List of Pandyan Kingdom In Sangam
The most ancient people of Tamil Country were called Pandiyar and now known as Pandiyars. Their emblem was fish and hence it is said that they hailed from the fishermen community of the land of Neithal. Some would say they were the descendants of Pandiyar dynasty of Northern side. But the Mahabharata and earlier Ramayana also referred to the virtuous rule of Chera, Chola and Pandiya dynasty of Tamil country and hence could not be the descendants of Pandiya dynasty. Pliny and Megasthanese said that they were the descendants of Pandeya daughter of Heracles. Based on various mythologies and epics researchers arrived at their conclusions. It is believed they were the descendants of Goddess Meenakshi and hence Gowriyar. But Pandiyars were the original and ancient Tamils of Kumari continent.
The extent of the Pandyan kingdom during the Sangam Age comprised the present districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram. The Pandyan kings were known as Maran, Valudhi and Chezhiyan. Their Capital was Madurai and their chief port was Korkai. Their symbol was fish. The Pandyan kings earned name and fame for their patronage to the Tamil Sangam. It can be said that their capital Madurai had also remained the capital of Tamil language and literature.
The Sangam literature provides a long list of Pandyan kings. Some of them had become most popular. Mudhukudumi Peruvazhthi performed many sacrifices to celebrate his victories. Therefore, he was given the title Palyagasalai. Another Pandyan king Bootha Pandiyan was a great warrior and also a patron of Tamil poets. His wife Perungoppendu was a poetess. It is referred that she committed self at the death of her husband. Ariyappadaikadantha Nedunchezhiyan was also a famous Pandyanr ruler. He gave death sentence to the hero of Silappathigaram, Kovalan, by mistake, for which he gave his life when he came to know the truth. Another important ruler was Thalaiyalanganathu Nedunchezhiyan. He defeated the combined forces of Chera, Chola and other local chieftains at a place called Thalaiyalanganam. He also patronized a number of Tarnil poets including Mangudi Maruthanar. The Pandyan rule disappeared along with that of the Cheras and Cholas in the Third century A.D. The Kariakalan occupied the Tamil country for another three centuries.
The King with mythological and historical background belonging to the period prior to Kadai sangam (3000BC) whose period could not be ascertained were the prehistoric Pandiyars.
The later period kings’ inclination to link them with God, saints or as the descendants of Aryan race also resulted in the confusion in Tamils history. That was the reason why K.A. Neelaganta Sastry in his book on the History of South India stated “Aryanisation”. So, K.A. Neelaganta Sasthri said that Prehistoric Pandiyars appear to be mythological kings rather than historical. At a later period the early period kings were mixed with mythology and hence the confusion.
In the Velvikudi and Chinnnamanoor copper plates the name Nediyon was recorded ad later in Thiruvilayadal Puranam as a mythological king. He was called, “Vadivalamba Nindra Pandiyan” Nilantharu Thiruvir Pandiyan and Pandiyan Makeerthi. As he ruled for a longer period he was called “Nediyon”.
The king’s names, “Vadivalamba nindra Pandian”, was “Adi Alamba Nindra Pandiyan” amd “Nilanthara Thiruvir Pandiyan” were derived from the fact that he gave his land in the north when Kumari Continent submerged into the sea. Makeerthi was the name he got as he was called by the Northerners “Sathyavrathan” and “Sahyamuni”. Nachinarikiniyar exaggerated that he ruled for 2500 years.
Tholkappiyam was completed and published in his assembly. Purananooru said that he engineered the river “Pahruli” and celebrated the festival for the Sea God. He reigned during 400BC when the sea rise engulfed Kumari continent.
Pal(Yaga) Salai Mudhukudumi Peruvazhuthi (350-300BC)
He won many battles. Madurai Kanji called him “Palsalai Mudhukudumi’ and this name came from the fact he arranged free feeding centres for the poor. By practice and usage the name would have changed as ‘Palyagasalai’. The anthology Purananooru by Karikizhar, Nettimaiyar, and Nedum Palliyathanar are in praise of him. The Chief Priest who completed the Yaga was given the village Velvikudi by the king. The Velvikudi Copper Plates stated the name “Kol-yanai Palavotti Kooda Mannar Kuzham Thavirtha Palyagasalai Mudukudumi Peruvazhuthi alias Pandiyadhirasan” for Ukkira Peruvazhuthi whose reign was 130 – 100 BC.
