .  (Malaipadukadam 434 - 448) 

Hospitality in the Agricultural Land:

"In the farmlands fishermen's wives mix slices of large necked valai fish with large slices of varal fish and cook. Along with these they serve rice from mountain-like haystacks kept on mounds near the fields. They will also serve liquor made with paddy sprouts".. .  (Malaipadukadam 454 - 470) 

Nannan's Generosity:

"At Nannan's palace you will receive fresh meat and white rice with no limits. You will enjoy this throughout your stay, as much as you want. He will give you perfect clothing, and tall chariots that run like flowing water, large herds of cattle, and horses with tufts decorated with gold jewels. He fills the hands of poets who have nothing with his large hands"..  (Malaipadukadam 560 - 570) 

Nannan's Ancestors 

This Sangam anthology extols the hero of the poem, Nannan, son of Nannan, the Velir Chieftain of Chenkanmä, his qualities, his wealth, and his generosity.  The father of Nannan, the hero of Malaipadukadam, whose name also Nannan, ruled the Ezhil Hills (Ezhilmalai) and Param town of Konkana Nadu (Tulu Nadu i.e., Tulu-speaking region spread over parts of the Karnataka and Kerala states of India) during 2nd century AD. Paranar, famous Sangam era poet, refers to Nannan, who was ill famed as woman killer (பெண்கொலை புரிந்த நன்னன்), in a number of poems.  He was known as Konkanathu Nannan (கொங்கணத்து நன்னன்). The woman was sentenced to death by Nannan for the fault of eating a mango fruit that came to her floating down the stream in which she was bathing. Thus Nannan got bad reputation for killing a woman. Nannan denied to commute the death sentence in spite of being offered eighty one tusker elephants and the gold image of woman as compensation. It is not certain that this event is fact or legend.

மண்ணிய சென்ற ஒண்ணுதல் அரிவை
புனல்தரு பசுங்காய் தின்றதன் தப்பற்கு
ஒன்பதிற் றொன்பது களிற்றொடு அவள்நிறை
பொன்செய் பாவை கொடுப்பவுங் கொள்ளான்
பெண்கொலை புரிந்த நன்னன் போல
வரையா நிரையத்துச் செலீஇயரோ
(குறுந்தொகை, Kuruntokai 292, 1-5). 

Kalladanar in Akananuru poem 199 spoke about Konkanathu Nannan who was defeated and killed by Kalankai-Kanni Narmudi Cheral. Patirrupattu also refer the defeat of Nannan by  Kalankai-Kanni Narmudi Cheral who also engaged in cutting his Vagai tree . He could have lived much earlier to our Nannan, the hero of Malaipadukadam.

Akananuru poems 97 and 152 refer Nannan Venman as the chieftain of Pali (பாழி), Viyalur (வியலூர்), Param (பாரம்), and Pirambu (பிரம்பு) of Konkanam region. 

"நறவுமகிழ் இருக்கை நன்னன் வேண்மான்
வயலை வேலி வியலூ ரன்ன" 

"இசைநல் லீகைக் களிறுவீசு வண்மகிழ்
பாரத்துத் தலைவன் ஆர நன்னன்
ஏழில் நெடுவரைப் பாழிச் சிலம்பில்" 
(Akananuru 152)

Akananuru poem 396 : line 2 -6 refer another Nannan. The friend of Nannan is Ay Eyinan, a chieftain who fought with Minili in Pali battle (பாழி போர்) and got killed (Akananuru 396 : 2-6). Paranar most often refer this Nannan, who could be the father of Nannan, t,he hero of Malaipadukadam. 

பொலம்பூண் நன்னன் புன்னாடு கடிந்தென
யாழிசை மறுகில் பாழி யாங்கண்
அஞ்சல் என்ற ஆய் எயினன்
இகலடு கற்பின் மிஞிலியொடு தாக்கித்
தன்னுயிர் கொடுத் தனன்          
(Akananuru. 396 : 2-6)

இரும்பொன் வாகைப் பெருந்துறைச் செருவில்
பொலம்பூண் நன்னன் பொருதுகளத் தொழிய
வலம்படு கொற்றந் தந்த வாய்வாள்
களங்காய்க் கண்ணி நார்முடிச் சேரல்
இழந்தநாடு தந்தன்ன வளம்
(Akananuru. 199 : 18-24)

Yet another Nannan Udiyan is referred by Paranar in Akananuru 258 line 1 - 4 and he belonged to ancient Velir clan (Tonmudir Velir) of Pali town (பாழி நகர்). Udiyan was the name of a family tree.

Nannan son of Nannan: As Delineated in Malaipadukadam

The poet Perunkausikanar addresses a group of Kuttar and advises them to seek the patronage of king Nannan whose territory includes Naviramalai, a mountain range in Tiruvannamalai district, which features prominently in the poem. Many scholars agree with U.V.Swaminatha Iyer's assignation of Naviramalai, the Sangam era hill range, with the present "Parvatamalai" One of the pieces of evidence which favors this assignation is the name mentioned in the poem, "Kariyundikkadavul," (காரியுண்டிக்கடவுள்) the god who drank poison, referring to god Shiva who resides in this hill. (Malaipadukadam 83). Today the deity, who resides in this hill temple, is called by the Sanskrit name "Kalakanteshvarah" (காலகண்டேஸ்வரா) - the god whose neck is dark blue. There is also a river which flows in this region. In the poem it is called "Ceyaru," the river of Cey, usually understood to be Murugan (The word Cey means "ed" and "son" Today the river goes by the name Shanmuganadhi, the river of Shanmuga or Muruga.

