Tamil Kings of Kerala (Chera country) from B.C.100 A.D.250

Thread started by virarajendra on 31st March 2009 04:08 PM

Author : Virarajendra

A study on the Tamil Kings of Kerala (Chera country) from B.C.100 – AD.1200

Under Construction


The Tamil Chera king of the period of Vaalmiki Raamaayana

The first ever reference to the Kings of Kerala (Chera Nadu) is found in the original Sanskrit Ramaayana of the Sage/Poet Vaalmiki of the period B.C.550. However it has not provided the name of the Tamil Chera king of that period.

The Tamil Chera king who participated in the Mahaabharatha War

The second earliest reference to the Tamil Chera kings is found in the original Sanskrit Mahabharatha of the Sage/Poet Viyaasa of the period B.C.415. Here too the name of the Tamil Chera king has not been provided, but there are very many references to Keralas in the original Mahaabharatha. (Refer my Research Article titled "References to Tamil Kings and Tamil Countries in the Sanskrit Mahabharatha" in this same Hub Mayyam Website)

However there is an explicit reference to the name of the Tamil Chera (Kerala) king who participated in the Mahabharatha war of the Third Thamil Sangam Period compilation of all Tamil Poetic compositions both of the Second Thamil Sangam (B.C.650-325) and Third Thamil Sangam (B.C.325-A.D.350) periods known as Purananooru.

The Tamil Poet Muranjiyuur Mudinaagaraayar who praised the ruling king of Chera country Uthiyan Cheralaathan of his period in his praise poem - as one who has provided Rice Food to the Five Pandava Princes and the One Hundred Kaurava Princes and other warriors in the Mahaabharatha war - but in the "present tense" which indicates very clearly that the praise poem was composed in the presence of the king, and hence both were contemporaries being the period immediately after the Bharatha war in B.C.415. (Note: this Uthiyan Cheralaathan of the period B.C.415 is different from the Uhiyan Cheralaathan of the period (B.C.20-A.D.07)

Evidence to the above Reference

பாடியவர்: முரஞ்சியூர் முடிநாகராயர்.
பாடப்பட்டோன்: சேரமான் பெருஞ்சோற்று உதியன் சேரலாதன்.

வான வரம்பனை! நீயோ, பெரும!
அலங்குளைப் புரவி ஐவரோடு சினைஇ,
நிலந்தலைக் கொண்ட
பொலம்பூந் தும்பை
ஈரைம் பதின்மரும் பொருது, களத்து ஒழியப்
பெருஞ்சோற்று மிகுபதம் வரையாது கொடுத்தோய்!

Puranaanooru - Verse 2

This referance in the "Puranaanooru Praise Poem of the period around B.C.415" is further confirmed by the "Chera Tamil Epic Poetic work "Silappathikaaram" of the period A.D.175" as follows:

ஓரைவ ரீரைம் பதின்மர் உடன்றெழுந்த
போரிற் பெருஞ்சோறு போற்றாது தானளித்த
சேரன் பொறையன் மலையன்
கார்செய் குழலாட ஆடாமோ ஊசல்

Silappathikaaram - by Ilango Adikal, Vanchi Kaandam

The period of confederacy of the 'Tamil Chera kings' with the 'Tamil Chola' and 'Tamil Paandiya' kings

In South India there has been a confederacy of the Tamil kingdoms (Tamira Countries) of Chera, Chola, and Pandiya (Muth Tamil Nadu) having much unity among themselves to jointly prevent the kings of the north an central India from invading their countries. This confederacy that existed for 113 years from B.C.283 was broken by king Karavela of Kalinga in the year B.C.170, which was a potential threat to his own kingdom. The names of the Tamil Chera kings of the period B.C.283-170 is not known.

The Kerala kings too in their North Indian expeditions, considered it as a great pride to have carved their emblem the Bow on the Himalayas, and having seen the Thamilakam (Chera, Chola & Pandiya) of that period bound by seas all round - were in unity.

The Tamil Chera kings of the period of Mauriya rule upto Karnataka in the south

This confederacy of the three southern Tamil kingdoms the Kerala (Chera), Chola and Pandiya, prevented the Maurya Emperor Asoka too from conquereing their countries in Southern India. This could have been the reason why when his domains extended as far as Mysore, he has referred in his Second Rock Edict that the Kerala (Chera), Chola, and Pandiya countries as being beyond his domains.

In the above edict the Keralas are mentioned as the Keralaputras, that is the Putras of Kerala, meaning the sons of the soil of Kerala. From the above it is very clear that the Keralas were known to the people of North India also during the period of the Maurya Emperor Asoka, who ruled the Magada kingdom from B.C.273-236. The names of the Tamil Chera kings of the period B.C.273-170 too is not known.

