Ancient Pandya kingdom - Location

The Early Pandyas of the Sangam period were one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country, the other two being the Cholas and the Cheras. Most of the information about the Early Pandyas comes to us through literary sources. The capital of the Early Pandyan kingdom was initially Korkai, around and was later moved to Kudal (now Madurai) during the reign of Nedunj Cheliyan I. The Medieval Pandyas kingdom is well documented and replete with archeological evidence. But the Early pandyas was not.

Let us analayse the early pandyas, how they came into history.

Sangam LiteratureMaduraikkanci (761-763), by Mankudi Maruthanaar contains a full-length description of Madurai and the Pandyan country under NedunjCheliyan III. Netunalvatai (9th century AD)(in the collection of Pattupattu) give a glimpse into the society and commercial activities. One expert has said, since in one sentence in this poem there is a mention of a vembu flower adorning the spear of the hero, he could be identified to belong to the Pandya dynasty, but it is not certain. until 8th century Kanchi was referred as madurakanchi and Madurai was called Koodal,so we do not know if the said city and dynasty are same.

Descriptions of three major kings of Tamil nadu Chera, chola, pandya and minor chieftains called Velir are found in the Akananuru and the Purananuru collections (both 9th century AD). The second poem by Mudinagarayar addresses the Chera king Uthayan Cheralaathan and praises him for his feeding the armies at the Kurukshetra war. This is an obvious anachronism suggesting a king of the early Common Era Tamil country had a role to play in a mythological battle of the Mahabharata epic. Based on this one poem, there have been attempts at dating the Purananuru poems to around 1000 BCE or older. Which as we can see is full of legends and inaccuracies. Akananuru was compiled by Rudrasarman at the behest of the Pandya king Ukkiraperuvazhuthi. This also contains poems from Perunthevanar(9th century AD).

Silapathikaram and Manimekalai Both these works deal with pandya kings extensively. But dating has always been a issue. refer link1

Meenakshipuram edictEventhough Meenakshipuram edict is said to refer nedunjeliyan , there is noway to verify authenticity of the inscription. And the inscription does not refer to pandyas or nedunjeliyan.

Ashoka edictAshoka edict mentions coda pada satyaputo , ceraputo. Experts says pada in edict means Pandyas , but we do not know for sure. Since no other evidence suggest this. Kautilya when discussion about his southern country karnataka does not say anything about kingdoms beyond that.

Hathigumpha inscriptionsThe Hathigumpha inscriptions of the Kalinga King, Kharavela, (c. 150 BCE) refers to the arrival of a tribute of jewels and elephants from the Pandu king. We have nothing other than that.

Singhalese chronicle Mahawamsa claims that King Vijaya (c. 543 BCE) married a daughter of the Pandu king Kulasekaran, to whom he was sending rich presents every year. Let us see what dipavamsa(4th century AD) say about this, it says Pandu king kulashekara , does not specify whether he is from tamil nadu or he is tamil king. This might be an attempt to link up with Pandavas.

Foreign sources
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 60 - 100 CE) describes the riches of a 'Medura Regia Pandionis ': ...Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another Kingdom, the Pandionis. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea....

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..."

The Roman emperor Julian received an embassy from a Pandion about 361.

The 1st century Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus met, at Damascus, the ambassador sent by an Indian King "named Pandion or, " to Caesar Augustus around 13 CE.

PandionPandion Historians dispute term pandion and they say it is porus that is mentioned not pandyas

There are numerous pandu kings in India , both Big and small. Each is an attempt to link up with Pandavas in mahabharata.

Pandyas of West Coast of karnataka
Pandya Bhutala pandya devipandyaAs per Bhutala Pandya Charitam – A Sanskrit book with 13 chapters - Bhutala Pandya’s rule begins at 77 A.D in Barkur as capital in south canara district of Karnataka. Their rule also included parts of Kerala. They are also mentioned in Puranas. Many claim the western sources and the indian sources mentioned refer to Pandyas in south canara. It is interesting to note that the kingdom of Bhutala Pandya was the first to have a delegation of Chinese traders in this part of the Vijayanagar Empire. Chinese porcelain relics can still be found in the temple built by Bhutala Pandya in Barkur (now in Udupi district). Many argue that the ambassador to Rome was from Bhutala pandya kingdom.

Siri Paddana
Antiquity of the Siri paDdana dates back to the period of Tamil Sangham literature. There are several Pali proper nouns in the Siri paDdana that show the backdrop of Buddhism during the composition of the oral epic. Buddhist elements have also been recognized in the environs of Tamil Sangham. The word Sangham (=association) itself is a word associated with. Analogy between the Siri paDdana and the story of Kanaki in Sangham literature suggests that both epics were two different regional versions been built on the same story element. As noted by Peter Claus “there are some tantalizing similarities between the Siri cult and that of Pattini, and also between the Siri legend and that of Kanagi (Pattini)”.The similarity of story element in the Sangham Kanaki and Tulu Siri, leads us to conclude that the composition of Siri paDdana was contemporary of Tamil Sangham literature. Many words in cilapathikaram are of tulu origin.

