Friday, October 16, 2009

Pandyan Coins

Earliest coins of the Pandyan Kingdom were copper squares and were struck with a die. The coins were uni-side with an image of an elephant on that side. Upon the revival of the Kingdom in the 7th-10th centuries, the predominant image was one or two fish. Sometimes they were with other images like a "Chola standing figure" or the "Chalukyan boar." The inscription on the silver and gold coins is in Sanskrit, and most of their copper coins have Tamil legends.

One of their interesting coins is made of gold and has two fish, the dynastic crest of the Pandyas, on one side and the legend Sri Varaguna in Grantha characters on the other. Another important coin of the early Pandyas is made of copper and has the symbol of two fish on the obverse and on the reverse the legend Sri Avanipasekbaran KolakaThe 13th century A.D. saw the Pandyan empire at its height and a number of coins of the Pandyas bearing their names may be assigned to this century. There are several varieties of coins bearing the legend Sundam Pandya, of varying shapes and sizes. They were probably issued by different rulers having the same name.

In the whole history of India, Pandyan dynasty is the only one which had a continuous rule of over two thousand years, in one form or other, in southern part of India. The Pandyas are mentioned by Asoka in the third century B.C. as one of the rulers of the south, along with he Cheras and he Cholas, and were still actively ruling the southern extreme in the 17th century A.D. Right from the earliest times, they were great patrons of learning organizing the academy of letters, known as the Sangam and themselves participating in their proceedings as outstanding poets.Some of the best known literary works of the late 16th century were cmposed by the Pandyas, like Ativirarama Pandya. Besides their interest in learning, they were foremost in joining the main stream of Indian life in its various aspects, particularly imbibing Vedic concepts. Many early rulers performed great Vedic sacrifices like Rajasuya and Bahusuvarna. One of the Pandyas of theSangam age was known as the Pandya of several yagasala, “Pal Yagasalai Mudukudimi Peruvaludi”. In the administration of justice they were guided by the Dharma Sastra conepts as seen from the Velvikkudi grants. Obviously in coinage too, we find mainly the Pan-Indian tradition.
The earliest Pandya to be found in epigraph, is Nedunjeliyan figuring in the Minakshipuram (Mangulam) record assigned to the 2nd-1st century B.C. by I. Mahadevan, who deserves the praise of all for giving a meanintful reading of this epigraph. The record figures in the context of a gift of rock-cut beds, to a Jaina ascetic. Almost at the same time we find a number of merchants figuring as donors in the Alagarmalai records. The merchants are called Vanikar and were dealers in salt, iron, cloth, and other commodities. This is a definite indication that trade was well organized in the southern country by the 2nd century B.C. and that traders with northern traditions (Vanigas) were very much active, in the region. The find of punch marked coins in the Pandya country should be viewed in this context. It is therefore, not surprising that the punch marked coins found in the Tamil, country are the same as those found in the Maurya and Sunga country.
Another point of interest is that a goldsmith ‘Pondolavan’ figures as a donor in the Alagarmalai record. In the Pugalur iscription we have already noticed a gold merchant of Karur. In the Pandya coutry, the influence of goldsmiths at the royal court and their direct access to the King are demonstrated by the story of Silappadhikaram though it is a work of somewhat later period. However it is clear that gold dealers and smiths were very much pesent in the Pandya country in the 2nd century B.C.
The Minakshipuram record of the age Nedunjeliyan refers to the Nigama of ‘Vellarai’ an evidence of powerful merchant guilds operating in 2nd century B.C.
Among the outstanding Pandya rulers of the Sangam age Nedunjeliyan, the victor of Talaiyalanganam, another Nedunjeliyan the conqueror of the Aryan army and Mudukudimi Peruvaludi of several sacrifices deserve special mention. Besides several short poems found in the Ahananuru and Purananuru collections, there are two major works ‘the Maduraik kanchi and the Nedunal Vadai (in the collection of Ten idyls) which give a glimpse into the society and commercial activities in the Sangam age. In the city of Madurai, figurines made of gold were popular.(1) Artisans w3ell versed in drawing thin wires from molten gold formed a noted section of society.(2) Traders is pearls, precious gems and gold had thir shops in the markets.(3) Specialists, who could testfy the fineness of gold formed a section of the gold merchants.(4) Commenting on the condition under the Pandyas of the Sangam era, Sastri states, “The account given of the port of Saliyur and its coms mercial activity strongly reminds us of similar accounts in the Peripul-and of the mention of the Yavana guards in the fortress of Madurai in the Silappadhikaram and the frequent references to the use of imported foreign wines by kings and Chieftains. Korkai is referred to as the centre of Pearl fishing”(5)
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to assess the exact date of these Sangam age Pandyas. We have seen two Pandya Nedunjeliyan, mentioned in literature and one Nedunjeliyan in the Minakshipuram record. The later record is assigned to 2nd – 1st cenury B.C. on palaeographical grounds.
Prof. Sastri places the celebrated Nedunjeliyan of Talaiyalanganam in circa 215 A.D. and Aryappadai Kadanta Nedunjeliyan as a predecessor, but leaves the date of Palyagasalai Mudukudimi Peruvaludi open. The date assigned to Nedunjeliyan seems to be too late. It is not unlikely that he lived in the first century A.D. It is therefore, possible, that Nedunjeliyan of the Minakshipuram inscription is identical with Aryappadai Kadanta Nedunjeliyan who may be placed in the 1st century B.C.
It may be mentioned that Roma coins have been found in the city of Madurai itself which shows that the Pandyan capital also had contact with imperial Rome, like Karur, the capital of the Cheras.
We have already mentioned the find of punch marked coins in the Pandya country.
A number of square copper coins showing an elephant on the obverse and a stylized drawing identified as fish on the reverse has been assigned to the Pandyas of this age by all writers on South Indian numismatics. But I have suggested that these must be considered issues of the Sangam age Cheras. Similarly the square copper coins, bearing the figure of a bull on the obverse and the stylized form on the reverse, Figs. 8,9,10,11 of T. Desikachari listed under early Pandya coins may have to be assigned to the Pallavas. However there is one coin No. 13 of T. Desikachari, plate I, which may be considered an issue of early Pandyas.
“No. 13 A.E. obverse – single fish in a parpendicular position with a lamp or standard by its side. Reverse – defaced.”
The square shape, its conformity to other elephant like coins and the importance given to the fish, the royal emblem, make us feel that this variety could be an issue of the Sangam age Pandyas.
Some other coins assigned to the early Pandyas (like the one dealt with by Vidya Prakash (Plate V. 1.3.) are not only later coins but do not belong to the Pandyas of Madurai.
After the close of the Sangam age Pandyas, the first Pandyan empire was established by Kadungon in the 6th century A.D.
According to the Velvikkudi grant, the Pandya ruler Kadungon defeated the Kalabhras who caused much confusion in the administrative set up. The following is a chronological list of the Pandya emperors, as adopted by me from an examination of the recent Vaigai bed epigraph.
Maravarman Avani Culamani
Arikesari Parankusa Maravarman
Koccadaiyan Ranadhiran
Maravarman Rajasimha
Parantaka Nedunjadaiya Varaguna
Srimara Srivallabha
Varaguna II
Parantaka Viranarayana
Rajasimha II
After the conquest of the Kalabhras, the Pandya empire grew from strength to strength and witnessed a steady increase in its power and territory. Among the early Pandyas, Sendan has left, an excavated cave temple at Malaiyadikurichi. At his command, a certain Sattan Eran, who also had the title Pandimangala adhiarasan, caused the temple to be made in the 17th regnal year of the king.
Under Sendan’s son Maran, the empire grew in all directions. He is identical with the celebrated Maran who conquered Nelveli and earned the title Nelveli Venra Nedumaran. His other well known titles are Arikesari, and Parankusa. Among his conquests, the victories gained over Kerala in many battlefields are repeatedly mentioned. Sennilam, Pali, Puliyur are some such battles. His Chera adversary seems to have been one Vilveli. Arikesari was a conemporary of Thirugnanasambandar, the boy saint, and is said to have been converted by him to Saivism.
Nedumaran performed tulabhara and bahusuvarna sacrifices several times. An inscription of this ruler found in the City of Madurai gives him 50 years of rule and states that he performed many Mahadanas like Hiranyagarbha, Tulabhara and gosahasr sacrificesi Ranadhira, son of Nedumaran defeated Ayvel in the south and reached as far as Pudankodu in South Travancore. One of his significant conquests was against the Maharatas at Mangalapura-identified with Mangalore in the west coast. It is from his times that the Alupa rulers of the Mangalore region, not only started calling themselves Pandyas but also adopted the fish, the Pandya crest, as their emblem. Some of the coins bearing fish on the obverse and the legend in Kannada like pandya Dhananjaya were issued by the Pandya Alupa’s of the west coast, but hitherto mistaken as the issues of the Pandyas of Madurai.
Ranadhira’s son was Ter Maran, also known as ajasimhan I. His major encounters were with the Pallavas and so he assumed the title ‘Pallava Banjana’. Neduvayal, Kurumadai, Mannaikuruchi, Thirumangai, Kodumbalur, Periyalur are the places where he inflicted defeat on his enemies. He crossed the river Kaveri, and brought the territory called Malakonga under his sway, He paid a visit to Kodumudi, worshipped Lord Siva, and proceeding further, entered into a matarimonial alliance with the Ganga ruler. He is also said to have performed Hiranyagarbha, Tulabhara and Gosahasra ceremonies. The capitals of the Cheras and the Cholas were under his control, for he renewed the cities of Kudal (Madurai), Vanji (Karur) and Koli (Uraiyur).
Jatila Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan was the illustrious successor of his father Termaran. A great conqueror, he continued the aggressive policy of his father and made his power felt everywhere. Undoubtedly Parantaka, who was also known as Varaguna Maharraja was the most outstanding ruler of the first Pandya empire. In the south he conquered Vilinjam in south Travancore and defeated the Vel ruler. He turned his attention towards Atiya, whom he put to light at Ayiravel Ayilur, on the northern banks of the Kaveri and also at Pugaliyur. The Pallava and the Kerala came to the rescue of Atiya but were also defeated at Karur. The ruler of Kuda Kongu was captured and imprisoned at Madurai and the land upto the Ganga (western Ganga) country was brought under his sway. Another significant event in his reign is the construction of a Vishnu temple at Kanchivay Perur, near Coimbatore.
It is this ruler who has left precisely dated inscriptions which remain a landmark in the history of Tamilnad. Two of the cave temples near Madurai, one at Anaimalai and another at Thirupparankunam, were excavated in his reign. In both the temples the Kali era is mentioned. In the Thirupparnkunram record both the Kali and his regnal years are mentioned helping us in precisely ascertaining the date of his crowning. He came to the throne in 768 A.D. The Anamali cave was excavated around 770 and the Thirupparankunram in 773 A.D.
Nedunjadaiyan’s records under the title Maran jadaiyan or Varaguna are found in a number of places and are helpful in understanding the numismatic history of the country.
At this stage it may be interesting to discuss the currency of the early Pandyas from the epigraphical references and actual specimens.
Recently one gold coin has been published as an issue of the early Pandyas.(6) The coin has two fish on one side, and the legend ‘Sri Varaguna’ in grantha characters on the other side. This is the only coin so far known and is assigned to Varaguna II (862-880).(7) The coin is a full circle and the letters neatly dissributed. The figures show ofsign of wear and look as if fresh from the mint. The coin is now in the collection of National Museum and is said to have been bought from a well known antique dealer. The unusually perfect circle, the fresh, ness of the coin and the fact that it comes from an antique dealermake us doubt its authenticity. At any rate no conclusion could be arrived at from this solitary coin.
There are a number of epigraphs of this ruler referring to gift of gold currency. An inscription dated in his 4th year, (774 A.D.,) from Thiruppathur in Ramnad district, mentions the gift of forty kalanju of gold. The record is interesting since it is both in Sanskrit and Tamil. An amount of forty kalanju was deposited as capital of the endowment, the interest accruing from it was to be utilized for temple services. In the Sanskrit part it is called Krishna Kacha (Catvarimasi pramanan Krsna Kacan). It is learnt from this record that the Sanskrit equivalent of the word Kalanju was Krishna Kaca. It also shows that Kalanju was a coin. The Sanskrit word Kaca and there Tamil word Kacu are obviously synonyms. The point of interest is whether the Kalanju referred to is gold. If it is gold, the term Krishna Kaca (black Kasu) used in the epigraph is interesting. The endowment was made for burning one perpetual lamp. It is not unlikely that the word Kalanju in Tamil is used in a general sense of Kasu.
Another inscription from the same place dated in the 10th year of the King-Komaranjadaiyan refers to an endowment made for burning a perpetual lamp. From this record it is seen that this time the endowment was ten Kasu for one perpetual lamp. Interestingly this epigrph is also a bilingual one, written in Sanskrit and Tamil, the Sanskrit part mentioning the currency as Dinar.
dipartham Sri Sthalisaya Dinarannam dasadisad
Bhattakhya Mara tamaya Sankarasya priya sati

