Friday, 21 June 2013

Arayar The descendants of Nathamuni

Monuments crumble, manuscripts get moth eaten and traditional fine arts practised for centuries in temples are being forgotten because of long years of neglect. No wonder that the Arayer Sevai, a visual enactment of the passionate expression by Vaishnavite saints which were an integral part of Vishnu worship 1000 years ago, is not confined to a handful of practitioners who themselves are on the threshold of fading away.

Who were the arayers? What makes this dramatic form so unusual in the landscape of Indian performance, ritual, religion and theology? The word arayer itself means king. In Tamil, there are two ways to pronounce the letter 'r'. Said without stress like 'arayer' it means king and with stress like 'rr' it means 'speaker' or 'narrator'. In both cases the word fits these temple servants who dedicated their lives towards the worship and glory of Lord Vishnu through song, dance and drama. Vaishnavite temples were the crucibles of the three branches of learning 'iyal' (literature), 'isai' (music) and 'natakam' (drama). Arayer Sevai which means 'the service or offering of the royal priests' falls under the category of drama.

The main text for these priestly actors was an impressive volume of verses called the 'Divya Prabandham.' The word means 'divine compilation.' The Prabandham was the cumulative result of 12 saint-poets who lived between the 6th and 9th centuries in Tamil country. These saint-poets were called 'alwars'. The word 'alwar' means 'deepest of the deep'; one who is immersed in the devotion of Lord Vishnu/Narayana.

Between the 6th and 9th century, in the Tamil speaking region of South India, these devotees of Vishnu (also known as Tirumal, the dark one) changed and revitalized Hinduism. Along with their counterparts, the Nayanmars, who were devotees of Siva, these saint-poets wandered all over the Tamil countryside, inspiring and converting kings, brahmans, and peasants, affirming in poetry the holiness of hundreds of Tamil places dedicated to Vishnu and Siva. Their pilgrimages, their legends and their hymns, which they sang by the thousands literally mapped a sacred geography of the Tamil regions and fashioned a communal self-image that cut across class and caste. They composed the most important early Bhakti poetry in any Indian language. This is particularly significant when practitioners of dance, dance history and religious studies have a tendency to associate Bhakti/devotional poetry with the later poets like Jayadeva of the 12th century, Chaitanya in Bengal of the 15th century and Annamaya of the 14th century. Even Tulsidas, Kabir, Meera who are popular choices for dancers and singers came much later.
Through the poetry of the Prabandham, composed by these 12 Tamil alwars Hindu philosophy spoke for the first time in India, in a language other than Sanskrit. The imperial presence of Sanskrit with its brahminical texts like the Vedas and the Upanishads was the elitist presence against which Bhakti in Tamil defined itself. Also Sanskrit in India of the 6th century was not a people's language, it was not spoken as everyday tongue. Here was poetry, devotional poetry in a people's first language. The concept of bhakti or devotional poetry as we understand today arose, as suggested by scholars from the meshing of Sanskrit mythology and the Tamil conception of women and kings.
Almost one thousand years after all the 4000 verses of the Prabandham were composed, a devotee called Natamuni (10th century) gathered and ordered the compositions of the 12 alwars and arranged for their recitation. First he only knew of 10 poems and when he realised there were almost 4000, he travelled to the birthplace of Nammalwar (Alwartirunagari near Tirunelveli) and tried to retrieve them. Failing to do so, he meditated and received a vision of the poet Nammalwar himself who revealed all the 1102 verses to him.
Legend goes that he received all the 4000 verses in this way.
In order to make the poetry meaningful and alive to the general public, Natamuni arranged for them to be sung and danced on special occasions of Lord Vishnu, particularly in the month of Margazhi which is mid-December to mid-January and in Panguni Chitra which is mid-March to mid-April the end of which marks the Tamil New Year on 14th April.
Believing that the songs would live only if many could chant and watch the most special poems danced with gestures and movements, Natamuni is credited to have created a system of ritual performance called Arayer Sevai. The word Arayer literally means Lord or King. The Arayers of today are all direct descendants of Natamuni's family lineage and the practice is held with the male members of the family and not taught to the women. It is devoutly believed that the inspiration for the music and the dance came from Lord Vishnu himself and that it was He who ordained these arayers to perform this unique service for His pleasure.
The movement structure of Arayer Sevai is dependent on a regal stature, a stately walk and minute right hand and left hand gestures which weave a complex imagery. The end of every phrase or sentence is marked by a jerky flick of the hand. The feet stamp the ground and the legs are always held in a unique half seated stance.
The costume worn by the arayers consists of a cap which is a reproduction of the crown worn by Vishnu as the temple idol. The garland and the cymbals the arayers carry were all believed to have been given by Vishnu himself.
The arayers were exalted in the hierarchy of temples. They were as important and sometimes even more highly regarded than the priests themselves. Palm leaf manuscripts of temples like Srirangam and Srivilliputur, state that the arayers were given special treatment and medical care whenever they fell ill.
Today all Vishnu temples have the bronze images of the 12 alwars as important figures in their shrines but the art of 'arayer' exists only in four temples, three in Tamilnadu and one in Karnataka. Melkottai in Karnataka does not perform the movements and actions but only the recitation and chanting and commentary. The three temples in Tamilnadu are Srirangam, Alwar Tirunagari and Srivilliputtur.
The insistence on maintaining the purity of their tradition is not augmented with a desire to perfect the art of their ancestors rather than just going through the motions once or twice a year. They refuse to teach, allow audio or video recordings of their ritual and thus it will be but a matter of time when the practice which is already a mere shadow of its former self is completely lost. I was able to watch several hours of their performance since I was considered a direct Vaishnav descendent of one of the famous families of Thirukurungudi (the town of the famous arayer temple bell) and as such allowing me to watch or allowing me to learn some of their movements was not considered sacreligious to the high priest.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The royal Arayar.