Barkur in Tulu nadu.
Greek and Roman sources say lot of about the ports of barkur, Kalian, Malpe,Olokhoira(which tamil scholars mention as korkai, tulu people call it as alavakhedu in South canara)

Medieval chera kingdom is Tulu
Medival chera kingdom we know is a Tulu origin. The Namboodaries are from Tulu nadu and they established the chera kingdom. Many of the sangam works are by Chera kings.

Chetty (chettiyar) Tale
The Nagarathar are migrated towards Pandya kingdom(707AD). The reason is that one of the Chola kings fell in love with one of the nagarathar girl, but the King refused to marry her. The nagrathars requested the King to marry her, but the king was very stubborn. Therefore the whole women community gave up their life and the men moved to the Pandya kingdom. The Pandian welcomed the Nagarathars and asked them where they wanted to live in his land. The nagarathars opted for the Chettinad Area. The Pandian wanted the community to grow and therefore he requested the nagarathars to marry again. Therefore they married the girls from the Saiva Vellalar community from Tirunelveli area. May be that is the reason they still have the practice of addressing the dad as Appachi, mom as Aatha, granny as Appatha / Aaya & granddad as Ayya.

Nagarathar, presently known as Nattukottai Nagarathars, are believed to have originated from Chandrapuri in the former Naganadu. There appears to be no authentic record in writing for said belief, excepting what has been handed down to our ancestors by word of mouth, especially 'Thalattu Padal' which itself has taken twist and turn over the years and has lost its originality. Our 'Isaikudimanam' (marriage deed) also bears testimony to our origin wherein it refers to 'Nagavalla…..' Location of former Naganadu is also debatable. Some of our Nagarathars say it is the border between Kerala and Tamilnadu. So many argue that it is the evidence of ancient trade with Rome Greece and South canara

PandavasThe most famous Panadavas has been mentioned in many literary souces , many are pronounced differently. Many say most of the ancient inscriptions refer to pandavas.

so we are not able to come to any conclusion on Ancient pandyas. Many of Sangam literatures who mention Pandyas are after written after 7th century AD. Many of the inscriptions referring to pandyas may not refer to pandavas. Many similar sounding names and trying to attach themselves to Pandavas has made the task of seprating myth and reality very difficult.


  1. just i like to know whether nadar[nattar] community from south tamilnadu are decendence of pandya kingdom.i like to talk more about this.

  2. Nadars during the Pandyan times used to be Jains and Hindus. In modern times the Jainism has completely disappeared from the Nadar community

  3. Dear Mr. Nadar
    Do you have anything to backup your statements or you are just day dreaming.

    By the way have you explored the claim that Nadars in tamil nadu are of sinhala heritage.

  4. Dear Mr.Anon,
    Do you have any proofs to back up your claim first!! As per Hardgrave, yes the Nadars were most probably the descendants of the early pandyans!! He also describes that the region around Korkai is the origin of the Nadars. Not Lanka.So please...

    1. Nadars not belongs to kshatriyas real panditans r parathavars or paravars they r the early pandiyas later pandiyas r maravars

  5. Why most of the people who come to the pages of Chola and Pandyas are after their castes.

    Pandyas are the thickest allies to Sinhala, they can be called their brothers. Any invasion on Pandyas will aided by Sinhalese. Pandyas acted as the first defence to lanka

    The Animosity today between lanka and India the creation of last 100 years.

    1. ya this may be true, since pandyas always go and hide at srilanga

  6. I like this post

    Vincent A

    I eager to know abt Pandyas As i am based on rural areas in Tirunelnel ( Korkai)

  7. ModaSattva, you are right, the early Pandyans and Sinhala were allies or can say brother-in-laws, both helped each other during war with the Cholas.
    After Kalapalar rule in Tamilnadu and Kerala for 400 years Pallavamalla Narasimha helped defeat the Kalavar rulers. Similarly after 600 years of Chola domination it was the Sinhalas who helped the pandyans to regain their kingdom.
    But sorry to say, the Pandyans were overthrown by Nayaka rule later and similarly the Sinhalas were overthrown by the Nayake kings. The Pandyans were paupered after Malik Kafurs loot of Madurai. Huge droves of the nobility, loyal soldiers of Pandyans moved out of Madurai and settled in dry sands of tirunelveli and some in Kanyakumari. The Pandyans continued to have some hold as minor lords around Tenkasi and Kayathar. Even that was later snatched by Telugu Balija/Vaduga and Maravar Poligars.
    Both the Sinhala Gamini rulers and the Maravarman Pandyans did not have a kingdom when the westerners arrived.
    I know caste names they have adopted now, but that is irrelevant here.

