HOME

TheInfoList



The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of
south India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous coun ...

south India
, one of the three famous Tamil lineages, the other two being the
Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of ...
and the
Chera The Chera dynasty ( or Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala Kerala (; ) is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of ...
.Subbarayalu, Y. 2014. 'Early Tamil Polity', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashmia, pp. 53–54. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Extant since at least the 4th to 3rd centuries BC, the dynasty passed through two periods of imperial dominance, the 6th to 10th centuries CE, and under the 'Later Pandyas' (13th to 14th centuries CE). The Pandyas ruled extensive territories, at times including the large portions of present-day
south India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous coun ...

south India
and northern
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
through collateral branches subject to
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
.Karashima, Noburu. 2014. 'The Fall of the Old States', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashima, pp. 172–73. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. The rulers of the three Tamil dynasties were referred to as the " three crowned rulers (the mu-ventar) of the Tamil country". The age and the antiquity of the Pandya dynasty are difficult to establish. The early Pandya chieftains ruled their country (the Pandya nadu) from time immemorial, which included the inland city of
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
and the southern port of
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
. The Pandyas are celebrated in the earliest available Tamil poetry ("the Sangam literature").
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
accounts (as early as 4th century BCE), the edicts of
Maurya The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the ...
emperor
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Asoka
, coins with legends in
Tamil-Brahmi Tamil-Brahmi also known as Tamili or Damili is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Old Tamil language.Richard Salomon (1998) ''Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prak ...

Tamil-Brahmi
script, and Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions suggest the continuity of the Pandya dynasty from the 3rd century BCE to the early centuries CE. The early historic Pandyas faded into obscurity upon the rise of the Kalabhra dynasty in south India. From the 6th century to the 9th century CE, the
Chalukyas of Badami The Chalukya dynasty () was a Classical Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest ...
or
Rashtrakutas Rashtrakuta (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is b ...
of the Deccan, the
Pallavas of Kanchi The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India. They gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahana dynasty The Satavahanas (''Sādavāhana'' or ''Sātavāhana'', ...
, and Pandyas of Madurai dominated the politics of south India. The Pandyas at one time or another ruled or invaded the fertile estuary of
Kaveri The Kaveri (also known as Cauvery, the anglicized name) is an India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populou ...

Kaveri
(the Chola country), the ancient Chera country (Kongu and central
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
) and
Venad Venad (Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian languages, Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (union territory), Puducherry (Mahé district) by the Malayali pe ...
u (south Kerala), the Pallava country and
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
. The Pandyas went into decline with the rise of the
Cholas The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka ...
of Tanjore in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. The Pandyas allied themselves with the
Sinhalese Sinhala may refer to: * Something of or related to the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka * Sinhalese people * Sinhala language, one of the three official languages used in Sri Lanka * Sinhala script, a writing system for the Sinhala language ** Sinhala ...
(Sri Lanka) and the
Cheras The Chera dynasty ( or Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala Kerala (; ) is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of ...
in harassing the
Chola Empire The Chola dynasty was a Tamil people, Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left b ...
until it found an opportunity for reviving its fortunes during the late 13th century.Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar.'' Madras, Oxford University Press. 170-72. The Pandyas entered their "golden age" under Maravarman I and Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I (13th century). Some early efforts by Maravarman I to expand into the ancient Chola country were effectively checked by the
Hoysalas The Hoysala Empire was a Kannadiga power originating from the Indian subcontinent that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, India between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was lat ...
. Jatavarman I () successfully expanded the empire into the Telugu country (as far north as
Nellore Nellore is a city located on the banks of Penna River, in Nellore district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (English: Telugu: ) is a States and union territories of India, state in the south-eastern Coastal India, coas ...
), south Kerala and conquered northern
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
. The city of
Kanchi Kanchipuram, also known as Kānchi ('; ) or Kancheepuram, is a temple city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil N ...

Kanchi
became a secondary capital of the Pandyas. The Hoysalas, in general, were confined to Mysore Plateau and even king Somesvara was killed in a battle with Pandyas. Maravarman Kulasekhara I (c. 1268) defeated an alliance of the Hoysalas and the Cholas (1279) and invaded
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
. The venerable Tooth Relic of the Buddha was carried away by the Pandyas. During this period the rule of the empire was shared among several royals, one of them enjoying primacy over the rest. An internal crisis in the Pandya empire coincided with the Khalji
invasion An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory owned by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering; liberating or re-establishing ...
of south India in 1310–11. The ensuing political crisis saw more sultanate raids and plunder, the loss of south Kerala (1312), and north Sri Lanka (1323) and the establishment of the
Madurai sultanate Ma'bar Sultanate ( fa, مابار سلطنت), unofficially known as the Madurai Sultanate, was a short lived independent kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in so ...
(c. 1334Karashima, Noburu. 2014. 'The Fall of the Old States', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashima, pp. 173–74. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.).Sri Lanka and South-East Asia: Political, Religious and Cultural Relations from A.D. c. 1000 to c. 1500, 1978 By W. M. Sirisena, 57 p.Politics of Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka, South Asian Publishers, 1996 by Ambalavanar Sivarajah, 22 p. In the mid-16th century, the
Vijayanagara Vijayanagara (Translation:"City of Victory") was the capital city of the historic Vijayanagara Empire. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River The Tungabhadra River is a river in India that starts and flows through the state of Kar ...

Vijayanagara
governors of Madurai declared independence and established the
Madurai Nayak dynasty#REDIRECT Madurai Nayak dynasty The Madurai Nayaks were Tamilization, Tamilized rulers of Telugu language, Telugu origin from around 1529 until 1736, of a region comprising most of modern-day Tamil Nadu, India, with Madurai as their capital. T ...
. The Pandyas of Ucchangi (9th–13th century), in the
Tungabhadra The Tungabhadra River is a river in India that starts and flows through the state of Karnataka during most of its course, before flowing along the border between Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and ultimately joining the Krishna River near Sangames ...
Valley were related to the Pandyas of Madurai. According to tradition, the legendary Sangams ("the Academies") were held in
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
under the patronage of the Pandyas, and some of the Pandya rulers claim to be poets themselves. The Pandya country was home to a number of renowned temples including
Meenakshi Temple Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural c ...