ARAYAR, The Caste who makes the History of  Tamilnadu, The Imperial clan is one of the three castes which constitute the Mukkulathor confederacy. "a fearless community show many signs of independence and non-submission to any form of subjugation".There are Abundant records pertaining to this clan, where the Peoples ruled from unknown antiquity (Chola, Chera, Pandya.) . Arayars  are found largely in Thanjavur (40 % of Tanjavur Population), Trichy, Pudukkottai, Theni, Madurai, Dindigul, Sivagangai, Karur, kanchipuram, and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu.


There are over 1000 surnames in use. There are no other Castes in Tamilnadu have this many Surnames. Some of the commonly used Surnames are.

Paluvettaraiyar, Malayaman, Adigaman, Thevar, Mannaiyar, Rajaliyar, Vallavaraiyar, Thanjaraayar, Pallavaraayar, Vandaiyar, Thondaiman, Etrandaar, Vaanavaraayar, Servai, Amballakkarar, Sethurayar, Soma Naicker, Muniyarayar(Munaiyatriyar), Thondamar, Mayrkondar, Kallathil Venrar, , Nattar (not Nadar), Cholagar, kumarandar, Anjathevar, Olivarayar, Sendapiriyar, Alathondamar, Ambalam, Aarsuthiyar, Kaadavaraayar, Kalingarayar, Vandaiyaar, Veeramundar, Sepillaiyar, Vallundar, Chozhangaraayar, Kandiyar, Mazhavaraayar, Kommatti Mootar, Kannakkarar, Irungular, Singilaar, Ponnapoondar, Pullavaraayar, Araimeendar, Vairayar, Ponpethiar, Gopalar, Kandapillai, Vayaadiyar, Vanniar, Vallambar, Alankara Priyar, mavaliyar, Keerudayar, Saaluvar, Manraayar, Onthiriyar, Serumadar, Vambaliar, Thenkondaar, Mankondaar, etc. 

 They are highly conservative and have preserved their customs and traditions to the present day. They are also believed to be the oldest inhabitants of the Tamil country with reports of their presence going back to Tamil literary works of the 4th century B.C. They are found mainly in the districts of Madurai, Dindigul and Theni.

