Chera dynasty

The Chera dynasty (ISO 15919: Cēra) was one of the principal lineages in the early history of the present day states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in southern India.[1][2] Together with the Cholas of Uraiyur and the Pandyas of Madurai, the early Cheras were known as one of the three major political powers of ancient Tamilakam (southern India) in the early centuries of the Common Era.[1][3][4]

The Cheras owed their importance to exchange of spices and other products with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Graeco-Roman) merchants.[5] The geographical advantages, like the favourable Monsoon winds which carried ships directly from the Arabia to southern India as well as the abundance of exotic spices in the interior Ghat mountains and the presence of a large number of rivers connecting the Ghats with the Arabian Sea combined to make the Cheras a major power in ancient southern India.[6][2]

Along with the Ay-Vels in the south and the Ezhimala Mushakas in the north, the Early Cheras formed the three principle ruling polities of ancient Kerala.[7] The age and antiquity of the Cheras is difficult to establish.[8] The exact location of the Chera homeland is also a matter of scholarly debate.[9][10] The Cheras of the early historical period (early centuries of the Common Era) are known to have established bases at Karur/Karuvur-Vanchi in interior Tamil Nadu, and at Muchiri (Muziris) and Thondi (Tyndis) on the Indian Ocean coast.[10][11] After the end of the early historical period, around the 5th century CE, there seems to be a period where the Cheras' power declined considerably.[12]

The anthologies of early Tamil poems mention the names of a number of Cheras, and the court poets who extolled them. The Pathitrupathu is devoted exclusively to the Chera royals. The internal chronology of this collection is still far from completely settled and a connected account of the history of the period is an area of active research. Uthiyan Cheral, Nedum Cheral Athan and Chenguttuvan are some of the rulers referred to in the Tamil literature.[4] Chenguttuvan Chera, the most renowned of the Early Cheras, is also famous for the traditions surrounding Kannaki, the principal female character of the Tamil epic poem Chilapathikaram.[13][10] Other sources for the Early Cheras include Tamil Brahmi cave label[14] inscriptions and coins, classical Sanskrit works and accounts by Graeco-Roman writers.[10]

The 'Kongu' Cheras are also known to have controlled Karur-Vanchi in central Tamil Nadu at various points in time.[10] The Cheras of Makotai (former Muchiri, modern Kodungallur), also known as Kulashekharas were in power between c. 9th and 12th century in Kerala.[15][16] The exact nature of the relationships between the various lines of Chera rulers is somewhat unclear.[10] It is known that the Cheras were intermittently subject to the Pandya Kingdom and the Chola Empire among others.[12] The rulers of Venadu, based out of the port of Kollam in southern Kerala, claimed their ancestry from the Kodungallur Cheras.[12] Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, their most ambitious ruler, set out to expand his kingdom by annexing the ruins of the other southern kingdoms.[17] In the modern period the rulers of Cochin and Travancore (in Kerala) also claimed the title "Chera".[16]


Flag of Chera
Note: A modern illustration of Chera flag (early historic, approximate)
Coat of arms of Chera
Coat of arms
CapitalEarly Cheras
  • Vanchi Karuvur (Karur)
  • Muchiri (Muziris)
  • Thondi (Tyndis)

Kongu Cheras

  • Vanchi Karur (Karur)

Kodungallur Cheras (Kulasekharas)

Venadu Cheras

Common languagesTamil
Today part of India


The term Chera - and its variant form "Kerala" - stands for the ruling lineage and the country associated with them.[14]

The etymology of "Chera" is still a matter of considerable speculation among historians. One approach proposes that the word is derived from Cheral, a corruption of Charal meaning "declivity of a mountain" in Tamil, suggesting a connection with the mountainous geography of Kerala.[a] Another theory argues that the "Cheralam'' is derived from "cher" (sand) and "alam" (region), literally meaning, "the slushy land".[b] Apart from the speculations mentioned, a number of other theories do appear in historical studies.[c][d]

In ancient non-Tamil sources, the Cheras are referred to by various names. The Cheras are referred as Kedalaputo (Sanskrit: "Kerala Putra") in the Emperor Ashoka's Pali edicts (3rd century BCE).[20] While Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy refer to the Cheras as Kaelobotros and Kerobottros respectively, the Graeco-Roman trade map Periplus Maris Erythraei refers to the Cheras as Keprobotras. All these Graeco-Roman names are evidently corruptions of "Kedala Puto/Kerala Putra" probably received through relations with northern India.[10] [21]

The term Cheralamdivu or Cheran Tivu and its cognates, meaning the "island of the Chera kings", is a Classical Tamil name of Sri Lanka that takes root from the term "Chera".[22]