Malaipadukadam provides a vivid description of Nannan's wives in the first instance and then proceed to introduce Nannan as their husband. "Nannan is the husband to women with curved, rounded arms that resemble bamboo; moist eyes that appear like flowers, and painted, pretty breasts. His chest, decorated with sandal paste, has flower garlands on which bees swarm.  His large hands are trained to use bows.  He has great strength to ruin enemy lands, a man of clear thinking who avoids evil thoughts.  He has the lovely nature to donate to bards who plant seeds of praise."

புனை தார்ப் பொலிந்த வண்டுபடு மார்பின்
வனை புனை எழில் முலை வாங்கு அமைத் திரள் தோள்
மலர் போல் மழைக்கண் மங்கையர் கணவன் (56 - 58)
முனைபாழ் படுக்கும் துன்அருந் துப்பின்
இசை நுவல் வித்தின் நசை ஏர் உழவர்க்குப்
புதுநிறை வந்த புனல் அம் சாயல்
மதி மாறு ஓரா நன்று உணர் சூழ்ச்சி
வில் நவில் தடக்கை மே வரும் பெரும் பூண்
நன்னன் சேய் நன்னற் ... ... .. (Malaipadukadam 56 - 64)

"Nannan has the ability to bring his enemies under his control, and he gives totally to those who praise his kingship. Like the unfailing skies that drop pure water drops, with a peaceful countenance, he gives without keeping for himself.  In his happy court, he is surrounded by the wise who protect and express the views of those with limited abilities who are unable to express themselves in front of others."

பலர் புறம் கண்டு அவர் அருங்கலம் தரீஇ
புலவோர்க்குச் சுரக்கும் அவன் ஈகை மாரியும்
இகழுநர்ப் பிணிக்கும் ஆற்றலும் புகழுநர்க்கு
அரசு முழுது கொடுப்பினும் அமரா நோக்கமொடு
தூத்துளி பொழிந்த பொய்யா வானின்

வீயாது சுரக்கும் அவன் நாள் மகிழ் இருக்கையும்
நல்லோர் குழீஇய நா நவில் அவையத்து
வல்லார் ஆயினும் புறம் மறைத்து சென்றோரைச்
சொல்லிக் காட்டி சோர்வு இன்றி விளக்கி
நல்லிதின் இயக்கும் அவன் சுற்றத்து ஒழுக்கமும் (Malaipadukadam 71 - 80)

"Know the greatness of the god who resides in Naviram who ate poison, who causes the earth surrounded with water to tremble!  Know the faultless, splendid nature of Nannan who is like the sun that rises, chasing wide spread, pitch darkness, to usher in the day!"

நீர் அகம் பனிக்கும் அஞ்சு வரு கடுந்திறல்
பேர் இசை நவிரம் மேஎய் உறையும்
காரி உண்டிக் கடவுளது இயற்கையும்
பாய் இருள் நீங்கப் பகல் செய்யா எழுதரும்
ஞாயிறு அன்ன அவன் வசை இல் சிறப்பும் (Malaipadukadam 81 - 85)

"He marched far into distant enemy countries and routed their armies.  He performed charitable duties to his noble warrior brigades with spears, for ruining the tall battle elephants of enemies.

இகந்தன ஆயினும் தெவ்வர் தேஎம்
நுகம் படக் கடந்து நூழிலாட்டி
புரைத்தோல் வரைப்பின் வேல் நிழற் புலவோர்க்குக்
கொடைக்கடன் இறுத்த அவன் தொல்லோர் வரவும் (Malaipadukadam 85 - 88)

"Nannan the honoured king whose victories in battles cannot be handled by enemies."

நோனாச் செருவின் வலம்படு நோன்தாள்
மான விறல் வேள் வயிரியம் எனினே (Malaipadukadam 163 - 164)

"Nannan has fought many great battles, who has Lakshmi on his chest."

தொல்முறை மரபினர் ஆகி பல்மாண்
செருமிக்குப் புகலும் திரு ஆர் மார்பன் (Malaipadukadam 355 - 356)

 "There are tall forts with army leaders who don’t leave the side of Nannan of great fame.  There are huge bull elephants resembling rain clouds that ruin enemy kings. "

உரை செல வெறுத்த அவன் நீங்காச் சுற்றமொடு
புரை தவ உயரிய மழை மருள் பல்தோல்
அரசு நிலை தளர்க்கும் அருப்பமும் உடைய... (Malaipadukadam 376 - 378)

"There are many memorial (hero stones) stones on confusing, forked paths planted for warriors of fine, unspoiled fame who fought and died, embarrassed after enemy uproars in the field."

ஒன்னார்த் தெவ்வர் உலைவு இடத்து ஆர்த்தென
நல்வழிக் கொடுத்த நாணுடை மறவர்
செல்லா இல்இசைப் பெயரொடு நட்ட
கல் ஏசு கவலை எண்ணு மிகப் பலவே (Malaipadukadam 386 - 389)

"Nannan’s ancient town has tall houses with wealth and citizens who do not move away."

நிதியம் துஞ்சும் நிவந்து ஓங்கு வரைப்பின்
பதி எழல் அறியாப் பழங்குடி ... (Malaipadukadam 478 - 479)

“Nannan! You are the heir of those with truth and great fame, know that their fame should not  stop today, but stay until this world stays, since the great ones who analyzed and knew died!  You are a great one that knows the duties of generosity!”