Irumporai dynasty
(Also referred to as the Kadungo dynasty)

(1) Cheraman Karuvur eariya olvaal Koperum Cheral Irumporai
Capital City : Karuvur (present North Kodungallur)

(2) Maantharam Cheral Irumporai - Also known as Maantharam Cheral Kadungo & Maantharam Poraiyan Kadungo
Capital City : Karuvur Nagar (present North Kodungallur)

Cheral dynasty

(1) Perum Cheralaathan (B.C.60-20) - (contemporary of Karikaat Cholan)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(2) Uthiyan Cheralaathan (B.C.20-A.D.07) - son of (1)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(3) Imayavaraban Neduncheralaathan (A.D.07-65) - son of (2)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(4) Palyaanai Selkelu Kuttuvan (A.D.09-34) - son of (2) and younger brother of (3)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur

(5) Kalangaikanni Naarmudi Cheral (A.D.34-59) - son of (3)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur

(6) Kadal Pirakkottiya (Cheran) Chenguttuvan (A.D.65-120) - son of (3)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

Notes : King of Sri Lanka Gajabahu - 1 (A.D.113-135) of Sri Lanka visited Kumily in Idukki District of Kerala to participate
in the rituals on the opening of the Kannaki Temple around A.D.115

(7) Adukotpattu Cheralathan (A.D.59-97) son of (3)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(8) Kuttuvan Kothai (A.D.115-135) - Muththolaayiram period Koakothai

(9) Anthuvan Cheral Irumporai (A.D....135)

(10) Selva Kadungovaali Aathan (A.D.135-160) son of (8)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(11) Peruncheral Irumporai (A.D.160-177)
- son of (9) Thagadur Yaaththirai
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(12) Ilancheral Irumporai (A.D.177-193) - son of (10)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(13) Kanaikkaal Irumporai (A.D.193-213) - son of (11) (contemporary of Cholan (Chenganaan)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

(14) Kudakko Cheral Irumporai (A,D.213-225) - son of (12)
Capital City : Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur)

"Kannaki story" related song from the Malayalam Film "Kannagi" of the year 2001"


"Video on "first Kannaki temple built by Cheran Chenguttuvan at Kumili in Idduki district, Kerala" and Kannaki temple Festival celebrated on the full moon day (Pournami) of April (Chitra Pournami) each year".


"Video on "Aatukaalaa Pongaalaa" - the Kannaki related Festival celebrated in the month of February each year at Aatukaal in the present Thiruvananthapuram of Kerala".

During the period of Cheran Chenguttuvan the present Thiruvananthapuram was refered to as "Ananthapuram" in the great Tamil Epic of (Chera Nadu) Kerala of that period namely the "Silappathikaaram". The Venadu king of present Thiruvananthapuram too was present at the consecration ceremony of the Kannaki Statue in the granite temple built by Cheran Chenguttuvan at Kumily in the Iddukki District in Kerala. After the ceremony he built a temple to Kannaki at present Aatukaal in Thiruvananthaouram and arranged for annual festival to Kannaki which happens to be the present Aatukaala Pongala festival.


"Video on "second Kannaki temple built by Cheran Chenguttuvan at Vanchi Ma-Nagar the present Kodungallur in Thiruchchur district, Kerala" and Kannaki temple Festival celebrated on the full moon day (Pournami) of August each year". The special aspect of this second temple is that along with the stone image of Kannaki there has also been a stone image of Kovalan during that period in this temple - as per the Kerala Tamil Epic Manimekalai which refers to same as follows:

"......தாய் கண்ணகியையும் (mother Kannaki)
கொடை கெழு தாதை கோவலன் (and father Kovalan) தன்னையும்
கடவுள் எழுதிய படிமம் காணிய (to see their carved statues as deties)

வேட்கை துரப்ப (being desirous) கோட்டம் (in the temple) புகுந்து (entered)
வணங்கி (and prayed)

Manimekalai - by Seethalai Saaththanaar, Vanji Ma-nagar pukka kaathai


The Tamil Chera king who was coverted to Islam

In the early seventh century a Chera king - known as "Cheraman (A.D.617-622) " was ruling from his capital city the Kodungallur. His real name is still not known. The Chera king opted to go and meet the Prophet Mohammad and accompanied by some Traders went to Jeddah in Arabia. The king Cheraman met the Prophet Mohammad in A.D.617 and embraced Islam adopting the name Tajuddin. After some years in Arabia he wished to return to Kodungallur, but on his way he died at Shahar Muqalla (port of Zafar) in Yemen in A.D.622.

