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Saturday, November 19, 2005


South Indian Inscriptions




This volume contains the texts of 471 inscriptions of the Chola kings who simply called themselves by the tile Parakesarivarman.  Like the records of Rajakesarivarman published in Volume XIII of this series, these also cover the same period of Chola history from the middle of the 9th century A.D. onwards, and hence the transactions mentioned in them are inter-related to each other.  As in the case of the previous publication, the inscriptions here are also arranged in the same order of regnal years of the kings, their assignment to specific kings being done after study of each individual record with reference to its original facsimile for determining its paleography and for ensuring its accuracy.  This study was made possible by the kindness of the Government Epigraphist who helped me with all the necessary impressions by promptly sending them in convenient batches for examination as an when they were required.

The kings represented in the previous volume were Aditya I, Gandaraditya.  Parantaka II Sundara-Chola, Rajaraja I and the later kings kulottunga I and II, The inscriptions in the present collection are assignable to the kings who intervened between them beginning with Parakesarivarman Vijayalaya, the father of Aditya I and the founder of the revived dynasty of Tanjore.  A majority of the inscriptions can be ascribed to Parnatka I and his grandson Uttama-Chola, while a smaller number belong to Arinjaya and Aditya II Karikala, and a few are of the time of Rajendra-Chola and Vikrama-Chola.

The earliest Chola kings of whom we have any definite knowledge are those mentioned in the so-called Sangam literature, who flourished in the fist few centuries of the Christian era.  Their provenance was the region mostly watered by the Kaveri, now covered by the Tiruchirappalli and Tanjavur districts, with their capitals at Uraiyur near Tiruchirappalli and Kaveripattinam on the sea-coast.  Though there is no connected history of these kings, the materials furnished by the literature throw a good of a few famous rulers like Karikala, Kochchengannan and others, and on their conflicts with kings and chiefs of other dynasties.

When the south of the country was overrun by the mysterious hordes called the Kalabhra period and after Kalabhras, the Cholas along with their neighbours in the north and south, the Pallavas and the Pandyas, lost their territory to the conquerors and sank into insignificance.  These latter occupied the land for about three centuries, but nothing much is known of their rule.  They are believed to have been Buddhists and probably helped the spread of their religion in their newly acquired state.  In the writings of one Buddhadatta who lived sometime during this period, mention is made of a certain Achyuta-Vikranta of Kalabhra-kula who is referred to as “ruling the earth.”  This Buddhist divine describes at length in his works the prosperous cities of Kaveripattanam and Bhutamangalama in Chola-ratha in each of which there is said to have been a great monastery.  By about the end of the sixth century A.D. the Kalabhras seems to have been driven out of the Tamil land, and the Pallava and Pandya copper-plate grants speak of the re-establishment of their power under Simhavishnu and Kadungon respectively.  The Cholas were probably too weak to assert their independence, and the powerful Simhavishnu claims to have brought the Chola territory under his rule.  With their country thus permanently lost to the Pallavas, the Cholas were confined to a narrow region round Uraiyur and continued of conflicts between the Pallavas and the Pandyas, and between these and other powers like the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, and many of these battles were fought in places situated in the former Chola territory now in the occupation of the Pallavas, and later partly of the Pandyas also as testified by the existence of their inscriptions.  The area round about Tanjavur was under the sway of a dynasty of chieftains known as the Muttaraiyuar whose inscriptions are found at Sendalai and Niyamam, and who seem to have ruled either independently or as vasslas of the Pallavas.  One such chief was Kataka-Muttaraiyan mentioned in theVaikuntha-Perumal temple inscriptions at Kanchipuram as a Pallava subordinate in the reign of Nandivarman II.  No. 18 of the “Pudukkottai Inscriptions” refers to a Muttaraiyar chief called Videlvidugu Muttaraiyan as a feudatory under Dantivarman.  Another chief of the same name was a vassal under-Nripatunga (M.E.R. No. 365 of 1904).  The Cholas through all these three centuries should have been playing a very minor role in the wars, through frequent mention is made of them in the records of other dynasties, thus recognizing their separate individuality as a power.  The Pallava-Pandya strife in the latter half of the 9th century A.D. in which Nripatunga claims a victory over the Pandyas and the counter-effort sometime later by pndya Varaguna, seem to have proved propitious for the rise of the Cholas who were now feeling their strenghth under Vijayalaya.  This prince who probably fought on the side of the Pallavas at the time is said to have captured Tanjavur and made it his capital (Tiruvalangadu Plates).  The circumstances favouring this adventure might have been the growing weakness of the Pallavas and the defection of Muttaryaiyar chief to the more powerful Pnadya, if not his incapacity to stand against the ambitious attach of Vijayalaya.  It is also possible that Vijayala befriended the Pandya king to advance his own interests.