Meenakshi Temple
in
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
. After the revival of the Pandya power by
Kadungon:''Kadungon or Kadunkon was also the name an earlier Pandya king, mentioned in the Sangam literature.'' Kadungon (''r. c.'' 590–620 CE) was a Pandya king of early historic south India. He is chiefly remembered for reviving the Pandya dynast ...
(7th century AD), the Shaivite
nayanars The Nayanars (or Nayanmars; ta, நாயன்மார், translit=Nāyaṉmār, translit-std=ISO, lit=hounds of Siva, and later 'teachers of Siva') were a group of 63 saints living in Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territ ...
and the Vaishnavite
alvars The alvars ( ta, ஆழ்வார், āḻvār, translit-std=ISO) or alvarkal ( ta, ஆழ்வார்கள், translit=āḻvārkaḷ, translit-std=ISO, lit=those immersed in god) were Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bh ...
rose to prominence. It is known that the Pandya rulers followed
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
for a short period of time in history.


Etymology and origin legends

The word ''pandya'' is thought to be derived from the ancient Tamil word "pandu" meaning "old". The theory suggests that in early historic Tamil lexicon the word pandya means ''old country'' in contrast with
Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of ...
meaning ''new country'',
Chera The Chera dynasty ( or Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala Kerala (; ) is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of ...
meaning ''hill country'' and
Pallava The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hin ...

Pallava
meaning ''branch'' in
Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...

Sanskrit
. The etymology of pandya is still a matter of considerable speculation among scholars. Apart from the derivations mentioned, a number of other theories do appear in historical studies. According to the ancient Tamil legends, the three brothers ''Cheran'', ''Cholan'' and ''Pandyan'' ruled in common at the southern city of
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
. While Pandya remained at home, his two brothers Cheran and Cholan after a separation founded their own kingdoms in north and west. Epic poem ''
Silappatikaram ''Silappatikāram'' ( ta, சிலப்பதிகாரம் , IPA: ʧiləppət̪ikɑːrəm, ''lit.'' "the Tale of an Anklet"), also referred to as ''Silappathikaram'' or ''Silappatikaram'', is the earliest Jain Tamil epic. It is a poem of ...
'' mentions that the emblem of the Pandyas was that of a ''fish''. Indian traditions such as the Great Epics and the Puranas often associate southern India with Sage Agastya (who had his ashrama in the south). Agastya appears prominently in medieval Tamil literature also. Folklores attributes Alli Rani (meaning "the queen Alli") as one of the early historic rulers of the Pandyas. She is attributed as an "amazonian queen" whose servants were men and administrative officials and army were women. She is thought of ruling the whole western and northern coast of
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
from her capital
Kudiramalai Kudiramalai (, ) is a cape A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood in the chaper ...
, where remains of what is thought of as her fort are found. She is sometimes seen as an incarnation of the Pandya associated gods,
Meenakshi Meenakshi Amman (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European lan ...
and
Kannagi Kannagi, sometimes spelled Kannaki, is a legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions perceived or believed both by teller and listeners to have taken place within human history. Narratives in ...
.


Chandra-vamsa

The medieval Pandya kings were claimed to have belonged to the Chandra-vamsa or the Lunar Race. They claimed
Pururavas Pururavas (Sanskrit: पुरूरवस्, ''Purūravas'') was the king and the first of the Aila dynasty or the ''chandravamsha''. According to the Vedas, he is a legendary entity associated with Surya (the sun) and Ushas, Usha (the dawn), ...

Pururavas
and
Nahusha In Hindu mythology, Nahusha ( sa, नहुष) was a king of the Aila dynasty ( Lunar dynasty) and the 3,698,256th Indra (position). He was the son of Āyu, the eldest son of Pururavas, and Prabha, the daughter of Svarbhānu Svarbhānu or ...
as ancestors. Pururavas is listed as one of the ancestors in the
Velvikudi Inscription The Velvikudi inscription is an 8th-century bilingual copper-plate grant from the Pandya kingdom The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of south India, one of the three famous Tamil lineages, the other t ...

Velvikudi Inscription
of Nedunjadaiyan Varaguna-varman I (Jatila Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan). The Sinnamanur Plates of Maravarman Rajasimha III similarly traces his lineage to the Lunar race and also claims that one of his ancestors, a Pandya occupied the seat of god
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit: इन्द्र) is an Historical Vedic religion, ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism. He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Deva (Hinduism), Devas (gods). He is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flo ...

Indra
and another ancestor forced the ten-headed king of Lanka (
Ravana Ravana (;, , ) was a demon king of Lanka and the chief antagonist in the Hindu epic ''Ramayana'' and its adaptations. In the Ramayana, Ravana is described to be the eldest son of sage Vishrava and Rakshasi Kaikeshi. He abducted Rama's wife ...

Ravana
) to sue for peace.


Sources of Pandya history

The Greek ambassador to
Chandragupta Maurya Chandragupta Maurya (reign: 321–297 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory ...
,
Megasthenes Megasthenes ( ; grc, Μεγασθένης, c. 350BCE– c. 290 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history b ...
mentions Queens of Pandyas as 'Pandaia' and locates them in the south of India extending into ocean. It consisted of 365 villages which met the needs of the royal palace each day of the year. He described the queen as daughter of Heracles (by some author as
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-larges ...

Shiva
).
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
, capital of Pandyas is mentioned in Kautilya's
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient Indian Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging t ...
(4th century BCE) as 'Mathura of the south'.


Archaeological sources

Pandyas are also mentioned in the inscriptions of
Maurya The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the ...
emperor
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Asoka
(3rd century BCE). In his inscriptions (2nd and 13th Major Rock EdictKarashima, Noburu. 2014. 'Beginnings of South Indian History', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashmia, pp. 26–27. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.)
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Asoka
refers to the peoples of south India – the
Chodas The Chola dynasty was a Tamil people, Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left b ...
, Keralaputras,
Pandyas The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of south India, one of the three famous List of Tamil monarchs, Tamil lineages, the other two being the Chola dynasty, Chola and the Chera dynasty, Chera.Subbarayalu, Y. ...
and Satiyaputras.Keay, p119 These polities, although not part of the Maurya empire, were on friendly terms with Asoka: The earliest Pandya to be found in
epigraph Epigraph may refer to: * An inscription, as studied in the archeological sub-discipline of epigraphy * Epigraph (literature), a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component * Epigraph (mathematics), the set of ...
is Nedunjeliyan, figuring in the
Tamil-Brahmi Tamil-Brahmi also known as Tamili or Damili is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Old Tamil language.Richard Salomon (1998) ''Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prak ...