இன்று இவண் செல்லாது உலகமொடு நிற்ப
இடைத் தெரிந்து உணரும் பெரியோர் மாய்ந்தென
கொடைக் கடன் இறுத்த செம்மலோய் என (Malaipadukadam 341 - 343)


The following poetic inscription dated 12th century was found in Shiva temple, Tiruvannamalai. 
நல்லிசைக் கடாம்புனை நன்னன் வெற்பில் 
வெல்புக ழனைத்தும் மேம்படத் தங்கோன் 
வகையும் குரங்கும் விசைய முந்தீட்டிய 
ஆடல்புனை நெடுவேல் ஆட்கொண்ட தேவன் 

The poetical inscription refer "musically echoing (Naviram) hill of Chieftain Nannan" (நல்லிசைக் கடாம்புனை நன்னன் வெற்பில்).
Anubambigai Samedha Rishabeswarar temple (அனுபாம்பிகை  சமேத ரிஷபேஸ்வரர் ஆலயம்) is located on the banks of river Cheyyar in Kannai (கண்ணை), Chengam town. Poetic inscription dated 12th - 13th century was discovered in 1972 by Mr.M.Chandhiramurthi, Deputy Director (retired), Department of Archeology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. This poem was sung on one Kangeyan, a chieftain of this region. Kangeyan has conquered the southern king and the army. He became angry and his eyes turned red. The battle was so fierce and devastating. Where it happened? It happened in the hill (Naviramalai) that was the subject matter in the Pattuppattu anthology Malaipadukadam.  The battle ended in a massacre and nothing more than a bloodshed. The blood flowed like river and soaked the hill with the loss of several hundred thousand people..Please note that the word "Malaikadam" (மலைகடாம்) and the phrase Malaipadukadam Pattunda Malvarai (மலைகடாம் பாட்டுண்ட மால்வரை) linking Naviramalai and its chieftain Nannan, son of Nannan, chief of Chenkanmä. Meaning: 

மூவண்டறை தார்மன்னர் மலைப்படைத் தென் மன்னரை 
வென்கண்ட  திறற் காங்கேமன் கண்சிவப்ப பண்டே 
மலைகடாம் பாட்டுண்ட மால்வரை செஞ்சொரி 
அலைகடாம்  பாட்டுண்டது.   (Ref. Kalvettu Quarterly no 5, p. 13.)
When the eyes of the Ganga chief,

The conqueror of the crowned kings three

And more so the victorious ruler
Pandya of mountain ranges like army,
Turned red with merciless anger
The great Navirai hill, that received
Praises in days of yore, in
The song Malai kadām pāṭṭu,
Was reddened with waves of blood

The place where the fort of Nannan son Nannan located is now called as "Kottaimedu" (கோட்டைமேடு) (Fort Mound). Another village by name 'Mudalaimadu' (முதலைமடு) also can be linked with the fort. The village Karimalaippadi (கரிமலைப்பாடி) suggests link to training the elephants by mahouts. Urn burials are noticed in Chengam town.

Archaeological Excavations

Andipatti is located in Chenagam taluk, Tiruvannamalai district and the village is situated 15 km away from Chengam town. The State Department of Archeology, Chennai carried out systematic excavation in the year 2004 - 2005. At two habitation mounds locally known as Nattamedu (நத்தமேடு) and Sambalkadu (செம்பைக்காடு), the archaeologists laid twelve trenches and unearthed a terracotta bull image, shell bangles, "Mother Goddess" figurines, spindle whorls, pottery with graffiti marks of Megalithic and Historic periods. The potteries comprise black and red-ware sherds as well as coarse red-ware sherds. The Department of Archeology also discovered three potsherds with Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. One of the potsherds deciphered the Tamil Brahmi inscription as "kan narpo" and the department epigraphists ascertained the date between 4th - 5th century AD. Another two Tamil Brahmi inscriptions inscribed on pot lids read  "... aa th tha... " and "...ku ma... " and the date could be assigned to an earlier period.

Based on the unearthed antiquities, it is ensured that Andipatti site has been continuously occupied since 1st century BC through 12th century AD. Terracotta figurines of Mother Godess has been found in three locations in Tamil Nadu including Adichanallur near Tirunelveli, Melaperumballam near Poompuhar and Poluvaampatti near Coimbatore.. At Andipatti the team also unearthed two figurines mostly human parts i.e., hand and leg portion and mother goddess and the two figurines discovered by Archaeologists at Andipatti belong to 8th to 12th century AD. About 143 lead coins of the 2nd century A.D. were unearthed during an excavation in 1968. According to Iravatham Mahadevean, the coins could have minted by chieftains who ruled this land between 2nd and 3rd century AD. The coins bear the graffiti of two mountain ranges and goad and inscriptions of Sangam era names like "Thinnan" and "Sendhan." They have used the unique Sangam era character "." (period) punctuation on the coin. The goad mark indicates the presence of elephants in abundance and mahouts engaged in training them. Army camps also existed to protect the elephants.