Cheras of ancient south India

Recent theories on ancient south Indian history suggest that the three major rulers – the Pandya, the Chera and the Chola – based originally in the interior Tamil Nadu, at Madurai, Karur (Karuvur)-Vanchi, and Uraiyur respectively, had established "strategic outlets" to the Indian Ocean namely Korkai, Muchiri (Muziris), and Kaveri Poompattinam respectively.[11] Territory of the Chera polity of the early historical period consisted of the present day central Kerala and western Tamil Nadu.[14]

Map of Chera Kingdom
An approximate representation of the Chera territory in the early historical period (c. 1st - 4th century CE).[14]

The Cheras are referred to as Kedalaputo (Sanskrit: "Kerala Putra") in the Emperor Ashoka's Pali edicts (3rd century BCE).[20] The earliest Graeco-Roman accounts referring to the Cheras are by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE, in the Periplus of the 1st century CE, and by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE. [23][24]

A number of Sanskrit works do mention the family and land of the Cheras/Keralas. Whether the particular references were present in the earliest oral forms or were added subsequently is a matter of considerable discourse. The present form of Aitareya Aranyaka notes the Cherapadah as one of the three peoples who did not follow some ancient injunctions. The Aranyakas are a later development of the Brahmanas (explanations of the Vedas), which were originally composed c. 7th-8th century BCE. There are also brief references in the present forms of the works by author and commentator Katyayana (c. 3rd - 4th century BCE), author and philosopher Patanjali (c. 2nd century BCE) and Maurya statesman and philosopher Kautilya (Chanakya) (c. 3rd - 4th century BCE) though Sanskrit grammarian Panini (c. 6th - 5th century BCE) does not mention either the people or the land.[25]

A large body of Tamil works collectively known as the Sangam (Academy) literature (c. 1st - 4th century CE) describes a number of Chera, Pandya and Chola rulers.[26][27] Among them, the most important sources for the Cheras are the Pathitrupattu, the Akananuru, and the Purananuru.[25] The Pathitrupattu, the fourth book in the Ettuthokai anthology, mentions a number of rulers and heirs-apparent of the Chera family.[4] Each ruler is praised in ten songs sung by a court poet.[28][26] However, the book is not worked into connected history and settled chronology so far.[29] Uthiyan Cheral, Nedum Cheral Athan and Chenguttuvan are some of the rulers referred to in the Tamil literature.[30]

A method known as Gajabahu-Chenguttuvan synchronism, is used by some historians to date the events described in the early Tamil literature to c. 1st - 2nd century CE.[30] Despite its dependency on numerous conjectures, the method is considered as the sheet anchor for the purpose of dating the events in the early Tamil literature.[31][32][33] Ilango Adigal author of the legendary Tamil epic poem Chilapathikaram describes Chenguttuvan as his elder brother. He also mentions Chenguttuvan's decision to propitiate a temple (virakkallu) for the goddess Pattini (Kannaki) at Vanchi.[34] A certain king called Gajabahu, often identified with Gajabahu, king of Sri Lanka (2nd century CE), was present at the Pattini festival at Vanchi.[35][36] In this context, Chenguttuvan can be dated to either the first or last quarter of the 2nd century CE.[13]

Archaeological discoveries

Tamil Brahmi inscription from Pugalur, near Karur
Chera coin (ancient south India)
A Chera coin with legend

Archaeology has found epigraphic and numismatic evidence of the Early Cheras.[37][24] Two almost identical inscriptions discovered from Pugalur (near Karur) dated to c. 1st - 2nd century CE, describe three generations of Chera rulers of the Irumporai clan. They record the construction of a rock shelter for Jains on the occasion of the investiture of Ilam Kadungo, son of Perum Kadungo, and the grandson of Ko Athan Cheral Irumporai.[24] A short Tamil-Brahmi inscription, containing the word Chera ("Kadummi Pudha Chera") was found at Edakkal in the Western Ghats.[38]

Recent archaeological discoveries increasingly confirm Karur as a political, economic and cultural centre of ancient south India. Excavations at Karur yielded huge quantities of copper coins with Chera symbols such as the bow and arrow, Roman amphorae and Roman coins. An ancient trade route, from coastal settlements in Kerala (such as Muchiri or Thondi) through the Palghat Gap to Karur in interior Tamil Nadu can be traced with the help of archaeological evidence.[39] Historians are yet to precisely locate Muziris, known in Tamil as "Muchiri", a base of the Chera rulers. Archaeological excavations at Pattanam (near Cochin) suggest a strong case of identification with the location.[11] Roman coins have over a period of time been discovered in large numbers from Kerala and the Coimbatore-Karur region (from locations such as Kottayam-Kannur, Valluvally, Iyyal, Vellalur and Kattankanni).[40][39]

