Three Crowned Kings

Last updated

Areas of influence of Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas in 300 BC South India in BC 300.jpg
Areas of influence of Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas in 300 BC
Three Crowned Kings ruled Tamilakam which comprised that part of India south of the Maurya Empire in c. 250 BCE. Maurya Empire, c.250 BCE 2.png
Three Crowned Kings ruled Tamilakam which comprised that part of India south of the Maurya Empire in c. 250 BCE.

The Three Crowned rulers, or the Three Glorified by Heaven [1] or World of the Three, [2] primarily known as Moovendhar, refers to the triumvirate of Chera, Chola and Pandya who dominated the politics of the ancient Tamil country, Tamilakam, from their three Nadu (countries) of Chola Nadu, Pandya Nadu (present day Madurai and Tirunelveli) and Chera Nadu (present day Karur in Tamil Nadu and Kerala) in southern India. [3] [ page needed ] They signalled a time of integration and political identity for the Tamil people. [4] [ full citation needed ] They would frequently wage war against one another under a period of instability [5] until the Imperial period of Rajaraja I who united Tamilakam under one leadership.[ citation needed ]



The etymology of the Tamil word for the three kings – Moovendhar (pronounced Mūvēntar) – comes from Tamil : மூ, romanized: , lit.  'three' and Tamil : வேந்தர், romanized: vēntar, lit.  'king', [6] [ failed verification ] so strictly should be translated as 'Lord' (lesser-king) as opposed to 'King' which in Tamil is கோன் (Kōn).[ citation needed ] They are mentioned by Megasthenes and the Edicts of Ashoka, [7] and first in Tolkappiyam among Tamil literature who was the first to call them Three Glorified by Heaven (Tamil : வான்புகழ் மூவர், Vāṉpukaḻ Mūvar  ? ). [1] Ptolemy and the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mention three kingdoms ruling Tamilakam.[ citation needed ]


The seats of Muvendhas lie in the modern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu Kerala and Tamil Nadu - combined district map.svg
The seats of Muvendhas lie in the modern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

The Pandyas were the earliest of the Muvendhar and were of high antiquity being mentioned by Kātyāyana and Valmiki. [8] However the establishment of a Pandya territory is not known until the sixth century under King Kadungon who liberated the Pandya country from the Kalabhras. Xuanzang reports that Jainism was flourishing while Buddhism was declining during this period.[ citation needed ] They were famous for being patrons of the Tamil Sangams which were held in their capital, Madurai. Pliny mentions the Pandya country and its capital. The large number of Roman coins from Emperor Augustus to Emperor Zeno found in Madurai shows that trade flourished among Rome, Greece and Tamilakam. Two embassies sent from the Pandya dynasty to Emperor Augustus were recorded.[ citation needed ] The Roman and Greek writers praise Korkai (now called Tuticorin or Thoothukudi) as the seaport of the Pandyas.[ citation needed ]


The Silappatikaram alludes to the solar ancestry of the Cholas and the lunar ancestry of the Pandyas. It does not mention anything about the ancestry of the Cheras. [9] The 15th century Tamil Mahabharata of Villiputtur Alvar describes the Chera king as from the fire dynasty, retaining the solar and lunar origins for the Chola and the Pandya kings respectively. [10] The Tiruvilayatar Puranam (or Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam ), possibly from the 17th century, also states that when Brahma re-created the world after a deluge, he created the Chera, Chola and the Pandya kings as descendants of the fire, the sun and the moon respectively. [9]

Chola Purva Patayam ("Ancient Chola Record"), a Tamil language manuscript of uncertain date, contains a legend about the divine origin of the three crowned kings. According to it, the Shramana king Shalivahana (also known as Bhoja in this story) defeated Vikramaditya, and started persecuting the worshipers of Shiva and Vishnu. After failing to kill Shalivahana with a rain of fire, Shiva created three kings: Vira Cholan (Chola), Ula Cheran (Chera), and Vajranga Pandiyan (Pandya). The three kings came to bathe together at the triveni sangam (three-river confluence) in Thirumukkoodal, and formed an alliance against Shalivahana. Next, they went through a number of adventures at various places, including Kashi and Kanchi. With the blessings of Durga, they found treasure and inscriptions of Hindu kings from the age of Shantanu to Vikramaditya. They then reached Cudatturiyur (possibly Uraiyur), where Vira Cholan wrote letters to all those who worshipped Shiva and Vishnu, seeking their help against Shalivahana. A number of people assembled at Cudatturiyur to support the three kings' campaign. When Shalivahana heard of this preparation, he marched towards the south and took possession of the strong citadel at Tiruchirappalli. The three kings sent their envoy to Shalivahana, asking him to surrender and renounce his faith. When he refused, they and their allies assembled an army at Thiruvanaikaval. From an inscription that they had earlier found at Kanchi, they realised that there was a subterranean entrance into the Tiruchirappalli fort. They sent a few soldiers who entered the fort and opened its Chintamani gate. Their forces then entered the fortress, and defeated Shalivahana. Chola Purva Patayam dates Shalivahana's defeat to the year 1443 of an uncertain calendar era (possibly from the beginning of Kali Yuga). [11] [ better source needed ]