While the Sanskrit part calls the currency ‘dinar’ the Tamil part calls it Kasu. We have seen earlier that forty Kalanju were endowed for one perpetual lamp. In ancient times there was some consistency in endowments and for burning one lamp a certain amount was fixed as capital endowment. It would therefore appear that ten Kasu equalled 40 Kalanju (Krishna Kaca). We have seen that Roman coins dating around 4000 A.D. (Honorius and Arcadius) were found in the city of Madurai in 1882. That Roman coins were in circulation even after 5th century is thus attested. So the coin dinar mentioned in this record is obviously a Roman Coin. Dinars are generally considered silver Coins. If the dinar of the present record is silver currency, it would appear that Krishna Kaca of the earlier record would be either lead or copper coins. The word Krishna Kaca (black coin) might even suggest that the coin was more likely to be a lead coin than copper (the word Karunkasu appearing in inscriptions) It also clears two points. The word Kalanju was not used only for gold coins but also coins made of other metals. Secondly the record gives the comparative value viz. that one dinar was equal to 4 Krishna Kaca.
The Pandya rulers of the first empire often mentioned only their titles Maranjadaiyan or Cadayanmaran, without giving their actual names. The certainly raises doubts about their identity. So a fuller discussion on the epigraphical records will be taken up after disussing the reign of Nedunjadaiyan’s successors.
Nedunjadaiyan was followed by his able son Srivallabha, who styled himself Parancakra Kolahala. He is often referred to as Sri Mara Srivallabha by historians. Under him the power of the Pandyas was felt in Sri Lanka (Singala). In the south he overran Vilinjam in South Travancore and Sri Lanka. In the heart of the Chola country he reached as far as Kumbakonam where a severe battle was fought against a combination of powerful enemies like Gangas, Pallavas, Cholas, Kalingas and Magadhas and ultimately the Pandya emerged victorious.
The reigns of Srimara and his son Varaguna II are discussed by many scholars, and there is no need to discuss the same here. Sri Mara Srivallabha, as mentioned earlier defeated a confederacy of various rulers at Kumbakonam. Of his adversaries the Cholas figure as well. It is evident that before 862 A.D., the Cholas have risen and this Chola could be none other than Vijayalaya the founder of the imperial Chola dynasty.
This Srimara Srivallabha had a significant title Avanipasekhara, and will be remembered both for issuing the coin Avanipasekharan kolaka and as the ruler under whose patronage the famous Sittannavasal murals were painted.
He was succeeded by two of his son, Varaguna II and Parantaka Viranarayana, who ruled jointly for well over forty five years. Varaguna II, also known as Varaguna Maharaja ascended the throne in 862 A.D. which is attested to by the Aivarmalai epigraph. His inscriptions are found upto the Chola country and he seems to have reached as far north as the Pennar. His Ambasamudram record refers to his camp on the banks of the Pennar. The Dalavaypyram charter of his brother Viranarayana describes Varaguna as a great Siva Bhakta and true to the statement, his epigraphs found in various places, record his personel gifts to Siva temples.
Varaguna II’s brother Viranarayana, ruling jointly with his brother effectively, fought many battles and was a ruthless conqueror. He had to conquer again Vilinjam, the Western Kongu, Pennagadam and other places.
Viranarayana’s son was Rajasimha II, who inflicted defeats initially on his opponents including the Cholas, but unfortunately at the end, has to flee his country, having been defeated by Parantaka Chola. Rajasimha first took asylum in Sri Lanka but when that country was overrun by Parantaka Chola, hid in the Chera country. Rajasimha seems to have been helped by Vira Pandya who earlier defeated the Chola and assumed the titles Cholantaka or Cholan talai konda.
From Parantaka Chola’s invasion of Madurai, till the reign of the Chola-Panydas established by Rajendra for about one hundred years the Pandya history is obscure. From the way the Cholas repeatedly boast of their victories against the Pandya it is evident that the Pandyas continued to hold sway in the region in some form or other. The Pandya history after 1000 A.D. will be discussed in the sequence.
The epigraphs of the Pandyas of the First Empire refer to Kalanju Kasu, Palamkasu (Old coin), Nirai Kuraiya Palam Kasu (Old coin which has not list its weight standard). Sempon, Tulaip-Pon, Dinar, Kaca (Skt), Krishna Kaca and Nishka.
An important coin, issued by the early Pandyas, that has survived is a copper coin bearing on the obverse two fish and on the reverse the legend Sri Avanipasekharan Kolaka(8). Noticing this coin Sri T. Desikachari states, The legends Avanipasekharam and Avanipendran are comparable with titles assumed by Sundara Pandya as ‘Conquerer of the world’. The coins bearing these legends were probably issued by a Pandya king Avanipasekharan Srivallabha mentioned in an inscription on a rock south of the rock-cut jaina temple at Sittannavasal in the Pudukkottai state. The legend on the coin has been read as Avanipasekharan golaga but it is capable of being read also as Avanipasekharan Chola, and it is not improbable that in the perennial conflict between the pandyas and the Cholas, a Chola king secured a signal victory over the Pandyas and to mark the event issued coins with the Pandyan crest which by right of conquest he became entitled to use.(9) Commenting on this coin Chattopadhyaya holds, that this coin is of uncertain date. However he assigns it to 14th century A.D. He states “the coins listed here do not all necessarily belong to the Pandyas before the end of 14th century; their precise dating is uncertain, but they are typologically related to the Pandya coins issued by the 14th century A.D.”(10)
The following are my comments on this coin. First of all, there could be no two opinion about the Paleography of this coin, namely the legend is absolutely in early Tamil characters of 9th century A.D. and cannot be assigned to 14th century A.D. The forms are neatly executed and bear absolute resemblance to the Tamil characters of 9th century found in several records of the Pandyas and Pallavas. The forms of fish and also the legend are artistically and carefully executed and are far superior to all the later Pandya coins. In the letters, the coil to denote the long ‘i’ both in Sri and ni is looped to the left. (whereas in the coin of Varaguna, the loop is to the right). The ‘ka’ resembles a cross as if the early characters with a top horizontal stroke. We are certain, on grounds of paleography that the characters belong to 9th century A.D.
Secondly the suggestion of T. Desikachari, that the legend could be read as Avanipasekhara Colaga is not borne out by his own illustration which is quite clear. The legend clearly reads Sri Avanipasekhara Kolaka. The word Kolaka is obviously a Tamil form of gulika. The importance given to the fish emblem, the title Avanipasekhara found for Pandya Srimara Srivallabha in the Sittannavasal inscription, and the early characters, clearly indicate that it is an issue of Pandya Srimara Srivallabha and not an issue of any other ruler. There is no possibility of reading it as Colaka.
If the National Museum coin of Varaguna is to assigned to Varaguna Ii as has been done, this Avanipasekhara coin would be the earliest coin of the Pandya’s of the first Empire, bearing the king’s name. It also shows that the early Pandya paid careful attention to the minting of their coins than their successors of the mediaeval period.
Another coin that deserves mention at this stage is the one illustrated as no 63 by Desikachari. The description of the coin as given is as follows. ob:- single fish flanked by lamps or standards with the State umbrella above. rev:- Below the state umbrella flanked by lamps is the Tamil legend Avanipendram-(«Å½£§Àó¾¢Ãý)
My comments are as follows:- On the obverse there are two fish below the umbrella instead of one as suggested. Secondly the legend is in late Tamil characters of 13th-14th century A.D. and seems to read Avanivendarama; the letter ‘ra’ or the symbol for long ‘a’ in ‘ra’ shows the first vertical stroke almost on par with the second, whereas in the early characters as in ‘ko’ of ‘Avanipasekara Kolaka’, it is either absent or just beginning to appear. Some of the Pandyas of the 13th or 14th century bore this title Avaniventa raman and is to be assigned to that period and not to early Pandyas.
One particular coin may be discussed here. It is coin No. 140 illustrated by Elliot in his ‘South Indian Coins’. It is a copper coin bearing on the obverse a stanading figure and the reverse seated figure with a legend read as ‘Kuna Pandya’. Commenting on this Prof. Sastri says, “It is interesting that the name Kuna, known only to tradition and not to epigraphy is borne on a copper coin figured by Sir. Walter Elliot(11).” I have shown that there is no legend ‘Kuna’ on this coin(12) but the legend clearly reads ‘Kula’ probably standing for Kulasekhara a later Pandya. So there is no issue of Kuna Pandya. Chattopadhyaya rightly mentions. ”According to Nilakanta Sastri a copper coin bearing the legend Kuna may be attributed to Kun Pandya, however, he is not known to epigraphic records and his suggested identification with Arikesari Maravarman is highly conjectural”(13). My corrected reading published in Damilica I, has escaped the attention of Chattopadhyaya for he would have denied positively the identification.
Similarly the coin illustrated by Elliot as No. 139, read by him as ‘Korkai Andar’ is wrong. The legend clearly reads ‘Chonadu Kondan’ So there is no coin of Korkai Andar.(14)
It is often said that Rajasimha II was the last of the first Pandya empire, but his needs revision. In the initial stages, Parantaka Chola’s efforts to conquer Madurai region, was not successful. He was defeated by Rajasimha Pandya II, at a number of places like Naippur.(15) It has been shown that one Vira Pandya who assumed the title Cholantaka and Cholantalaikonda was an early contemporary of Parantaka and probably distinguished himself in the battle of Kodumbalur against Bhuti Vikramakesari. He should be distinguished from Vira Pandya who was killed later around Circa 960 A.D.
Though Parantaka Chola defeated the Pandya Rajasimha, in circa 910 A.D. and assumed the title Madurai konda, Rajasimha resisted the inroads of Parantaka. The final defeat of Rajasimha should be placed around 925 A.D. After the decisive conquest of the Madurai country, Parantaka should have conferred it back on one of the family members of the Pandyas, for the practise of appointing one of their own family members as viceroys by the victorious kings was not adopted till the reign of Rajendra I in 1020 A.D. It is not known whether Vira Pandya who assumed the title Cholantaka was the successor of Rajasimha. It is known that he had a brother Sundara Pandya, (the first Sundara Pandya to be known by that name), who predeceased him and for whom a Pallippadai was erected at Pallimadam. Between 925 and 950 A.D. for a period of 25 years, this Vira Pandya and probably one of his successors were the rulers.
Towards the end of his rule Parantaka Chola, lost the Pandya kingdom, for his son Gandaraditta attempted to take again the Pandya country but failed. It was Sundarachola who won a battle against the Pandya and assumed the titles Madurantaka and Pandyanai Juram irakkina. He was assisted in this battle by his son Aditya II who assumed the title Vira Pandyan Talai Konda. Vira Pandya has been a formidable rival and should have been the virtual ruler of Madurai till at least 982 A.D. Though Aditya Chola II claims to have killed Vira Pandya in the battle, Sastri has shown that it is more rhetorical than a fact. Even after the conquests, Sundara Chola, does not seem to have brought the Pandya country under his control effectively. The Pandyas continued to rule with Madurai as their capital.(16)
From 950 A.D. to 980 A.D. we have a Virapandya, ruling as a powerful ruler with Madurai as his capital. He might probably be a grandsom of his name sake and was succeeded by one Amarabhujanga, a rival of Rajaraja I. Amarrabhujanga’s relationship with Vira Pandya is not known. Whether the name Amarrabhujanga, is a title or name is also not known. Even Rajaraja had to fight more than one battle to gain absolute control over the Pandya country.(17) However Rajaraja’s control over the Pandya country was total. He integrated the region with his main land by changing the administrative set up. The Pandi mandalam was renamed Rajaraja Pandinadu. We may say that this is the real end of the first Pandya empire.
But yet, it seems Rajaraja allowed a member of the Pandya family to administer that country. Amarabhujanga seems to have been replaced by one Srivallabha towards the later part of Rajaraja;s rule. He remained a subordinate of Rajaraja, and his wife gifted some endowment of the Thiruvisalur temple.(18) No attempt has been made to identify this Srivallabha. It is likely that this Srivallabha is identical with the Pandya of the same name, the grandfather of Manabharana mentioned in the Sivakasi copper plate. If this identification is acceptable the continuity of the Pandya dynasty could now be traced. Srivallabha’s father was called Tivrakopa. He should have been a contemporary of Vira Pandya, defeated by Aditya II, before the accession of Rajaraja. Srivallabha’s son was Manakulachala, who was followed by his son Manabharana. Manabharana had the title Rajamalla and married the daughter of the Kerala ruler, Ravi. Their son was Vira Pandya who had a brother Sundara.
The following Pandya rulers may be remembered, as those who were active during the 10th and the first half of 11th century A.D. It is difficult to give their date of accession and duration of their rule. Nevertheless their presense in the southern country require recognition. Rajasimha II Sundara Pandya I contemporaries of Parantaka Chola Vira Pandya I Vira Pandya II -- contemporary of Aditya II Amarabhujanga Tivrakopa contemporary of Rajaraja I Srivallabha Manakulachala contemporary of Rajendra I ? Manabharana Sundara & Vira Pandya -- contemporary of Rajadhi Raja
Among the rulers listed, upto the time Amarabhujanga, the Pandya retained their independence. Even Srivallaba, after paying a tribute to Rajaraja, seems to have continued to rule till the early years of Rajendra I.
Though the Pandyas were defeated both by Parantaka in the firs quarter and Rajaraja in the last quarter of 10th century A.D., they continued to rule throughout the 10th century A.D. Towards the end of the 10th century A.D., the Chola administrative system has been fully established in the pandya region.
It is difficult to ascribe any known coin to the Pandya of the 10th century A.D. However it may be mentioned that it is from the first quarterof the 10th century, from the reign of Parantaka Chola, the coin Ilakanju or Ilakkarum Kasu are mentioned.(19)
In the reign of Rajaraja the coins bearing his name ought to have gained currency in the Pandya country. It has also been shown that Rajaraja, introduced special issues, suited to each region, by including the emblem of the region. Thus the coin bearing on the obverse the seated king with the legend Rajaraja bears on the reverse the standing Kng with the fish emblem below his left arm. This was a coin meant for circulation in the Pandya country.
When Rajendra came to the throne, the Pandya power obviously disturbed him. According to the Thiruvalangadu plates “Rajendra struck the Pandyan King who had a great force; and the Pandya abandoned his home in fight and fled for refuge to the Malaya mountain, the abode of Agastya. Rajaraja’s son, the master of policy took possession of the bright spotless pearls, the seeds of the spotless fame of the Pandya kings.(20) This clearly shows that the Pandya rose in revolt at the demise of Rajaraja and that Rajendra had to fight again. It explains two of Rajendra’s actions. Instead of Ievying a tribute and allowing a member of the Pandya family to rule as was done by his predecessors, Rajendra made his own son the ruler of the country and gave him the title Sundara Chola Pandya. Thus started the line of Chola-Pandya which lasted for about half a century. Secondly Rajendra built a new palace at Madurai. The Chola administrative system has already been introduced in the Pandya country in the reign of Rajaraja and that it was firmly established throughout the southern land. With it the Chola monetary system has become the vogue.
More than four Chola-Pandya Viceroys are known from inscriptions. The first of the Chola Pandya Viceroy-Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya was appointed by Rajendra-I and that he ably supported his father for nearly 30 years. The exact date of accession and duration of reign of Chola Pandyas are not precisely known though some attempts have been made in recent times which are mainly based on probabilities. Maravarman Vikrama Chola Pandya, Maravarman Parakrama Chola Pandya and Jatavarman Chola Pandya (The son of Vira Rajendra Chola) known by their inscriptions are found in deep South in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts. Though they represented the Chola power, the Pandyas occasionally revolted and tried to shake off their subordination. In their effort or freedom they received the support of the Chera and Ceylonese rulers.
At this stage an interesting series of coin, being found in the Pandya region may be discussed. It bears on the obverse two fish and a sceptre with the legend ‘Sundara Pandya’ on top in Tamil characters. On paleographical grounds, the letters may be assigned to 11th century A.D. On the reverse is a figure of a boar facing right with Sun and Moon shown above. Also are seen sankha and chakra in small size on the same side.
Two major dynasties, the Western Chalukyas, and the Vijayanagara rulers used the emblem of boar, varaha, on their flags, seals, coins etc. The Vijayanagar rulers had a sword in addition to the board. But it is the Western Chalukyas who had the sankha and chakra in addition to Sun and Moon. This royal emblem is familiar to the students of Chalukya history. Obviously the boar emblem found on the coin is that of the Western Chalukyas.
Writing on this coin Sir. T. Desikachari states “the Pandyan coins with the board on the obverse have always the legend Sundara, on the reverse. There is no clue whereby we can attribute them to any particular reign. The boar emblem was probably assumed on an inter marriage between the Chalukyas and Pandyas or on a conquest of the Chalukyas by the Pandyas.(21)”
We have seen that from 1020 A.D. the Pandyas were completely replaced by the Cholas. Except Sundara Pandya no other Pandya has issued coins with the boar emblem. We have to look for a Sundara Pandya in the 11th century A.D., who was atleast powerful enough to challenge the authority of the Cholas and issue coins in his own name and imprint the boar emblem. Only one Pandya is known who ose to prominence and shook the Chola overrule for some time and that he was Sundara Pandya, the contemporary of Rajadhiraja-I.
Rajadhiraja I was appointed crown Prince in 1018 A.D., and that Sundara Chola Pandya ruled ably till 1043 A.D. Immediately after this date, which incidentally is the last year of Rajendra I’s, Sundara Pandya shoots to prominence.
An inscription at Cholapuram, in Kanyakumari district, needs special mention. Dated circa 1027 A.D., in the reign of Sundara Chola Pandya, it records the gift of a lamp by one Chalukya ruler Vishnuvardhana Vijayaditta Vikkiyanna. Prof. Sastri has taken him to be an Eastern Chalukya Prince.(22) The inscriptions reads, ᧃó¾¢Ã §º¡Æ£îÍÃÓ¨¼Â¡÷ìÌ º÷ŧġ¸¡îÃ Ţ‰ÏÅ÷ò¾É Á¸¡Ã¡ƒ¡ º¡Ù츢 Å¢ƒÂ¡¾¢ò¾ Ţ츢Âñ½ý ¨Åò¾ ¦¿¡ó¾¡ Å¢ÇìÌ.(23) The inscription records the name as Sarvalokasraya Vishnuvardhana Maharaja also known as Chalukya Vijayaditta Vikkianna. The names Vijayaditta, Vishnuvardhana, Vikkiyanna occur for the Western Chalukyas of the period. The sons of Somesvara I, who fought against Rajadhiraja Chola were Vijayaditta and Vikkiyanna. In all probability theVishnuvardhana Vijayaditta of the Cholapuram record was a western Chalukya prince.
After the defeat of the Chalukya Jayasimha at the hands of Rajendra Chola I at Musangi (about 1020 A.D.) there was comparative peace between the Cholas and Chalukyas till 1042, when Somesvara I ascended the throne. This is the period when we get the inscription of Chalukki Vishnuvardhana in Kanyakumari district, the traditional territory of the Pandyas. The presense of the Chalukya as a friend in the Pandya region is significant with reference to our coins.
In 1046 A.D. we find that a terrific battle was fought by Rajadhiraja I, against three Pandya rulers in this region. They were Manabharana-Sundara Pandya, and Vira Pandya. The first and the last were beheaded by Rajadhiraja, but Sundara Pandya managed to escape to Mullaiyur Nilakanta Sastri has rightly suggested that Sundara Pandya was the Chief ruler at that time.
Describing the events in his reign from the Prasastis Prof. Sastri says, “Among the three allied kings of South (Pandyas) he cut off on the battlefield the beautiful head of Manabharana, which was adorned with large jewels and which was inseparable from the golden crown, seized in battle Vira-Keralan whose ankle rings were wide and was pleased to get him trampled by his furious elephant Attivarana and drove to the ancient Mullaiyur Sundara Pandya of endless great fame who lost in a great battle the royal white parasol, the branches of hairs of the white yak and throne and who ran away his crown dropping down, his hair disheveled and his feet tired”.
In all probability the Chalukya Prince Vishnuvardhana Vijayaditta, who was living in the Pandya country during that period established some relationship with Sundara living in obscurity. The Chalukya-Pandya alliance led Sundara to revolt against the Cholas as soon as Chalukya Somesvara ascended the throne in 1043-1044. Sundara probably issued this coin to mark his alliance with the Chalukyas. The coin bearing the name Sundara Pandya and fish emblem on one side, and the Chalukya boar on the other may therefore he taken as issued in circa 1045 A.D.
At this point of time, the relationship between the Pandyas and the Ceylonese rulers beame more intimate. We notice some Pandya Kings ruling Sri Lanka. One Vikrama Pandya (A.D. 1044-47) the son of Mahalana Kirti ascended the throne of Rohana, after death of his father and had a short rule before he was killed by Jagadipala. The Chola inscription seems to suggest thatVikrama Pandya was a Pandya Prince who had once ruled the Southern Tamil Country and was compelled by Rajadhiraja-I himself to abandon Southern India and seek his fortune in Ceylon where he became king.(24)
Vikrama Pandya had a son Parakrama Pandya, who tried to shatter the rule of the Cholas in Sri Lanka, but lost his life in the process.
Two sons of one Manabharana, of Sri Lanka are said to have been killed in a battle by Rajendra II who succeeded Rajadhiraja Chola I. Sastri identifies the Manabharana with the Pandya opponent of Rajadhiraja(25)
Virarajendra-I, who ascended the Chola throne after his brother Rajendra-II, had to fight with the Pandya, whom he defeated. He is probably identical with Virakesari, the Son of Pandya Srivallabha.
All through the rule of the Rajadhiraja brothers (Rajadhi-Raja-I, Rajendra-II and Virarajendra) the Pandyas took refuge in Sri Lanka, became their Kings and attempted the recovery of the Madurai country but lost their lives. Not only the coins of the Cholas but also the coins of the Pandyas would have come into circulation in the Ceylonese territories as a result of these Pandya rule. A Copper plate grant of Virapandya, son of Manabharana from Sivakasi refers to the Ilakkalanju, as tax.(26)
Rajendra-I, Rajadhiraja-I, Rajendra-II and Virarajendra Chola claim in their records to have appointed their near relatives as Chola-Pandya Viceroys. We have four Chola Pandya records, issued by themselves viz. Sundara Chola Pandya, Vikrama Chola Pandya, Parakrama Chola Pandya and Chola Pandya. Shortly after the death of Vira Rajendra Chola, the Chola Pandya viceroyalty came to an end. For as soon as Kulottunga Chola I, ascended the throne, the Pandyas rose in revolt.
Throughout the reign of the Chola-Pandyas the currency system of the Imperial Cholas was in vogue in the Pandya country. The following examples would show the currency of the period. An inscription of Sundara Chola Pandya, from Thiruvidankodu,(27) refers to the endowment of 20 Kalanju (of nine mattu) towards one perpetual lamp. Two inscriptions from Seramadevi one dated in the reign of Vikrama Chola Pandya and the other in the reign of Chola Pandya refers to Kasus. The former relates to the endowment of 12 Kasus for a perpetual lamp and the other refers to 32 ¼ Kasus as land dues.
However it may be seen that none of the Chola Pandyas seems to have issued coins to their own, for no coin bearing any Chola Pandya name has been found so far. It has been mentioned earlier that Rajaraja issued special coins for circulation in Pandya country, besides allowing his own general issues to circulate. Judging from the coins found in the region, it seems that the Rajaraja issue continued to be minted in the Chola-Pandya rule as well.
An interesting comparison may be made in the reign of Chola Pandyas about the endowment at different plates.
Year Place lamp Measure endowment of ghee SUNDARA CHOLA PANDYA 3 Perungulam, Trichy Dist. 1 1 Alakku Sheep 25 6 Attur 1 1 Ulakku Buffaloe 1 calf 2 10 Ambasamudram 1 1 ” Kasu 15 11 Thiruvalisvaram 1 1 ” Cow 25 11 Adanur 1 ? Sheep 50 14 Mannarkoil ½ 1 Alakku Cow 16 16 Ambasamudram 1 1 ” Sheep 20 17 Seramadevi 1 + 1 1 Ulakku Semmari 50 17 Kundalakuttu -- -- Sheep 25 20 Seramadevi 1 1 Alakku Sheep 50 20 Attur 1 -- Sheep 50 21 Anaimalai 1 1 Alakku Sheep 25 20 Thiruvalisvaram 1 1 Ulakku Cow 35 20? Mannarkoil 1 1 ” Cow 25 -- Sevelipattu 1 -- Sheep 50 -- Seramadevi 2 -- Cow 50 VIKRAMA CHOLA PANDYA 20 Adanur 1 1 Alakku Sheep 25 21 Seramadevi 1 1 Ulakku Cow 25 22 Seramadevi 1 1 Alakku Cow 25 25 Seramadevi 1 1 Ulakku Kasu 12 25 Seramadevi 1 1 ” Sheep 25 PARAKRAMA CHOLA PANDYA 3 Thiruvalisvaram 1 1 Alakku Sheep 25 4 Seramadevi 1 -- Kasu 12
During the troubled period ofVira Rajendra’s successor, Adhirajendra, the Pandya country asserted its independence, so much so it became necessary for Kulottunga to fight with five Pandyas between 1075 and 1080 A.D. soon after his coronation. With a view to keep his hold on the country he stationed his powerful armies in places like, Kottaru and Thirunelveli. But the practce of appointing ne of his own family members as Chola Pandyas was given up and a member of the regular line seems to have been installed. And this Pandya is probably identified with Jatavarman Srivallabha.(28) Kulottunga assumed the title “Kulasekhara Pandya Kulantaka”; a certain Kulasekhara seems to have been an opponent of Kulottunga-I. The above account would, show that though the Pandyas soon recovered towards the end of 11th century, their position, remained subordinate to the Cholas. By and large the economy and coinage in the Pandya country, throughout 11th century, was that of the Cholas.
The 12th century A.D. saw the Pandyas, ruling independently with Madurai as their capital. The Cholas had lost their grip over this region, except for occasional invasions and attempt to install Pandya of their choice on the throne of Madurai, but they remained outside direct rule. The Pandyas who ruled during the first half of the 12th century were, Jatavarman Srivallabha, Maravarman Parakrama Pandya and Jatavarman Parantaka Pandya. The last mentioned, abolished the old names of weights and measures of his kingdom and ordered that the figure of corp (the Emblem of the Pandya) to be engraved on the new weights and measures.
The second half of 12th century proved to be a troubled period for both the Cholas and the Pandyas. The Pandyas started fighting among themselves and sought the interference of either the Cholas, or the Ceylonese rulers. There were frequent changes among the occupants of the Pandya throne, according to the fortunes of the war.
Maravarman Srivallabha came to the throne around 1163 A.D. and was succeeded by one Parakrama Pandya. Kulasekhara Pandya, the son of Srivallabha rose in revolt. Parakrama appealed to Ceylon for help before it could arrive, he was killed and Kulasekhara captured the Pandyan throne. The Ceylonese army headed by one Lankapura dandanayaka and Jagat vijaya, landed on the Pandyan coast, and proceeded against Madurai, dislodged Kulasekhara (who sought the help of the Cholas) and crowned one Virapandya on the throne. A point of interest is, that the Ceylonese generals made the Ceylonese coin, the ‘Kahapana’ (of their ruler Parakramabhu) as the legal tender.(29) But sooner the Chola general appeared on the scene, drove outVirapandya, captured and beheaded the Ceylonese generals and installed Kulasekhara. After sometime the Pandya Kulasekara proved treacherous and the Chola King replaced him with Vira Pandya. These events took place in the reign of Chola ruler Rajadhiraja II.
Even this Vira Pandya proved treacherous to the Cholas and that Kulottunga Chola III, immediately on ascending the throne, drove out Vira Pandya and brought a stability by installing Vikrama Pandya.
Among the coins so far brought to light with the name Sundara, no coin could be assigned to 12th century A.D. One series of copper coin, bearing the legend Virapandya, could however be assigned to 12th century on account of typology and paleography. The series illustrated as Nos. 46, 47 and 48 by Desikachari bear on the obverse the standing King with three or more pellets below the left arm. On the reverse are seen two fish with a sceptre flanked by two lamps. Above is seen the legend ‘Virapandyan’ The form of the letters, especially the ones ‘Ra’ & ‘Pa’, suggest that the issue might be an issue of the 12th century A.D. The coin may be identified as an issue of ‘Vira Pandya’, of the civil war and a rival of Kulasekhara. But this must be taken as purely tentative.
The 12th century epigraphs throw interesting light on the coinage and the economy under the Pandyas. That Dramma was still used as a currency, is borne out from an inscription of Srivallabha, found at Kuruvitturai near Madurai. It refers to an endowment of 100 Drammas which fetched an annual interest of 24 Drammas, at the rate of 2 drammas a month. The interest was to be used for burning a perpetual lamp by measuring one Ulakku ghee per day. It works out to 24% annual interest.
Maravarman Parakrama’s inscription at Tenur near Madurai(30) refers to 40 drammas (Circa 1100 A.D.).
An unpublished record from the same place shows on officer under Kulottunga Chola deva of Kongu, gifting 10 anai accu. The record is dated in the reign of Kulasekhara of civil war (circa 1175 A.D.)(31) In Seramadevi in the same reign, two anai accu were gifted(32) for one perpetual lamp. In the reign of the same ruler, 4 ½ accu for a Sandhya dipa was donated at seramadevi(33).
At Kuruvitturai a gift of 12 Sempon Kalanju were gifted for a worship(34).
An 18th year record of Srivallabha from Sivapuri, Ramnad, district mentions a gift of land for 20 Brahmins; the Andars of the temple, and Panmahesvaras of various mandalas were directed to levy one drama annually per 1 ma cey and arrange to protect the Brahmadeya.(35)
¾Õ§ÉóЧº¸Ãý §¸¡Â¢ø ¬ñ¼¡÷¸Ùõ, ÀÄ Áñ¼ÄòÐ Àý Á¡§†îÅÃÕõ, ÀðÎ ¦¸ðÎõ, þðÎ «ðÊÔõ, þùŸÃòÐìÌ «Æ¢× ¸¡òÐõ ¸¡ôÀ¢îÍõ þùŸÃõ Å¢¨Ç¿¢Äõ Å¢¨Çïº ¿¢Äò¾¡ø ¦¸¡ø «Õû¿¢¾¢Â¡ø ´Õ Á¡î ¦ºö ¬ð¦¼¡Õ ¾¢ÃõÁõ þò§¾Å÷ìÌ ‚ Àñ¼¡Ãò¦¾ ´ÎìÌ Å¢îÍ ¦¸¡ñÎ þôÀ¢Ã¡õÁ½¨Ã Áü¦Èô §À÷Àð¼Ð ¦¸¡ûÇô ¦ÀÕò¾¡Ã¡¸×õ.