Tamil-Brahmi
Mangulam Mangulam or Mankulam is a village in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the I ...
inscription (near Madurai) assigned to 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. The record documents a gift of rock-cut beds, to a
Jain Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring omniscience, perfect knowledge of Jīva (Jainism), self and Jain cosmology, universe and perfect joy through Extrasensory perception, ...

Jain
ascetic. It is assumed that the people found in the Mangulam inscription, Nedunjeliyan, Kadalan, and Izhanchadikan predates rulers such as Talaiyanganam Nedunjelyan and Palyaga-salai Mudukudimi Peruvaludi.Subbarayalu, Y. 2014. 'Early Tamil Polity', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashmia, pp. 48–49. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Kharavela Kharavela (also transliterated Khārabēḷa) was a king of Kalinga in present-day Odisha Odisha (English: , The 'sha' spelling comes about from the historical or Sanskritic letter śa (ଶ), however all Odia sibilants today are realised as s ...
, the
KalingaKalinga may refer to: Geography, linguistics and/or ethnology * Kalinga (historical region) Kalinga is a historical region of India. It is generally defined as the eastern coastal region between the Mahanadi and the Godavari rivers, althoug ...
king who ruled during c. 1st century BCE, in his
Hathigumpha inscription The Hathigumpha Inscription (Trans lit. in Odia as "Elephant Cave" inscription), from Udayagiri, near Bhubaneswar Bhubaneswar () is the capital and largest city of the States and territories of India, Indian state of Odisha. The region, esp ...
, claims to have destroyed an old confederacy of Tamil countries ("the tamira–desa–sanghata") which had lasted 132 years, and to have acquired a large quantity of pearls from the Pandyas. Silver
punch-marked coins Punch-marked coins, ''also known as'' ''Aahat'' coins' are a type of early coinage of India, dating to between about the 6th and 2nd centuries BC. It was of irregular shape. History Punch-marked coins are a type of early coinage of India, dating ...
with the fish symbol of the Pandyas dating from around the same time have also been found.


Early Tamil literature

The early historic Pandyas are celebrated in the earliest available Tamil poetry. The poems refers to about twelve Pandya rulers.Subbarayalu, Y. 2014. 'Early Tamil Polity', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashmia, pp. 47–48. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. According to tradition, the legendary Sangams ("the Academies") were held in
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
under the patronage of the Pandyas. Several Tamil literary works, such as Iraiyanar Agapporul, mention the legend of three separate Sangams and ascribe their patronage to the Pandyas. Pandya rulers – such as Nedunjeliyan, the Victor of Talaiyalanganam, and Mudukudimi Peruvaludi, the Patron of Several Sacrificial Halls ("the Palyaga-salai") – find mention in a number of poems (such as '' Mathuraikkanci'').Subbarayalu, Y. 2014. 'Early Tamil Polity', in ''A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations'', ed. Noburu Karashmia, pp. 52–53. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Beside several short poems found in the '' Akananuru'' and the ''
Purananuru The ''Purananuru'' (, literally "four hundred oemsin the genre puram"), sometimes called ''Puram'' or ''Purappattu'', is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the last of the Eight Anthologies (''Ettuthokai'') in the Sangam literatu ...
'' collections, there are two major works – '' Mathuraikkanci'' and '' Netunalvatai'' – which give a glimpse into the society and commercial activities in the Pandya country during the early historic period. The ''
Purananuru The ''Purananuru'' (, literally "four hundred oemsin the genre puram"), sometimes called ''Puram'' or ''Purappattu'', is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the last of the Eight Anthologies (''Ettuthokai'') in the Sangam literatu ...
'' and '' Agananuru'' collections contain poems sung in praise of various Pandya rulers and also poems that were claimed to be composed by the rulers themselves. Besides the poems, king Peruvaludi is also mentioned in later copper-plate grant (8th–9th century CE). In the work '' Mathuraikkanci'', the author Mankudi Maruthanar, refers to his patron, Talaihalanganum Nedunjeliyan, as the Lord of
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
and the Warlord of the Southern Parathavar People. It contains a full-length description of
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
and the Pandya country under the rule of Nedunjeliyan. In the famous battle of Talaiyalanganam (in east Tanjore), the Pandya is said to have defeated his enemies (which included the Chera and the Chola). He is also praised for his victory of Mizhalai and Mutturu, two "vel" centres along the ocean (in Pudukkottai). The '' Netunalvatai'' (in the collection of ''
Pattupattu The Ten Idylls, known as Pattuppāṭṭu ( ta, பத்துப்பாட்டு) or Ten Lays, is an anthology of ten longer poems in the Sangam literature – the earliest known Tamil literature. They range between about 100 and 800 line ...
'') by Nakkirar contains a description of king Nedunjeliyan's palace.


Foreign sources

Greek and Latin sources (early centuries CE) refer to the ancient Tamil country, same as the Tamilakam, as "Lymyrike" or "Damirice" (or Dymirice/Dimirixe or Damirice) and its ruling families. * Pandyas are also mentioned by Greek author
Megasthenes Megasthenes ( ; grc, Μεγασθένης, c. 350BCE– c. 290 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history b ...
(4th century BCE) where he writes about south Indian kingdom being ruled by women. He described the Pandya country in '' Indika'' as "''occupying the portion of India which lies southward and extends to the sea"''. According to his account, the kingdom had 365 villages, each of which was expected to meet the needs of the royal household for one day in the year. He described the Pandya queen at the time, ''Pandaia'' as the daughter of
Herakles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, ''Hēraklês'', Glory/Pride of ''Hēra'', "Hera"), born Alcaeus (, ''Alkaios'') or Alcides (, ''Alkeidēs''), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the foster son of Amp ...

Herakles
.India By John Keay *
Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natu ...

Pliny the Elder
refers to the Pandya ruler of Madurai in general terms (first century CE). * The author of the ''
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea The ''Periplus of the Erythraean Sea'' ( grc, Περίπλους τῆς Ἐρυθρᾶς Θαλάσσης, ', modern Greek '), also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of ...
'' (first century CE) describes the riches of a "Pandian kingdom" * The country of the Pandyas was described as ''Pandya Mediterranea'' and ''Modura Regia Pandionis'' by
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
(c. 140 CE). *
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pres ...

Strabo
states that an Indian king called Pandion sent
Augustus Caesar Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate (the first phase of the Roman Empire) has consolidated ...