During sangam

The kings (Araiyars), were ruling Thondai Nadu, There are Hundreds of records pertaining to this dynasty. Thondai in Tamil means Kilay or pirivu, Pallava in Sanskrit defines the same, so Pallavas or Thondaiman are considered as a offshoot of Cholas later become an Prominent rulers.

The kings (Araiyars) ruled Tirukkoyilur during Chola kingdom with the title Malayaman . They were in close relation with Cholas. Sangam literature mentions of Tirumudikari, a Malayaman chief who fought alongside Perunarkilli Chola to defeat Cheral Irumporai (Irumporai Cheras). Vastly, Cholas, Cheras and even Satavahanas controlled the destiny in times.

The kings were ruling Tagadur, present villupuram district, One of The Four kingdoms Mentioned in rock-edict of Ashoka. Adigaman Naduman Anji King of Tagadur is Mentioned  in rock-edict of Ashoka as Satyaputra Inscriptions found from Villuppuram Proves that stating Adigaman as Satyaputra Adhiyan Neduman Anji intha Pali.

Chola (சோழர்)

The Chola Dynasty (Tamil:
சோழர் குலம்) was a Tamil dynasty that ruled primarily in southern India until the 13th century the other two royal dynasties were Pandian and Chera. The meaning of chola is Surya vamsi (solar dynasty) in ancient times. Chera, chola and pandian are considered as Siblings.

The dynasty originated in the fertile valley of the Kaveri River. Karikala Chola was the most famous among the early Chola kings, while Aditya I, Parantaka I, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola, Virarajendra Chola, Kulothunga Chola and Kulothunga Chola III were notable emperors of the medieval Cholas.

Chera, Chola and Pandian are commonly called as Thevar to mean they are desendents of Lord Indra. But specially Cholas were called by many Surnames all these surnames (Mel kondar, Chozangar, Thevar etc.)

Lots of marriages takes place between cholas with Malavarayar, Malayaman, Paluvettaraiyar, Melkondar and Vallavaraiyar. They also belong to same community.

Pallavas (பல்லவர்)

The Pallava kingdom (Tamil: 
பல்லவர்) was an ancient South Indian tamil kingdom. Later they extended their rule to further south and established their capital at Kanchipuram around the 4th century CE. They rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century. The word Pallava means branch in Sanskrit. The word is rendered as Tondaiyar in Tamil language. The Pallava kings at several places are called Thondamans or Thondaiyarkon. The territory of the Pallavas was known as Tundaka Visaya or Tundaka Rashtra. The sancrit meaning of pallava is Kilay The tamil Thondai means the same, it proves that pallavas are desendents (Kilay or Pirivu) of chola.

Pathupattu, one of the sangam literatures, reads that the king Thondaiman Ilandirayan ruled this town around 2500 years ago. The pallavas are told as the descendents of Thondaiman Ilandirayan.

They were also called by surnames like sethurayar , pallavarayar , vandarayar, kadurayar,Vallavarayar,vanathirayar,kaliyarayar etc. . proves that Pallavar are Decendents of Chola.

Petty Kings

The Great empires which ruled Tamilnadu were Chera, Chola, Pandian and Pallava, but there were many petty kings and chieftains ruled tamilnadu under chera, chola, pandiya and pallava.

There are lot of records pertaining to this Petty dynasty. Some of the names are seen in Tamil copper-plate inscriptions also.

Most of the Mutharayar  surnames also derived from the place they ruled for example Thanjaiarayar (Means King Who ruled Thanjavur), 

Definition: Thanjai –Thanjavur and Arayar – Raja –King.

Malavarayar(மழவராயர்), Pallavarayar(பல்லவராயர்), Erraandar(ஏற்றாண்டார்)r, Arasandar(அரசாண்டார்), Thanjairayar(தஞ்சைராயர்),  Muniarayar, Vallavarayar (வல்லவரையர்)Muthurayar, Irunkolar, Brahmarayar, Kodumbalur Rayar, Chiratchiyar, Nattar, Devarayar, Vanathirayar.


The main occupation of Arayar was Warrior, most of their surnames derived from their victory and bravery shown in Battlefield.