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A bull, made of terracotta, found at Andipatti PC: State Arch Dept
Andipatti 2.jpg (350×282)
Terracotta, found at Andipatti PC: State Arch Dept
In a garden of an old house in a Chengam intersection they have discovered the burial urn, human skulls, teeth, red and black potsherds  When dug in Nattamedu here, they have observed dilapidated structures and retrieved the gold coins, icons of Buddhist and Jain monks. The State Department of Archeology has discovered over 45 hero stones in the Chengam region and Malaipadukadam also mentions about Memorial stones

  1. A slice of life in an ancient period. Ramakrishnan T. The Hindu. June 23, 2005 (
  2. Ancient Tamil Literature (from the Introduction to Landscape and Poetry, 1966 Father Xavier S. Thaninayagam). (
  3. Andipatti. Department of Archaeology. (
  4. Essays on Indian Society. Raj Kumar. New Delhi, Discovery, 2003. History and Culture Series (New Delhi, India). p. 83.
  5. History of the Tamils : from the earliest times to 600 AD. P T Srinivasa Iyengar New Delhi : Asian Educational Services, 1983. p. 546. (
  6. Kongu Vellala Gounder (wiki). ஜூலை 10, 2011 (
  7. More on Tamil Music: Patthupattu (
  8. Mother Goddess figurines found in Tamil Nadu. T.S. Subramanian. The Hindu May 22, 2005. (
  9. Parvathamalai Mountain. Wikimapia (
  10. Pathuppāttu – Malaipadukadām. Sangam Poems Translated by Vaidehi. (
  11. Pattupattu, Tamil Literature. IndiaNetzone. (
  12. Poetics of Place in Early Tamil Literature. Muthukumar, N. Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy,  University of California, Berkeley, USA (
  13. Poets in Sangam Age. Indianetzone. (
  14. South Indian Shrines Illustrated. PV.Jagadisa Iyer. Asian Education Services. 1982.  Pp.11
  15. Tamil Eighteen Hundred years ago. V.Kanagasabhai. Asian Educational Services. 1904. Pp. 203
  16. ஆற்றுப்படை. வேர்களைத்தேடி May 19, 2009. (
  17. பத்துப்பாட்டு – மலைபடுகடாம். Learning Sangam Tamil.  
  18. சங்கம் வளர்த்த செங்கம் காரியுண்டி, சேயாறு, நவிரமலை மலைக்க வைக்கும் மலைபடு கடாம். உண்மையின்பேரொளி மே 28, 2014
  19. மலைப்படுகடாம். ஒரு சித்திரம். வளவ துரையன். திண்ணை. April 15, 2004 ((
  20. மலைபடுகடாம் நூலின் பாட்டுடைத் தலைவன் நன்னனின் வரலாறு. மு.இளங்கோவன். 10 ஜனவரி, 2008 
Mann Pesum Sarithiram Episode 285. Vasanth TV

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dance and Drama of Ancient Tamils: Part 2 As Illustrated in Aragetru Kadhai, Silappadikaram

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Madhavi PC The Hindu
Silappadikaram: Treasure Trove of Music and Dance 

The post-Sangam period is noted for the compilation five great epics Silappadikaram (சிலப்பதிகாரம்), Manimekalai (மணிமேகலை), Jivakacintamani (சீவகசிந்தாமணி), Valaiyapati (வளையாபதி), and Kundalakesi (குண்டலகேசி). Thiruthanigai Ula (திருத்தணிகை உலா), early 19th century minor literary work, first mentioned the names of five great epics. Another minor literary work Tamil Vidu Toothu (தமிழ்விடு தூது) referred five great epics as 'Panchakavyam' (பஞ்சகவ்யம்). Five great epics, written over a period of 1st century AD to 10th century AD, portrays the social, religious, cultural and academic life of Tamil society during Sangam era. Dance, music and drama were always been part of ancient Tamil society. 

Silapadikaram (‘The Story of Anklet’), composed by Ilango adigal (இளங்கோ அடிகள்), the Jain poet-prince from Chera country, is considered as the treasure trove of information on music and dance, (both classical and folk) of the period, dealing in great detail with the intricacies and techniques involved. It contains three chapters and a total of 5270 lines (13,870 words) of poetry. The epic, as in Sangam poems, do not revolve around the five land divisions (திணை) (Kurinji (குறிஞ்சி), Mullai (முல்லை), Marudam (மருதம்), Neidal (நெய்தல்) and Palai (பாலை). Instead it adopts the novel convention of considering the geographical and political divisions of Tamil country i.e., Chola (சோழர்), Pandya (பாண்டியர்) and Chera (சேரர்) in relation to their capitals i.e., Poompukar (பூம்புகார்), Madurai (மதுரை), and Vanji (வஞ்சி). Thus the epic was aptly divided into three Kandams (Cantos) i.e., Pukark-kandam (புகார்க் காண்டம் – Pukar canto), Maduraik-kandam (மதுரைக் காண்டம் – Madurai canto) and Vanchik-kandam (வஞ்சிக் காண்டம் – Vanchi canto). It uses akaval meter (monologue) (அகவற்பா), a style adopted in most poems in  Sangam literature. Adiyarkk unallar (அடியார்க்கு நல்லார்), renowned Silappadikaram commentator, delineated the essential nature of poems by virtue of content that forms a unity of having elements of poetry (iyal), music (isai) and drama (natakam) (இயல் இசை நாடக பொருள் தொடர் நிலை செய்யுள்).  

The date is assignable to 2nd century AD. U. V. Swaminatha Iyer (உ.வே சுவாமிநாத அய்யர்) (1855-1942 CE) found that the ancient Tamil poems in palm leaf manuscripts left in a state of neglect and gradual destruction. The Tamil scholar  resurrected Silappadikaram from palm leaf format  and reprinted the epic from palm leaf format to paper book format in 1892 AD. So we are familiar with the printed book of this epic for the past 124 years only.