Augustus Caesar
"presents and gifts of honour".The First Spring: The Golden Age of India – Abraham Eraly – Google Books
Books.google.co.in. Retrieved on 12 July 2013.
The 1st-century
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
historian
Nicolaus of Damascus Nicolaus of Damascus ( Greek: , ''Nikolāos Damaskēnos''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known ...
met, at
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
, the ambassador sent by a king from India "named Pandion or, according to others, Porus" to
Caesar Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety ...

Caesar Augustus
around 13 CE (Strabo XV.4 and 73). * The
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it ...
Julian received an embassy from a Pandya about 361 CE. * Chinese historian
Yu Huan Yu Huan ( third century) was a historian of the state of Cao Wei Wei (220–266), also known as Cao Wei or Former Wei, was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). With its ...
in his 3rd-century CE text, the ''Weilüe'', mentions the Panyue kingdom: Scholar John E. Hill identified Panyue as Pandya kingdom.Hill, John However, others have identified it with an ancient state located in modern
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
or
Assam Assam (, ) is a state in Northeast India, northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra Valley, Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of . The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to ...

Assam
. * The Chinese traveler
Xuanzang Xuanzang (; fl. 602 – 664), born Chen Hui / Chen Yi (), also known as Hiuen Tsang, was a 7th-century Chinese Buddhist monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classica ...

Xuanzang
mentions a kingdom further south from
Kanchipuram Kanchipuram ('; ) is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Kanchipuram
, a kingdom named ''Malakutta'', identified with
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
described by his Buddhist friends at
Kanchipuram Kanchipuram ('; ) is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Kanchipuram
. * In the later part of the 13th century (in 1288 and 1293 CE) Venetian traveller
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a Venetian merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the Silk Road The Silk Road was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and W ...

Marco Polo
visited the Pandya kingdom and left a vivid description of the land and its people.


Early historic Pandyas

Maurya The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the ...
emperor
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Asoka
(3rd century BCE) seems to have been on friendly terms with the people of south India and Sri Lanka (the
Cholas The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysian ...

Cholas
, the Pandyas, the Satiya Putras, the Kerala Putras and the
TamraparniTamraparni (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
s). There are no indications that Asoka tried to conquer the extreme south India (the Tamilakam – the Abode of the Tamils). The three chiefly lines of the early historic south India – the Cheras, Pandyas and Cholas – were known as the mu-vendar ("the three vendars"). They traditionally based at their original headquarters in the interior
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Tamil Nadu
(
Karur Karur () is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Karur is the administrative headquarters of Karur district. It is located on the banks of Amaravathi River, River Amaravathi in the Kongunadu region of Tamil Nadu. Karur is well known for the ...
,
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
and
Uraiyur Uraiyur (also spelt Woraiyur) is a neighbourhood in Tiruchirapalli Tiruchirappalli () (Renaming of cities in India, formerly Trichinopoly in English), also called Tiruchi or Trichy, is a major tier II city in the States and union territori ...
respectively). The powerful chiefdoms of the three ventar dominated the political and economic life of early historic south India. The frequent conflicts between the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya are well documented in ancient (the Sangam) Tamil poetry. The Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas also controlled the ports of Muziris (Muchiri),
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
and Kaveri respectively (for the trade with the
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
world). The gradual shift from chiefdoms to kingdoms seems to have occurred in the following period.The famous inscription of king
Kharavela Kharavela (also transliterated Khārabēḷa) was a king of Kalinga in present-day Odisha Odisha (English: , The 'sha' spelling comes about from the historical or Sanskritic letter śa (ଶ), however all Odia sibilants today are realised as s ...
at Hathigumpha (mid-first century BCE) mentions the defeat of a confederacy of the "Tramira" countries which had been a threat to Kalinga. It also remembers the precious pearls brought to the capital as booty from the "Pandya" realm. The Pandya chiefdom was famous for its pearl fisheries and silk industry.
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
and Alagankulam are believed to have been the exchange centres of the Pandyas. Korkai, a port at the mouth of the river Tambraparni, was linked to the famous pearl fisheries and Alagankulam was also developed as a port. A number of coins attributed to early historic Pandyas are found from the region. Inscriptions, datable to c. 2nd century BCE, recording royal grants – both from royals and wealthy commoners – were also discovered from the Pandya country.Thapar, Romila. ''Southern Indian kingdoms'' "India". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. https://www.britannica.com/place/India/The-Shunga-kingdom#ref46870 The Pandya seems to be the most prominent of the three "ventar" rulers. There are even references to a Pandya queen from 3rd century BCE representing a confederacy of the Tamil countries.
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
, in south Tamil Nadu, was the most important cultural centre in south India as the core of the Tamil speakers. Megalithic relics such as menhirs, dolmens, urn burials, stone circles and rock-cut chambers/passages can be found in south India. Burial goods include iron objects, ivory ornaments, Black-and-Red Ware and even some coins. The so-called "velir" hill chieftains are assumed to be associated with these megalithic burials. Greek and Latin accounts (early centuries CE), coins with legends in Tamil-Brahmi script, and Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions suggest the continuity of the Pandya dynasty from the 3rd century BCE to early centuries CE. The early Pandyas, along with the Cheras and the Cholas, were eventually displaced by the Kalabhra dynasty.


Medieval Pandyas


Pandya revival (7th–10th centuries CE)

The Pandya kingdom was revived by king Kadungon (r. 590–620 CE) towards the end of the 6th century CE. In the
Velvikudi inscription The Velvikudi inscription is an 8th-century bilingual copper-plate grant from the Pandya kingdom The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of south India, one of the three famous Tamil lineages, the other t ...

Velvikudi inscription
, a later copper-plate, Kadungon appears as the "destroyer" of the "anti-Brahmanical"
Kalabhra The Kalabhra dynasty, also called ''Kaḷabrar'', ''Kaḷappirar'', ''Kallupura'' or ''Kalvar'', were rulers of all or parts of Tamil region sometime between the 3rd century and 6th century CE, after the ancient dynasties of the early Cholas ...
kings. With the decline of the Kalabhra dynasty, the Pandyas grew steadily in power and territory. With the
Cholas The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka ...
in obscurity in
Uraiyur Uraiyur (also spelt Woraiyur) is a neighbourhood in Tiruchirapalli Tiruchirappalli () (Renaming of cities in India, formerly Trichinopoly in English), also called Tiruchi or Trichy, is a major tier II city in the States and union territori ...
, the Tamil country was divided between the
Pallavas of Kanchi The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India. They gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahana dynasty The Satavahanas (''Sādavāhana'' or ''Sātavāhana'', ...