  8. ModaSattva, you are partially right, but the Gamini Sinhala and Maravarman Pandyans were brother-in-laws.
    But to put the point across when the westeners came here, Srilanka was ruled by Nayake kings and Madurai by Nayakar kings, both have their origins in the Vijayanagar region.
    Pandyans were paupered by Malik Kafurs loot. So the Nayaks simply shooed them away to tirunelveli where they held on for some time. Later the Pandyans in Tirunelveli were again hounded and replaced by Nayaka and Maravar jamindars. Panchalankurichi is the place where five Pandyan brothers were killed by some Nayakar chieftain.
    Only place where the relatives of Pandyans had some influence was in Nattathi after the British hanged Kattabomma Nayaka. The last jamindar of Nattathi outside of the Maravar and Nayaka castes was Thiruvaradi Vaihunda Nadan. After his death the land was divided among his relatives, majority of them were christians.
    Among the direct bloodline of the Tenkasi Pandyans, 3 brothers survived, one went on to Srilanka, one somewhere near Tuticorin and another somewhere near Nagercoil. This is just heresay, there is no evidence. But to give a clue, both brothers and their descendants reared a lot of goats and were agri traders until some two generations back. Nothing is known of the one who went to Srilanka. @Vincent dont worry, when the Pandyans come calling the world will know.

  9. Malik kafur was in Dwarasamudra, Hoysala capital, when he heard of fight between two pandya brothers. He rushed to Madurai and of course pandya king played hide and seek for some time. Malik kafur urgently returned to north india as they was a attack in north india and all the forces were rushed to defend capital. But brief stay did not help the temples there. Most temples you see are rebuilt by nayakas.

    Inshort Pandyas where nowhere when malik kafur invaded. soon pandyas were replaced with muslim rule until vijayanagara kingdom liberated them.

    Sinhala and Pandyas relation was during Buddhist times. when cholas were ruling.

    Again I have to say most people come to this page for their caste

  10. Dinesh
    I dont believe in Kalabhra rule. I dont believe in antiquity of sangam as well.

    See my articles on Kalabhras and Purananooru.

    Cholas did not dominate for 600 years. First indpendent rule during Aditya karikala and Parantaka chola and later during Raja Raja and Rajendra chola accounting for less than 100 years.

    Later Chalukyas and Hoysalas ruled from chola throne.

  11. And, O Yudhishthira, in the country of the Pandyas are the tirthas named Agastya and Varuna! And, O bull among men, there, amongst the Pandavas, is the tirtha called the Kumaris. Listen, O son of Kunti, I shall now describe Tamraparni. In that asylum the gods had undergone penances impelled by the desire of obtaining salvation. In that region also is the lake of Gokarna which is celebrated over the three worlds, hath an abundance of cool waters, and is sacred, auspicious, and capable, O child, of producing great merit. That lake is extremely difficult of access to men of unpurified souls. Mahabharatha 3:88[17]

    And similarly, Pandya, who dwelt on the coast-land near the sea, came accompanied by troops of various kinds to Yudhishthira, the king of kings. Mahabharatha 5:19

    Steeds that were all of the hue of the Atrusa flower bore a hundred and forty thousand principle car-warriors that followed that Sarangadhwaja, the king of the Pandyas. Mahabharatha 7.23

    Above lines in Mahabharat clearly shows that early Pandyan kingdom has a river Thamiraparani. Other than in Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli district is there any Thamiraparani river.

    1. I got your link :
      It is totally different from what you say.

      Alupa king stolen
      In Mahabharata Paundrayas is mentioned ,not pandyas, they are taken to mean Pandyas. Paundrayas are Alupas. You are stealing Alupa history and passing it as Tamil Pandya history.

      Madura is on river Tamaraparani. How come, here the Mahabharata refers to Tamaralipta which is on the banks of Ganga, Madura is on the banks of Ganges. Vaigai is the river on banks of which Madurai lies. Again another lie

      Sarangadhwaja (Bow Flag). It is used by caste billavas. who are again come under Alupas. Tamil Pandyas use Fish symbol right? Another lie.

      Your text shows Gokarna, that is north of today Tulunad. You are trying to fit that into southern tamil nadu. What a pity.

      Thankyou for the comment, it proves that Pandyas mentioned in ancient texts is Alupas.

  12. What about pandyas mentioned in Karna Parva:
    where fighting of Pandya King malaydvaja is narated.
    Malayadvaja is son of Pandya king Kulasekara pandyan who built Meenachi temple.

    1. same link says Pandya are from Gokarna, That is they are Alupas. The Sarangadwaja is Malayadwaja. The Mahabharata war is dated to 3100BC. You mean to say that the Menakshi temple is 5000 years old. Common.
      First you need to prove Kulashekara Pandya built the temple
      Second you need to prove kulashekara pandya is father of Sarangadwaja

  13. Also please note that Paundras and Pandyas are distinctly discussed in Mahabharatha.

  14. can i ask a question to everyone where is the Pandyian Flag used in modern day District of Tamilnadu. Which Community is handling it and can anyone say about it why they are using it there connections any literature about in Sangam age there economical significance in the past the role they played

  15. "The pandiyas built their pedigree much later,for an inscription of A.D. 1141 one of first of it's kind-traces their origin to mangayan or adiyadudevan of the yadava branch from whom sprang pandiyas".

    -Prof William Coehlo

    pandyas are told himself as chandravanshi's

    1. putgosi all tamilians publishing their lie as history


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