There is a tradition that a follower of the Prophet’s teachings namely Malik Bin Dinar after the death of the Tajuddin - the converted Chera king, visited Kodungallur of Kerala (Chera country). He with the assistance of the new Chera king (name not known) ruling at Kodungallur built a mosque named "Cheraman Juma Masjid" in this region. It appears that the Cheraman Juma Masjid would have been constructed at a time between A.D.622 and A.D.701 the year Malik Bin Dinar left Kodungallur and set off to Arabia.

A Malayalam chronicle named as Keralolpathi of the ‘seventeenth century’ is the only document which mentions the name of this Kerala (Chera) king coverted to Islam as "Cheraman Perumal". However as many informations given in this chronicle has been disputed by the Kerala Historians and others as historically unreliable, based on the evidences from the other sources on Kerala history, can reject the statement in the Keralolpathi, that the name of the Chera king who embraced Islam was “Cheraman Perumal” - as incorrect.

The only "Cheraman Perumal" we know of in the Kerala History, is the celeberated Tamil Saiva Saint "Cheraman Perumal Naayanaar" of the period A.D.820-844, whose composition of “Thiruvarur Mumanikkovai” - a Tamil Thiruppaadal composition on God Siva at Thiruvarur of Tamil Nadu, which has been included in the 11th Thirumurai (Thirumurai = Tamil Saivite holy texts). Further the celeberated 12th Thirumurai namely the Periyapuranam glorifies him as "Cheraman Perumal" - a great Saivite Saint among the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints, who along with the Tamil Saiva Saint "Suntharamurthi Naayanaar" died in Vanji Nagar (Kodungallur) in A.D.844.

This historic event is also found portrayed in the Paintings of the medieval period in the great Chola temple at Thanjavur Tamil Nadu named as “Rajarajaeswarem” (Birahatheeswarem) temple. Further among the stone statues and the bronze Icons of the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints found in many Siva Temples in Tamil Nadu and elseware, we also find the Cheraman Perumal (Naayanaar). Hence the name of the Chera king mentioned in the ‘Kerololpathi’ as “Cheraman Perumal” cannot be accepted but rejected.

However it is quite possible as a Chera king he was referred to as the “Cheraman” meaning the Chera king in Tamil, but his actual name was not known. This is further strengthened by the fact the mosque built by Malik Bin Dinar was known from the earliest times only as “Cheraman Juma Masjid” and not as ‘Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid’.

Perumal dynasty

(1) Kulasekaran : A.D.800-820 Kulasekaran became a very powerful Chera king in addition to whole of Chera country (Kerala) defeated the Cholas at Uraiyur and Paandiyas at Mathurai annexed these regions to his empire. His empire also included Kolli Hills at the region of Naamakkal. He was an ardent devotee of God Vishnu and at stage of his reigin opted to and spent the latter part of his life in the intense worship of God Vishnu. He was venerated by the people as "Kulasekara Perumal" who was later recognised as one of the 12 - Tamil Vainava Aalvaars of then Tamil Nadu


(2) Rajasekaran : A.D.820-844 He bore the title Peru-Makothaiyaar and the capital city of Chera country was re-named after him from Kodungallur to "Makothai" or "Mahothaiyapuram". King Rajasekaran subsequently became a great Saiva Saint named the "Cheraman Perumal Naayanaar" and recognised as one of 63 Tamil Saiva Naayanmaars of then Tamil Nadu.

(3) Sthanu Ravi Varma : A.D.844-885 (Contemporary of Athitha Chola)

(4) Rama Varma : A.D.885-917

(5) Kothai Ravi Varma : A.D.917-947

(6) Indukothai Varma : A.D.944-962

(7) Bhaskara Ravi 1 : A.D.962-1019
(Defeated by Rajaraja Chola - 1)

(8) Chola Keralan : Grandson of Rajaraja Chola - 1 appointed as viceroy of Cholas at Kerala after Rajendra - 1 won over Bhaskara Ravi - 1 in the second Chera-Chola war.

(9) Bhaskara Ravi 2 : A.D.979-1021

(10) Vira Kerala : A.D.1021-1028

(11) Rajasimha : A.D.1025-1043

(12) Bhaskara Ravi 3 : A.D.1043-1082

(13) Ravi Rama Varma : A.D.1082-1090

(14) Rama Varma Kulasekara : A.D.1090-1102



(The text of this Thread will be frequently reviewed, 'corrected' wherever required for perfection, and developed further - with more informations and evidences coming forth on same)


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