Pallavas of Kanchi
and the Pandyas of Madurai. From 6th century to 9th century CE, the
Chalukyas of Badami The Chalukya dynasty () was a Classical Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest ...
, the
Pallavas of Kanchi The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India. They gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahana dynasty The Satavahanas (''Sādavāhana'' or ''Sātavāhana'', ...
, and Pandyas of Madurai dominated the politics of south India. The Badami Chalukyas were eventually replaced by the
Rashtrakutas Rashtrakuta (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is b ...
in the Deccan. The Pandyas took on the growing Pallava ambitions in south India, and from time to time they also joined in alliances with the kingdoms of the Deccan Plateau (such as with the Gangas of Talakad in late 8th century CE). In the middle of the 9th century, the Pandyas had managed to advance as far as
Kumbakonam Kumbakonam (formerly spelt as Coombaconum or Combaconum) is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the Indian States of India, state of Tamil Nadu. It is located from Thanjavur and from Chennai and is the headquart ...

Kumbakonam
(north-east of Tanjore on the Kollidam river). Sendan (r. 654–70 CE), the third king of the Pandyas of Madurai, is known for expanding his kingdom to the Chera country (western Tamil Nadu and central
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
). Arikesari Maravarman (r. 670–700 CE), the fourth Pandya ruler, is known for his battles against the
Pallavas of Kanchi The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India. They gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahana dynasty The Satavahanas (''Sādavāhana'' or ''Sātavāhana'', ...
. Pallava king Narasimhavarman I (r. 630–68 CE), the famous conqueror of
Badami Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka Karnataka (ISO 15919, ISO: , ) is a States of India, state in the south western region of India. It is the lar ...

Badami
, claimed to have defeated the Pandyas.
Chalukya The Chalukya dynasty () was a Classical Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest ...
king Paramesvaravarman I "Vikramaditya" (r. 670–700 CE) is known to have fought battles with the Pallavas, the Gangas, and probably with the Pandyas too, on the Kaveri basin. Kirtivarman II (r. 744/5–55 CE), the last Chalukya king, managed to lose to his southern countries as a result of his battles with the Pandyas. Pandya kings Maravarman Rajasimha I (r. 730–65 CE) and Nedunjadaiyan/Varagunavarman I (r. 765–815 CE) threatened Pallava king Nandivarman II Pallavamalla (r. 731–96 CE) who had managed to defeat the Gangas in around 760 CE. Varagunavarman I invaded the Pallava country, conquered the Kongu country (western Tamil Nadu) and
Venad Venad (Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian languages, Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (union territory), Puducherry (Mahé district) by the Malayali pe ...
u (south Kerala). King Srimara Srivallabha (r. 815–62 CE) sailed to Sri Lanka, subjugated king Sena I, and sacked his capital
Anuradhapura Anuradhapura ( si, අනුරාධපුරය, translit=Anurādhapuraya; ta, அனுராதபுரம், translit=Aṉurātapuram) is a major city in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, t ...

Anuradhapura
(the Panya invasion of Sri Lanka followed a period of vassalage). However, Srimara Srivallabha was soon overpowerd by Pallava king Nripatunga (r. 859–99 CE). Sena II, the king of Sri Lanka, invaded the Pandya country, sacked Madurai and chose
Varagunavarman II Varagunavarman II, also described as Varaguna II, was a king of the Pandya dynasty in south India whose reign lasted from c. 862 until c. 880 AD.Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the ...
(r. c. 862–880 CESastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar.'' Madras, Oxford University Press. 165.) as the new king soon after. It is proposed that the start of the Kollam Era, the Kerala calendar, in 825 CE marked the liberation of Venadu from Pandya control. During the rule of Dantivarman (r. 796–847 CE), the Pallava territory was reduced by the encroachment from the Pandyas from the south (and Rashtrakutas and the Telugu-Chodas from north). Pallava king Nandivarman III (r. 846–69 CE) was able to defeat the Pandyas and Telugu-Chodas (and even the Rashtrakutas) with the help of the Gangas and the emerging Cholas.


Under Chola influence (10th–13th centuries)

While the Pandyas and the Rashtrakutas were busy engaging the Pallavas, with the Gangas and the Simhalas (Sri Lanka) also in the mix, the Cholas emerged from the Kaveri delta and took on the chieftains of
Thanjavur Thanjavur (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர்), formerly Tanjore, Pletcher 2010, p. 195 is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chol ...

Thanjavur
(the Mutharaiyar chieftain had transferred their loyalty from the Pallava to the PandyaSastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar.'' Madras, Oxford University Press. 167–68.). The
Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of ...
king Vijayalaya conquered
Thanjavur Thanjavur (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர்), formerly Tanjore, Pletcher 2010, p. 195 is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chol ...