A number of coins, assumed to be of the Cheras, mostly found in the Amaravati riverbed, are a major source of Early Chera historiography.[40] This includes a number of punch marked coins discovered from Amaravati riverbed. The issuing of punch marked coins were followed by square coins of copper and its alloys or silver. Most of these early square coins show a bow and arrow, the traditional emblem of the Cheras on the obverse, with or without any legend.[41] A copper coin with a bow and arrow, elephant goad, and elephant, was discovered from Pattanam in central Kerala.[42][43] A bronze die for minting punch marked coins was discovered from the riverbed in Karur.[43]

Other discoveries include a coin with a portrait and the legend "Mak-kotai" above it and another one with a portrait and the legend "Kuttuvan Kotai" above it. Both impure silver coins are tentatively dated to c. 1st century CE or a little later. The reverse side of both coins are blank.[40] The impure silver coins bearing the legend "Kollippurai" and "Kol-Irumporai" was also discovered from Karur. All legends, assumed to be the names of the Chera rulers, were in Tamil-Brahmi characters on the obverse. The macro analysis of the Mak-kotai coin shows close similarities with the contemporary Roman silver coin.[41] A silver coin with the portrait of a person wearing a Roman-type bristled-crown helmet was also discovered from Amaravati riverbed in Karur. Reverse side of the coin depicts a bow and arrow, the traditional symbol of the Chera family.[40]

Major Cheras according to the early Tamil literature

Chera monarchs family tree
Family tree of the rulers of the Chera family (c. 1st - 4th century AD). Compiled from A Survey of Kerala History (1967) by A. Sreedhara Menon
  • Uthiyan Cheral Athan - earliest known ruler of the Chera family, Uthiyan Cheral was also known as "Vanavaramban" Cheral Athan. His headquarters were at Kuzhumur in Kuttanad. He is sometimes identified with the Chera ruler who prepared food for the warring cousins at the Kurukshetra War in the epic Mahabharata (Akananuru). In the battle of Venni, Uthiyan Cheral was wounded on the back by the Chola ruler Karikala. Unable to bear the disgrace, the Chera committed suicide by slow starvation.[44]
  • Nedum Cheral Athan - "Imayavaramban" Nedum Cheral Athan, son of Uthiyan Cheral Athan, is the hero of the second decade of Pathitrupattu which was composed by the poet Kannanar. In the poems, Nedum Cheral Athan is praised for having subdued "seven crowned kings" to achieve the title of adhiraja. With characteristic exaggeration, Kannanar also lauds the Chera for conquering foes from Kumari to the Himalayas. Nedum Cheral Athan, famous for his hospitality, gifted Kannanar with a part of Umbarkkattu. The greatest of his enemies were the Kadambas whom he defeated in battles. He also attacked Yavana ships and held Yavana traders ransom. Nedum Cheral Athan was killed in a battle with a Chola ruler. The Chola is also said to have been killed by a spear thrown at him by Nedum Cheral Athan. Subsequently both queens performed sati in respect of their husbands.[44]
  • Palyani Sel Kelu Kuttuvan - son of Uthiyan Cheral Athan. Credited as the conqueror of Kongu (hero of the third decade by Palaik Kauthamanar[4])[44]
  • Kalankakkanni Narmudi Cheral - hero of the fourth decade by Kappiyattukku Kappiyanar[4], led an expedition against the Adigaiman Anji of Tagadur. Initially defeated by Nannan of Ezhimala in the battle of Pazhi, later defeated and killed Nannan in the battle of Vakai Perum Turai.[44][36]
  • Chenguttuvan - identified with "Kadal Pirakottiya" Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan, son of Nedum Cheral Athan, celebrated by poet Paranar in the 5th decade, ascended to the Chera throne after the death of his father. Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan is often identified with the legendary "Chenguttuvan Chera", the most illustrious ruler of the Early Cheras. Under his reign, the Chera territory extended from Kollimalai (near Karur Vanchi) in the east to Thondi and Mantai (Kerala) on the western coast. The wife of Chenguttuvan was Illango Venmal (the daughter of a Velir chief).[36][44]

In the early years of his rule, the Kuttuvan successfully intervened in a succession dispute in the Chola territory and established his relative Killi on the Chola throne. The rivals of Killi were defeated in the battle of Nerivayil, Uraiyur. The Kadambas are described as the arch enemies of the Chera ruler. Kuttuvan was able to defeat them in the battle of Idumbil, Valayur. The "fort" of Kodukur in which the Kadamba warriors took shelter was stormed. Later the Kadambas (helped by the Yavanas) attacked Kuttuvan by sea, but the Chera ruler destroyed their fleet. Kuttuvan is said to have defeated the Kongu people and a warrior called Mogur Mannan.[13]

