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Monday, March 05, 2007


 

South Indian Inscriptions


 

PANDYA INSCRIPTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Very few inscriptions of the early Pandya kings mention the king’s name, along with the cognomen Maranjadaiyan or Sadaiyamaran, as the case may be, the fewer still give astronomical details that help us in fixing the exact reign periods of these kings.  The most important among the records is the Anaimalai Sanskrit inscription citing the Kali year 3871 (Karttika, Sunday) equivalent to 770 A.D., and affording a date for Parantaka-Sadaiyan, in whose reign the inscription is dated.  The Velvikkudi plates issued by the same king are dated in his 3rd regnal year and the Madras Museum plates, also issued by him, bear a date in the 17th year of his reign. There is, however, no means of fixing the exact duration of the king’s reign.

The next important chronological landmark is the Saka year 792 coupled with the 8the regnal year of Varaguna, provided by an inscription from Ayyampalaiyam (No. 22), thus yielding the initial year 862-63 A.D. for this king.  This date can only be ascribed to Varaguna II.

An inscription from Tiruvellarai (No. 12) dated in the 4th  + 9th year of Maranjadaiyan gives the following details.  Vrischika, Monday, Asvati, which have been calculated to yield the equivalent 824 A.D., November 7, and the king has been identified with Varaguna I.  It has been pointed out that the details of the date also afford another equivalent, viz., 874 A.D., November 22, and therefore the king may as well be identified with Varaguna II who ascended the throne in c. 862 A.D. An inscription from Lalgudi (No. 12-B) and another from Javantinathapuram also yield dates which can similarly be equated with dates falling in the reign either of Varaguna I or of Varaguna II.  Another inscription (No. 12-A) from Lalgudi probably of Maranjadaiyan alias  Varaguna-maharaja records the gift of money made by the Pallava king Tellarrerindu venra  Nandippottaraiyar to Mahadeva of Tiruttavatturai in Idaiyarru-nadu. This Pallava king has been identified with Nandivarman III (c. 851-73 A.D.). Considering the contemporaneity of  Maranjadaiyan alias Varaguna II with Tellarrerinda Nandivarman III, all these records may be attributed to Varaguna II.

Most of the prominent generals and ministers of the early Pandyas hailed from the Vaidya family of Karavandapuram.  Maran-Kari alias Muvendamangalapperaraiyan was the uttaramantrin (minister) of the Pandya king Maranjadaiyan Parantaka. There is no doubt that this Maran-Kari was the same as the vaidya-sikhamani Maran-kari, mentioned as the anatti (ajnapti) of the Velvikkudi plates.  The Anaimalai Tamil inscription (No. 2) refers to the death of this Maran-Kari and  to his younger brother Maran Eyinan alias Pandimangalavisaiyaraiyan succeeding him as a minister.

It is stated in the Velvikkudi plates that Marangari participated in the battle at Venbai with an army under his leadership when the Purvarajar attacked the Vallabha after the marriage of the Ganga princess with the Kongar-kon.  Vallabha has been identified with the Chalukya king Kirtivarman II and the Kongar-kon with the Pandya king.  Marangari is further described both in the Anaimalai record (No. 1) and in the same copper-plate charter as a sweet (madhuratara) orator and a poet and also as well-versed in the sciences.

Mahasamanta Murti-Eyinan, another important member of the Vaidya family and a junior contemporary of Maran-Kari, is mentioned as the anatti (ajnapti) in the Madras Museum plates dated in the 17th year of Jatilavarman Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan.   He was also known as Viramangalapperaraiyan and enjoyed the epithet Dhiratara.

Sattan Ganapati another Mahasamanta probably of the same king, was also a member of the Vaidya family Karavandapuram.  This general, who was also known as Pandi Amritamangalavaraiyan, excavated the temple (tirukkoyil) and the tank at Tirupparankunram and his wife Nakkan Korri built two shrines for Durgadevi and Jyeshtha at the same place (No. 3).

An inscription from Tirupparankunram, engraved on the lintel of the doorway of the Durga shrine, refers to the excavation of a temple from the rock for Sambhu and to the consecration of an image of ghe god by Ganapati alias Samanta  Bhima who is stated to be a prominent member of the Vaidya family (vai[j]ya-mukhya), in the Kali year 3874 (773 A.D.).  If the Siva temple under reference and the irukkoyi stated to have been excavated by Sattan Ganapati are identical as they appear to be, the date of the latter event, viz., the 6th year of Maranjadaiyan, must be equated with 773 A.D., the date of the former event.  Thus we get c.  768 A.D.  as the date of accession for the Maranjadaiyan of this record (No. 3) who is no doubt identical with Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan.

