Who is Avvaiyar - Sangam Myth

Who is Avvai or Avvaiyar. If you search for Avvaiyar you will come with more than six Avvaiyars in history right upto the modern times. What we are interested in is the Avvaiyar mentioned in Tamil sangam literature. Chiefly our discussion comes to two persons. There is a Avvaiyar belonging to Chalukya Chola Kulothunga III reign. There is a Sangam Literature Auvaiyar belonging to Athiyaman reign. Is this Auvaiyar of kulothunga times same as Sangam age Auvaiyar. That is the question we are looking into.

Avvai is corruption in tamil of the term avve or avva (both Meaning Mother) in Kannada/Tulu not native to Tamil, indicating origin of legend of Avvaiyar to Karnataka.

Avvai Murugan
Avvai and Muruga (Subramanya) have lot of legendary stories. But we are not able to select a date for these stories. Auvaiyar is shown here as saivite and great devotee of Muruga. Another place Vinayaka (Ganesha) is the god of Avvai and she gets sainthood at the young age by praying to him. Another place Avvai is called a jain. So there is no clear identification here and each sect seems to claim as their own.

Avvai Kural.
The Athichudi is called avvai kural by some. Meaning that Thiruvalluvar and Auvaiyar lived during same period. But today Tamil scholars say that Atticudi was composed by avvaiyar of Kulothunga Period.

Kulothunga III (1178 to 1218AD)
Ottakuttar(Uttarakandam,Takkayagapparani and Muvarula), Pugazendhi (Nalavenba), Avvaiyar(Atticudi,Konraivendam,Vinayagar Agaval, Mudurai and Nalvazhi) , Iraniyar(Kalaviyal), Kalladanar(Kalladam), Aiyanar(Purapporulvenbamalai), Puttamittiranar(Virachoziam), Divakarar(Diwankaram), Pingalar(Pingalandai) , Pavananti(nannul) and Kuttan(Nalayirakkovai, Parani,Tukkayagapparani, sarasvatiyandadi and Arumbaittollayiram) are all contemproaries in Chalukya Chola Kulothunga III court. Ambarkilan Aruvandai is patron of Divarkar. At the end of his chapter Dirarkarar says his patron was also praised by Avvaiyar, the famous court poet of Adhiyaman Elini. From this it is evident that Divarkar, Kalladar , Avvaiyar and Adhiyaman Elini are contemproaries and They all belong to kulothunga period. Since Divarkar praises Chalukyas, his contemproary Avvaiyar belongs to this kulothunga III period.

Who are Velir?
The Traditional accounts of Velir exactly fits Chalukyas, especially Kapilar description of velir. As the new branch of Chalukyas - Chalukya chola came into being, Chalukya and Chola legends mixed and we have lot of confusion. Velirs are from Kuntala that is chalukya country. In kuntala : Kunta means spear same as vel. Thus people of kuntala becomes velir. As we have already seen Velir is Chalukya and Malaya is Hoysala in Sangam Literature in another article.

Let us go to Sangam Age Avvaiyar. To find the date of this Avvaiyaar, we have to find date of Adhiyamaan.

Adhiyaman Date
Adhiyaman sent Auviyar as Ambassador to Thondaiman to prevent war. In Another instance Malayaman kari arch rival of Adigaman meets Avvaiyar and feeds her. This is Sangam Avvaiyar lived during period of Adigaman, Malayaman Kari and Thondaiman. So if we find the dates of these kings, we will find the date of Auvaiyar.

By 1186–87, Kulothunga Chola III had wound up his expedition against the Pandyan kingdom, but he had to immediately deal with the incursion of the Hoysala Veera Ballala II. Kulothunga Chola III immediately set off for 'Kongu to check the growth of Hoysala power in that quarter. He fought successfully against Veera Ballala II in 1187–88, re-established his suzerainty over Adigaman chiefs of Tagadur, defeated a Chera ruler in battle and performed a virabhisheka in Karuvur in 1193. An Inscription by Kulothunga III in Ranganatha temple in Monolithic cave temple of Namakkal Hills gives detailed description of the campaign and also names Adigaman. 

