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The Three Crowned rulers, or the Three Glorified by Heaven,[1] or World of the Three,[2] primarily known as Moovendhar, refers to the triumvirate of Chola, Chera and Pandya
Pandya
who dominated the politics of the ancient Tamil country, Tamilakam, from their three countries or Nadu of Chola
Chola
Nadu, Pandya
Pandya
Nadu (present day Madurai
Madurai
and Tirunelveli) and Chera Nadu
Chera Nadu
(present day Kerala) in southern India.[3][page needed] They signalled a time of integration and political identity for the Tamil people.[4][full citation needed] They would frequently wage war against one another under a period of instability[5] until the Imperial period of Rajaraja I
Rajaraja I
who united Tamilakam
Tamilakam
under one leadership.[citation needed]

Contents

1 Origins 2 Pandyas 3 Legends 4 References

4.1 Bibliography

Origins[edit] The etymology of the Tamil word for the three kings - Moovendhar (pronounced Mūvēntar) - comes from Tamil மூ (mū) meaning 'three' and வேந்தர் (vēntar) meaning 'king',[6][not in citation given] so strictly should be translated as 'Lord' (lesser-king) as opposed to 'King' which in Tamil is கோன் (Kōn).[citation needed] They are mentioned by Megasthenes
Megasthenes
and the Edicts of Ashoka,[7] and first in Tolkappiyam among Tamil literature who was the first to call them Three Glorified by Heaven (Tamil: வாண்புகழ் மூவர், Vāṉpukaḻ Mūvar ?).[1] Ptolemy
Ptolemy
and the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mention three kingdoms ruling Tamilakam.[citation needed] Pandyas[edit] The Pandyas
Pandyas
were the earliest of the Moovendhar and were of high antiquity being mentioned by Kātyāyana and Valmiki.[8] However the establishment of a Pandya
Pandya
territory is not known until the sixth century under King Kadungon who liberated the Pandya
Pandya
country from the Kalabhras. Xuanzang
Xuanzang
reports that Jainism
Jainism
was flourishing while Buddhism
Buddhism
was declining during this period.[citation needed] They were famous for being patrons of the Tamil Sangams
Tamil Sangams
which were held in their capital, Madurai. Pliny mentions the Pandya
Pandya
country and its capital. The large number of Roman coins from Emperor Augustus
Emperor Augustus
to Emperor Zeno found in Madurai
Madurai
shows that trade flourished among Rome, Greece
Greece
and Tamilakam. Two embassies sent from the Pandya
Pandya
dynasty to Emperor Augustus were recorded.[citation needed] The Roman and Greek writers praise Korkai (now called Tuticorin or Thoothukudi) as the seaport of the Pandyas.[citation needed] Legends[edit] The Silappatikaram
Silappatikaram
alludes to the solar ancestry of the Cholas and the lunar ancestry of the Pandyas. It does not mention anything about the ancestry of the Cheras.[9] The 15th century Tamil Mahabharata
Mahabharata
of Villiputtur Alvar describes the Chera king as from the fire dynasty, retaining the solar and lunar origins for the Chola
Chola
and the Pandya kings respectively.[10] The Tiruvilayatar Puranam (or Thiruvilaiyadal puranam), possibly from the 17th century, also states that when Brahma re-created the world after a deluge, he created the Chera, Chola
Chola
and the Pandya
Pandya
kings as descendants of the fire, the sun and the moon respectively.[9] Chola
Chola
Purva Patayam ("Ancient Chola
Chola
Record"), a Tamil language manuscript of uncertain date, contains a legend about the divine origin of the three crowned kings. According to it, the Shramana
Shramana
king Shalivahana (also known as Bhoja in this story) defeated Vikramaditya, and started persecuting the worshipers of Shiva
Shiva
and Vishnu. After failing to kill Shalivahana with a rain of fire, Shiva
Shiva
created three kings: Vira Cholan (Chola), Ula Cheran (Chera), and Vajranga Pandiyan (Pandya). The three kings came to bathe together at the triveni sangam (three-river confluence) in Thirumukkoodal, and formed an alliance against Shalivahana. Next, they went through a number of adventures at various places, including Kashi and Kanchi. With the blessings of Durga, they found treasure and inscriptions of Hindu kings from the age of Shantanu
Shantanu
to Vikramaditya. They then reached Cudatturiyur (possibly Uraiyur), where Vira Cholan wrote letters to all those who worshipped Shiva
Shiva
and Vishnu, seeking their help against Shalivahana. A number of people assembled at Cudatturiyur to support the three kings' campaign. When Shalivahana heard of this preparation, he marched towards the south and took possession of the strong citadel at Tiruchirappalli. The three kings sent their envoy to Shalivahana, asking him to surrender and renounce his faith. When he refused, they and their allies assembled an army at Thiruvanaikaval. From an inscription that they had earlier found at Kanchi, they realised that there was a subterranean entrance into the Tiruchirappalli
Tiruchirappalli
fort. They sent a few soldiers who entered the fort and opened its Chintamani gate. Their forces then entered the fortress, and defeated Shalivahana. Chola
Chola
Purva Patayam dates Shalivahana's defeat to the year 1443 of an uncertain calendar era (possibly from the beginning of Kali Yuga).[11][better source needed] References[edit]

^ a b A. Kiruṭṭin̲an̲ (2000). Tamil culture: religion, culture, and literature. Bharatiya Kala Prakashan. p. 17.  ^ Peter Schalk, A. Veluppillai (2002). Buddhism
Buddhism
among Tamils in pre-colonial Tamilakam
Tamilakam
and Ilam: Prologue. The pre-Pallava and the Pallava period. Uppsala University Library.  ^ M. van Bakel; Renée Hagesteijn; Piet van de Velde (1994). Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes. Het Spinhuis.  ^ Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 1997.  ^ Pollock, Sheldon (2003). reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press. p. 298.  ^ The journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Volume 47. Numismatic Society of India. 1985. p. 91.  ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). History of ancient India: earliest times to 1000 A.D. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 246.  ^ Tripati, Rama Shankar (1987). History of ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 31.  ^ a b Alf Hiltebeitel 2009, p. 472. ^ Alf Hiltebeitel 2009, p. 471. ^ William Cooke Taylor (1838). Examination and Analysis of the Mackenzie Manuscripts Deposited in the Madras College Library. Asiatic Society. pp. 49–55. 

Bibliography[edit]

Alf Hiltebeitel (2009). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics: Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalits. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-

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