  • Adu Kottu Cheral Athan - successor of Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan (hero of the sixth decade by poetess Kakkaipadiniyar Nachellaiyar).[35]
  • Selva Kadumko Valia Athan - Selvakadumko Valia Athan was the son of Anthuvan Cheral and the hero of the 7th set of poems composed by Kapilar. His residence was at the city of Thondi. He married the sister of the wife of Nedum Cheral Athan. Selva Kadumko defeated the combined armies of the Pandyas and the Cholas. He is sometimes identified as the Ko Athan Cheral Irumporai mentioned in the Aranattar-malai inscription of Pugalur (c. 2nd century CE).[35][45]
  • Perum Cheral Irumporai - "Tagadur Erinta" Perum Cheral Irumporai defeated the combined armies of the Pandyas, Cholas and that of the chief of Tagadur. Celebrated by poet Arichil Kizhar in the 8th decade. He captured Tagadur which was ruled by the powerful ruler Adigaman Ezhni. He is also called "the lord of Puzhinadu and "the lord of Kollimalai" and "the lord of [Poom]Puhar". Puhar was the Chola headquarters. Perum Cheral Irumporai also annexed the territories of a minor chief called Kaluval.[46]
  • Illam Cheral Irumporai - (praised in the 9th decade by Perunkundur Kizhar[4]) Illam Cheral Irumporai defeated the Pandyas and the Cholas and brought immense wealth to his base Vanchi.[46]
  • Yanaikatchai Mantaran Cheral Irumporai - Mantaran Cheral Irumporai ruled from Kollimalai (near Karur Vanchi) in the east to Thondi and Mantai on the western coast. He defeated his enemies in a battle at Vilamkil. The famous Pandya ruler Nedum Chezhian (early 3rd century CE[47]) captured Mantaran Cheral as a prisoner. However, he managed to escape and regain the lost territories.[48]
  • Kanaikkal Irumporai - Kanaikkal Irumporai is said to have defeated a chief called Muvan and imprisoned him. The Chera then brutally pulled out the teeth of the prisoner and planted them on the gates of the city of Thondi. Upon capture by the Chola ruler Sengannan, Kanaikkal committed suicide by starvation.[48]

Cheras in the medieval period

Kalabhras territories
An approximate extent of Kalabhra supremacy in southern India.

After the end of the early historical period, c. 5th century CE, there seems to be a period where the Chera family's political prestige and influence declined considerably.[12] It is possible that with the decline of the Roman trade in the 5th century, there was corresponding fall in the stature of the Cheras.[49] The Cheras of the early historical period had an important base at Karur - probably identical with the early Tamil literature age Vanchi - in central Tamil Nadu. Gradually towards the end of the early historical period, Karur seems to have acquired much prominence. By the 8th - 9th centuries it came to be known as "Vanchi Karur".[49]

Little is known for certain about the Chera family during this period. Tradition tells that the Kalabhra (Kalvar[47]) rulers kept the Chera, Chola and Pandya rulers in their confinement.[16] The Kalabhras were marginalised around the 5th century by the rise of the Chalukyas and the Pallavas.[16] The Rashtrakutas were the other major power in southern India. They all claim to have overrun the Cheras/Keralas. A number of inscriptions mention their victories over the king of the Chera country.[50][51] [52] Small buffer polities, such as that of the Ay-Vels, oscillated their allegiance in this period between major rulers.[53][54][55]

By the 7th and the 8th centuries, large portions of southern India was under the control of the Pallava and Pandya rulers. It is likely that the surviving Chera/Kerala royals were the vassals of the Pallavas and the Pandyas. Several inscriptions of the Kongu Cheras i.e. Cheras ruling from Karur in copper and stone, mostly placed between 9th and 10th centuries, are found in central Tamil Nadu. This line of kings was increasingly coming under Pandya influence and a new Chera kingdom (Kulasekhara) was taking shape in modern Kerala. Cheras of Karur are described as members of the "Chandraditya Kula" (Kulasekharas/Kodungallur Cheras generally describe themselves as members of "Surya Vamsha").[49]

It is innocuous to conclude that by the 8th century CE, the old Chera territory was split into two separate kingdoms, one based at Karur in central Tamil Nadu and the other based at Kodungallur in Kerala. Royal inscriptions and temple grants, the major source of information about the rulers of this period, refer to both clans as the Cheras/Keralas. Identification of the Cheras in each record is a matter of major scholarly discourse.[10][12] The exact nature of the relation between the Cheras of Kongu and the Kulasekharas/Cheras of Kodungallur remains obscure.[49]

Kodungallur Cheras/Kulasekharas

Depiction of "Cherman Perumal" Nayanar (Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur)
Depiction of "Cherman Perumal" Nayanar (Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur)