Kravandapurana, the native place of the members of the Vaidya family, was also known as Kalandai and Kalakkudi and was included in the division called Kalakkudi-nadu.  This place has been identified with Ukkirankottai in the Tirunelveli Taluk, Tirunelveli District. Nedunjadaiyan, who issued the Madras Museum plates, was the founder of this kottai or fort.  The name Ukkirankottai is nowhere mentioned in inscriptions so far copied in the region.  But it is well known that Parantakan Viranaraya-sadaiyan (c. 900 A.D.) fought a battle at Kharangiri and captured a certain Ugra.  Kharagiri and Ugra may perhaps be connected with Karavandapuram and Ukkirankottai respectively, as suggested by the late Mr. A.S. Ramanatha Iyer.

The mention of a servant of Virapandya in an inscription dated in the 2nd + 18th year of Sadaiya-maran (No. 68) who has been identified with Rajasimha enables us to regard Virapandya, identified with Solan-ralaikonda Virapandya, as the immediate  successor of Rajasimha though the exact relationship between the two is not clear.  The suggestion is strengthened by two Vatteluttu inscriptions from Salaigramam, which belong to the 2nd + 1st  year of Sadaiya-maran of the former record has been identified with Rajasimha on account of the method of dating, e.g., year 2 + 14, year 2 + 17, etc., and also on paleographical considerations.  The paleographical resemblance between the two records is remarkable.

Names of some Pandya princes, who must have lived in the first half of the tenth century but have not left any records have now come to light.  Manabharana, Vikramapandya and Sundarapandya are the princes whose existence is testified to by the Ambasamudram inscription of Virapandya.  It is quite likely, as has been pointed out elsewhere, that these princes and Virapandya were referred to as kulavardhanar in the Larger Sinnamanur plates, though their relationship to Rajasimha remains vague.

Maran Adittan alias Solantaka Pallavaraiyan of Poliyur, one of the generals of Virapandya, seems to have taken part in his campaign against the Cholas (No. 79).  He assumed the title evidently after Virapandya who is called Solan-ralaikonda in his inscriptions.  Another officer of this king had the title Solantaka-Brahmarayar.  Certain measures and gardens were also named after this title (see No. 79, line 5 ; No. 84, line 2).  Tennavan Tamilavel, an officer of this king, is eulogized for his scholarship in Sanskrit and Tamil in a fragmentary inscription in Tamil verse (No. 87).  He is described as a minister well-versed in the Vedas, Vedangas, the different works in Sanskrit, Law, Purana, muttamil  (the three branches of Tamil learning, viz., iyal or literature, isai or  music and nataka) and Patanjalam  (i.e., the original work of Patanjali).  Kachchi, i.e., Kanchi is mentioned in connection with his ancestral home.

That the Mahamatins were active in the region as far south as Aruppukottai during the rule of Virapandya is testified to by an inscription from Pallimadam (No. 88).  It may be remembered that they are also mentioned  in the Muvarkoyil record of Bhuti Vikramakesari and that one of their teachers was a native of Madurai.

Attention may be drawn to a specimen form of a document recording the sale of land during the period of the early Pandya rulers (No. 91) and to an order of a sabha in a form unusual for the period (No. 78).

The Pandya country was conquered ad annexed to the Chola empire by Rajaraja I and his son.  During this period of Chola occupation, a member of the Chola family was deputed as viceroy of the erstwhile Pandya territory and the viceroys called  themselves Chola-Pandyas and assumed after the fashion of the Pandya kings, though in a slightly changed form, the titles Jatavarman and Maravarman.  Four such viceroys are represented by the records published in the second section of the work.  They are Jatavarman Sundarachola-Pandya, Maravarman Vikramachola-Pandya, Jatavarman Chola-Pandya and Maravarman Parakramachola-Pandya.  Besides, another prince Rajendra, a son of Virarjaendra, is stated to have received the title of Jatavarman Chola-Pandya, though none of his records is available.  In spite of the presence of these Chola viceroys, the Pandyas do not seem to have disappeared altogether.  The Chola king Rajadhiraja I (1018-1053 A.D.) claims to have conquered Virapandya and to have driven ‘to the ancient Mullaiyar, Sundarapandya of endless fame’.  The appointment of Chola-Pandya viceroys seems to have continued up to the reign of Kulottunga I who ‘put the five Pandyas to flight, and limited the boundary of the Pandya country, and placed garrisons in the strategically important of the newly acquired territory.