3. A specific inscription of this Chola king under the name “Parakesarivarman who took Tanjai has been found engraved on a hero-stone dated in his 3rd year, at Virasolapuram in the South Arcot district (M.E.R. No. 51 of 1936) which is not however included in this volume.  Its text is published in the Ep. Report for 1936 and it records the death of a certain Karambai Kalitudan Kukkan of Attiyur while rescuning cattle from a raid by one Aniyan.  It would thus appear that even as early as his 3rd year Vijayalaya’s rule extended beyond Tanjavur.  Two epigraphs of a much later period, one from North Arcot (M.E. R No. 160 of 1915) of the time of VikrmaChola and the other from the Tiruchirappalli district (No. 675 of 1909) dated in the reign of Kulottunga III, both refer to gifts made in accordance with stone records of the time of Vijayalaya.

In the M.E.R. for 1895 Dr. Hultzsch was inclined to assign to this king two inscriptions from the Tanjavur district (602 and 689) which record gifts made by one Mullur-Nangai, the mother-in-law of Parakesarivarman.  Included in the present volume are two epigraphs (Nos. 74 and 77) of his 3rd year in which the same Mullur-Nangaiyar, the mother of Solamadeviyar queen of Parakesarivarman figures as a donor.  Nos. 149 and 239 from Tiruchchatturai and Tiruppalanama both in the Tanjore district dated respectively in the 5th and 9th years of Parakesarivarman introduce a Pandya prince of the name Parantakan Manabharananar and his consort Kilavan Desappugal, the latter of whom is said to have made a gift of lamps to the temples in those two places.  This would go to show the friendly relation that existed at the time between the Chola and the Pandya.  The early writing of the records precludes the possibility of the prince being identical with his namesake Manabharana of the 11th century, an enemy of Rajadhiraja I.  since Parantaka I began his career with the conquest of Madura it is very likely that the two presnt records are anterior to his reign and hence assignable to Vijayalaya himself.  This conjecture seems to get support from the presnce of inscriptions at these two places which are ascribable to his son Aditya I.  The place of Manabharana in the Pandya genealogy is not clear unless we equate him with Parantaka Viranarayana the younger brother of Varaguna II and father of Rajasimha.  Beyond these few records it is difficult to assign any more of the inscriptions in the present volume definitely to Vijayalaya.

On one of the pillars built inside the shrine of the goddess in the temple at Two later records ascribed to him Tiruvilimilalai (Tanjavur Dt.) are found 5 inscriptions engraved one below the other.  Three of them which are included in this volume refer themselves to the reign of Parakesarivarman.  No. 46 and 163 dated in the 21 year and the 6th year respectively have been surmised to be those of Vijayalaya (M.E.R. 1909).  This seems to be unlikely, for No. 367 which is also a record of Parakesarivarman dated in his 15th year, and which by its writing may be assigned to Parantaka I occupies the topmost position of the pillar while further down and immediately above No. 46 is an epigraph (No. 438 of 1908 not included here) registering a gift by one Arikulakesari Vilupparaiyan most probably and officer under Arinjaya, son of Parantaka.  Hence it is possible that No. 46 may also belong to Arinjaya’s reign, while No. 163 which is below it and is the bottommost inscription would be one of king Uttama-Chola.  This last makes mention of two chiefs by name Amarabhujangan Muppuli alias Gandarulganda-pallavaraiyan and (his son?) Amarabhujangan Vanapaeraiyan alias Van van Pallavarayan.  A deity called Amarabhujangadeva perhaps after this chief is referred to in an inscription of Rajaraja’s 7th year.