Some Surnames are,
Poril Koluthiyar(
போரிற்கொளுத்தி), Kottai Meetar(கோட்டை மீட்டார்), Soma Naicker(சோமநாயக்கர்), Kalathil Vendrar (களத்தில் வென்றார்), Jeyam Kondar(ஜெயம் கொண்டார்), Kodi Kondar, Thanai Thalaivar(தானைத் தலைவர்), Valukkuvelyar, Vijayathevar, Veerakkotaiyar, Valkondar, Ulukkondar, Veerapuliyar, Senathipathi, Viruthurajabayangarar.

Tamil copper-plate inscriptions

The discovery of Indian copper plate inscriptions provided a relative abundance of new evidence for use in evolving a chronicle of India's elusive history.

During chola rule there were many small kings (Araiyar) were Ruling there Respective area under Chola.Some of the names are seen in Tamil copper-plate inscriptions was also mentioned in Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.

Paluvettaraiyar (
Malayaman (
Vallavaraiyar (
Velar (
Thondaiman (

During Vijayanagar Empire

The downfall of the Mukkulathors occurred in 1345 with the fall of Vira Pandyan IV and the subsequent conquest of Madurai by the Delhi Sultanate. However, the southern territories of the Sultanate soon asserted their independence and the Mukkulathors recovered under the Vijayanagar Empire and later under the Nayak dynasty during whose period they served as Polygars or chieftains.

Ambalakarar is the most important Peoples. They were a warlike people who strongly resisted every British attempt to subjugate them. They are found in Madurai and Sivaganga districts. In these districts, each village is headed by an Ambalam (president of an assembly) and the Ambalam took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the "NADU", belonging to different castes. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalams. The sur-name "Ambalam"is given to them, because of their Administration in their Villages. So they are mostly called as "Ambalam".

Thenpandi Singam by M. Karunanidhi is a book about Ambalakarars and he was also Awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for that book and it was also been taken as a serial in Sun TV, and music composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