A line of rulers, described in royal charters and temple inscriptions as the Chera kings, are known to have ruled what is now Kerala between the 9th and 12th century CE.[3] Their ruling base was the city of Makotai/Vanchi (Sanskrit: Mahodayapura), modern Kodungallur. The history of Kerala during this period is an active area of scholarly research and debate. Historians tend to identify Nayanar saint Cherman Perumal and Alwar saint Kulasekhara Alwar with some of the earliest rulers of this kingdom.[56][57]

The nature of the Kulasekhara state is an ongoing academic debate. An earlier version of historiography had believed that this "Second Chera Empire", or "Kulasekhara Empire" was a highly centralised kingdom. However, critical research in the late 1960s and early 1970s offered a major corrective to this. Recently (2002), suggestions pointing to the other extreme, that the king at Kodungallur had only a "ritual sovereignty" and the actual political power rested with "a bold and visible Brahmin oligarchy" has emerged. While the earlier model of a highly centralised "empire" is considered not acceptable by historians, the third model (2002) is yet to be endorsed by them.[14]

The Cheras of Kodungallur were intermittently subject to the Pandyas and the Chola Empire. They strategically fought battles and formed alliances with the Pandyas and the Cholas.[58][59] The Chera kingdom was eventually dissolved in 12th century, and most of its autonomous chiefdoms became independent. Venadu in southern Kerala was one of these daughter states. [60][61][62][3] In the modern period, the rulers of Cochin and Travancore (in Kerala) also claimed the title "Chera".[16]

Ilango Adigal, author of the epic Chilapathikaram.
The Kodungallur Cheras (Kulasekharas) according to:
Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai (1955 and 63) [63] M. G. S. Narayanan (1972)[64]
  • Kulashekhara Varma (c. 800–c.820 CE)
  • Rajashekhara (c. 820–844 CE)
  • Sthanu Ravi Varma (844–c. 885 CE)
  • Rama Varma (c. 885–917 CE)
  • Kota Ravi Varma (917–947 CE)
  • Indu Kota Varma (944–962 CE)
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma I (962–1019 CE)
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma II (979–1021 CE)
  • Vira Kerala (1021–c. 1028 CE)
  • Rajasimha (c. 1028–c.1043 CE)
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma III (c. 1043–c.1082 CE)
  • Ravi Rama Varma (c. 1082–1090 CE)
  • Rama Varma Kulashekhara (1090–1102 CE)
  • Rama "Rajasekhara" (c. 800–844 CE)
  • Sthanu Ravi "Kulasekhara" (c. 844–883 CE)
  • Kota Ravi "Vijayaraga" (c. 883–913)
  • Kota Kota "Kerala Kesari" (c. 913–c.943 CE)
  • Indu Kota (943–962 CE)
  • Bhaskara Ravi "Manukuladitya" (962–1021)
  • Ravi Kota "Rajasimha" (c. 1021– c.1036 CE)
  • Raja Raja (c. 1036–1089 CE)
  • Ravi Rama "Rajaditya" (c. 1036–1089 CE)
  • Adityan Kota "Ranaditya" (c. 1036–1089 CE)
  • Rama "Kulasekhara" (1089–1122 CE)

Venadu Cheras: late medieval to early modern

When the Kodungallur Chera (Kulasekhara) kingdom was eventually dissolved in 12th century, most of its autonomous chiefdoms including Venad became independent.[60][61][62][3] The rulers of Venadu, based out of the port of Kollam in southern Kerala, claimed their ancestry from the Kodungallur Cheras.[12] The Venad rulers had an oscillating relationship with their powerful eastern neighbours, the Pandyas of Madurai. With Kolathunadu in northern Kerala, it remained the most significant kingdom in Kerala till the emergence of the Zamorins of Kozhikode.[65] Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, the most ambitious ruler of Kollam, carried out a successful military expedition to Pandya and Chola lands in the early 14th century CE.[17] [66]

The rulers of Venad owed their importance to exchange of spices and other products with the Middle Eastern and Chinese merchants.[67][68][69][70] Venetian adventurer Marco Polo claimed to have visited Venad capital Kollam, a major centre of commerce and trade with East and West Asia. European colonisers arrived at Kollam in the late fifteenth century, primarily in pursuit of the Indian spices and textiles.[70][71][72][36] In the Venad royal family, like in most other royal houses in Kerala, the law of succession followed was based on matrilineal inheritance. The eldest son of the sister of the ruling king, not his own son, had the legal right to ascend the throne after the death of the king.[73][74][75]