In his 10th year Srivallabha made over the temple of Thiruppathur, 43 madai and 9 ma, a royal tax as devatana Iraiyili. The taxes were from the village Manalimangalam 17 ½ madai and 1 ma and from the village kil mullivayal 25 ¾ madai and 3 ma-a total of 43 madai and 9 ma. This shows one madai consisted of 20 ma.(36)
In Ambasamundram, an inscription of Srivallabha’s 20th year(37) refers to 20 ¾ madai as (nila upadi) levy. The use of kalanju continued in 12th century A.D. a surviving trait of Chola currency. An inscription of Jatavarman Srivallabha refers to the institution of two perpetual lamps in Tenur near Madurai by two ladies, who endowed four kalanju gold for the purpose.(38)
An inscription of Srrivallabha from Kuruvitturai refers to a new canal dug after the name of the ruler and levy of ¼ Kasu for 1 ma land and 5 kalam paddy, for land brought under cultivation.(39) A similar levy is recorded in the same place.(40)
A gift of one kasu for a Samdhya dipa is recorded in the reign of Srrivallabha.(41) In the same reign, 50 sheep were donated for a perpetual lamp (One Ulakku ghee).
The inscription of Jatavarman Srivallabha from Cholapuram, in Tirunelveli district referring to a levy of 10 Panams for each loom(42) must belong to a later Srivallabha.
In Srivallabha’s time 25 cows gifted(43) for 1 Ulakku ghee. In the reign of this ruler drama, madai, kalanju, kasu and accu were in circulation. But no coin with the same Srivallabha has been found so far. Probably he did not issue any coin of his own.
The 13th century is the great period in the history of the Pandyan Empire. Their power reached its zenith under Jatavarman Sundara Pandya in the middle of the 13th century. The foundation for such a great empire was laid by Maravarman Sundara Pandya early in the 13th century A.D. Most of the well known coins of the Pandyas were issued in this century.
We have seen earlier, Kulottunga Chola III, invaded Madurai country, drove away Virapandya and installed Vikrama Pandya on the throne, towards the lose of 12th century. Soon Vikrama was succeeded by Jatavarman Kulasekhara. In the beginning years of 13th century A.D., Kulottunga III defeated the Chera ruler of Kongu at Karur and assumed the title Chola-Kerala and captured Madurai after driving the Pandya and his brothers.(44) He assumed the title Chola-Pandya and renamed Pandimandalam as Chola Pandyamandalam He also renamed the city of Madurai as ‘Mudittalai Konda’ Cholapurm. The coronation pavilion of the Pandya was christened as ‘Cera Pandyan Tambiran’. In this campaign, a Bana Chieftain rendered great assistance to Kulottunga and received in turn a great honour. Kulottunga changed the name Pandya (of the Pandya ruler) and conferred the title Pandya on Bana his ally. Sastri reads Bana as a Bard. This needs reision for we have positive references to show the ‘Bana’ of the record, refers to a chieftain Bana and not to a Bard.(45)
À¡ñÊ嬃 À¡ñÊÂý ±ýÛõ §À÷ Á¡È¢ÅÃ
¦¿ÎõÀ¨¼ ¦¾ýÉÅ÷ ¦¸¼ ÁШà ¦¸¡ñ¼
§¾¡ûÅÄ¢ À¡ÊÂ
À¡½¨½ À¡ñÊÂý ±ýÚ ÀÕÁ½¢ Àð¼ïÝðÊ