The epic is attributable for standardizing the folk songs to literary genre.   The epic also details about``yazh'' (14 stringed instrument - lute)  as well as various various Panns, their grammar and demonstrates how different compositions of swaras to result into different ragas with the help of the ``yazh'

Silappadikaram Story

Silappadikaram is the first Tamil epic composed about the life of an ordinary countryman. Kovalan was the son of the merchant prince Masathuvan (மாசாத்துவான்) 
மண்தேய்த்த புகழினான் மதிமுக மடவார்தம் 
பண்தேய்த்த மொழியினார் ஆயத்துப் பாராட்டிக் 
கண்டுஏத்தும் செவ்வேள்என்று இசைபோக்கிக் காதலால் 
கொண்டுஏத்தும் கிழமையான் கோவலன்என் பான்மன்னோ.

That boy was such great fame that the earth was too small to contain it. He was such beauty that moon face damsels, with speech sweet as music, became enamoured of him and sang his praise in the company of girl friends saying: "This is verily Lord Murugan taking visible form to be worshiped by us." His name was Kovalan.

Kannagi was the daughter of the celebrated sea captain Manaikan (மாநாய்கன்). 

போதில்ஆர் திருவினாள் புகழுடை வடிவென்றும் 
தீதிலா வடமீனின் திறம்இவள் திறம்என்றும் 
மாதரார் தொழுதுஏத்த வயங்கிய பெருங்குணத்துக் 
காதலாள் பெயர்மன்னும் கண்ணகிஎன் பாள்மன்னோ,

"The beauty of this damsel is like that of goddess Lakshmi who dwells on the lotus. Her virtue is truly like that of the North Star. She was in love with goodness; her name was Kannagi."  

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Kannagi Kovalan Wedding Procession PC Vallamai

மாலைதாழ் சென்னி வயிரமணித் தூ஡ணகத்து 

நீல விதானத்து நித்திலப்பூம் பந்தர்க்கீழ்
வான்ஊர் மதியம் சகடுஅணைய வானத்துச் 50

சாலி ஒருமீன் தகையாளைக் கோவலன் 
மாமுது பார்ப்பான் மறைவழி காட்டிடத் 
தீவலம் செய்வது ... ..

The parents of of Kovalan and Kannagi celebrated the marriage on an auspicious day on which the Rohini star joins the moon. In a hall with gem studded pillars, decorated with flower garlands hanging above,  under the canopy of blue silk and pearls, with the preceptor guiding him, Kovalan married Kannagi. The couple united like the god of love and his spouse and lived together happily for some time. Kovalan's parents gave a part of the family wealth along with a number of servitors and helped them set up their own household. Kannagi managed her household in a praiseworthy manner.
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Kovalan - Madhavi
Kovalan met the dancer Madhavi (மாமலர் நெடுங்கண் மாதவி) with lotus like eyes in a festival at royal court and fell in love with her. He stayed in Madhavi's home and was so enthralled in embracing her and did not like to part her. In such an infatuation he forgot Kannagi and his home..

மணமனை புக்கு மாதவி தன்னொடு 
அணைவுறு வைகலின் அயர்ந்தனன் மயங்கி 
விடுதல் அறியா விருப்பினன் ஆயினன். 
வடுநீங்கு சிறப்பின்தன் மனையகம் மறந்து

Kovalan also spent all his wealth, obtained through his ancestors, for Madhavi. He got frustrated with Madhavi after some time and breaks off from Madhavi.  He returned repentantly to his uncomplaining wife Kannagi.
சலம்புணர் கொள்கைச் சலதியொடு ஆடிக் 
குலம்தரு வான்பொருள் குன்றம் தொலைந்த
இலம்பாடு நாணுத் தரும்

Kannagi gave her pair of anklets willingly (நலம்கேழ் முறுவல் நகைமுகம் காட்டிச் சிலம்புஉள கொண்மின்) and Kovalan hoped to recoup his fortunes by selling one of his wife's anklets They proceeded to the great city Madurai. (சிலம்பு முதலாகச் சென்ற கலனொடு  உலந்தபொருள் ஈட்டுதல் உற்றேன் மலர்ந்தசீர் மாட மதுரை யகத்துச்சென்று). On arrival at Madurai they found shelter in a cottage. Kovalan visited to the Madurai market to sell one of the anklet. 

In the meant time, an extremely wicked jeweller  robbed the anklet (appearing similar to Kannagi's anklet) of the queen of Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan. On seeing the Kovalan with Kannagi's anklet, the jeweller seized the same and informed the king. 
சிலம்பின் செய்வினை யெல்லாம்
பொய்த்தொழிற் கொல்லன் புரிந்துடன் நோக்கிக்

கோப்பெருந் தேவிக் கல்லதை இச்சிலம்பு
யாப்புற வில்லை யெனமுன் போந்து
விறல்மிகு வேந்தற்கு விளம்பியான் வரவென்
சிறுகுடி லங்கண் இருமின்

Kovalan was accused as the thief (சிலம்பு கொண்ட கள்வன்). The Pandyan sent his guards to apprehend Kovalan and the guards killed Kovalan and taken the anklet to Pandya's court.  
... ...  என் 
தாழ்பூங் கோதை தன்காற் சிலம்பு
கன்றிய கள்வன் கைய தாகில்
கொன்றச் சிலம்பு கொணர்க

கல்லாக் களிமக னொருவன் கையில்
வெள்வாள் எறிந்தனன் விலங்கூ டறுத்தது
... ... ...
... ... ...
காவலன் செங்கோல் வளைஇய வீழ்ந்தனன்
கோவலன் பண்டை ஊழ்வினை உருத்தென்.