Monday, 3 June 2013


There exists two dynasties with the name of Kalachuri who had ruled the dynasties from the 10th-12th century AD, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan ) and were called Chedi or Haihaya (Heyheya) (northern branch) and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka.
The Kalachuri kings were known as Kalachuris of Chedi or Chedis. They established their kingdom in Madhya Pradesh with their capital at Tripuri near Jablapur. The founder of this dynasty was Kokalla I. The Chedis had to face the rulers of Kannauj and Malwa, the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. They also had to defend their territory against the Palas and rulers of Kalinga. Gangeyadeva was one of the most important rulers of Kalachuri dynasty. He tried to make the Chedis the paramount power of Northern India. The Kalachuris of Dahala rose to be the greatest political power in India during the 11th century A.D. This was mainly due to the military genius of Gangadeva king.
Gangeyadeva issued coins of different metals, sizes, weights which were in Gold, Base Gold, Silver Gold, Silver, Silvery copper (Billon) and Copper. Perhaps an important factor contributing to his success was the factor that his kingdom escaped the devastating raids of Sultan Mahmud which affected most of the other great powers to its north and north-west. In the token of his great victory he assumed the proud title of Trikalingadhipati, ‘Lord of Trikalinga’. Gangeyadeva assumed the title of Vikramaditya. He died at the sacred city of Prayag (Allahabad). Probably he ascended the throne before 1019 A.D. and died about 1040 A.D.He was succeeded by his son Karandeva. He is said to have defeated a number of people in the south such as the Pallavas, Kungas, Muralas, Pandyas (South) and Kuntalas, (probably the Chalukya King), Somesvara I during A.D. 1048. He was more successful than his father not only in the south but also in the north-west. In 1072 A.D. he abdicated the throne in favor of his son Yasahkarna.The Kalachuris dynasty declined by 1181 AD.
Kalachuri Dynasty- The Kalachuris took the place of the Chalukyas of Kalyana in the early part of the twelfth century, had a relatively short but stormy rule. The period threw up two striking personalities: An energetic and adventurer who flouted the authority of his Chalukya master and achieved the Kalachuri independence - Bijjala. Another figure of eminence was Basaveshvara who marshaled a virile, revolutionary movement of religious and social reform, which goes by the name of Virasaiva Movement.
The Kalachuris, also known as the Haihayas, were an ancient people known from the Epics and Puranas from 249 or 250 A.D. Many Kalachuris were settled in different parts of Northern India. In the later half of 6th century A.D., they ruled over a powerful kingdom comprising Gujarat, northern Maharashtra, and some parts of Malwa. One of the founder of a principality is Sarayupara in the modern Gorakhpur District. The other, which soon became very powerful, ruled in Chedi country in Bundelkhand. The Kalachuris of Chedi also known as kings of Dahalas, had their capital at Tripur, represented by the modern village of Tewar, six miles to the west of Jubulpore.
Northern Kalachuri family ruled in central India with its base at the ancient city of Tripuri (Tewar); it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.
Southern Kalachuri Kingdom (Kannada) (1130 - 1184) at their peak ruled parts of the Deccan extending over regions of present day northern Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. Their rule was short and turbulent, yet very important from the socio-religious movement point of view. A new sect called the Lingayat or Virashaiva sect was founded during these times. A unique and purely native form of Kannada literature-poetry called the Vachanas was also born during this time. The writers of Vachanas were called Vachanakaras (poets).
The Southern Kalachuri kings minted coins with Kannada inscriptions on it. Gajasaradula type coins were mostly gold or copper. Some of the common ones were the seated goddess type along with the name of the issuer which is generally prefixed with Srimat and suffixed with Deva.
According to legends, Kalli meaning long moustache and Churi meaning Sharp knife. Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara- is Lord of Kalanjara. Mount Kalanjara is in north central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain. This name Haihaya is supposed to be derived from haya (a horse). Other theories also support the source of their dynastic name. They were also referred to as Katachuris (shape of a sharp knife). A prince of the lunar race, and great-grandson of Yadu. A race or tribe of people to whom a Scythian origin has been ascribed. The Vishnu Purana represents them as descendants of Haihaya of the Yadu race, but they are generally associated with borderers and outlying tribes. In the Vayu and other Puranas, five great divisions of the tribe are named as Talajanghas..

Sunday, 2 June 2013



Koli Maharajas before the independence of India - the memoranda of the Indian state of Rajput rulers Koli clan based on 1936 List: -

Sr. No. , Name of the ruling place , Name of the ruling class Koli

1. Jawahar - Shrimant Yashwantrao Vikramshahaji Mukne Koli Maharaja
(20 Maharajas of Royal Mukne koli Family, From 1343 up till now)
2. Katosan (?) (clarification needed) - Thakur Keshri singh Makwana Koli
3. Ambil aara - Thakur Jalim singh Khant koli
4. Thodasar - Thakur Fatah singh Dabhi koli
5. Athamma - Thakur Suraj singh Baria koli
6. Khadal - Thakur Fateh Singh Makwana koli
7. Dhaama Thakur Mohan Singh Makwana koli
8. Illol - Thakur Shiv singh Makwana koli
9.Punavra - Thakur Abha singh Makwana koli
10.Gaabar - Thakur Roop singh Makwana koli
11. Raamaas - Thakur Man Singh Makwana koli
12. Bhalusara - Thakur Ratan singh koli
13. Satlasna - Thakur Bhupat singh koli
14. Tajpuri - Thakur Mohbbat singh Makwana koli
15. Timba - Thakur Sardar singh koli
16. Umari - Thakur Jaswant Singh Chauhan koli
17. Batkapur - Thakur Baaje singh Makwana koli
18. Hadol - Thakur Jawan singh Thakor koli
19. Hapa - Thakur Himmat singh Makwana koli
20. Kadoli - Thakur Kuver singh Makwana koli
21. Kondanna- Nag Naik koli
22. Mahabaleshwar - Tanaji Rao Malusare koli
23. Dehradun - Kolya Negi koli Raja
24. Pauri Garhwal - Bhaadwa Singh koli
(Numbers of forts of koli Rajas in pauri Garhwal)
25. South India(Nutshell) - Mudirajas, Tuluva Mudiraj Bunts (Krishnadevaraya family)
,Muthurajas, Mudiraj Bunts , Bedar Valmiki Nayakas,
Cholas, Vellalars, Mutharaiyars,araiyars, Ganagaputra Koliyas.
(Whole south india having numerous forts and Koli Rajas).