says Kulottunga’s prasasti. The presense of Bana with some authority at Madurai, had its impact on Tamil coinage. This will be discussed in the sequence. Soon the Pandya was restored to the throne. This Pandya was probably identical with Jatavarman Kulasekhara who was succeeded by his brother Maravarman Sundara Pandya.
Maravarman Sundara (1216-1239 A.D.) was an able commander. Within two years of his coronation, he launched an expedition against the Chola country, defeated the Chola and reached as far north at Chidambaram, after sacking and setting on fire, Uraiyur and Tanjore. He performed Virabhisheka at Ayirattali coronation hall of the holas. Sundara re-enacted every deed of Kulottunga with vengence and put to shame the Chola. He gifted the crown of the Chola to the Bana who supported the Pandya. From his third regnal year (12919 A.D.) Sundara Pandya assumed the title ‘Chonadu Kondaruliya’, and later ‘Chonadu Valangiyaruliya’. One of the important series of Pandya coin, bearing the legend ‘Chonadu Kondan’ was certainly an issue of him, and should have been issued around 1220 A.D. The defeat of the Chola, signalled the collapse of the mighty Chola Empire. This is an important event of the 13th century A.D. to be remembered.
The second event of great importance of this period is the advent of the Hoysalas into the Tamil country and the establishment of their capital near Trichy. This led to matrimonial alliance of the Hoysala with the Chola who probably married one of his grand daughters. The Chola ruler then was Rajaraja III who unfortunately sustained defeat first at the hands of Sundara Pandya. Sundara returned the Chola throne after levyinga tribute. Later, the turbulent Kadava Chieftain, Kopperunjinga, who ruled with Sendamangalam (near Tindivinam), as his capital, rose in revolt, captured the entire Tondaimandalam and major part of Chola mandalam and imprisoned the Chola emperor at Sendamangalam. It is to help the Chola, the Hoysala came to the south and inflicting defeat on Kopperunjinga, got the Chola released and re-established him on the Chola throne on the one side and the Hoysalas and Pandyas on the other. This led to slow integration of the Karnataka tradition with the Tamil systems. So also the Karnataka currency system which assumed significant proportion in the succeeding period. The Hoysala rulers Vira Narasimha, Vira Somesvara and Vira Ramanatha, and Vira Ballala III played important roles in Tamil affairs, stationing themselves at Kannanur near Trichy for nearly 80 years. They have made numerous gift to temples like Srirangam, Thiruvanaikka and other places, where their records are found in Tamil languae.
Maravarman Sundara’s power did not extend beyond Chidambaran. Towards the end he seems to have sustained defeat at the hands of Hoysala Narasimha.
Maravarman Sundara’s successors were weak rulers, and the Chola power regained, under Rajendra III who had for sometime a joint rule with Rajaraja Chola III. He seems to have defeated the Pandyas. The Hoysalas this time had to intervene on behalf of the Pandyas and contain the power of the Cholas. Though Rajaraja III sustained defeat more than once, his inscriptions are found in great numbers and are found in a vast area, they give an insight into the affairs of the economy during this period of Pandya-Chola struggle.
The third important event to be remembered with reference to the 13th century A. D., is the rise of the greatest of the Pandya rulers Jatavarman Sundara Pandya in (1251-1274 A. D.) The mightiest conqueror among the Pandyas, Jatavarman Sundara reduced the Cholas into abject surrender captured Kanchipuram and reached as far as Nellore n the north where he had the anointment of heroes performed. From Nellore in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, the entire Tamil land was under his protection for sometime. In the south the Hoysala Vira Somesvara was killed by him in a battle, and the Chera ruler of Malainadu reduced to subjection. To singal his victories, he assumed such titles as ‘Kanchipuram Kondan, Kanchipuravaradisvara ‘Ellam Talaiyaman’ etc. He performed Tulabharas and covered the temples of Srirangam and Chidambaram with gold and made rich presents to them. These presents and works earned him the title’Koyil Ponmeynda Perumal’ and Hemacchadana Raja’.
In all these activities he was supported by Jatavarman Vira-Pandya, (1253-1283 A.D.) who took a leading part in the campaigns especially against Kongu, Ceylon and the Vadugar.
The end of the 13th century witnessed the rule of another great Pandya, Maravarman Kulasekhara (1268-1310 A.D.) holding sway over the entire Tamil country.
A number of coins of the Pandyas, bearing their names may onfidently be assigned to the 13th century. The coins bearing the following names and symbols are to be assigned to this period.
1. Sundara Pandya 2. Vira Pandya 3. Chonadu Kondan 4. Kaccivalangum Perumal 5. Kodandaraman 6. Ellamtalaiyanan and 7. Kulasekhara
Before we discuss these coins, two coins with no legend on them deserve notice.
One is illustrated as No. 17 by T. Desikachar, in his South Indian Coins.
Obverse: Maneless lion passant to the left with two fishes separated by sceptre above.
Reverse: Standing figure of a king in his regnal robes.
What is described by Desikachari as a maneless Lion, is only a tiger. The coin is significant since it shows the Pandya emblem the fish and the crozier, above the tiger. The device adopted generally by South Indian rulers, to denote the conquest of one dynasty over the other, is to place the victor’s emblem above the one of the vanquished. From this angle this coin assumes significance. Typologially, the coin is similar to other 13th century coins to be discussed presently.
A coin with an elaborate symbolism was photographed by the Tamilnadu Department of Archaeology from a private collection. The coin shows:
Obverse: Two fish and a crozier over a standing tiger which is standing on a bow. In front of the tiger is shown a long bladed sword and behind, a crescent.
Reverse: Shows the standing figure of a king with a lamp below his left arm.
The figures are well executed. It is a fine specimen among the Pandyan issues. It has been earlier, that some of the Chola coinage, show ”the bow fish and tiger” on a horizontal line. But in the present case these are shown on a vertial line, with the fihs and crozier on top. Following the coin discussed above, it is certainly a coin issued by a Pandya, who conquered both the Chola and the Chera. The crescent is to indicate the lunar race of the Pandya. The sword probably represents the valour of the king. Among the Pandyas, Jatavarman Kulasekhara who was a predecessor of Maravarman Sundara, alludes to his conquest of the Cholas and Cheras around 1200 A.D. His inscriptions beginning with ‘Butalavanitai’ reads
"ÅﺢÉí ÜÚõ Á¾¸Ç¢È¢ Åüó¾
¦Åïº¢É §Åí¨¸ Å¢øÖ¼ý ´Ç¢ôÀ"(46)