In the modern period, the rulers of Venad paid an annual tribute to the rulers of Madurai.[76][77] By this time, the old state of Venad was divided into several autonomous collateral branches such as Trippappoor (Travancore), Elayadathu, (Kottarakara), Desinganad (Kollam), and Peraka Thavazhi (Nedumangad).[78][79][80] In the 18th century, Marthanda Varma (1706–1758), of Trippappoor (Travancore), successfully developed the state of Travancore. Varma routed all the major Nair nobles in Travancore, organised a standing army, defeated most of the chiefdoms in central Kerala, entered into strategic alliances with Europeans, supported Kerala traders in the place of the Europeans, and eventually formed one of the first modern states of southern India.[81] In the modern period the rulers of Travacore also claimed the title "Chera".[16]


The extent and nature of state formation of the Chera kingdoms, from the ancient period to early modern period, cannot be interpreted either in a linear or in a monochromatic way. Each ruling family had its own political prestige and influence in southern India over their life spans.[10][82]

The extent of political formation in early historic southern India was a matter of considerable debate among historians.[4] Although earlier historians visualised early historic polities as full-fledged kingdoms, some of the recent studies rule out the possibility of state formation.[3][2][83] According to historian Rajan Gurukkal, ancient south India was a combination of several "unevenly evolved and kinship based redistributive economies of chiefdoms". These polities were structured by the dominance of agro-pastoral means of subsistence and predatory politics.[11] Kesavan Veluthat, another prominent historian of south India, uses the term "chief" and "chiefdom" for the Chera ruler and Chera polity of early historic south India respectively.[14]

Reaching any conclusions based on the early Tamil poems and archaeological evidences is another topic disagreement.[84][85] It is assumed that the institution of sabha in south Indian villages, for local administration, was first surfaced during the early historic period.[47]


The Early Chera economy can be described as a predominantly "pastoral-cum-agrarian" based system. The emphasis on agriculture increased with time, and provided the base for larger economic change.[47]

Spice trade

Silk route
Silk Road (Red) and Spice Routes (Blues)

Indian Ocean spice trade with the "Yavanas" and trade with north India provided considerable economic momentum for the Chera polity. Overseas trade was the major economic activity.[47] There is some difference of opinion with regard to the nature of the spice trade in ancient Chera territories. It is disputed whether this trade with the Mediterranean world was managed on equal terms by the Tamil merchants, in view of the existence of apparently unequal political institutions in south India.[86]

Chera spice exchange with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Graeco-Roman) navigators can be traced back to before the Common Era and was substantially consolidated in the early years of the Common Era.[2][87][88] In the first century CE, the Romans conquered Egypt, which helped them to establish dominance in the Indian Ocean spice trade. The earliest Graeco-Roman accounts referring to the Cheras are by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE, in Periplus Maris Erythraei of the 1st century CE, and by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE.[21] The Periplus Maris Erythraei portrays the trade in the territory of Keprobotras in detail. Muziris was the most important centre in the Malabar Coast, which according to the Periplus, abounded with large ships of Romans, Arabs and Greeks. Bulk spices, ivory, timber, pearls and gems were exported from the Chera region to the Middle East and Mediterranean kingdoms.[89]

It is known that the Romans brought vast amounts of gold in exchange for black pepper.[2][90][91][92] This is testified by the Roman coin hoards that have been found in various parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Pliny the Elder, in the 1st century CE, laments the drain of Roman gold into India and China for luxuries such as spices, silk and muslin. The spice trade across the Indian Ocean dwindled with the decline of the Roman empire in the 3rd - 4th centuries CE.[2] With the exit of the Mediterraneans from the spice trade, their space was picked up by the Chinese and Arab navigators.[3]

Wootz steel

Wootz steel originated in South India in Tamilakam, present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala.[93] There are several ancient Tamil, Greek, Chinese and Roman literary references to high carbon Indian steel. The crucible steel production process started in the 6th century BC, at production sites of Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu, Golconda in Telangana, Karnataka and Sri Lanka and exported globally; the Chera Dynasty producing what was termed the finest steel in the world, i.e. Seric Iron to the Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Arabs by 500 BC.[94][95][96] The steel was exported as cakes of steely iron that came to be known as "Wootz".[97] Wootz steel in India had high amount of carbon in it.

The method was to heat black magnetite ore in the presence of carbon in a sealed clay crucible inside a charcoal furnace to completely remove slag. An alternative was to smelt the ore first to give wrought iron, then heat and hammer it to remove slag. The carbon source was bamboo and leaves from plants such as Avārai.[97][98] The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating wootz steel from the Cheras by the 5th century BC.[99][100] In Sri Lanka, this early steel-making method employed a unique wind furnace, driven by the monsoon winds. Production sites from antiquity have emerged, in places such as Anuradhapura, Tissamaharama and Samanalawewa, as well as imported artifacts of ancient iron and steel from Kodumanal. A 200 BC Tamil trade guild in Tissamaharama, in the South East of Sri Lanka, brought with them some of the oldest iron and steel artifacts and production processes to the island from the classical period.[101][102][103][104]

