Chera Kingdom in Sangam Age

The Chera kings of the Sangam Age were known by many titles such as Vanavar, Villavar and Malaiyar. There were two important lines of Chera Kings. The first one started from Odiyan Cheralathan and the second from Irumporai. The kings belonging to these two lines ruled the Chera kingdom. Their capital was Vanji and their chief port Thondi, Their symbol in the flag was bow and arrow.

Cheran Senguttuvan was the most popular king of the Sangam Cheras. The Sangam works, Padhithrupaththu and Ahananuru provide a lot of information about him. The Tamil Epic Silappathigaram also tells about his military achievements. Senguttuvan led an expedition up to the Himalayas. He crossed the river Ganges and defeated his enemies, He reached the Himalayas and hoisted the Chera flag. He brought stones from there and built a temple in memory of Kannagi. His brother Elango Adigal composed Silappathigaram.

Padirruppattu and other Sangam literature give a long list of Chera kings. The most popular among them were Cheralathan, Peruncheral Irumporai and Kanaikkal Irumporai. The territory of the Sangam Cheras mostly comprises the present Kerala state.