Thanjavur
by defeating the Mutharaiyar chieftain around c. 850 CE. The Pandya control north of the Kaveri river was severely weakened by this move (and straightened the position of the Pallava ruler Nripatunga). Pandya ruler Varaguna-varman II (r. c. 862–880 CE) responded by marching into the Chola country and facing a formidable alliance of Pallava prince Aparajita, the Chola king Aditya I and the Ganga king Prithvipati I. The Pandya king suffered a crushing defeat (c. 880 CE) in a battle fought near Kumbakonam. By c. 897 CE, Chola king
Aditya I Aditya I (c. 870/71 – c. 907 CE), the son of Vijayalaya Chola, Vijayalaya, was the Chola king who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas and occupied the Western Ganga Kingdom. Pallava Civil War During the Vijayalaya C ...
was the master of the old Pallava, Ganga and Kongu countries. It is a possibility that Aditya I conquered the Kongu country from the Pandya king Parantaka Viranarayana (r. 880–900 CE).
Parantaka I Parantaka Chola I (907–955) ruled the Chola empire The Chola dynasty was a Tamil people, Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the C ...
, successor to Aditya, invaded the Pandya territories in 910 CE and captured Madurai from king Maravarman Rajasimha II (hence the title "Madurai Konda"). Rajasimha II received help from the Sri Lankan king Kassapa V, still got defeated by
Parantaka I Parantaka Chola I (907–955) ruled the Chola empire The Chola dynasty was a Tamil people, Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the C ...
in the battle of Vellur, and fled to Sri Lanka. Rajasimha then found refuge in the Chera country, leaving even his royal insignia in Sri Lanka, the home of his mother. The Cholas were defeated by a Rashtrakuta-lead confederacy in the
battle of Takkolam The Battle of Takkolam (c. 949 CE) was a military engagement between a contingent of troops led by Rajaditya, the eldest son of the Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling ...
in 949 CE. By mid-950s, the Chola kingdom had shrunk to the size of a small principality (its vassals in the extreme south had proclaimed their independence). It is a possibility that Pandya ruler Vira Pandya defeated Chola king Gandaraditya and claimed independence. Chola ruler Sundara Parantaka II (r. 957–73) responded by defeating Vira Pandya in two battles (and Chola prince
Aditya II Aditha Karikalan or Aditya II was a Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscription ...
killed Vira Pandya on the second occasion). The Pandyas were assisted by Sri Lanka forces of king Mahinda IV. Chola emperor
Rajaraja I Rajaraja I, born Arulmoli Varman, often described as Rajaraja the Great, was a Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datab ...
(r. 985–1014 CE) is known to have attacked the Pandyas. He fought against an alliance of the Pandya,
Chera The Chera dynasty ( or Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala Kerala (; ) is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of ...
and Sri Lankan kings, and defeated the Cheras and "deprived" the Pandyas of their ancient capital Madurai. Emperor Rajendra I continued to occupy the Pandya kingdom, and even appointed a series of Chola viceroys with the title "Chola Pandya" to rule from Madurai (over Pandya and Western Chera/Kerala countries). The very of beginning of Chola emperor Kulottunga's rule (r. from 1070 CE) was marked by the loss of Sri Lanka and a rebellion in the Pandya country. The second half of the 12th century witnessed a major internal crisis in the Pandya country (between princes Parakrama Pandya and Kulasekhara Pandya). The neighbouring kingdoms of Sri Lanka, under
Parakramabahu I Parākramabāhu I ( Pali ''Mahā Parākaramabāhu'' 1123–1186) was king of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa from 1153-86. During his reign from the capital city of Polonnaruwa, he unified the three lesser kingdoms of the island, becoming one of the la ...
, Venadu Chera/Kerala, under the Kulasekharas, and the Cholas, under Rajadhiraja II and Kulottunga III, joinined in and took sides with any of the two princes or their kins.


Pandya empire (13th–14th centuries)

The Pandya empire included extensive territories, at times including large portions of south India and
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
. The rule of the empire was shared among several royals, one of them enjoying primacy over the rest. The Pandya king at Madurai thus controlled these vast regions through the collateral family branches subject to
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
.Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar.'' Madras, Oxford University Press. 208-11.


Maravarman Sundara I

The foundation for the Pandya supremacy in south India was laid by Maravarman Sundara I early in the 13th century. He succeeded his older brother Jatavarman Kulasekhara in 1216.Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta. (1958, second ed.) ''A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar.'' Madras, Oxford University Press. 203-07. He invaded the Chola country, sacked
Uraiyur Uraiyur (also spelt Woraiyur) is a neighbourhood in Tiruchirapalli Tiruchirappalli () (Renaming of cities in India, formerly Trichinopoly in English), also called Tiruchi or Trichy, is a major tier II city in the States and union territori ...
and
Thanjavur Thanjavur (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர்), formerly Tanjore, Pletcher 2010, p. 195 is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chol ...

Thanjavur
, and drove the Chola king Kulothunga III into exile. The Chola king subsequently made a formal submission to Maravarman Sundara I and acknowledged his overlordship. Attempts by the next Chola king Rajaraja III (1216 – 46 CE) for self-rule (to stop the Pandya invasion into the Chola country), with the help of the
Hoysalas The Hoysala Empire was a Kannadiga power originating from the Indian subcontinent that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, India between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was lat ...
king Narasimha II (r. 1220 – 1238 CE), resulted in a battle between the Pandya and Hoysala forces at Mahendramangalam on the . Maravarman Sundara I was defeated and Rajaraja III was restored in the Chola country. Sometime later Chola prince Rajendra III attacked the Pandyas and defeated two Pandya royals including Maravarman Sundara II. Hoysala king Somesvara (r. 1233 – 1267 CE) then came to the aid of the Pandyas, defeated Rajendra III and then made peace with the Cholas.


Jatavarman Sundara I

Jatavarman Sundara I ascended the Pandya throne in 1251 CE. He led his army to the Chola country (even as far as
Nellore Nellore is a city located on the banks of Penna River, in Nellore district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (English: Telugu: ) is a States and union territories of India, state in the south-eastern Coastal India, coas ...
), to
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
and to south
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
. He was also successful in confining the Hoysala control to the Mysore Plateau (the ancient Chola country was now overrun by the Pandyas).
Kanchi Kanchipuram, also known as Kānchi ('; ) or Kancheepuram, is a temple city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil N ...

Kanchi
functioned as the second major city in the kingdom. In his conquests, Jatavarman Sundara I was assisted by number of Pandya royals such as Jatavarman Vira Pandya. Jatavarman Sundara I subdued Rajendra II around 1258–1260 CE and made him pay tribute. The rule of the Cholas ended c. 1279 with Rajendra III. The Pandya attacked the Hoysalas in the Kaveri and captured the fort of Kannanur Koppam. Hoysala king Somesvara was forced to fall back into the Mysore Plateau. The Hoysala king, pressed by enemies from north and south, "assigned" the southern half of his kingdom to his younger son Ramanatha (r. 1254–1292). Somesvara was eventually killed by the Pandya in 1262 CE. Ramanatha managed to recover Kannanur and hold against the Pandya power. Jatavarman Sundara I also came into conflict with the
Kadava Kadava was the name of a Tamil ruling dynasty who ruled parts of the Tamil country during the thirteenth and the fourteenth century. Kadavas were related to the Pallava dynasty and ruled from Kudalur near Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu ( ...
ruler Kopperunjinga II. It seems that Bana (Magadai) and Kongu countries came under the Pandya rule during the wars against the Hoysalas and the Kadavas. Jatavarman Sundara I also fought the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati (1199-1262).
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
was invaded by Jatavarman Sundara I in 1258 and on his behalf by his younger brother Jatavarman Vira II between 1262 and 1264 CE. The island was again invaded and defeated by Jatavarman Vira II in 1270 CE.