In another inscription in the Kailasanathaswami temple in Kulothunga Chola III mentions thondaiman. Specifies in his twenty-third year the extent of the devaddana lands below the tanks Sirreri and Periyeri at Arumbar, as fixed by Tondaiman Perumalpillai alias Sedirayadevan. Sedirayadevan looks like Sadaiyan who gave patronage to Kamban. Again same period as Avvaiyar.

So Adhiyaman or Adigaman and Thondaiman are of Kulothunga III Period. We already seen that Malaiyaman are Hoysalas. All three kings are present during the period of Kulothunga III. Since the other Avvaiyar lives in Kulothunga III period. Both the Avvaiyars are same.

There is only one Auvaiyar she lived during period of Kulothunga III. The Sangam Age Avvai is a myth.

A Topographical list of the inscriptions of the Madras presidency

Related Posts
Sangam myth
Chola Origin



  1. Well detailed & very informative :)
    glad am following ur blog :)

  2. Dear Satva,
    Adhiyaman and Tondaiman are clan names and not individual names. The Adiyamans are the Satyaputras referred to in Asokan Inscriptions. Sangam Avvayar is not a myth.

    The biggest hurdle in dating early Tamil literature is the multiplicity of names i.e., multiple poets with the same names. We have two Kabilars, two Paranars, two Perundevanars, three Avvaiyars and 3 (or) 4 Nakeerars. I would be least surprised should it emerge, there was a second Kamban.

    Unless one has a discerning eye, there is a danger of attributing the works of the later poets to the early poet. The uninitiated (out of ignorance) and rabids have already done this and that is how Sangam Period (1-3AD) has more literature than any contemporary language.

    The first one is associated with King Paari, One of the Seven Vallals (Philanthrophers) of Sangam Age and the other is the author of Inna Naarpathu (Bad 40)

    We have one Paranar associated with Cheran Chenguttuvan and the other with King Nannan. To make things worse there is another poet called Vanparanar.

    We have one in Paripadal of Sangam Literature and the other one in 9-10AD who wrote Preface to Buddamitra’s Veera Chozhiyam.

    Kamil Zvelbil establishes three Avvaiyars one from Sangam Literature, One in 9-10AD who wrote Aatichudi, Kondraivendan, Moodurai and Nalvazhi. Yaparungalam quotes Moodurai and so this Avvayar has to be different from the third Avvayiar of 12-13AD (contemporary of Ottakoothar and Pugalendi) who wrote Vinayagar Agaval, Avvai Kural etc.,

    Vaiyapuri Pillai establishes three Nakeerars. The first one wrote Nedunalvadai which is part of Sangam lore. Yaaparungalam c12AD refers to a Adinool written by Nakeerar (a Jain?) Apart from this reference nothing is known either about the author or the work. The third Nakeerar was the author of Thirumurugattrupadai and Irayanar Kalaviyal (7AD). Some consider he authored Naladi Nanooru (4*400) or Naladiyar. This Nakeerar is also supposed to be one of the 63 Naayanmaars referred to as Nakeera Deva Naayanar. It is also possible that these two were different persons. That will take count of Nakeerars to 4.

    There are people who argue “Nakeerar” and “Avvayar” are not names but honorific titles.

    1. If you can't produce proof to justify earlier dates, then say they are from a different period. Good technique.

      I see no evidence for your claims.

  3. Velirs are Chalukyas alone??? Then who were Ay Velir??? You should know more dear friend. U were almost right with samgam cheras, but not with perumals. pls concentrate on a single topic n then shift to other

    1. The guy associates Velir to "Vel" the later meaning "spear" and then associates with Chalukyas!

      The guy is completely ignorant of Tamil/Malayalam and even perhaps Kannada sounds. We have 3 letters for "L" sound. The "L" used in "Velir" is not the one used for "Vel" the spear!