Puhar-KannagiInPandyaCourt.jpg (1215×999)
Kannagi in Pandya Court PC Vallamai
பொங்கி எழுந்தாள் விழுந்தாள் ....
செங்கண் சிவப்ப அழுதாள்

The news of Kovalan's murder reached Kannagi and her eyes ablaze with anger she rushed immediately with her remaining anklet (நின்ற சிலம்பொன்று கையேந்தி). She proved her husband's innocence before Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan. Kannagi cursed the Madurai city to set ablaze to flames.  The patron goddess of Madurai city interceded Kannagi and she accepted to withdraw her curse and the fire ablated. Later Kannagi reached the hill outside the city and after her death she reunited with Kovalan in heaven. The news of her struggle and death spread across the Tamil Land. Kannagi was deified, people built temples and held festivals in honor of Kannagi. She became an icon of wifely loyalty and chastity and she is being deified as patron goddess.

Commentary of Adiyakku Nallar on Koothu 

In the third chapter, Arangetrukaadai” (அரங்கேற்று காதை) or “the debut on-stage performance,” details the knowledge and skills necessary for a dancer, dance master (ஆடல் ஆசான்), the composer of verses (பாடல் ஆசிரியர்), the drummer (percussion) instrumentalist (தண்ணுமை (மிருதங்கம்) என்னும் தாளவிசைக் கருவி வாசிப்பவர்), flutist (புல்லாங்குழல் (வாய்க்காற்றால் ஊதி இசைக்கப்படும் கருவி) வாசிப்பவர்) and yazh (lute) (string) instrumentalist (யாழ் நரம்பு இசைக்கருவி வாசிப்பவர்).
இருவகைக் கூத்தின் இலக்கணம் அறிந்து 
பலவகைக் கூத்தும் விலக்கினிற் புணர்த்துப் 
பதினோர் ஆடலும் பாட்டும் கொட்டும் 
விதிமாண் கொள்கையின் விளங்க அறிந்து

The dance master should know the nuances of the two 'koothus' i.e., Aka-koothu (அகக்கூத்து) and Pura-koothu (புறக்கூத்து). Aka-koothu, also known as 'Vettiyal-koothu,' (வேத்தியல் கூத்து) will be performed in royal courts before king and the royal court-officials. Pura-koothu, also known as 'Pothuviyal-koothu,' (பொதுவியல் கூத்து) will be performed before common mass. The dance master should also be proficient in eleven modes of dances: 1.Kadayam (கடையம்), 2. Marakkal (மரக்கால்), 3.Kudai (குடை), 4.Thudi (துடி), 5.Mal (மால்), 6.Alliam (அல்லியம்), 7.Kumbam / kudam (கும்பம் / குடம்), 8.Pedu (பேடு), 9.Pavai (பாவை): 10. Pandarangam (பாண்டரங்கம்),  and 11. Kodukotti (கொடுகொட்டி). A Tamil poem helps one to remember these eleven dance modes:    

'கடையம், அயிராணி மரக்கால்விந்தை, கந்தன், குடை, துடிமால், அல்லியமல், கும்பம் - சுடர்விழியால் பட்டமதன் பேடுதிருப் பாவை அரண் பாண்டரங்கம் கொட்டியிவை காண்பதினோர் கூத்து'

Adiyarkku Nallar (12th / 13th century AD), renowned commentator, covers the entire work of Silappadikaram and cites the ancient Tamil works on verse, prose and drama in his commentary. The commentator details the koothus in pairs:

1. Vettiyal (வேத்தியல்) against Pothuviyal (பொதுவியல்); 2. Santhi koothu (சாந்திக் கூத்து) against Vinotha koothu (விநோதக் கூத்து); 3. Vari koothu (வரிக்கூத்து) against Vari-Santhi koothu (வரிசாந்திக் கூத்து); 4. Vasai koothu (வசைக் கூத்து) against Pukal koothu (புகழ்க் கூத்து); 5. Ariya koothu (ஆரியக் கூத்து) against Tamil koothu (தமிழ்க் கூத்து); 6. Eyalpu koothu (இயல்புக் கூத்து) against Desi koothu (தேசிக் கூத்து).

Santhi koothu (சாந்திக் கூத்து) comprise four kinds of koothus i.e., 1. Chokam (சொக்கம்), 2. Mei koothu (மெய்க் கூத்து), 3. Abinaya (அவிநயம்) and 4. Natakam (நாடகம்). Chokam, also known as 'Suddha Nrittam,' (சுத்த நிருத்தம்) which constitutes '108 Thandava Karanas' (108 தாண்டவ கரணங்கள்) Mei koothu (மெய்க் கூத்து) is made up of dumb-shows with gesticulations and conventional posturing. Abhinaya (அவிநயம்) depicts in action and poses, the feelings and sensations as experienced by the person, as described by the words of the songs. Abinaya includes both Rasa-abinaya and Vachika-abinaya. Natakam relates to huge story or epic. The play is divided into many scenes of poems and conversations. Natakam (நாடகம்) is based on Sanskrit and Tamil literature. Since Vinotha koothu (விநோதக் கூத்து) is oriented towards entertainment, fun and play, it incorporates some quantity of artful trickery and jugglery i.e., balancing on rope, puppetry, balancing tiers of pots on the head etc., It includes seven variants: 1. Kuravai koothu (குரவைக் கூத்து), 2. Kallai koothu (கல்லைக் கூத்து), 3. Kuda koothu (குடக்  கூத்து), 4. Karanam (கரணம்), 5. Nokku (நோக்கு), 6. Thodpavai Koothu (தோற்பாவைக் கூத்து) and 7. Vinotha koothu(விநோதக் கூத்து).