Maravarman Kulasekara I

Sundara Pandya I (died in 1268) was succeeded by Maravarman Kulasekara I. Around 1279 the combined force of Hoysala king Ramanatha and Rajendra III was defeated by Maravarman Kulasekara I. Maravarman Kulasekara I, now virtually unchallenged, ruled over the Chola country and southern Tamil speaking portions of Hoysala kingdom. He also invaded Sri Lanka, ruled by Bhuvanaikabahu I, "carried away to the Pandya country the venerable Tooth Relic", and the wealth of the island. Sri Lanka remained under Pandya control until c. 1308–1309 CE.


Decline of Pandyas

After the death of Maravarman Kulasekhara I (1310), his sons Vira Pandya IV and Sundara Pandya IV fought a war of succession for control of the empire. It seems that Maravarman Kulasekhara wanted Vira Pandya to succeed him (who in turn was defeated by Sundara Pandya after a short period of time). Unfortunately, the Pandya civil war coincided with the Khalji raids in south India. Taking advantage of the political situation, the neighbouring
Hoysala The Hoysala Empire was a Kannada people, Kannadiga power originating from the Indian subcontinent that ruled most of what is now Karnataka, India between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belu ...

Hoysala
king Ballala III invaded the Pandya territory. However, Ballala had to retreat to his capital, when Khalji general
Malik Kafur Malik Kafur (died 1316), also known as Taj al-Din Izz al-Dawla, was a prominent slave-general of the Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether th ...
invaded his kingdom at the same time. After subjugating Ballala III, the Khalji forces marched to the Pandya territory in March 1311. The Pandya brothers fled their headquarters, and the Khaljis pursued them unsuccessfully. By late April 1311, the Khaljis gave up their plans to pursue the Pandya princes, and returned to Delhi with the plunder. By 1312 the Pandya control over south
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
was also lost. After the departure of the Khaljis, Vira and Sundara Pandya resumed their conflict. Sundara Pandya was defeated, and sought help from the Khaljis. With their help, he regained control of the
South Arcot South Arcot District was a district in the Madras Presidency of British India. It covered the area of the present-day districts of Cuddalore district, Cuddalore, Kallakurichi district, Kallakurichi and Viluppuram district, Viluppuram in the India ...
region by 1314. Subsequently, there were two more expeditions from the sultanate in 1314 led by
Khusro Khan Khusrau Khan was the Sultan of Delhi for around two months in 1320. He belonged to the Baradu Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () ...
and in 1323 by Ulugh Khan (
Muhammad bin Tughluq Muhammad bin Tughluq (also known as Prince Fakhr Malik Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan); ) was the Delhi Sultanate, Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, Ghiyas-ud-Din-Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughluq dyn ...
) under sultan
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, or Ghazi Malik (Ghazi means 'fighter for Islam'), (died c. 1325) was the founder of the Tughluq dynasty in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country i ...
. The family quarrels and the sultanate invasions shattered the Pandya empire beyond revival and coinage discoveries made imply that the Pandyas were left with the old South Arcot region. In 1323, the
Jaffna kingdom The Jaffna Kingdom ( ta, யாழ்ப்பாண அரசு, si, යාපනය රාජධානිය; 1215–1624 CE), also known as Kingdom of Aryachakravarti, of modern northern Sri Lanka was a historic monarchy that came into exis ...

Jaffna kingdom
declared its independence from the crumbling Pandya influence.


Legacy

While the previous sultanate raids were content with plunder, the Tughluqs under Ulugh Khan (later
Muhammad bin Tughluq Muhammad bin Tughluq (also known as Prince Fakhr Malik Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan); ) was the Delhi Sultanate, Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, Ghiyas-ud-Din-Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughluq dyn ...
) annexed the former Pandya dominions to the sultanate as the province of Ma'bar. Most of south India came under the sultanate rule and was divided into five provinces – Devagiri, Tiling,
Kampili The Kampili kingdom was a short-lived Hindu kingdom of early 14th-century in the Deccan region. The kingdom existed near Ballari and Tungabhadra river in northeastern parts of the present-day Karnataka Karnataka (ISO 15919, ISO: , ) is a S ...

Kampili
, and Ma'bar.Nilakanta Sastri, p. 213 Jalal ud-Din Hasan Khan was appointed governor of the newly created southernmost Ma'bar province. In c. 1334, Jalal ud-Din Hasan Khan declared his independence and created
Madurai sultanate Ma'bar Sultanate ( fa, مابار سلطنت), unofficially known as the Madurai Sultanate, was a short lived independent kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in so ...
. The Pandyas shifted their capital to Tenkasi and continued to rule a small area until the end of the 16th century as .
Bukka Raya I Bukka (reigned 1356–1377 CE), also known as Bukka Raya I, was an emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empre ...
of
Vijayanagara empire The Vijayanagara Empire, also called Karnata Kingdom, was based in the Deccan Plateau region in South India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ...

Vijayanagara empire
conquered the city of Madurai in c. 1370, imprisoned the sultan, released and restored Arcot's prince Sambuva Raya to the throne. Bukka Raya I appointed his son Veera Kumara Kampana as the viceroy of the Tamil region. Meanwhile, Madurai sultanate was replaced by the Nayak governors of
Vijayanagara Vijayanagara (Translation:"City of Victory") was the capital city of the historic Vijayanagara Empire. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River The Tungabhadra River is a river in India that starts and flows through the state of Kar ...

Vijayanagara
in 1378. In 1529 the Nayak governors declared independence and established
Madurai Nayak dynasty#REDIRECT Madurai Nayak dynasty The Madurai Nayaks were Tamilization, Tamilized rulers of Telugu language, Telugu origin from around 1529 until 1736, of a region comprising most of modern-day Tamil Nadu, India, with Madurai as their capital. T ...
.


Economy


Early historic

The Pandya country, located at the extreme south-western tip of
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lan ...

South Asia
, served as an important meeting point throughout the history of the India. The location was economically and geopolitically significant as a key point connecting the shipping between
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, south-east of the Indian sub ...

Southeast Asia
and the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organi ...