Society and culture

Early Cheras

In general, early Tamil literature reflects the Dravidian cultural tradition as well as elements of the northern Indian/Sanskritic cultural tradition, which by now was beginning to come into contact with southern India.[47] It is logical to conclude that most of the Chera population followed native Dravidian religions.[105] Religious practice might have consisted predominantly of conducting sacrifices to various gods, such as to the pre-eminent god Murugan.[47] The worship of departed heroes was a common practice in the Chera territory, along with tree worship and other kinds of ancestor worship. The war goddess Kottavai was propitiated with elaborate offerings of meat and toddy. It is theorised that Kottavai was assimilated into the present-day form of the goddess Durga.[105] It is thought that the first wave of Brahmin migration came to the Chera territory around the 3rd century BCE with or behind the Jain and Buddhist missionaries. It was only in the 8th century CE that the Aryanisation of the old Chera country reached its organised form.[106] Though the vast majority of the population followed native Dravidian practices, a small percentage of the population, mainly migrants, followed Jainism, Buddhism and Brahmanism.[105] Populations of Jews and Christians were also known to have lived in Kerala.[107][108][109]

Early Tamil literature does make a number of references to social stratification, as expressed by use of the word kudi (“group”) to denote "caste".[47] A striking feature of the social life of the early historic period is the high status accorded to women.[110] [83]

Agriculture and pastoralism were the primary occupations of the people. Various agricultural occupations such as harvesting, threshing and drying are described in the early Tamil literature. Poets and musicians were held in high regard in society. Early Tamil literature is full of references about the lavish patronage extended to court poets. There were professional poets and poetesses who composed poems praising their patrons and were generously rewarded for this.[111]

Kodungallur Cheras/Kulasekharas

Vazhappally copper plate (c. 830 CE)
Vazhapalli Copper Plate (c. 830 CE) - one of the earliest documents in Malayalam language.

An identity different from the Tamil-speaking people to the east of the Western Ghats gradually emerged in Kerala in the medieval period. Oldest forms of Malayalam language and earliest signs of increased Namboothiri Brahmin influence are also attested in this period. A new indigenous calendar system, known as Kollam Era (825 CE), is also seen in medieval Kerala.[3][112][113]

Much like the early historic Tamil chieftains, the Chera kings of Kodungallur depended heavily on the spice trade for sustaining their economy. The people of the Chera state had extensive trade relations with merchants from the Middle East and China. Kerala acted as a connecting hub for the sailors from western and eastern parts of Asia. A multicultural and multi-ethnic society, with the presence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, coexisted in relative peaceful conditions. Travellers who visited the Malabar Coast during the period have testified to the high degree of economic prosperity achieved from foreign trade. A number of copper-plates, charters and inscriptions also testify to the high importance given to trade guilds.[114] [115] The relations of the Chera rulers and their feudatories with Jewish and Christian merchants are seen in Cochin Jewish Copper Plate[116][117] (c. 1000 CE) and Tharisa Palli Copper Plates (c. 849 CE).[115][118][119]

The famous Advaita philosopher Sankara was born at Kaladi on the banks of the Periyar.[120] Several notable literary works were composed during this period under the patronage of the Chera rulers (who themselves indulged in authoring several devotional works).[121] Kodungallur, the major spice trade port in Kerala at the time, was also a centre of learning and science.[122] An observatory functioned at the capital under the charge of Shankara Narayana (c. 840 – c. 900 CE), an astronomer in the court of Chera king Sthanu Ravi.[123] Narayana is the author of Laghu Bhaskariya Vyakha, a commentary on the works of Bhaskara I (early 6th century CE), a disciple of the famous polymath Aryabhata himself.[10][124]

See also


  1. ^ Citing Komattil Achutha Menon, Ancient Kerala, p. 7[18]
  2. ^ Citing Komattil Achutha Menon, Ancient Kerala, p. 7[18]
  3. ^ According to Menon, this etymology of "added" or "reclaimed" land also complements the Parashurama myth about the formation of Kerala. In it, Parashurama, one of the avatars of Vishnu, flung his axe across the sea from Gokarnam towards Kanyakumari (or vice versa) and the water receded up to the spot where it landed, thus creating Kerala.[19]
  4. ^ Citing Komattil Achutha Menon, Ancient Kerala, p. 7[18]


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External links


Atikamāṉ (also known as Adhiyamān, Adigamān or Satyaputra-Atiyān) were a royal Tamil dynasty. These king-chiefs ruled from their capital Tagadur(present day Dharmapuri) 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.