Note: - Sub caste of Koli Kshatriya in india : -
1. Mukne, 2. Malusare, 3. Dabhi 4. Parmar, 5. Solanki, 6. Vaghela 7. Makwana, 8. Thakor 9. Baria, 10. 11. Rathod, 12. Chauhan 13.Gohil 14. Khant, 15. Wagdiya, 16. Verma, 17. Divecha, 18. Negi, 19. Patel, 20. Bisht , 21. Shakya, kori , 22. Rawat 23. Mahawar 24. Mahaur 25. Sankhwar 26. Bunkar 27. Kashyap 28. Bhuiyar 29. Kabirpanthi 30. Tantuvay 31. Mahadeo 32. Koli Rajput 33. Mudiraj 34. Muthuraja 35. Arayar 36. Gangaputra 37. Bedar Valmiki Nayaka 38. Valaiyar 39. Vellalar 40. Mudliar
42. Chola 43. Mutharaiyar 44. Mudiraj Pillai 45. Mudiraj Bunts Shetty 46. Mudiraj tuluva bunts.

Pallava Dynasty

Muthiriyars ( Mutharayars = Mudiraj ) are termed to be a set of people having resemblence with pallavas. One section of the Palli or Pallava tribe, called the Muttarasar ( Telugu Muttaracha ) ruled in the Chola country, first as feudatories of Pallavas and then of the Pandya kings, during the eigth century A.D. According to some historians, Mutharayars are the descendants of Pallavas. Palli, Ambalakaran, Muttiriyan and Nattaman belong to one group of people belonging to Muthuraja community.

Alternate people names of Agamudaiyan are Agambadia, Ambalakaram, Maruar, Marumaravar, Mudaliyar, Muppan,Mutracha, Muttiryan, Nattaman, Parkavakulam, Pillaimar, Sanagara, Sekkan, Servaikaran, Udaiyan, and Valaiyan.

It was during this period that Naladyar was composed under the auspices of Muttarasa governers. They are still to be found in the North Arcot district under the name of Talaiyaris, and many poligars of Chittor and other minor rulers of this class. Of such tributaries were the kings of Tanjore, who ruled in the 8th century with vallam, near tanjore, as their capital. Talari / Talaiyari is a surname of Mudiraj and also that of valmikis. We already know that Valmikis are a subsect of Mudiraja / Muthuraja community and Mutharayars are the descendants of Kalabhras.

The ancient Chola kingdom once famous in Tamil literature and in the writings of Greek merchants and geographers faded in to darkness after c 300 C.E. The Tamil country was invaded by a non-Tamil people from the north and north-west. These people – known as Kalabhras – are a mystery to historians. Their origin is unknown. It has been speculated that they were adherers to Jainism and later to Buddhism. Kalabhras subjugated the Tamil country after defeating the ancient Chola, Chera and Pandya kings. There is scant evidence either from literature or from archaeology regarding these people.

The Kalabhras ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century C.E. in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties.

The Pallava were a Southern Indian dravidian Tamil dynasty who established their capital at Kanchipuram in early the 4th century CE. The Pallavas dominated the northern parts of Tamil region until the end of the 9th century for about six hundred years. The origins of the Pallava still remains a mystery. A number of hypotheses and views have been proposed on the origin and ethnicity of the Pallavas.

Pallavas rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century. The Pallava dynasty ruled northern Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with their capital at Kanchipuram.

The origin of Pallavas is a subject of speculation. They were perhaps the descendents of the Saka-Pahlava-Kambhoja warriors from Northwest India. They have settled in the Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh. This area is still referred to as Palnadu or Pallava Nadu. Initially, they were the vassals of Satavahana kings. Pallavas gained prominence after the eclipse of Satavahanas. As they grew more powerful, a branch of Pallavas had migrated to the Tamil country and established one of the most cherished kingdoms in Tamil history. Their capital was Kanchi, close to the border between Tamil and Telugu lands.