4. The next king to bear the tile Parakesari was Vijyalaya’s grandson Parantaka I who is represented in this volume by over 150 inscriptions ranging in date between the 2nd and 38th years of his reign.  Being a powerful ruler who extended his dominion up to Nellore in the north and Tirunelveli in the south, his records are found spread over a wide area, and introduce as donors to temples a large number of feudatory chiefs or high ranking officers who acknowledged his over lordship.

Two inscriptions from the South Arcot district, dated in the 2nd year of Parakesari (Nos. 80 and 81) which may be ascribed to Parantaka I, mention a feudal lord by name Vinnakovaraiyan Vayiri Malaiyan as administering a portion of Singapura-nadu.  He was probably a descendant of the chief of the same place (M.E.R. No. 283 of 1916) Another chief of this period was one Videlviduge Sempottiladanar alias Ganapperumanar whose son Sembiyan Sempottiladanar made some gift to a Jaina matha under one Kanakavira Sittadival at Tirakkol in the North Arcot district (No. 301).  This place is called Sridandapuram in another record from the same place (No. 51) and is said to have been situated in Ponnur-nadu a division of Venkunra-kottam.

The division known as Pangala-nadu (in Paduvur-kottam) was under the governance of members of a branch of the Western Ganga family of whom two chief are mentioned as donors in Nos. 277 and 286 both from the Tanjore district.  These were Alivin-Kallarasi alias Sembiyan Buvanigangaraiyan and Alivin-Kallarasi alias Pirudigangaraiyar son of Mahadeva, a probable brother of Gangamarttanda mentioned in a record of Aditya I.

One of the officers of the king figuring in inscriptions of his earlier years was Nakkan Arinjigai alias Parantaka Pallavaraiyan whose records of gifts made to different temples in the Tanjavur, Tiruchirappalli and South Arcot districts are dated between the 2nd and the 7th  years of the king’s reign (No. 1, 70, 75, 88, 187 and 462). Another was Siriyan Kuvavan alias Uttungatunga-Pallavaraiyan of Kottur in Nenmalinadu a donor to the temple at Vedaranyam in the 4th year of the king (No. 83) His surname seems to indicate that his overlord bore the tile Uttunga-tunga.

A member of a military regiment known as Adittapanma-tenrinda-Kaikkola evidently after king Aditya I, was Sankayana Orri who is said to have purchased and endowed 4 ma of land to the temple at Tiruvaduturai in the king’s 2nd year (No. 25).  Another inscription of the same year from Tiruchchatturai (No. 35) records a gift of gold and cows for ghee to the temple by one Korran Maran alias Terravan malanattuvelan who is probably the same as Sembiyan Malanattu-velan of Kaikalur figuring in a record of Aditya I.  A 5th year inscription from tiruvengaivasal (Pudukkottai State) mentions one Nadan Malanattu-vel (No. 136).  These seem to be the chiefs of Malanadu family of who mention would be made again later.

The central shrine of the temple at Tirupparkadal (North Arcot) is stated to have been renovated by one Sennipperaiyan Kadaman Diranof Arasur in Pambunikurram in the 3rd year of the king (No. 39-wrongly assigned to Aditya II).  This is evidently the same person who is mentioned in S.I.I III. Np. 99 as having led a company of soldiers in a frontal attack against the Pandya forces in the battle at Velur in the 12th year of Parantaka I.  the victory of commandant chief Paluvettaraiyar Kandan, Amudanar in the same battle, we also know, is commemorated in another inscription of the same regnal year form Kilappaluvur (No. 231 of 1926)

An inscription from Tirumalai (North Arcot) of the 4th year of the king (No. 89) which has been published already (in S.I.I III. No. 97) deserves a brief notice here agains.  It registers some gift to the Jaina temple of that plae by two persons Virchevagan Pidaran Puttugan (Buttuga) and Virchamanayakan Chandayana Ayiravan who were members of two different regiments of the king called the Irumadisola-Karunataka-Kaduttala and Madurantaka-karunataka-Kaduttalai after the king’s titles, and as their names indicate, recruited from later as a perundaram (noble) follower of king in a record of the 5th year of Parantaka II, who accompanied (prince) Uttama-Chola to th temple at Tiruvorriyur (M.E.R. 1913, II, 19).