Related Research Articles

Carnatic region

The Carnatic region is the peninsular South Indian region between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, in the erstwhile Madras Presidency and in the modern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh; during the British era, demarcation was different including Karnataka and the whole region south of Deccan with black soil.

Pandya dynasty Ancient Tamil dynasty

The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of south India, one of the three ethnically Tamil lineages, the other two being the Chola and the Chera. The rulers of the three dynasties were referred to as "the three crowned rulers of the Tamil country". The Pandyas ruled extensive territories, at times including the large portions of present-day south India and Sri Lanka. Madurai was capital of the pandya kingdom.

Simhavishnu Pallava King

Simhavishnu, also known as Avanisimha, son of Simhavarman III and one of the Pallava kings of India, was responsible for the revival of the Pallavan dynasty. He was the first Pallava monarch whose domain extended beyond Kanchipuram (Kanchi) in the South. He was portrayed as a great conqueror in Mattavilasa Prahasana, a drama written by his son Mahendravarman I.

Rajaraja I Rājakesarī"`UNIQ--ref-00000004-QINU`""`UNIQ--ref-00000005-QINU`"

Rajaraja I, born Arulmoli Varman, often described as Rajaraja the Great, was a Chola emperor chiefly remembered for reinstating the Chola power and ensuring its supremacy in south India and Indian Ocean.

Aditya I Rajakesarivarman

Aditya I, the son of Vijayalaya, was the Chola king who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas and occupied the Western Ganga Kingdom.

Rajendra Chola I Parakesari, Yuddhamalla, Mummudi, Gangai Kondan, Kadaram Kondan"`UNIQ--ref-00000002-QINU`"

Rajendra Chola I or Rajendra I was a Tamil Chola emperor of South India Present day of who succeeded his father Rajaraja Chola I to the throne in 1014 CE. During his reign, he extended the influence of the Chola empire to the banks of the river Ganga in North India Present day of and he Captured and Controlled the Whole Indian ocean and South India Present day of South East Asia Present day of making the Chola Empire one of the most powerful maritime empires of India. Rajendra's conquests included Sri Lanka, Maldives, and he successfully invaded the territories of Srivijaya in Malay Peninsula, Southern Thailand, Sumatra and Java in South East Asia. The Cholas exacted tribute from Thailand and the Khmer kingdom of Cambodia. He defeated Mahipala, the Pala king of Gauda in present-day Bengal and Bihar, and to commemorate his victory he assumed the title of 'Gangaikondachola', literally the Chola who conquered the Ganga and also built a new capital city called Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Rajadhiraja Chola KoParakesarivarman, Maharajadhiraja, Yuddhamalla

Kōpparakēsarivarman Rājādhiraja Chōla I was an emperor of the Indian Chola empire and the successor of his father, Emperor Rajendra Chola I. During his long reign, he helped his father conquer many territories and maintained the Chola authority over most of Lanka, Vengi, Kalinga, etc. and the relations with overseas domains despite a series of revolts in the territory. Rajadhiraja Chola’s record shows that he was a born fighter who was very capable of maintaining a vast and expansive empire with territories even outside the shores of India. He was a great warrior who always led his soldiers from the front. His life is a testimony to a great king who fought his own wars, standing shoulder to shoulder with his men on front lines. He earned the title Jayamkonda Chola after numerous victories. Towards the end of his reign, he sacked the Western Chalukyan capital Kalyanapuram and assumed the title Kalyanapuramgonda Chola and performed a Virabhisheka under the name Vijaya Rajendra Cholan.

Chera dynasty

The Chera dynasty was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Together with the Cholas of Uraiyur and the Pandyas of Madurai, the early Cheras were known as one of the three major powers (muventar) of ancient Tamilakam in the early centuries of the Common Era.

Chola dynasty One of the Three Crowned Kings (dynasties) of Tamilakam

The Chola dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world's history. The earliest datable references to the Chola are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE left by Ashoka, of the Maurya Empire. As one of the Three Crowned Kings of Tamilakam, along with the Chera and Pandya, the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until the 13th century CE. Despite these ancient origins, the period when it is appropriate to speak of a "Chola Empire" only begins with the medieval Cholas in the mid-9th century CE.

