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
Pandya Nadu (present day
Madurai and Tirunelveli)
Chera Nadu (present day Kerala) in southern
India.[page needed] They signalled a time of integration and
political identity for the Tamil people.[full citation needed] 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.
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',[not in
citation given] so strictly should be translated as 'Lord'
(lesser-king) as opposed to 'King' which in Tamil is கோன்
(Kōn). They are mentioned by
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 the Periplus of the
Erythraean Sea mention three kingdoms ruling Tamilakam.[citation
Pandyas 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
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
Madurai shows that trade flourished among Rome,
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.
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
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,
Pandya kings as descendants of the fire, the sun and the moon
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
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
Shantanu to Vikramaditya. They then reached Cudatturiyur
(possibly Uraiyur), where Vira Cholan wrote letters to all those who
Shiva and Vishnu, seeking their help against Shalivahana. A
number of people assembled at Cudatturiyur to support the three kings'
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 fort. They
sent a few soldiers who entered the fort and opened its Chintamani
gate. Their forces then entered the fortress, and defeated
Chola Purva Patayam dates Shalivahana's defeat to the
year 1443 of an uncertain calendar era (possibly from the beginning of
Kali Yuga).[better source needed]
^ a b A. Kiruṭṭin̲an̲ (2000). Tamil culture: religion, culture,
and literature. Bharatiya Kala Prakashan. p. 17.
^ Peter Schalk, A. Veluppillai (2002).
Buddhism among Tamils in
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.
Alf Hiltebeitel (2009). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics:
Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalits. University of Chicago
Press. ISBN 978-0-