Vari koothu (வரிக்கூத்து) is performed by actors with songs (pieces of poems set into music) with occasional interludes. 1. Kurathi pattu (குறத்தி பாட்டு) and 2. Ulathi pattu (உழத்தி பாட்டு) are specific Tamil poetic compositions.  Vari-Santhi koothu (வரிசாந்திக் கூத்து) is the variation of Vari-koothu.

Vasai koothu (வசைக் கூத்து) deals with satire and Pukal koothu (புகழ்க் கூத்து) deals with eulogizing or praise formally and eloquently.

Ariya koothu (ஆரியக் கூத்து) stands for the narratives from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Tamil koothu (தமிழ்க் கூத்து) stands for Tamil folklore narratives like Sudalai Madan.

Desi koothu (தேசிக் கூத்து) include three variants; 1. Desi koothu (தேசிக் கூத்து), 2. Vadaku koothu and Singhalam koothu (சிங்களக் கூத்து)Desi koothu (தேசிக் கூத்து) involves the dance of Tamil country, Vadaku koothu (வடக்குக் கூத்து), is also known as Marka koothu (மார்க்கக் கூத்து), and is well known as the dance of the Telugu country, whilst Singhala was regarded as the dance of the Singhala country.

Venri koothu (வென்றிக் கூத்து) deals with the celebrations of victory over the enemy king.  Sakkai koothu (சாக்கைக் கூத்து), another ancient form of koothu comprise Pirapantha koothu (பிரபந்தக் கூத்து), Nankiyar koothu (நங்கியர் கூத்து), and Koodi Attam (கூடி ஆட்டம்). Sakkai Koothu and Koodi Attam are being performed in Kerala  Another category of eleven dances by deities called 'Diva Viruthy' was mentioned in Sillapapdikaram.

“Arangetrukaadai” or “the debut on-stage performance”

In the third chapter, “Arangetrukaadai” (அரங்கேற்று காதை) or “the debut on-stage performance”, Madhavi got ready for her maiden dance performance before the court of the Chola king Karikalan at Poompukar, the Chola capital. The chapter narrates in great details the debut performance and the entire text has extensive references to technical terms connected to dance and music. 

Danseuse Madhavi (மாதவி) was the daughter of Chitrapathy (சித்ரபதி) and she hailed from Kanigaiyar  (கணிகையர்) tradition (a Devadasi family). Arangetrukaadai traces how by the curse of sage Agathiya (அகத்தியர்), Urvasi (ஊர்வசி) (celestial dancer) and Jayanthan (ஜயந்தன்) (son of Lord Indra) were born as Madhavi (மாதவி), the dance heroine, and Thalaikol (தலைக்கோல் ) respectively. She is celebrated in the line of descent of Urvasi and is called Vanavamakal (divine woman). She learned dance from the age of five and mastered the classical dance at the age of twelve. Madhavi’s debut dance (arangetram)  took place at Poompukar, the capital of the Chola Kingdom, in the presence of the Chola King, the learned assembly and the citizens. After the rigorous full time training for seven years under the able guidance of the  dance master (ஆடல் ஆசான்) she was fit enough to exhibit her dance before the Chola king. 

பிறப்பிற் குன்றாப் பெருந்தோள் மடந்தை
தாதுஅவிழ் புரிகுழல் மாதவி தன்னை
ஆடலும் பாடலும் அழகும் என்றுஇக்
கூறிய மூன்றின் ஒன்றுகுறை படாமல்
ஏழாண்டு இயற்றிஓர் ஈராறு ஆண்டில் 10
சூழ்கடல் மன்னற்குக் காட்டல் வேண்டி  (Silappadikaram, Aragetru Kadhai (6-11)
Madhavi's dance master should know the nuances of the two 'koothus' i.e., Aka-koothu (Vettiyal koothu) and Pura-koothu (Pothuviyal koothu),  The master should harmonize various kinds of dance forms with proper songs. He must be proficient in the eleven modes of dance as well as music and percussion instruments as prescribed in the relevant prescript. The master should aware the appropriate occasion to apply the hand gestures such as 1. pindi (பிண்டி), 2. pinayal (பிணையல்), 3. ezhirkai (எழிற்கை) and 4. thozhirkai (தொழிற்கை).
                                                      ஆடலும் பாடலும் பாணியும் தூக்கும் 
கூடிய நெறியின கொளுத்துங் காலைப் 
பிண்டியும் பிணையலும் எழிற்கையும் தொழிற்கையும் 
கொண்ட வகைஅறிந்து கூத்துவரு காலைக் 
கூடை செய்தகை வாரத்துக் களைதலும்

வாரம் செய்தகை கூடையிற் களைதலும் 
பிண்டி செய்தகை ஆடலிற் களைதலும் 
ஆடல் செய்தகை பிண்டியிற் களைதலும் 
குரவையும் வரியும் விரவல செலுத்தி 
ஆடற்கு அமைந்த ஆசான்  (Silappadikaram, Aragetru Kadhai (16-25)

The music teacher (இசை ஆசிரியர்) of Madhavi should be skilled enough in playing on the yazh (lute) and flute in accordance with the rhythm and vocal music. He should also be skilled in playing low sounding tabor and in harmonizing the songs with the musical instruments. The music teacher should be knowledgeable in the pronunciation of the words of the languages. The composer of the song should be conversant in Tamil language and be familiar with the rules of grammar of the two categories of dance: Vettiyal and pothuviyal 