Jatavarman Sundarachola-pandya, the first of the viceroys, was a son of Rajendra I as stated in the latter’s record from Mannarkoyil.  This inscription records that Pinjanur, a village under vellan-vagani in Kurumadai-nadu in Mudigondasola-valanadu in Rajaraja-ppandinadu, was converted into a devandana of the temple of Rajendrasola-vinnagar built by Cheramanar Rajasingar, from the 15th year of Sundara-chola-pandya, one of the sons of king Rajendrachola who conquered the Purva-desa, Gangai and Kadram, by an order of the king while he was staying in his palace at Kanchipuram.  The inscription is dated in the 24th year (1035 A.D.) of the reign of Rajendra I.  Equating the 15th year of Jatavarman Sundarachola-pandya mentioned in the record with the 24th year of the Chola king’s reign, it has been surmised that the former's viceroyalty may be regarded as  having commenced about 1020-21 A.D. The records of the viceroy range from the 3rd  (No. 131) to the 27th year of this rule.  He may therefore he considered to have rules upto 1047-48 A.D., till sometime in the last year of the reign of his father.  The Chola-pandya seems to have had  one of his headquarters at Rajendrasolapuram (No. 145) while he is also known to have once camped near Madurai (No. 161).  The former had a royal palace provided with a theatre for various entertainments of the royal party.

Two Chera feudatories of the Chola emperor are mentioned in the records of the said viceroy.  Rajasimha is referred to in a record from Mannarkoyil as having built the shrine of Rajendrasola-vinnagar Paramasvamigal (No. 144). The god was evidently named after the Chola suzerain.  The record is dated in the 13th year (1033-34 A.D.) of the viceroy.  There is a reference to the bhandara (treasury) of Rajasimha in another inscription (No. 177) of the same viceroy, the date of which is, however, lost.  An official of Cheralan-Madeviyar, the queen of the Chera king Rajasimha, is mentioned in an inscription (No. 150) from the same place dated in his 14th year.  No. 154, dated in the 16th year (1036-37 A.D.) of the viceroy, records that the Chera king (Cheramanar) Rajarajadevar was present at the western gopura of the temple of Rajendrasola-vinnagar Paramasvamigl while issuing the order in connection with a transaction pertaining to some land belonging to the temple in the village of Manabharana-chaturvedimangalam.  Mention is again made of the bhandaram of Cheramanar Rajarajadeva in another inscription (No. 193) from the same place, which belongs to Maravarman Vikramachola-pandya, the successor of Jatavarman Sundarachola-pandya.  Thus it will be seen that the Chera kings Rajasimha and Rajarajadeva were the contemporaries of Rajendrachola and probably also of his successor Rajadhiraja who was associated with his father early in his reign.  It is quite likely that the Chera kings were feudatories of the Chola monarchs.

Attention may be drawn to a feudatory  belonging to the eastern Chalukya dynasty, who figures in an inscription of the said viceroy as a donor.  He calls himself Sarvalokasraya Vishnuvardhana-maharaja alias Chalukya Vijayaditya Vikkiyanna.  The record is dated in the 11th regnal year (1031-32 A.D.) of the viceroy.  The identity of the chief, however, remains obscure.  In this connection, it may be pointed out that an inscription from Tiruvaiyaru refers to the gift of gold by a certain pillaiyar Sri-Vishnuvaradhanadevar in the 27th year (1039 A.D.) of Rajendra I.

The next viceroy was Maravarman Vikramachola-pandya.  His inscriptions range from the 20th to the 25th year of his reign.  We have seen already that the latest date for Jatavarman Sundarachola-pandya, the predecessor of Maravarman Vikrama-chola-pandya, is the year 23 of his reign.  The absence of any record of Vikrama-chola-pandya citing an earlier date than his 20th regnal year is unaccountable.  Whether he ruled independently or conjointly with Sundarachola-pandya is impossible to determine.  But this much can be said that he was a junior contemporary of the latter and succeeded him.  For, among the records of Jatavarman Sundarachola-pandya and Maravarman Vikramachola-pandya, from Attur in the Tiruchchendur Taluk, Tirunelveli District, while those of the former refer to Attur as a brahmadeya in Kudanadu, No. 186 of the latter mentions Attur as a part of Rajadhiraja-chaturvedimangalam evidently named after Rajadhiraja I, who was a co-regent with his father Rajendra I.

