The Kalabhras Sources

The Kalabhras had occupied the Tamil country from the middle of the Third century A.D. to the end of the Sixth century A.D. We have very few sources to study the history of the Kalabhras. This is one of the reasons to call this period as Dark Age. The literary sources for this period include Tamil Navalar Charithai, Yapperumkalam and Periyapuranam. The Velvikkudi and Dalavaipuram copper plates also mention about the Kalabhras. The inscriptions at Thiruppugazhur and Vaikunda Perumal temple in Kanchipuram also refer to the Kalabhra rule.

Kalabhra Origin

There is no clear evidence about the origin of the Kalabhras. The popular belief was that the Kalabhras remained subordinates to the Gangas and Kadambas of the Kannada region. Later, they might have migrated into the Tamil country.

Kalabhra rule

We have little information about the Kalabhra rule in the Tamil country. The Tamil grammar Yapperunkalam refers to a Kalabhra king, namely Achutha Kalappalan. It appeared that he ruled the Tamil country from Uraiyur. He had also patronized the Tamil poets. A Buddhist scholar namely Buddhadatta lived in his kingdom. According to traditions, he imprisoned the Chera, Chola and Pandyan rulers. He had extended patronage to Buddhism and Buddhist monasteries.

By the end of the Sixth century A.D. the Pandyan ruler Kadungon had liberated the southern part of the Tamil country from the Kalabhras. By the same period, the Pallava king, Simhavishnu had captured Tondaimandala and Cholamandalam from the Kalabhras. Thus, the Kalabhra rule in Tamil country came to an end due to the ascendancy of the Pandyas and Pallavas.