Commenting on this Prof. Sastri states “A rather early inscription of the reign from Seramadevi, refers to a gift by the king to a temple in the name of his brother-in-law, Kodai Ravivarman, undoubtedly a Chera prince. Another record of some years later seems to imply that the ruler of Jetunganadu was a subordinate of Kulasekhara”(47). It is possible that the two coins under discussion, showing the Pandya emblem on top of the tiger and bow are issues of Kulasekhara.
The coin bearing the legend ”Conadu kondan” is undoubtedly the issue of Maravarman Sundara Pandya as has been identified by scholars earlier. The obverse of the coin bears the legend ‘Conadukondan’ in three lines and on the reverse a standing figure of the King. In a number of his inscriptions, his title “Conadukondan” occurs. In later inscriptions of the ruler the title ‘Conadu valankiaruliya’ finds a prominent mention. Obviously the coin emphasizing his conquest over the Chola should have been issued at the first flush of his victory, around 12919-1220 A.D.
A coin listed by Elliot as 147, was read by Dr. Caldwell as ‘Koyal But the coin has the legend ‘Kaliyugaraman’. T. Desikachari listed two coins of this variety No. 23 and 24 and read the legend correctly as Kaliyugaraman. On the obverse are found two Vishnupada on a bow, crowned by a parasol. He listed these coins under the Pandyas. Following him K. A. N. Sastri attributed this coin to Maravarman Sundara. “A record from Melkadayam in the 18th year of a king refers to a shrine called Kaliyugaramesvara, which indicates that the title Kaliyugaraman also found in some coin legends may belong to our King or some predecessor of his.”(47) Commentting on this, Chattopadhyaya states “the title however usually occurs on inscriptions of the later period. Secondly reference to Kaliyugaraman panams which may be identical with the coins listed by Biddaulp are found in the epigraphs of the 15-16th centuries.”(49) I have shown earlier that (See page 23 of this book) this coin was issued by the Chera dynasty and not an issue of the Pandya.
The next coin of great significance issued in the 13th century A.D. is the coin bearing the legend Kacci Valangum Perumal. Elliot illustratest it as No. 145. The obverse shows two fishes crossed and at the end are seen the crescent, ankusa, sula and an indistinct sykbol. The reverse has the legend Kaccivalangum Perumal in three lines below and chouris. Desikachari illustrated a number of issues of this variety 39 to 43. In all these issues the legend Kaccivalangum Perumal occurs on one side and two fishes crossed with minor variations in the symbols shown at the end on the other side. In some the letter Cu for Cundara (In Tamil Sundara will be written as Cuntara). This clearly is a pointer to the fact that the coin was issued by Sundara Pandya. Without assigning it to any one Sundara particularly Desikachari assigns it in a general way to Sundara.(50) But Sastri doubted this identification and remarked “It has been supposed that coins with the legend Kaccivalangum Perumal may also belong to this king. But one wishes there was more evidence in favour of the supposition than is available at present”.(51) Vidya Prakash assigns it to Maravarman Sundara’s conquest did not reach upto Kanchi. Even if it did, it did not leave any mark for he has nothing to say about his Kanchipuram conquest. On the other hand it was Jatavarman Sundara Pandya the greatest, who repeatedly boasted of his conquest of Kanchipuram. He captured that city and assumed the title ‘Kancipuram Kondan. Though the title ‘Kaccivalangum perumal’ is not specifically mentioned (as a matter of fact it does not figure in any epigraphs known so far) the only king who could boast of this victory is Jatavarman Sundara Pandya. In all probability it is an issue of Jatavarman Sundara and may be assigned to about 1260-65 A.D.
Among the coins of the Pandyas the coins bearing the legend ‘Ellam Talaiyanan’ shows some innovative skill in the issue of coins. That this title was assumed by Jatavarman Sundara Pandya is well known. Sastri, rightly assigns this series to Jatavarman Sundara(53). In this variety also the letter ‘cu’ (for the first letter of Sundara) occurs and justifies the assumption.(54) More than five varieties of this issue are found. On the one side the standing figure of the king is seen on all the issues. But it is on the other side variations are noticed.
Series 1) The title ‘Ellantalaiyan’ is found in three lines.(55) 2) shows a single fish figured vertically flanked by two lamps: the Tamil legend ‘Ellantalaiyan’ in clockwise direction starting from 12’o Clock(56). Series (3) shows two fishes seen vertically with the title ‘Ellantalaiyan’ running around(57). In the 4th the two fishes are shown slanting side ways forming a ‘V’ and the letters are found in between(58). The fifth issue shows the two fishes joining at the top(59) forming a cone, the letters appearing in the gap. It shows those who issued the coins wanted to deliberately change the position of symbols and some thought has gone into the minting. Otherwise these coins are mostly monotonous, showing no signs of variations
Another series that could be confidently ascribed to the 13th century A.D. is the one baring the lgend Kodandarama. The obverse shows two fishes shown vertically with a crozier in between. The reverse shows the Tamil legend ‘Kodandaraman in three lines below an umbrella and two chauris. Writing on this coin, T. Desikachari states in his South Indian Coins “Copper coins with the legend “Kodandarama’ have been discovered. Below the umbrella flanked by chouries, the legend ‘Kodandarama’ in Tamil is found on the obverse. On the reverse below the crescent are two fishes separated by a sceptre. Parantaka I (Chola) had a son named Kodandraman and his inscriptions have been copied. Kodandaraman is probably Rajaditya”.(60) But in the plates he illustrates it under the Pandyan coins No. 22. Vidya Prakaash imperfectly quoting Desikachari assigns it to Jatavarman I Sundara I of 1303 A.D. He took the clue probably from K. A. Neelakanta Sastri(61) who assigns it to a later Sundara Pandya. Chattopadhyaya also accepts this identification(62). However it is seen from an inscription at Thirtanagari in Cuddalore taluk that Jatavarman Sundara Pandya had the title Kodandarama in 1265 A.D.(63). The inscription reads: ¿õ §Àáø ¸ðÊÉ §¸¡¾ñ¼Ã¡Áý ºó¾¢ìÌ so this coin should now be assigned to Jatavarman Sundara-1265 A.D.
There are several varieties of this series bearing the legend Sundara Pandya. They vary both in size and also in the distribution of symbols and were obviously issued by different rulers bearing that name. Some of them are decidedly later than the 13th century. In view of the fact that a number of rulers bore the same name Sundara it would be impossible to assign any issue to a particulate ruler. It is proposed to give the time bracket only here.
Obverse: Two fish shown vertically with crozier in between. The crozier has a handle at the lower end and the curve at the top is turned to the right. Above the crozier is a crescent moon.
Reverse: The legend Sundara Pandyan in Tamil in three lines in 12th century characters. Above the crozier is crescent and below is a pellet. The presence of the crescent moon to indicate the Lunar race of the Pandya on both the sides is noteworthy. The coin may be assigned to the closing years of the 12th century A.D. A few specimens are preserved in the Madurai Tirumalai Naicker Mahal Museum collection.
Similar to the above illustrated as No. 54 by T. Desikachari.
Obverse: Two fish shown vertically with the crozier in between; the curve is turned to the left with a crescent on top. In between are two dots. At the right end is a letter, which seems to read Sri in grantha character. Other signs are not clear.
Reverse: The reverse carries the legend Sundara Pandya in Tamil characters of about 1200 A.D.
VARIETY III Obverse: Shows the standing figure of the king.
Reverse: Bears the legend Sundara Pandyan. Some of these coins are very small in size and seems to be minor denominations of the bigger size. The coin seems to be an issue of the first half of the 13th century A.D.(64)
VARIETY IV Obverse: Standing figure of the king with a lamp below his left arm.
Reverse: Shows a fish depicted vertically. To the right, on top is the crescent and the Tamil letters below reading Sundara arranged vertically. (Desikachari’s description of the reverse No. 60 is not correct). This coin might have been issued around 1300 or even a little later.
VARIETY V Obverse: The standing figure of the king with two indistinct signs resembling a lamp one on either side.
Reverse: The seated figure of the king with the legend Sundara Pandya below the left arm. Paleographically this coin may be assigned to 13th century. The coin is now in Tirumalai Naicker Mahal Museum collection.
VARIETY VI Similar to the above illustrated by Desikachari as coin No. 56. The Tamil legend reads as ’Sunda’. Paleographically this may be assigned to 14th century A.D.
VARIETY VII Obverse: Two fishes shown slanting to the sides with prominent scales. The crozier turned to the left, with a double bend at the top. Above is the parasol prominently shown flanked by chouries.
Reverse: In the centre is shown a seated figure cross legged, and holding his arms in anjali hasta. The Tamil legend reads Sundara Pandya. The letters Sundara are distributed one on either side of the seated figure, while the letters Pandya appears below the figure(65). Paleographically the coin may be assigned to the 13th century A.D.
VARIETY VIII Similar to the above except the distribution of the letters.
There are two varieties of coins which bear no legends but could be attributed to Jatavarman Sundara Pandya, the great. One of them bears a standing figure of the King on the obverse and a single fish shown vertically with a crescent moon and sun, one on either side.(67) The other variety has the standing figure on the obverse. On the reverse the usual seated figure with fish is shown below the left arm. This is crowned by an umbrella. Typologically these two varieties bear similarities to the ‘Ellantalaiyan’ coins of Jatavarman Sundara. Further, these coins are found in hoards with the Ellam Talaiyanan coins. In all likelihood these were also issues of Jatavarman Sundara.
There are more than three varieties of coins, bearing the name ‘Kulasekara’. Again, we are confronted with the difficulty of identifying any issue with a known king as many rulers wielded power with the same name, within short intervals between 12th and 14th centuries. The identification postulated here are purely tentative.
VARIETY I Obverse: Standing figure of a king. Reverse: The legend ‘Kulasekaran’ over two fish and a crozier turned to the right with a double bend.(68)
VARIETY II Obverse: Standing king. Reverse: The Tamil legend ‘Kulasekaran’ below the umbrella and the fly whisk.
These two varieties might have been issued by Maravarman Kulasekara towards the end of the 13th century and beginning of the 14th century, as the coins are found in considerable number and as Maravarman controlled not only a vast area from Kanchipuram in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, but also had a long rule. As such it is likely that these coins were issued by him.
VARIETY III This variety with an elephant on the obverse and the legend ‘Kulasekara’ above two fish and cendu has been assigned by me to the Chera ‘Kulasekara’ of 14th century (vice Page 22).
VARIETY IV Obverse: Standing figure of a King and reverse seated figure with the legend ‘Kula’, probably an issue of 14th century A.D.
The 13th century is a crucial period in the history of Tamil nadu for various reasons. The imperial Chola power which raised the standard of the people in various fields of activity by sound economy and efficient rule, has exhausted itself and was in the wane. The Pandyas rose to eminence and tried to keep the entire Tamil country under their grip but basing their superstructure mainly upon the foundation of the Cholas. The Kannada rule got itself established in the Tamil country, paving its way for the later conquest of the Vijayanagar rulers. With this the Karnataka monetary system, whatever individuality it had, began to be felt in the Tamil land. Underlying all these factors were the dormant but volatile chieftains ready to raise their ugly heads to the dismay of their overlords and ultimately, to the ruin of themselves. The study of the economy of 13th century Tamil land though poses greater problems is at the same time a fascinating subject.
An inscription from Tinnelveli in the 13th year of Maravarman Sundara (1239) refers to 3 accus at the rate 1 ½ accus per crop. The 3 accus fetched 39 Dramma at the rate of 13 Dramma per accre.
â ´ýÚìÌ «îÍ 1 1/2 ÔÁ¡¸ ¯òºõ Àñ½¢É ¬ñÎ ´ýÚìÌ «îÍ
ãýÚ. þùÅîÍ ãýȢɡø À¾¢ýãýÚ §ÁÉ¢ ¾¢ÃõÁõ ÓôÀò
¦¾¡ýÀÐ þò¾¢ÃõÁ ÓôÀò¦¾¡ýÀÐõ ¿¡í¸û ÓýÒ ¿¡ÂÉ¡÷ìÌ
þÚòÐ ÅÕõ «ó¾Ã¡Â ¾¢ÃÁò§¾¡§¼ ÜÊ