Mention is made in three inscriptions of the gifts made by a certain Sankaran Kunrappolan of Puttur in Malai-nadu.  Two of them are from Kudumiyanmalai (Nos. 363 and 387) and the third which is from lalgudi and is dated in the king’s 16th year (No. 408) registers a sale of land by the Mahasabha to the temple at tiruttavattura (Lalgudi) for 30 kalanju of gold endowed for a lamp by this Sankaran on behalf of Kokkilanadigal, the daughter of Chermanar”.  The reference is probably to the queen of Parantaka I of that name, who is called in a later record (No. 226 of 1911) of the time of Aditya II, the mother of “Anaimerrunjinar”, i.e. prince Rajaditya also known as Kodandaraman in No. 347 of 1904.  A maid servant of his queen figures also as a donor in No. 150 from Tiruchchatturai.  An inscription of the king’s 22nd year from Kuttalam in the Tirunelveli district (No. 419) registers a gift of and for a lamp in the temple at that place made by one Kandan Iravi, on the occasion of a solareclipse.  This might be a royal personage, the Chera king of the period, a successor of Sthanu-Ravi, the frined and ally of Aditya I and probably father of queen Kokkilanadigal herself.

From No. 448 from tiruvidaimarudur in which the date portion is lost, it is earn that the temple authorities purchased two plots of land with the money endowed for a lamp by Uttama ili, the son of Parantaka I.  This prince who predeceased his father is known to us from two other inscriptions, one from Kadiyur (S.I.I V. No. 575) and the other from Tirumalpuram (No. 301 of 1096)

5. The chiefs of Kodumbalur of whom there are a few inscriptions included in this volume, belonged to an ancient dynasty of rulers called the Vel or Velir who were holding a tract of land known as Konadu (comprising portions of Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram) from very early times.  Along with the Cholas they seem to have also been adversely affected by the Pallava expansion in the south, and to have been subjected to their control.  We find ata least two members of this family Marapidugu-Ilangovel (No. 88 of 1910) and Videlvidugu-Ilangovel (No. 174 of 1912) holding a subordinate position under Pallava Nandivarman III.  They must have had clashes frequently with the Muttaraiyar chiefs who were supporters and allies of the Pallavas for centuries.  The Cholas under Vijayalaya probably enlisted  the help of these chieftains in the capture of Tanjavur from the Muttariyars, and would appear to have also had matrimonial alliance with this family.

From the Muvarkoyil inscription of Kodumbalur (No. 129 of 1907) we learn that Samarabhirama of this dynasty marrieda a Chola princess Anupama by name, and had by her a son called Bhuti Vikramakesari.  Two great events are associated with this chief.  He is said to have fought a sanguinary battle against the Pallavas on the banks of the Kaveri and to have also won a victory over a Pndya king by name Vira Pandya.  We know of one Vira-Pandya whom Aditya II Karikala claims to have killed sometime before 960 A.D.  If we suppose that it is the same engagement in which Bhuti Vikramakesari also took part, he becomes an ally and contemporary of Aditya II.  The fight with the Pallavas could not have taken place after 890 A.D. by which time Pallava Aparajita was dead and his territory had been annexed by Aditya I.  Hence it is impossible to connect these two enterprises which are separated by more than 70 years, with one and the same person.

In the article “The Kodumbalur chiefs and the Revival of the Cholas” contributed to the Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (Volume XLIII, Nos. 3 and 4), Messers. K.V. Subramanya Aiyar and K.S. Vaidyanathan have shown the existence of another Vira-pandya who was much anterior to his namesake the enemy of Aditya II and was a probable contemporary of Pandya Rajasimha , son of Parantaka Viranara-yana and member of collateral line.  This fact combined with the identification of Bhuti Vikramakesari whose wives were Karrali and Varaguna of the Muvarkoyil inscription with Tennavan Ilangovelar called also Maravan Bhutiyar, who figures with his wives, Karrali and Varaguna in inscriptions definitely attributable to Aditya I (Nos. 258, 264 and 273 of 1903) enables us to get over certain chronological discrepancies which have been the result of Vikrmakesari’s supposed contemporaries with Aditya II.