Kadai Sangam Period Pandiyar
Mudathirumaran (300 – 240BC)
Irayanar Kalaviyal Urai said that the king shifted the capital to Manalur after the sea disappearance of Kapadapuram deep into the sea. When Manalur met engulfed same fate he shifted to ‘Then Madurai’. He established Kadai Sangam there. Two poems written by him were in Natrinai.
Pandiyan Ariya Padai Kadantha Nedunchezhiyan (250 -200BC)
He wrote this poem in praise of the greatness of education.
Pandiyan Arivudainambi (200 – 150BC)
He wrote about the value of having children. The poet king wrote four poems in Natrinai (15), Kurunthogai (230), Agam(28) and Puram (188). He was a contemporary to Pisirantaiyar and Koperuncholan.
Bootha Pandiyan (150-140BC)
His poems were found both in Agam and Puram. The Poet-King wrote Poem, (Puram 71) on his friendship, love and governance. Mavan the head Maiyal Town, Anthai the head of Eyil, Anthuvanjathan, Aatha Azhisi, Eyakkan were some of his friends. The intense love for his wife made her die by plunging into husband’s pyre. (Puram 246, 247)
Nedunchezhiyan (140 -130BC)
Madurai Kanji praised him as Thalayalanganathu Seruvenra Neduchezhiyan. Nedunalvadai and Mullaipattu were written on him during his period. He became a king in his younger days. Both Cheran Mantharanjeral Erumporai and Kopperu Narkilli joined the five Velirs viz., Thithiyan, Ezhini, Erumaiyuran, Erungo and Venman to fight him at Thalayalanganam and he won ultimately.
Cheran Mantharanjeral Erumporai was imprisoned (Puram19, 23) and the enemies were driven upto Woraiyur Vanji (Puram 57,78) Velir’s Mizhalai Kootram and Muthoor Kootram were taken over and made as part of Pandiya Kingdom. (Puram – 24)
As per the Copper plates of Chinnamanoor in his royal assembly there was a group of Poets headed by Mangudi Marudhanar.
Ukkira Peruvazhuthi – II (130 – 100BC)
He was considered the son of Thalaiyalanganathu Seruvendra Nedunchezhiyan. He was Vengai Marban at Kana Pereyil (Kalaiyarkoil). (Puram 21) His friends were Cheran Mari Vengo and Cholan Rajasooyam vetta Perunarkilli. (Puram 367). Thirukkural was completed and published in his royal assembly. He edited Agananooru with the help of Rudrasanmar son of Madurai Uppoorikudi Kizhar.
Elamperu Vazhuthi (100 -50 BC)
He might have died in the naval war or during his swimming in the sea.
The poem by him reveals the excellent human culture at that time itself. In praise of Thirumal he wrote a poem (Paripadal – 15). In as much as Paripadal relates to a later period he might belong to the later kings of Kadai (last) Sangam.
Pandiyars during the Decline of Sangam Period
Pandiya Nedunchezhian 70 – 120AD
He was the same king who died instantly on throne itself on realizing the error in his judgment by pasing a death sentence on the case presented by Kannagi. He won the war against the Aryans of the north – Silambu. This was the reason why Kanaga – Vijaya insulted the Tamils.
Nanmaran (120 – 130AD)
He ruled as a prince with the name Vetrivelchezhian at Korkai. He became king after the death of Nedunchezhian.
Many kings of Pandiya Kingdom were not traceable for want of period wise order and their period as well.
The Tamil Literature introduces:
Velli Ambalathu Thunjiya Peruvazhudhi
Koodakara Thunjiya Maran Vazhuthi
Elavanthigai Palli Thunjiya Nanmaran
Pannadu Thantha Pandiayan Maran Vazhudhi