Another of his inscription from Kallidaikuruchi, in Thirunelveli district, refers to the accus paid for the change of cultivator for 5 ½ veli of land.(70) A gift of 6 ½ accus for one perpetual lamp is recorded in 1220 A.D. in the same village, in the reign of the same ruler.(71) Another record of the same ruler, from the same village mentions one anradu Nallanai accu endowed for measuring 1 nali and 1 ulakku, (5 ulakku) of oil for five Saturdays in a month.(72) A gift 6 ½ accu for one perpetual lamp in the same village in 1220 A.D., in his reign(73) and another gift 7 accus for measuring 2 nali rice per day(74) show the role of accu.
In the reign of Maravarman Sundara Pandya the accu continued to be the dominant currency in the extreme south, as at Kallidaikkuruchi, in Thirunelveli district, while in the north, in Tanjore and other regions, Panam is beginning to assume importance. The following records of Maravarman Sundara Pandya indicate the prevelant trend. At Thiruvanciyam 3 7/26 veli of land, 500 kuli of Padugai cost 250 panams of anradunarkasu.(75) In another instance 2 veli of land and 1250 kuli of Padugai cost 150 panams of Anradu narkasu.
In 1229 A.D., (Maravarman Sundara Pandya) the Nadu of Kananadu, the Nagaram, the grama, Vanniyar and the Padaipparru’s agreed to levy per capita on all the land holders as given below. for Brahmins, Chettis, Vellalas ½ Panam for minors ¼ Panam for garrisons ¼ Panam for Parayars & Pallars 1/8 Panam
It shows Brahmins, Chettis and Vellalas were held equals and from the manual labourers like Pallas and Paraiyas ¼ of what was levied from others (Kudumiyamalai) was collected.
In 1223 A.D. under this ruler 320 kuli was sold for 1260 current good coins at Kudumiyamalai.(76) In 1238 A.D. the Melmanilai urar and the temple sthanattar of Thiru Vikrama Cholisvaram in Kudumiyamalai sold a Devatana ayacut of that temple, 5 ma in extent, for 205 palamkasu. The epigraph states that Kilvari was 7 meni dramman or Palamkasu 24 drammam.(77) Almost in the same year, a land was sold at Thirunalakkunram to a dancing girl, 5 ma in extent for 3200 new coins. The inscription is interesting in many ways. It shows 205 palamkasu was equal to 3200 new coin (the extent of land being the same 5 ma in oth cases). So one Palam kasu was equal to (3200/205) approximately 16 kasu which would be equal to makani 1. 1:16. This is one of the traditional denomination. When this is compared to 5 ma of land sold in the reign of Virapandya for 1000 panam (which was probably a silver coin) this palam Kasu may be taken as gold. But whether this Palamkasu was a coin of full madai standard or less is not known. In all it was not of the full standard.
Further the record equates 7 meni dramas with 24 Palamkasu drammas. Whether the word drama here refers to Roman coin or a coin of similar weight is not known. If it refers to Roman coins, the reference to old (Roman) coin and, 7 meni (Roman) coin is interesting. If 7 meni drama refer to Roman Gold coin the 24 Palamkasu drama might refer to a silver coin. Mr. Chattopadhyaya has shown that the term dramma, was used to denote indigenuous coins also.(78)
150 Panams was paid for 2 1/20 veli of land to meet the expenses of quarying stone for erecting the agra mandapa, and also providing a special Sandhi at Tevur in the reign of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya.(79)
In Thirukkalukkunram near Mahabalipuram 22 ½ panam was endowed for Amudupadi.(80) 7 ½ ma of land was sold for 6 panams at Srivanciyam(81) which is a low price. The land should have been of poor fertility.
In Vikkiramangalam near Thirupparamkunam an unspecified measure of land was bought for 1000 panam which it called Rasi panam(82) minor denominations of coins of both and silver were called Rasipanam till recent times. This name seems to have come into vogue in 13th century itself.
An inscription from Kodiyakkadu in Tanjore district, dataed in the reign of Jatavarman’s Sundara’s 18th year, (1269 A.D.) refers to the endowment of 18 pon (55-66), pon continued to be used in 13th century.
Jatavarman Sundara Pandya performed Tulabhara ceremony at Cidambaram and Srirangam and to meet the needs seems to have levied a special levy called Tulabhara vari and abhisheka Kanikkai which are recarded at Thiruccopuram in South Arcot district. The currency is referred to as Sirai Accu.(83)
Another record of Jatavarman Sundara at Thirukkalukkunram, refers to anrada nadakkum Narkasu.(84)
A distinction is made between panams and kasu in one of his inscription from Sinnamanur. It refers to the levy of imposts on cloth, pepper etc. The inscription is somewhat damaged. But for some items it specified 1 ma panam, and for cotton cloth one kasu and for areca nut, turmeric, pepper and dry ginger – One kasu(85) ½ panam for one podi of areca nut, transported towards east or north; and 1 ma panam for podi of pepper were levied in the same place for raising a Nandavanam. The inscriptions show two points of interest. (1) Both panam and Kasu were in circulation in the same place and (2) that Panam itself was divided into 20 (units) ma. 12 panams were endowed for food offerings at Periyakottai in Palani taluk.(86)
A few epigraphs coming from Nandaluru, Cuddappa district, dated in the reign of this ruler refers to panam. A 10th year record refers to the gift of 200 panams(87) for a flower garden and another 200 panam for the same purpose(88) Another record from the same place refers to Varahan Palam Panam(89)
A certain chieftain, Bhuvanasingarayan purchased ¼ share in a field for 1500 – Kasu(90) in Virapandyas 4th year. The same chieftain endowed 17 Kalanju of gold for Thirumekhalai, and 10 Kalanju gold for a Thiruppattam(91). He also instituted a service for which he levied acess from the two furnace run by the blacksmiths at 3 kasu per furnance and for 2 furnances-6 kasus were thus collected and asked to measure 1 ulaku of ghee.(92) In the same record, the Vallanadu arayars were said to collect a cross of 5 accu per year, equivalent to 6000 kasu (at 1200 kasu per accu) and another 300 kasu for clothing to be provided.(93) In this epigraph we find kalanju, Kasu and Accu. In this instance the Kalanju, was an unminted gold; Accu, a minted gold coin and the term Kasu was for a copper coin. That accue qnalled 1200 kasu would justify our assumption.
Another transaction in the same year refers to the imoposition of some penalty of 6000 kasu, in lieu of which certain lands were sold.(94) In the 10th year of the same ruler, the holders of cotton cultivated lands, were directed to pay 600 kasu per ma, as their land dues.(95)
In the 39th year (1292 A.D.) of Vira Pandya, the Arayars of Kananadu and Pudukkottai, solemnly swore to end their disputes. They also indicated 5 ma of land and 1000 panam as penalty for breach of the settlement(96). In the 9th year of this ruler the Thiruvarangulam temple purchased some lands for 10,000 kasu (evidently copper coins).
In the same year, the temple (of Thiruvarangulam) went to the Nattar by even offering the silver Thirukkolkai adorning the deity and thereby raising 11,000 kasu which was paid to the king’s officers as the aggregate arrears of land dues in cash and kind from the holding of one Perunar kili nadalvan.(97) This 11,000 kasu should have been a copper coin.
In 1266 A.D. a land under Iruppakudi tank was sold for 73,300 Pudukkasu, for the temple of Kudumiyamalai. As the number runs into 73,300, Pudukasu, it is evident the coin is a copper coin. It also shows that around 1260 a new coin has been introduced and this could be either the coin with the legend Conadukondan, Sundara pandyan, Ellamtalaiyan or Virapandyan Kasu for it was during this period that these coins were issued.
An inscription of the 4th year (1257 A.D.) of this ruler refers to Pudukkuligai at Madurai, indicating new coins were minted during the 4th year of his reign.(98) 6/320 veli of land cost 230 anradunarkasu at Srivanciyam.(99) A levy of certain tax on commodities by the merchants of the 18 vishayam of the 4 Nagaras is recorded for services in the temple of Rajasimesvara at Sinnaamanur in 1278 A.D.(100) The levies were 1 ma panam for 1 podi of areccanut, 2 ma panam for 1 podi of pepper and for erecting in the west, a gopura named after the 18 vishayas: the levy was made at the port of Uttamacholapuram.
1 ma panam from 1 podi rice 1 ma panam for 1 podi of areca nut and 2 ma pasam for 1 podi of pepper, were levied. Further a sales tax and purchase tax at the rate of ½ kani per panam, is also recorded.
Maravarman Kulasekara, had a long rule and had the title ‘Emmandalamum Kondaruliya’. The major part of his reign fell in 13th century and the later part in the 14th century AD. He was able to maintain in tact the vast empire bequeathed to him by Jatavarman Sundara and his colleques. Names of a number of new coins Masangulikai, like Danapalan Guligai, Gadyana accu, are mentioned in Kulasekara’s inscription.
A sum of 20,000 Kasus were paid as price for 1 veli for wet land and 2 ma of dry land (1000 kulis made one ma) at Thiruvanikkaval in 1271 AD.(101) In Thirumeycchur, 300 kuli of Padugai, 40 kuli of mania land (building site) and 6/26 veli of wet land were brought for which 83 Bhuvanekaviram panam, and 51 Ahavaraman Panam which are called current good coinage. Since these coins are referred to by two different names, it is likely that these two varieties had either the names Bhuvankaviran and Ahavaraman on them or some distinquishing marks to differentiate them. We are unable to say whether these are gold or silver panams. Probably they were Silver Panams. An unspecified extent of land at Pappankulam was sold for 928 Danapalan gulikai(102)
Two inscriptions coming from Peraiyur, Thirummeyyan taluk, dated in the reign of Kulasekhara, are interesting. They specify land revenue for different kinds of crops-256 kuli (square) 1 ma. According to the records, the levy should depend upon the crop.
200 kasu and 14 kalam paddy for 1 ma land.
¾ of the above levy for adi kuruvai paddy (150 kasu and 10 ½ kalams). ½ of the above for Tinai and Vargu. (100 kasu & kalam) 2 tuni & 1 padakku for Ellu and Payaru. The second record stipulates 2 Panams and 7 kalams paddy - 1 Ma 1 Panam and 3 ½ kalams paddy - Alippasi Kuuvai. ½ Panam and 1 ¾ kalam paddy - Adi Kuruvai 1 Tuni Ellu - for Ellu. 1 Panam for 1 ma of land growing Pumpkin
The inscription seems to suggest as equal to 100 kasu as equal to 1 Panam for in the first record 200 kasus is the levey for 1 ma and in the later 2 panams are levied for 1 ma.
In 1276 A.D. under Maravarman Kulasekara a sale of land is recorded for 3230 Panam. A sum of 1000 Masangulikai panam has been pledged earlier which yielded 6 ma per Masanpana, amounting to 1300 silver inclusive of interest. The Masan gulikai pana was a silver coin, and that it had denominations of 1/20. The interest however works out 30%(103)
Another coin named Danapala gulikai pana is mentioned in the same year, in the same place ½ Kuni of land was sold for Danapala gulikai panam.(104) The same coin is referred to in another record of the same place as 928 Danapala gulikai panam, as price of a land.(105)
A mandapa named Valangaimikaman mandapa, was built by Kulasekhara mahabalivanarayan. The levy was made on commodities at eastern quarters for the above purpose.
½ ma panam – 1 podi of areca nut 1 ma panam – 1 podi of pepper.
The inscription throws light on certain aspects of taxation. Both for buying and selling, taxes were levied.
A very interesting record of this ruler comes from Kodumbalur, in the Trichy district. Dated in 1269 A.D. the record refers to Pon, Palamcholiyan kasu Virapandyan kasu, Panam etc. Commenting on this, the editor of the record states, “It registers the sale of five pieces of land by the Kaikkolas and the Kaikkola mudalis of Kodumbalur to the temple to Thirumudukunramudaiyar of the same village in lieu of certain sums of money which seems to have been borrowed, from the temple by them previously and by their forebears. Owing to the damaged state of the record the sense of the inscription, in its detail is not clear. Mention is made of Pon, Palam choliyan Kasu, and Vira Pandyan Kasu of which the values seems to have stood in the ratio of 110:670:1050 Again 150 Panams is said to answer to 10505 kasu and 110 kalanju are general terms to be understood specifically according to prevelant usage.(106) In 1268 A.D. a land at Punnangudi was sold for 150 anradu Senbaga kuligai panam.(107)
þùç÷ ¨¸ì§¸¡Ç ӾĢ¸§Ç¡õ ºñ§¼ÍÃô ¦ÀÕÅ¢¨Ä¡¸ À¢ÃÁ¡½õ Àñ½¢ì ¦¸¡Îò¾ À⺡ÅÐ ÓýÉ¡û ±í¸û ÓÐì¸û
§Å𨼠¸¡ÄòÐ þó¿¡ÂÉ¡÷ º£Àñ¼¡Ãò¾¢ø ¾ðÎôÀÊ¡Öõ ¯ûÅâôÀÊ¡Öõ ¦¸¡ñ¼ ¦À¡ýÉ¡ö þÃðÊò¾ áüÚ ´ÕÀÐ
ÀÆ狀¡Æ¢Âý ¸¡Í «Ú áüÚ ±ØÀ¾¢É¡ø Å£ÃÀ¡ñÊÂý ¸¡Í Å¡º¢ ¦ÀüÈ ¸¡Í ¬Â¢ÃòÐ ³õÀÐõ ¦¸¡ñ¼ §ºÃÉ¡ø §ºÅÉ¡ø ¸¡Í 1000. 17-ÅÐ ¬ÅÉ¢ Á¡¾í ¦¸¡ñ¼ À½õ áüÚ ³õÀ¾¢É¡ø ¸¡Í 10505-õ ¦À¡ý áüÚ ´ÕÀ¾¢ý¸ÆïÍìÌõ ¸¡Í 10,505ìÌõ º£Àñ¼¡ÃòÐ ´Îì¸ ±í¸ÙìÌ (…)ò¾¢ þøÄ¡¾ÀÊ¡ø.