It has been surmised the Samarabhirama should have actively helped his kinsman Vijayalaya in his conquests and been firmly established in his ancestral domain of Konadu as his friend and ally; while his son Bhuti Vikramakesari alias Tennavan Ilangovel was probably given the administration of the region previously under the possession of the Muttaraiyars.  It has also been conjectured on the strength of patronymics and feudatory titles borne by these chiefs, that Bhuti Vikramakesari’s two sons by Karrali, viz., Parantaka and Aditya mentioned in the Muvarkoyil inscription should be identical with Sembiyan Irukkuvel alias Bhuti Parantaka and Sembiyan Ilangovel alias Bhuti Aditta-Pidaran occurring in inscriptions of Parakesarivarman (Prantaka I) ranging up to the 20th year of his reign (S.O/O VIII, Nos. 657, 668 and 601) The sister of these two chiefs and daughter of Bhuti Vikramakesari ws Nangai Bhuti Aditya-Bhatari who was married to the Chola prince Arikulakesari (Arinjaya) son of Parantaka I (S.I.I. III, No. 96).  Sembiyan Ilangovel (bhuti Aditya) was according to the authors the father of Madhurantakan Irukkuvel alias Adityan bhuti or Adityan Vikramakesari mentioned in Parakesari records of his 22nd and 23rd years (S.I.I. VIII No. 616 and 627), while (his brother) Sembiyan Irukkuvel alias Bhuti Parantaka is supposed to have had three sons, viz., Virasola Ilangaovel alias Parantakan Kunjaramallan, Mahimalya Irukkuvel alias Parantakan Virasolan, and Vira-Irungolar alias Parantakan Siriyavelar the last of whom had married ( a different) Varaguna-Perumanar, sister of Parantaka II Sundara-Chola (Vol. XIII, No. 233 and 240)

With the identifications thus made, the members of the family figuring in the inscriptions of this volume and in those of Rajakesarivarman in the previous volume can be assigned their proper places in the genealogy of the dynasty.  Nos. 155 and 241 which are from Kudumiyanmalai and dated in the 6th and 10th years of Parakesarivaran (Parantaka I) refer to Varaguna Natti the daughter of a Muttaraiyan and Nangai-Nala (Nanda) deviyar as the wives Of Sembiyan Irukkuvelar (Bhuti Parantaka).  Besides these two, the chief is known to have had three more wives (S.I.I. VIII, Nos. 646, 657 and 666_.

In an inscription of the 5th year of Parakesari from Tirupparkadal in the North Arcot district (No. 121) a gift of 50 kalanju of gold made for a lamp in the Tiruvagattisvara temple at Pakkam hamlet by Sembiyan Ilangovelar BhutiAdittar is acknowledged by the mahasabha of Kavidippakkam.  The identity of this donor is evident as the brother of Sembiyan Irukkuvel.  Seven years later, i.e., in the 12th year of the king (Parantaka), the same donor is stated to have made an endowment of another 50 kalanju of pure gold (of 9 mari in fineness) for the daily offerings and lamp in the Tirukkarapurattu Perumanadigal temple at Kavidippakkam, left in the charge of the same mahasabha (No. 297)

With regard to this latter inscription we may digress a little to understand the immediate purpose of the gift recorded.  As noted in a previous paragraph, the battle of Vellur is known to have been fought in the 12th year of Parantaka I.  The present epigraph is also dated in the same year and more specifically on the 120th day of that year, which is called a kotta-nal.  The meaning of this expression had not been understood so far.  Though it is not actually so stated in the record, we may hazard a conjecture that the gift would have been in the nature of thanks-giving to God by the Kodumbalur chief for his overlord’s victory in that battle, in which possibly he might have had his own share like the Paluvettaraiyar chief Kandan Amudanar. Kotta-nal would then acquire a significance as connoting a day of triumph.

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