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The THREE CROWNED RULERS, or the THREE GLORIFIED BY HEAVEN, or WORLD OF THE THREE, primarily known as _Moovendhar_, refers to the triumvirate of Chola , Chera and Pandya who dominated the politics of the ancient Tamil country, Tamilakam , from their three countries or Nadu of Chola Nadu , Pandya Nadu (present day Madurai and Tirunelveli ) and Chera Nadu (present day Kerala ) in southern India. They signaled a time of integration and political identity for the Tamil people . They would frequently wage war against one another under a period of instability until the Imperial period of Rajaraja I who united Tamilakam under one leadership.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origins * 2 Pāṉdiyar * 3 Legends * 4 References

ORIGINS

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', so strictly should be translated as 'Lord' (lesser-king) as opposed to 'King' which in Tamil is கோன் (Kōn). They are mentioned in Megasthenes and the Edicts of Ashoka , and first in Tolkappiyam among Tamil literature who was the first to call them THREE GLORIFIED BY HEAVEN (Tamil : வாண்புகழ் மூவர், _Vāṉpukaḻ Mūvar_ ? ). Ptolemy and Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mention three kingdoms ruling Tamilakam .

PāṉDIYAR

The Pandya were the earliest of the Moovendhar and were of high antiquity being mentioned by Kātyāyana and Valmiki . However the establishment of a Pandya territory is not known until the sixth century under King Kadungon who liberated the Pandya country from the Kalabhras . Xuanzang reports that Jainism was flourishing while Buddhism was declining during this period. They were famous for being patrons of the Tamil Sangams which were held in their capital, Madurai . Pliny mentions the Pandya country and its capital. The large number of Roman coins from Emperor Augustus to Emperor Zeno found in Madurai shows that trade flourished among Rome , Greece and Tamilakam . Two embassies sent from the Pandya dynasty to Emperor Augustus were recorded. The Roman and Greek writers praise Korkai (now called Tuticorin or Thoothukudi) as the seaport of the Pandyas.

LEGENDS

The _ 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. The 15th century Tamil _ Mahabharata _ of Villiputtur Alvar describes the Chera king as from the fire dynasty , retaining the solar and lunar origins for the Chola and the Pandya kings respectively. 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 and the Pandya kings as descendants of the fire, the sun and the moon respectively.

_ Chola Purva Patayam_ ("Ancient 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 king Shalivahana (also known as Bhoja in this story) defeated Vikramaditya , and started persecuting the worshipers of Shiva and Vishnu . After failing to kill Shalivahana with a rain of fire, 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 to Vikramaditya. They then reached Cudatturiyur (possibly Uraiyu