Middle East
.
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
merchants frequented the
ancient Tamil country Tamilakam (Tamil: ''tamiḻakam'') refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar ( ta, தமிழர், Tamiḻar, translit-std=ISO, in the singular or ta, தமிழ ...
, present day
south India South India is a region located in the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous coun ...

south India
and
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
, securing contacts with the
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...
chiefdoms of the Pandya,
Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of ...
and Chera Empire, Chera families. The western sailors also established a number of trading settlements on the harbours of the ancient Tamil region.The trade with South Asia by the Greco-Roman world flourished since the time of the Ptolemaic dynastyLindsay (2006) p. 101 a few decades before the start of the Common Era and remained long after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.Curtin 1984: 100The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia By Edward Balfour The contacts between south India and the Middle East continued even after the Byzantium's loss of the ports of Egypt and the Red SeaHoll 2003: 9 in the 7th century CE. The early historic Pandya country was famous for its supply of pearls. The ancient port of
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
, in present-day Thoothukudi district, Thoothukudi, was the center of pearl trade. Written records from
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
and Egyptian voyagers give details about the pearl fisheries off the Gulf of Mannar. Greek historian
Megasthenes Megasthenes ( ; grc, Μεγασθένης, c. 350BCE– c. 290 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history b ...
reported about the pearl fisheries, indicating that the Pandyas derived great wealth from the pearl trade. Convicts were according to the ''
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea The ''Periplus of the Erythraean Sea'' ( grc, Περίπλους τῆς Ἐρυθρᾶς Θαλάσσης, ', modern Greek '), also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of ...
'' used as pearl divers in
Korkai Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk A Tehsil (, also known as tahsil, taluka or taluk) is an administrative division in some countries of the Indian subcontinent that is usually translated to " township". It is a subdistrict of ...
. The ''Periplus'' even mentions that "pearls inferior to the Indian sort are exported in great quantity from the marts of Apologas and Omana". The pearls from the Pandya country were also in demand in the kingdoms of north India. Literary references of the pearl fishing mention how the fishermen, who dive into the sea, avoid attacks from sharks, bring up the right-whorled chank and blow on the sounding shell.


Pandya coinage

The early coins of Tamilakam bore the symbols of the Three Crowned Kings, the tiger, the fish and the bow, representing the symbols of the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Coins of Pandyas bear the legend of different Pandya ruler in different times. The Pandyas had issued silver Punch-marked coins, punch-marked and die struck copper coins in the early period. A few gold coins were attributed to the Pandya rulers of this period. These coins bore the image of fish, singly or in pairs, which were their emblem. Some of the coins had the names Sundara, Sundara Pandya or merely the letter 'Su' were etched. Some of the coins bore a boar with the legend of 'Vira-Pandya. It had been said that those coins were issued by the Pandyas and the feudatories of the Cholas but could not be attributed to any particular king. The coins of Pandyas were basically square. Those coins were etched with elephant on one side and the other side remained blank. The inscription on the silver and gold coins during the Pandyas, were in
Tamil-Brahmi Tamil-Brahmi also known as Tamili or Damili is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Old Tamil language.Richard Salomon (1998) ''Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prak ...

Tamil-Brahmi
and the copper coins bore the Tamil legends. The coins of the Pandyas, which bore the fish symbols, were termed as 'Kodandaraman' and 'Kanchi' Valangum Perumal'. Apart from these, 'Ellamthalaiyanam' was seen on coins which had the standing king on one side and the fish on the other. 'Samarakolahalam' and 'Bhuvanekaviram' were found on the cois having a Garuda, 'Konerirayan' on coins having a bull and 'Kaliyugaraman' on coins that depict a pair of feet.


Religion

The Pandya period (c. 13th century CE) was characterised by a temple-centered elite form of Hinduism, a popular bhakti religion and an even more widespread local forms of Hinduism. The distinctions between the three were not clearly differentiated. The worship of the gods Vishnu and
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-larges ...

Shiva
was generally supported by the elite. The bhakti movement emphasized the mutual intense emotional attachment between the god and the devotee. The Pandya country was home to a number of renowned temples including
Meenakshi Temple Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural c ...

Meenakshi Temple
in
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
. As some of the largest employers and landowners of the Pandya country, the temples played an important part in the Tamil economy and society. They generally also served as banks, schools, dispensaries, and poorhouses (thus performing valuable social functions). The large walled temple complexes of the Pandya country also contained several administrative offices and bazaars. It is known that the Pandya rulers followed
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
for a short period of time in history.


Architecture

The early temple architecture phase in Tamil Nadu opens with the rock-cut cave temples. The Tamil country is home to the 'South Indian' or 'Dravidian' style of medieval temple architecture. * Typical temple consists of a hall and a square sanctum (the gabhagrha) * The foundation block, or socle, is known as the adhisthana. * Walls of the sanctum are generally divided by pilasters. * Superstructure: 'kutina' type (stepped stories in pyramidal form with decorative bands/parapets or the hdras) * The parapet is composed of miniature shrines (called the kutas and salas) connected by wall elements (the harantaras). * On top, a necking that supports a solid dome, or cupola (crowned by a pot and finial)—the sikhara. * gopuram, Gopura: the great entrance buildings The major Pandya contributions to the Dravidian architecture comes after the Pallava dynasty, Pallava (7th-9th centuries) and the
Chola The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of ...
periods (9th-12th centuries). * Gopuras are extremely large and elaborately decorated (capped by a barrel vault). * Successively built walls and gopuras.


Finest Pandya architecture

* Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval, Jambukeswarar Temple, Tiruchirapalli * Meenakshi Amman Temple, Meenakshi Temple,
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai District. As of the 2011 census, it was the third largest Urban agglomeration in ...

Madurai
* Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram


See also


References


Further reading

* * Carswell, John. 1991. "The Port of Mantai, Sri Lanka." ''RAI'', pp. 197–203. * * Hill, John E. 2004. ''The Peoples of the West from the Weilüe'' 魏略 ''by Yu Huan'' 魚豢'': A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE.'
Draft annotated English translation.
* * * * * * * * Ray, Himanshu Prabha, ed. 1996. ''Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Ocean''. Proceedings of the International Seminar Techno-Archaeological Perspectives of Seafaring in the Indian Ocean 4th cent. BC – 15th cent. AD New Delhi, 28 February – 4 March 1994. New Delhi, and Jean-François SALLES, Lyon. First published 1996. Reprinted 1998. Manohar Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi. * Reddy, P. Krishna Mohan. 2001. "Maritime Trade of Early South India: New Archaeological Evidences from Motupalli, Andhra Pradesh." ''East and West'' Vol. 51 – Nos. 1–2 (June 2001), pp. 143–156. * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* {{Jaffna kingdom Pandyan dynasty, 1st-millennium BC establishments in India Empires and kingdoms of India History of Tiruchirappalli Pandyan Empire States and territories disestablished in 1345 States and territories established in the 4th century BC Tamil history Tamil monarchs Tirunelveli