Jatavarman Sola-Pandyadeva, the third Chola viceroy in the Pandya country, was evidently the same as Gangaikonda-solan, the son of Virarajendra.  The title of Chola-pandya was conferred on him by his father.  The two records of this viceroy published here are both dated in the 3rd year of his reign.  Two later records of the same person dated respectively in the 24th and the 25th year of his rule come from Suchindram.  In view of the fact that the latter record of the 25th year refers to the subdivision of rajadhiraja-valanadu of Sola-mandalam, it may be assigned to this viceroy, though his exact reign period cannot be determined.  A dance known as Rajendrachola and as another son of Virarajendra is also stated to have received the title Chola-pandya from his father.

The last and the least known viceroy of the Pandya territory was Parakrama-chola-pandya who styled himself Maravarman.  The only two records of this viceroy cite respectively the 3rd and the 4th regnal years ; but his identity remains obscure.  In the latter record, the natives of Kashmira-desa figure as donors.

Jatavarman Srivallabha, whose records alone are published in the third section, was probably one of the five Pandyas who raised their banner against Chola supremacy.  Though the Chola emperor Kulottunga I claims to have put to flight the five Panyas and to have stationed his military forces at the key centers of the dominions, the Pandyas continued to rule over parts of their territory.  Inscriptions of Jatavarman Srivallabha range from the 2nd to the 26th + 1st year of his reign.  The extent of the area covered by his inscriptions from Vijayanarayanam in the Nanguneri taluk of the Tirunelveli district in the South, Kuruvitturai in the Nilakkottai taluk of the Madurai district in the north and to the limits of the Tiruppattur and Tiruvadanai taluks of the Ramnad district indicate roughly the territory ruled by him.  His records are characterized by the prasasli : Tirumadandaiyum Jayamadandaiyum, etc., which however does not yield any information of historical importance.  His contemporaneity with Kulottunga I is indicated by an inscription (No. 226) from Vijayanarayanam.  It is dated in the 10th regnal year of Srivallabha and refers to transactions of the 31st year of Kulottunga I since there is a reference in Srivallabha’s record, dated in his 4th regnal year, to a certain Mummudisolan Virasekharan alias Adalaiyur-Nadalvan who is probably the same as Virasekharan figuring in a record of Kulottunga I dated in the 49th year (1119 A. D.) of his reign.  Thus it may be suggested that Jatavarman Srivallabha was one of the five Pandya opponents of Kulottunga I.  It may be noted here that there are two inscriptions (Nos. 221 and 251) of Jatavarman Srivallabha, which give some details of date.  No. 221 in which the prasasti is absent, is dated in his 9th regnal year and the details of date are mesha I, paurnami, Tuesday and Uttiram.  No. 251 begins with prasasti Tirumadandaiyum, etc., and is dated in the year opposite to the 20th year.  In lines, 42 – 45 of the text of that record the details of date are given as Makara 2, Friday and Uttirattadi, apparently of the year in which the record is dated.  These details of date, however, do not yield equivalents which would fit in with a particular initial year.  Leaving out of consideration the former inscription, the ascription of which to Jatavarman Srivallabha of the other record is not clear, the details of date in the later epigraph would yield, as probable equivalent.  Friday, December 25, 1142 A.D., which was however, the first day of Makara according to the Indian Ephemeris.  Thus the date of accession of this king may be supposed t have fallen sometime between 1120 and 1122 A.D.

Three other records (Nos. 225, 245 and 263) of this king may also be noticed here No. 225 appears to be dated in the tenth regnal year and states that the exemption of taxes on the lands granted should take effect from the Kumbha-Viyalam perhaps of the same year.  The same expression is used in the case of another transaction recorded in No. 245 which is dated in the 20th regnal year.  No. 263 bears no date but begins with the expression Mina-Viyalam and thus indicates that it is later than No. 225 which cites Kumbha-Viyalam.  The first two dates when worked out on the basis of the method indicated in the Indian Ephemeris, Vol. I, Part II, p. 380 do not yield the same results.  The first supports the date arrived at above, but the second is earlier than Jupiter’s entry into Kumbha by more than one year.  It is possible that in the second instance No. 245), the reference was to a future date.  This mode of dating evidently suggests the influence of Kerala where inscriptions record dates by nothing Jupiter’s movements in the zodiac.

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