Vikramaditya Legendary emperor of Ujjain, India.

Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of ancient India. Often characterized as an ideal king, he is known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Vikramaditya is featured in hundreds of traditional Indian stories, including those in Baital Pachisi and Singhasan Battisi. Many describe him as a universal ruler, with his capital at Ujjain.

Karikala historical Chola king who ruled southern India

Karikala was a Chola dynasty king who ruled southern India. He is credited with the conquest of the whole of India up to the Himalayas and the construction of the flood banks of the river Kaveri. He is recognised as the greatest of the Early Cholas.

Tamilakam Geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people

Tamilakam refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people. Tamilakam covered today's Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and southern parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Traditional accounts and Tolkāppiyam referred these territories as a single cultural area, where Tamil was the natural language and culture of all people. The ancient Tamil country was divided into kingdoms. The best known among them were the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyans and Pallavas. During the Sangam period, Tamil culture began to spread outside Tamilakam. Ancient Tamil settlements were also found in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Giravarus).

Early Cholas Ancient Tamil kingdom

The Cholas were a Tamil kingdom of the pre and post Sangam period. It was one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country. Their early capitals were Urayur and Kaveripattinam. Along with Pandyas and Cheras, Chola history goes back to the period where written records were scarce.

Ay dynasty former dynasty of India

Ay dynasty was an Indian ruling lineage which controlled the south-western tip of the peninsula, from the early historic period up to the medieval period. The clan traditionally held sway over the harbour of Vizhinjam, the fertile region of Nanjinad, and southern parts of the spice-producing Western Ghat mountains. The dynasty was also known as Kupaka in medieval period.


Atiyamāṉ were a royal Kongu Tamil dynasty. These king-chiefs ruled from their capital Tagadur from at least the 3rd century BCE. The royal house was one of the four kingdoms of Tamilakam, ruling parts of the Kongu Nadu. They were surrounded by the Cheras to the west and the Pandyas and Cholas to the east.

Hinduism in Tamil Nadu finds its earliest literary mention in the Sangam literature dated to the 5th century BCE. The total number of Tamil Hindus as per 2011 Indian census is 63,188,168 which forms 87.58% of the total popualation of Tamil Nadu. Hinduism is the largest religion in Tamil Nadu.

The Battle of Pullalur was a battle fought between the Chalukya king Pulakesin II and the Pallava king Mahendravarman I in the town of Pullalur or Pollilur in about 618–19.

Architecture of Tamil Nadu

Nearly 33,000 ancient temples, many at least 800 to 2000 years old, are found scattered all over Tamil Nadu. As per Tamil Nadu Hindu Endowments Board, there are 38615 Temples. Most of the largest Hindu Temples reside here. Studded with complex architecture, variety of sculptures, and rich inscriptions, the temples remain the very essence of the culture and heritage of Tamil land, with historical records dating back to at least 3,000 years.

Kutruva Nayanar

Kutruva Nayanar, also known as Kootruva , Kutruva, Kutruvar, Kootruvar, Kurruva Nayanar, Kurruvar, Kurruvan, Kutruvanar, Kurrrruvar, Kalappallan and Kalappalar, was a chieftain of Kalandai and a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the 39th in the list of 63 Nayanars. Kutruva is often described as a Jain, who became a devotee of Shiva, the patron god of Shaivism.

Shalivahana was a legendary emperor of ancient India, who is said to have ruled from Pratishthana. He is believed to be based on a Satavahana king.


  1. 1 2 A. Kiruṭṭin̲an̲ (2000). Tamil culture: religion, culture, and literature. Bharatiya Kala Prakashan. p. 17.
  2. Peter Schalk, A. Veluppillai (2002). Buddhism among Tamils in pre-colonial Tamilakam and Ilam: Prologue. The pre-Pallava and the Pallava period. Uppsala University Library.
  3. van Bakel, M.; Hagesteijn, Renée; van de Velde, Piet (1994). Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes. Het Spinhuis.
  4. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 1997.
  5. Pollock, Sheldon (2003). reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press. p. 298.
  6. The journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Volume 47. Numismatic Society of India. 1985. p. 91.
  7. Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). History of ancient India: earliest times to 1000 A.D. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 246.
  8. Tripati, Rama Shankar (1987). History of ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 31.
  9. 1 2 Alf Hiltebeitel 2009, p. 472.
  10. Alf Hiltebeitel 2009, p. 471.
  11. William Cooke Taylor (1838). Examination and Analysis of the Mackenzie Manuscripts Deposited in the Madras College Library. Asiatic Society. pp. 49–55.