The percussion instrumentalist (drummer) (தண்ணுமை இசைக் கலைஞர்) should be proficient and knowledgeable in the dance forms, lyrical compositions, music, Tamil literature. He should play on the instrument in such a way to keep the tempo doubled with the rhythm kept intact. The drummer should play the instrument to perfectly to harmonize with the yazh (lute) and flute sounds as well as the vocalist's voice.  The flute player should be conversant with the prescribed rules of the flute-music. The flutist (குழல்  இசைக் கலைஞர்) should be proficient in the two kinds of manipulations i.e., chittiram and vanjanai by which the harsh sounds of the song are made pleasing to the ear.  The yazh player (யாழ்   இசைக் கலைஞர்) should be skilled in playing yazh with fourteen strings, arrange in the right order which could produce the palai scales. Silappadikaram mentions about four different kinds of yazhs (lute): 1. mulari yazh 2 sruthi veenai 3 Parijatha veenai 4 Chathurthandi veenai.

The site for the construction of the dance stage chosen in conformity with the authoritative rules and directions. They have employed the measuring rod measuring about twenty four thumb breadth long. The measuring rod was cut out of a tall bamboo with a span long between two joints. The stage was eight rods in length, seven rods in breadth and one rod in height. The plank placed above the pillars was four rods above the platform. The stage was provided with two appropriate doors. Above the stage were placed the pictures of the demons worthy of worship. The graceful lighting up the stage was so located that the shadow cast by the pillars did not darken the auditorium. The stage was fitted with single-side screen, a double-side screen, and a concealed, over-hanging screen. It had a finely-painted ceiling, and the garlands of pearls hung all over.
நூல்நெறி மரபின் அரங்கம் அளக்கும் 
கோல்அளவு இருபத்து நால்விரல் ஆக 100

எழுகோல் அகலத்து எண்கோல் நீளத்து 
ஒருகோல் உயரத்து உறுப்பினது ஆகி 
உத்தரப் பலகையொடு அரங்கின் பலகை 
வைத்த இடைநிலம் நாற்கோல் ஆக 
ஏற்ற வாயில் இரண்டுடன் பொலியத் 105

தோற்றிய அரங்கில் தொழுதனர் ஏத்தப் 
பூதரை எழுதி மேல்நிலை வைத்துத் 
தூண்நிழல் புறப்பட மாண்விளக்கு எடுத்துஆங்கு 
ஒருமுக எழினியும் பொருமுக எழினியும் 
கரந்துவரல் எழினியும் புரிந்துடன் வகுத்து
ஓவிய விதானத்து உரைபெறு நித்திலத்து 
மாலைத் தாமம் வளையுடன் நாற்றி 
விருந்துபடக் கிடந்த அருந்தொழில் அரங்கத்து
(Silappadikaram, Aragetru Kadhai (99-113)

Talaikkol, the sacred rod made of bamboo, would be wielded by the dance-master to regulate the dance. The shaft represents Jayanta, Indra’s son who according to legend, was cursed by Sage Agastya to be born as a bamboo stick. Talaikkol was invariably the shaft of the umbrella of the enemy king and was seized in war.
காவல் வெண்குடை மன்னவன் கோயில்
இந்திர சிறுவன் சயந்தன் ஆகென
வந்தனை செய்து வழிபடு தலைக்கோல் (Silappadikaram, Aragetru Kadhai(118-120)

Its joints were set with nine gems and the intervening spaces were covered with plates of pure gold. The poet provides finer details about the ceremony of Talaikkol. On an auspicious day the Talaikkol was washed with the sacred waters of Cauvery brought in golden pitcher and then garlanded and worshiped. Later it was placed in the trunk of the royal elephant adorned with gold plated bands. The drums and other musical instruments would be beaten to proclaim the kings victory. The king along with his live fold retinue and the royal elephant, circumambulated the chariot on which the poet was seated and handed over the talaikkol to him. Then they all went in a procession to the dance hall and placed the talakkol on the dance stage.

From that  time on the instrumentalists took their seats as per the laid down order, Madhavi ascended the stage, placing her right foot first and stood near the pillar to the right in confirmation with the norms. The elder dancers assembled by the side of the pillar on the left. The two conventional prayer songs were sung praying for maximizing the virtue and the cease of the vice. At the conclusion of the prayer all the instruments were sounded. The yazh (lute) harmonized with the flute; the tabor sounded in harmony with the yazh; the pot drum was in harmony with the tabor and the anantirikai harmonized with the pot-drum.

A 'mandilam' comprise two strokes and Madhavi danced eleven mandilams without deviating from dancing conventions and thus completed antarakkottu. She then danced the melodic improvisation of the auspicious palai tune without deviating its rigid measure. Demonstrating the four parts of the song, she commenced with three mandilams and concluded with one mandilam; in this way she danced the 'desi-dance' In the same manner she also danced the vaduhu dance, commencing with three mandilams and concluding with one mandilam. In her dance she conscientiously followed the prescription of the dance-scriptures. It looked as if a golden creeper full of flowers was dancing.

The king presented her with his leaf garland, conferring on her the title Talaikkoli in recognition of her skill. He also presented her one thousand and eight gold coins as her one day's fee, according to the prescribed convention. The dancer is now qualified to be called as a ‘professional dancer’ or ‘Natakaganikai’

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