As mentioned earlier, the 13th century economy was a tangled affair, for a proper understanding of which the transactions under the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Hoysalas and minor chieftains like Kopperunjinga deserve attention. The coinage under the Cholas have already been dwelt with earlier. Yet for a total perspective a few records of the Cholas are also examined here at random.
In 1198 A.D., a sum of 1500 kasus were gifted for one perpetual lamp and the done was expected to measure 1 ulakku of ghee per day in the reign of Kulottunga III(108). In the 18th year of the same ruler 9000 kasus were gifted for one perpetual lamp at Srirangam.(109) At Enkan in Tanjore district, for one sandhi lamp, 35 kasus were deposited(110). Three inscriptions of Kulottunga III, coming from Tanjore district are interesting. For burning one perpetual lamp 40 kasus were endowed at Kollikkadu(111), 400 kasus at Pannatteru(112) and 4000 kasus at Thiruttengur(113). The amount 40-400-4000 for the same purpose seems to indicate that the first one was a gold coin, the second a silver and the last one a copper coin. If this is acceptable, the ratio between gold, silver and copper seem to work out 1:10:100. At Panmatteru itself 1003 kasus are recorded for one Tiru Nondavilakku.(114) The variation is not explicable. In 1205 A.D., some lands were sold at Manmarkoil in Tirunelveli district, for 330 ½ Pun-salakai-accu(115) In 1215 A.D., another land was sold for 6,80,000 kasus in the same place(116).
In the reign of Rajaraja III the difference in currency stands out more pronouncedly. 1500 anradu narkasus were gifted for one perpetual lamp at Agatyanpalli in Tanjore district.(117) At Kumbakonam 6 12/20 land was sold for 1,91,500 anradu narkasu áȡ¢ÃòÐ ¦¾¡ýëá¢ÃòÐ ´Ã¡Â¢ÃòÐ ³óáÚõ(118) In the same place another land, this time measuring 10 and odd veli was sold for 2,06,500 anradu narkasu.(119) 33 3/20 veli of land raising one crop was sold for 16,520 kasu (each veli of land raising one crop was sold for 16,520 kasu (each veli of land costing approximately 500 kasu).(120) At Srivanciyam. 3 ½ kani of land fetched 16,100 kasu,(121) 45,500 kasus were required to buy 1/4 veli of land at another place in the same reign.(122) In 1245-46 A.D., during the 25th year of the ruler, there was an invasion of Singanna Dandanayaka, a Hoysala general, and there was cessation of worship at Vedaranyam. An offer was made to a certain Uttama Nambi to undertak the setting up of an image of Nayanar and consort Nacciyar. Uttama Nambi gifted 50,000 kasus and with this amount two images were made. The images were obviously metal images made of copper and it is interesting to note the cost of making bronzes in 13th century A.D.
þÅ÷ Àì¸ø ¿¡í¸û ¨¸ì¦¸¡ñ¼ ¸¡Í 50,000. þì¸¡Í ³õÀ¾¢É¡Â¢ÃÓõ ¨¸ì¦¸¡ñÎ þó¿¡ÂÉ¡¨ÃÂÔõ ¿¡îº¢Â¡¨ÃÔõ ¾¢Õ ¿Â¿§Á¡‡À÷Âó¾Á¡¸ ¾¢ÕôÀ½¢ ̨ÈÅà ¦ºöÐ ÌÎò¾¨Á¢ø(123)

In 1218-19 A.D., 10 persons were sold as slaves for 1000, kasus ¬û Å¢¨Ä À¢ÃÁ¡½ þ¨º× ¾£ðÎ(124) In Pennesvaramadam, in Dharmapuri district, 5 udarans and 5 Suddha salakas a total of 10 pon were offered for one land.(125)
¾ð¼¡ý Ìð¨¼ìÌ 5 ¯¾¡ÃÛõ 5 Íò¾ ºÄ¡¨¸Ôõ ÀòÐ ¦À¡ý At Thiruppainjili, 415 ¾ Kani lands fetched 10,000 Kasus.(120) 40 Kasu for one perpetual lamp in the reign of Kulottunga III, is found repeated in the reign of Rajaraja III, at Sekal, in Tanjore district.(127) However in the same village, and in the same reign, 100 Kasu are recorded for one perpetual lamp.(128)
In Sekal, a lamp in the shape of a lady was gifted under Rajaraja III, in 1246 A.D. for which one palam kasu Dramma was gifted. It fetched 1/8 Dramma as interest per month which works out to 150% interest(129). For one perpetual lamp 50 kasus were gifted at Kaccanam(130) and 100 kasus in the same place.(131)
The trend continued under Rajendra III. 40 Varahan Panam are mentioned in Pancanadi Kulam under Rajendra III.(132) The name Varahan for a currency appears in this Chola inscription for the first time and it is no doubt due to Hoysala activity in the Tamil land.
The Hoysalas are represented in Tamilnad by Vira Narasimha, Vira Somesvara and Vira Ramanatha and later by Vira Ballala III. In the reign of Vira Narasimha, 8 veli of land cost 40,000 kasus and 5000 kasus as price for one veli of land as Jivana Sesha(133) (sustenance allowance). A 6th year record of Vira Somesvara at Srirangam, refers to 20 kuli of land at Nandavanamedu, sold for 3000 kasu.(134) During the 25th year of the same ruler 600 kulis of dry land was sold for 3000 kasu, at the rate of 5 kasu per kuli.(135) A 7th year record of Vira Ramanatha, refers to 40,000 anradu nar kasu for 4 veli of land (each Veli costing 10,000 kasu). In addition 1100 panams were deposited in the treasury (Pon Bandara) as capital for making a Simhasana for the Lord.(136) According to the text these 1100 panams were equal to 40,000 kasus which means that 1 panam was equal to approximately 36.36 kasus. Another record of Vira Ramanatha from the same place fixes the tax due for 16 ½ veils of land at 13, 133 kasu.
Kasus in thousands were in circulation under the Kadava Chieftain Kopperunjinga. In his 11th year 9 ma, of land at Singaratoppu at Chidambaram, was sold for 5000 kasu. "þó¿¢Äõ 9 Á¡×õ 6 Á¨Ä µ¨¼ ´ÕÅ¡ö ÐÃ×õ, ±ò¾Óõ, ²ò¾ ¿¢¨ÄìÌÆ¢Ôõ ÓýëýÈ¢Ôõ À¢ýëýÈ¢Ôõ þó¾ ²ò¾§Á Ð¼í¸¢ ¸¢ÆìÌ §¿¡ì¸¢ø ¦¸¡û ¸Äò¾¡ø þ¨ÈîÍ ¦¸¡Î §À¡¸¢È š측Öõ ¬¸ þò¾¨ÉÔõ.(137) In 1260 A.D. (13th year) 60 ma of land at Kattumannar koil was sold for 45,000 kasu. The inscription refers to Kallumakkummikki pon (?). It reads 8 mari pon – 25 kalanju according to Sokka Siyan kol.(138) It shows that Kalanju occasionally was used in transactions and that it was tested in this case with the stone called Sokkasiyan kal. It also suggests that the standard touch stones were named after the rulers. In Tirukkacchur near Madras, 195 kulis of land measured by 16 span-rod was sold for 7500 pudukkasu(139) (new coins). At Thirupparkadal, 700 kulis of land were sold for anradu ganda gopalan vasip pana pudu madai.(140) From this it is seen, that a new coin was minted (pudu madai) by Ganda Gopala.
The Telugu Chola Ganda Gopala ruling Nellore and Kanchipuram region, was a rival of Kopperunjinga. But yet the coins issued by Gandagopala found their way to the region of Kopperunjinga and become legal tender there and, secondly this coin was in all probability a gold coin. In Vayilakkavur, one madai was gifted for 1 sandhi lamp.(141) At little Kanchipuram, 15 Nellore Madras were gifted for one perpetual lamp. The name Nellore Madai, is noteworthy, which evidently denotes the place of mint, an interesting reference in 13th century A.D.(142) The donor of this temple lamp, at Kanchi hailed from Nellore. According to the record, her name was Sevuttal, sister-in-law of Annadeva of Nellore. Obviously the lady from Nellore has brought the coins from that place which was accepted. This should have been a gold coin. Sri. S. R. Balasubramaniam in his wok ‘Kopperunjingan’, gives valuable data about the value of lands under Kopperunjinga(143)
63 ma land Price 1,20,000 kasu(144) 50 ma land Price 18,000 kasu(145) 84 ma land Price 80,000 kasu(146) 50 kuli land Price 1,000 kasu(147) 1024 kuli land Price 3,000 kasu(148) 13½ kuli land Price 10,000 kasu(149) 195 kuli land Price 7,500 Pudukkasu(150)
It is seen that in a number of instances, the price runs into several thousand coins, though, in some instances the gold kalanju or Madai is also seen. It is in conformity with what is seen in the Chola, and Pandya records of the 13th century A.D. The copper coins have come in large circulation. But what is interesting is that Kopperunjinga who has left a permanent mark on Tamil history, art and architecture, does not seems to have issued a coin of his own No coin with his name has come down so far. Even if he has issued the coin is yet to be located.
Some interesting taxes mentioned in the reign of Sundara Pandya at Madurai area
Ponvari Viniyogam Olai Eduppu Viniyogam Kartikai Pon Sirai Accu Kartikai Paccai Tari Irai Pillaiyar Nonbu Sekkirai Al Tevai Er Vari Madil Tevai Ina Vari Taccu Tevai Ural Vari Anaic Calai Vasal Vari Kudirai Pandi Vannar Kasu Olai Eluttu Viniyogam
The above account is sufficient to show, that the 13th century witnessed a paucity of gold coins and the copper coins were minted in large numbers, which boosted the prices of all commodities. There was acute inflation and the economy so carefully built up by the Cholas from 10th to 12th century A.D., has started cracking and the frequent was have brought great suffering to the people. One of Kulottunga III’s record refer to bad times. This gradual decline in the economic stability, paved the way for the sudden collapse of the Tamil power and it was the main reason for the easy walk over of Malik-Kafur in the beginning of 14th century (in 1310 A.D.). Already the country was bereft of gold. It is not known how the gold was drained. If we may take a clue from the Arab historians, the Pandyas, who controlled the wealth, wasted all their resources in buying horses to cater to their wars. No knowing how to maintain the horses, they allowed several thousands to die. It ought to have aggravated the situation. The claim that Malik-Kafur carried several hundred maunds of gold, ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.
The 14th century A.D., changed the political fortunes of Tamilnad. In the first half of 14th century A.D. successive invasion of the Muslims shattered further the economy of the country. It also saw the introduction of the Sultanate coins. The later half witnessed remarkable recovery under Vijayanagar rule, with the advent of Kumara Kampana. It is proposed to take up this study at a later stage.