Pallavas seems to be a section of Thondamans to whom the Kalabras also belong. It seems that Pallavas established their independent dynasty slightly before Kalabhras attacked all the established dynadties - Chola, Chera, Pandya and also Pallava. The Pallava invasion of Cholas country might have prompted Kalabras to undertake their invasion of the entire South India

The Pahladpur inscription (located in Pahladpur village in Uttar Pradesh State) which is datable to first few centuries of our era , is believed to be a record of the Pallavas in the north and they speak Tenugu. This depends upon correct reading of the term "Parthivanikapalah" figuring in the said inscription. This expression has been translated as "the protector of the Parthavas army". It has been pointed out that term Parthava here is equivalent to Sanskrit Pahlava. Though the term Pahlava indicates the name of a tribe and Pallava that of a ruling family, it has been pointed out that a tribal name Pahlava could easily turn itself into Dynasty name Pallava.

Pallavas were Telugu speaking people
Palnadu is the northern region of Guntur District in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Pallava Nadu, it occupies an important place in Telugu history. This indicates that Pallavas were originally Telugu warrior people. The war of Palnadu was primarily a war of various Kalchuri faction from Andhra and Maharastra, who were matrimonially aliened.

Pallavas could be a branch / variants of Kalabhras
We know that historians are of the opinion that Mutharayars ( Mudiraj) are the descendants of Kalabhras who were in turn are believed to be the descendants of Kalchuris or a variants of Kalchuris. We laso know that one section of the Palli or Pallava tribe was called the Muttarasar ( Telugu Muttaracha ). Along with Chola, Chera and Pandyan dynasties, the Pallava dynasty was also engulfed by Kalabhras, the ancestors of Mutharayars. This leads us to speculate that a section of Kalabhras who later came to be known as Mutharayars might have merged with Pallavas for political reasons.

Kalabhras are believed to basically belong to Vengadam ( Thirupathi). The father of Padmavati and the father-in-law of Balaji is said to be a Tondaman Raja. The Pallava kings at numerous places are termed as Tondamans or Tondaiyarkon. The word Tondan in Tamil means slave, servant, adherent or assistant and can either be suggestive of the subordinate position the Pallavas bore to the Satavahanas or reflect a dominant position pallavas enjoyed at the time of satvahanas. On disintegration of the Satvahana authority, the Pallavas avowed themselves and invaded a large part of Chola province but the soubriquet Tondon stayed and their region also came to be known as Tondamandlam. The word Pallava is a translation of Tamil word Tondaiyar and Tondaman and this discovers corroboration in various copper plate charters that bring in `tender twigs` (pallavams) of some kind in association with the eponymous name Pallava`.

Pallava Aparajita was the grandson of Ganga Muttarasa kings from their daughter Vijaya, who married Pallava Kampavarman. The Pallava copper plate ( earlier than 900 A.D) found at the Village Velanjeri near Thiruttani on the top of Thiruttani hill by the Pallava ruler Aparajitavarman who is portrayed as a great devotee of Lord Subrahmanya. The present Velanjeri copper plate mentions that Aparajita was the son of Pallava ruler Kampavarman through a Ganga Princess whose name is given as Vijaya. This passage further shows that Kampavarman and his son Aparajita had the able support of the Ganga chieftains.

After the decline of the Satavahana dynasty, the Pallavas became independent in Krishna river valley. The region is known as Palnadu in memory of ancient Pallavas. The war of Palnadu in the 12th century is marked in legend and literature as 'Andhra Kurukshetra War'. The war of Palnadu weakened the power of Vengi Chalukyas and paved way for the emergence of Kakatiyas as a great Telugu dynasty.

Mutharayars inspite of their political rivalry mixed very well with Cholas, Pandyas and also Pallavas through matrimonial alliances. Thus we can come across Mutharayar clans such as Chola Mutharayars, Pandya Mutharayars and also Pallava Mutharayars.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Nagpur, Maharastra, India.