      "Velir" means the "agricultural" people! Period.

    2. So Gunzo, Tamil Works like Tholkappiam, Which state that velirs are warriors who came to Tamil Nadu from North are BS!!!

  4. Ay are are Aihole. Velirs are from Kuntala. Now Aihole is a famous study centre and also one of the cultural cities of Kuntala. Kuntala translate to place of Sharp Instruments. Chalukyas are from Kuntala, so they are velir. Now Ayars are the learned men from Aihole and Ayengars are the ayars who defected back to Karnataka under hoysalas, so they are called Ayengars (gar -karnataka)

    Ay velir is to differentiate between the branches of chalukyas from Aihole and Vengi.

    Sangam cheras, I will respond, if the comment is in that topic

  5. Knowing the fact that there was no other language prior to Thamizh, the Anti Thamizh people have been constantly worrying about the pre existence of some other language, which has never been confirmed or cannot be proved. For, what they have been trying to do is just a counterfeit -anti Thamizh. The willful act of spreading falsehood has no uphold, since they are all disproved.
    There was neither any language spoken before 30, 000 B.C nor proof for it, but for Thamizh. The linguistic researches are highly technical, systematic and advanced that the researches have taken amazing revolution in the field of research. They all prove that the languages in the world have root in other language, but Thamizh.
    Only Hebrew language has been existing since 3,000 B.C and it is the only western language with writing and speaking. All the other languages are not brought into play presently.

    Thamizh the cinfirmed language
    Scholars of Thamizh have been insisting the richness and the age old evolution of the language as the natural process, with the confirmation from Thamizh literature and the literatures abroad. The people, who are unable to acknowledge all the facts of Thamizh, have created an ambiance in the literary world ‘Thamizh as a language that has no root or has not originated but a branch of Sanskrit’. To tell the fact Sanskrit was the language that emerged from Thamizh, which has been proved. All the questions made by the anti Thamizh scholars are jettisoned by the proved documents and substantiations.
    It has been established from an assortment of word in the sciences like Language, Zoology, Archeological, Religion, Astrology and many more, having the root found in Thamizh.

    No language was born with grammatical rules and richness. They were only evolution and the procedure of augmentation. Any language takes its time as thousands of years with oral traditional literature, passing it on generation to generation, followed by art, pictured or drawn communication with children or to a bigwig who wanted to learn. Alphabets followed and then words. Sentences were framed from words and the grammar at last as rules to learn or to teach.
    Pavaanar, the first Thamizh linguist was resolute to the richness of Thamizh and the long living Thamizh culture and tradition. He said, “Thamizh had writings in 50, 000 B.C,” proving it from different source of evidences.
    Though in 50, 000 B.C there was no writing in Thamizh, it is for certain that Thamizh had writings in 10, 000 B.C, which are confirmed from various proofs.
    “The archeogical evidence of Poombuhar, the Thamizh region which is found in the sea intact, proves that the language Thamizh had writing modules during the time of the destruction of Kumari Kandam.”
    “The writings as the mode were found in the pot pieces that reached the seashore of Poombuhar are dated 10, 000 B.C by the archeological scientists.”
    Paavaanar, Thamizhar Varalaaru, P,110
    Poombuhar archaeological information, Chennai

    1. Tamils love to live in fantasy story. Tamils are only good at telling lies nothing more than that. Hebrew is not a western language it is an African Language. Middle east was not part of Asia in biblical times, it is part of Africa, it is called horn of Africa. Hebrew is an African Language. Rig Veda is the oldest of all, and it is in Pakrit(Sanskrit). Improve your general knowledge. Tamils only spread fake story and lies which i repeatedly see in the Internet.

  6. Hi,

    Avvaiyar is not a name. It is a title name given to respectable women. The Avvai mentioned in the Sangams are all Title names/ Honorary names. In fact the entry in Tamil dictionaries cite 'Avvai' as an elderly woman (wise).


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