The Pandyan kingdom was an ancient Tamil state in South India of unknown antiquity. Pandyas were one of the three ancient Tamil kingdoms (Chola and Chera being the other two) who ruled the Tamil country from pre-historic times until end of the 15th century. They ruled initially from Korkai, a sea port on the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula, and in later times moved to Madurai.

Pandyas are mentioned in Sangam Literature (c. 100 - 200 CE) as well as by Greek and Roman sources during this period. Pandya ("Panyue 盤越 also called Hanyue wang 漢越王") is also apparently referred to in the 3rd century Chinese History, the Weilüe.

The early Pandyan dynasty of the Sangam literature went into obscurity during the invasion of the Kalabhras. The dynasty revived under Kadungon in the early 6th century, pushed the Kalabhras out of the Tamil country and ruled from Madurai. They again went into decline with the rise of the Cholas in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. Pandyas allied themselves with the Sinhalese and the Cheras in harassing the Chola empire until they found an opportunity for reviving their fortunes during the late 13th century.

Pandyas entered their golden age under Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (c. 1251) who expanded their empire into Telugu country and invaded Sri Lanka to conquer the northern half of the island. They also had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors. During their history Pandyas were repeatedly in conflict with the Pallavas, Cholas, Hoysalas and finally the Muslim invaders from the Delhi Sultanate. The Pandyan Kingdom finally became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.

The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the south Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced one of the finest pearls known in the ancient world. Tradition holds that the legendary Sangam were held in Madurai under their patronage. Some of the Pandya kings were Sangam poets .

Religiously the ancient Pandyas were Jains with a strong influence of the Dravidian religeon. Aruhakkadavul was the major God. The later day Pandyas after 600 AD were Hindus who proudly claimed to descend from Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.Pandiyan Nedumchadayan became a staunch Vaishnavite.[2]


Sangam Literature

Various Pandya kings find mention in a number of poems in the Sangam Literature. Among them Nedunjeliyan, 'the victor of Talaiyalanganam', and Mudukudimi Peruvaludi 'of several sacrifices' deserve special mention. Besides several short poems found in the Akananuru and the Purananuru collections, there are two major works - Mathuraikkanci and the Netunalvatai (in the collection of Pattupattu) give a glimpse into the society and commercial activities in the Pandyan kingdom during the Sangam age.

It is difficult to estimate the exact date of these Sangam age Pandyas. The period covered by the extant literature of the Sangam is unfortunately not easy to determine with any measure of certainty. Except the longer epics Silapathikaram and Manimekalai, which by common consent belong to the age later than the Sangam age, the poems have reached us in the forms of systematic anthologies. Each individual poem has generally attached to it a colophon on the authorship and subject matter of the poem, the name of the king or chieftain to whom the poem relates and the occasion which called forth the eulogy are also found.

It is from these colophons and rarely from the texts of the poems themselves, that we gather the names of many kings and chieftains and the poets and poetesses patronized by them. The task of reducing these names to an ordered scheme in which the different generations of contemporaries can be marked off one another has not been easy. To add to the confusions, some historians have even denounced these colophons as later additions and untrustworthy as historical documents.

Any attempt at extracting a systematic chronology from these poems should take into consideration the casual nature of these poems and the wide differences between the purposes of the anthologist who collected these poems and the historian’s attempts to arrive at a continuous history.


The earliest Pandya to be found in epigraph, is Nedunjeliyan figuring in the Minakshipuram record assigned from the second to the first centuries BCE. The record documents a gift of rock-cut beds, to a Jain ascetic. Punch marked coins in the Pandya country dating from around the same time have also been found.

Pandyas are also mentioned in the Pillars of Ashoka (inscribed 273 - 232 BCE). Asoka in his inscriptions refers to the peoples of south India as the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas and Satiyaputras as recipients of his Buddhist proselytism. These kingdoms, although not part of the Mauryan Empire, were in friendly terms with Asoka:

"The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six hundred yojanas (5,400–9,600 km) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni (Sri Lanka)." (Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika).
Foreign Sources

The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 60 - 100 CE) describes the riches of a 'Pandian Kingdom':

...Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another Kingdom, the Pandian. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea.... [3]
The Chinese historian Yu Huan in his 3rd century text, the Weilüe, mentions a The Kingdom of Panyue:

"...The kingdom of Panyue is also called Hanyuewang. It is several thousand li to the southeast of Tianzhu (Northern India)...The inhabitants are small; they are the same height as the Chinese..."[4]
The Roman emperor Julian received an embassy from a Pandya about 361. A Roman trading centre was located on the Pandyan coast (Alagankulam - at the mouth of the Vaigai river, southeast of Madurai).

Pandyas also had trade contacts with Ptolemaic Egypt and, through Egypt, with Rome by the first century, and with China by the 3rd century. The 1st century Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus met, at Damascus, the ambassador sent by an Indian King "named Pandion or, according to others, Porus" to Caesar Augustus around 13 CE (Strabo XV.1-4, and Strabo XV.1-73).[5]

List of Pandyan Kings

Although there are many instances of the Pandya kingdom being referred in ancient literature and texts, we currently have no way of determining a cogent genealogy of these ancient kings. In order to maintain verifiability of this article, the names of these early Pandya Kings have been omitted. We have a connected history of the Pandyas from the fall of Kalabhras during the middle of the 6th century.

The following lists of the Pandya kings are based on the authoritative A History of South India from the Early Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar by K.A.N. Sastri, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 1998).

Early Pandyas

Main article: Early Pandyan Kingdom
The following is a partial list of Pandyan emperors who ruled during the Sangam age:[6][7][8]

Nedunj Cheliyan I ( Aariyap Padai Kadantha Nedunj Cheliyan )
Nedunj Cheliyan II ( Pasumpun Pandiyan)
Mudukudumi Paruvaludhi
Nedunj Cheliyan III ( Talaiyaalanganathu Seruvendra Nedunj Cheliyan )
Nan Maran
Maran Valudi
Musiri Mutriya Cheliyan
Ukkirap Peruvaludi
First Empire

After the close of the Sangam age, the first Pandyan empire was established by Kadungon in the 6th century defeating the Kalabhras. The following is a chronological list of the Pandya emperors is based on an inscription found on the Vaigai riverbeds.

Kadungon 560 - 590
Maravarman Avani Culamani 590 - 620
Cezhiyan Cendan 620 - 640
Arikesari Maravarman Nindraseer Nedumaaran 640 - 674
Kochadaiyan Ranadhiran 675 - 730
Arikesari Parankusa Maravarman Rajasinga 730 - 765
Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan 765 - 790
Rasasingan II 790 - 800
Varagunan I 800 - 830
Sirmara Srivallabha 830 - 862
Varaguna II 862 - 880
Parantaka Viranarayana 862 - 905
Rajasimha III 905 - 920
After the defeat of the Kalabhras, the Pandya kingdom grew steadily in power and territory. With the Cholas in obscurity, the Tamil country was divided between the Pallavas and the Pandyas, the river Kaveri being the frontier between them.

After Vijayalaya Chola conquered Thanjavur defeating the Muttarayar chieftains around 850, the Pandyas went into a period of decline. They were constantly harassing their Chola overlords occupying their territories. Parantaka Chola I invaded the Pandya territories and defeated Rajasinha III. However Pandyas reversed this defeat to gain back most of their lost territories.

Under the Cholas

The Chola domination of the Tamil country began in earnest during the reign of Parantaka Chola II. Chola armies led by Aditya Karikala, son of Parantaka Chola II defeated Vira Pandya in battle. The Pandyas were assisted by the Sinhalese forces of Mahinda IV. Pandyas were driven out of their territories and had to seek refuge in the island of Sri Lanka. This was the start of the long exile of the Pandyas. They were replaced by a series of Chola viceroys with the title Chola Pandyas who ruled from Madurai from c. 1020.

The following list gives the names of the Pandya kings who were active during the 10th and the first half of 11th century. It is difficult to give their date of accession and duration of their rule. Nevertheless their presence in the southern country require recognition.

Sundara Pandya I
Vira Pandya I
Vira Pandya II
Amarabhujanga Tivrakopa
Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya
Maravarman Vikrama Chola Pandya
Maravarman Parakrama Chola Pandya
Jatavarman Chola Pandya
Srivallabha Manakulachala (1101 - 1124)
Maaravaramban Seervallaban (1132 - 1161)
Parakrama Pandiyan (1161 - 1162)
Kulasekara Pandyan III
Vira Pandyan III
Jatavarman Srivallaban (1175 - 1180)
Jatavarman Kulasekara Devan (1180 - 1216)
Pandya Revival

The 13th century is the greatest period in the history of the Pandyan Empire. Their power reached its zenith under Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan in the middle of the 13th century. The foundation for such a great empire was laid by Maravarman Sundara Pandya early in the 13th century.

Maravarman Sundara Pandya (1216 - 1238)
Sundaravaramban Kulasekaran II (1238 - 1240)
Maaravaramban Sundara Pandiyan II (1241 - 1251)
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (1251 - 1268)
Maaravaramban Kulasekara Pandyan I (1268 - 1308)
Sundara Pandyan IV (1309 - 1327)
Vira Pandyan IV (1309 - 1345)
End of Pandyas

The Pandyan kingdom was replaced by the Chola princes who assumed the title as Chola Pandiyas in the l1th century. After being overshadowed by the Pallavas and Cholas for centuries, Pandyan glory was briefly revived by the much celebrated Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan in 1251 and the Pandya power extended from the Telugu countries on banks of the Godavari river to the northern half of Sri Lanka. This success had a lot to do with the rapid decline of the Great Imperial Cholas and also to the extraordinarily brilliant revival attempts made by the later pallava chiefs Kopperunjinga I and Kopperunjinga II, who in their brief tenure were very successful against the Hoysalas who were rising to power.

The Pandyan kingdom was only a default successor to the void created by complete extinction of illustrious Cholas and Pallavas. Marco Polo notes that the Pandyan kingdom though the richest in the world, and very prosperous did not possess the proportionate military strength. Many chiefs keeping up the trend of that age all over the world, were not only corrupt and irresponsible but also displayed their evil tendencies when they allowed and supported the revival of obscure and occult practices (like black magic and manipulation) that had stayed strictly banned since early pallava period.

On the death of Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I in 1308, a conflict stemming from succession disputes arose amongst his sons. Sundara Pandya and Vira Pandya fought each other for the throne. Soon Madurai fell into the hands of the invading armies of the Delhi Sultanate who were making the most of corruption and anarchy in the subcontinent. Pandyas and their descendants were confined to a small region around Thirunelveli for a few more years and after the 17th century C.E. we hear no more of them.

After Madurai fell into the hands of the invading armies of the Delhi Sultanate, the Pandyas sought the help of Vijayanagar Empire. The Vijayanagar Empire replaced the Delhi Sultanate in Madurai and appointed Nayak governors to rule from Madurai.