The Atikamāṉs are mentioned in the Puranas as well as in ancient Tamil literature. Their rule of Tamilakam is mentioned in rock inscriptions of the Sangam period such as the Edicts of Asoka in the 3rd century BCE and the Gummireddipura plates with the added title Satyaputra - the "members of the fraternity of truth", synonymous with the Chera clan. Vidukalagiya Perumal, an eighth century chief of this family is described as the descendant of Adigaman Elini of Chera dynasty(Vamsa) in one of his epigraphs. A number of inscriptions in Jambai (Tirukkoyilur) add details of their sovereignty in the first century CE. This ruling tribe rose in prominence during the classical period of the history of Tamil Nadu. Their most famous ruler was Athiyamān Nedumān Añci, a powerful king who was one of the Kadai ezhu vallal (7 great patrons) of arts and literature in Tamilakam.


Changanasserry is a municipal town in Kottayam district in the state of Kerala, India. Changanassery is connected to high-range and Kuttanad. It is considered as one of the major educational and religious centres of Kerala with a 100% literate municipality. There are five colleges, eight higher secondary schools, one vocational higher secondary school and ten high schools within the four kilometre radius of the town, which makes Changanassery the educational centre of Kerala.

Cheraman Parambu

Cheraman Parambu is regarded as the royal seat of the Cheraman Perumals, the kings of the Chera dynasty. The palace spreads over an area of about 5 acres at Methala, around 3 km from Kodungallur, Kerala. In 1936, the site was declared as a protected monument by the Department of Archaeology. The site was excavated between 1944 and 1945 and potsherds, copper and iron implements, bangles and beads were found. The excavated potsherd belonged to a race called Celadon Ware, a kind of pottery which was made in China during the Song dynasty period between the 10th and the 12th centuries AD.

Cheras (disambiguation)

Cheras usually refers to the Chera dynasty, an Indian dynasty that ruled over parts of the present-day states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Cheras may also refer to:

Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cheras (federal constituency), represented in the Dewan Rakyat

Poliklinik Cheras, a female governmental hospital in Kuala Lumpur

Cheras, Selangor, a suburb that stretches from Kuala Lumpur to Kajang in Selangor, Malaysia

Cheras LRT station, an at-grade rapid transit station situated near and named after the Kuala Lumpur township of Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cheras Highway, a major highway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Habel of Kaipetta

St. Habel of Kaipetta (5 May 1816 – 18 August 1899) was a convert from Hinduism to Christianity, the first convert from the Chera Dynasty of Kerala.

Habel was born in Kaipatta Village, near Tiruvalla. Following Baptism, he learned theology from Europeans and traveled far and wide establishing congregations and churches and spreading the Gospel of Christ to thousands of people who took Baptisms and joined the Church. People revered him as a Saint.

Habel died at the age of 84 on 18 August 1899. Bishop Edward Noel Hodges attended his funeral. On 6 September 2003, Archbishop Stephen Vattappara of the Anglican Church of India declared him as a Saint. A church in the Village of Kaipatta is named after him.

History of Thrissur

Thrissur (Malayalam: തൃശൂർ) is the administrative capital of Thrissur District situated in the central part of Kerala state, India. Thrissur district was formed on 1 July 1949. It is an important cultural centre, and is known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala. It is famous for the Thrissur Pooram festival, one of the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. From ancient times, Thrissur has played a significant part in the political, economical and cultural history of Indian sub continent and South East Asia. It has opened the gates for Arabs, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch and English. Thrissur is where Christianity, Islam and Judaism entered the Indian sub continent, when Thomas the Apostle arrived in 52 CE and the location of country’s first Mosque in the 7th century.

Ilango Adigal

Ilango Adigal (c. 2nd century CE) is the author of Silappatikaram, one of the Five Great Epics of Tamil literature. He identifies himself as a Chera prince from the 2nd century CE, but Kamil Zvelebil suggests that, "this may be a bit of poetic fantasy, practised perhaps by a later member of the Chera Dynasty recalling earlier events".

Kondazhy Thrithamthali Siva-Parvathy Temple

Kondazhy Tritham Tali Siva Temple (Malayalam: കൊണ്ടാഴി തൃത്തംതളി ശിവ ക്ഷേത്രം) is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated on the banks of Gayathripuzha, a tributary of Bharathappuzha, at Kondazhy of Thrissur District in Kerala state in India. The Kondazhy Temple is one of the important temples in Cochin Kingdom. According to folklore, sage Parashurama has installed the idol of Lord Shiva at the south bank of river Nila. The temple is a part of the 108 famous Shiva temples in Kerala. In the old days in the period of Chera Dynasty, the Kerala divided into eighteen tiers for the administration; at each administration headed by a major temple (Shiva temple). In these, the Tritam Tali Siva Temple is the central temple of the tree. There is a special temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi in the premises, and also houses 11 sub-deities, including the three sons of Lord Shiva (Ganapathi, Subrahmanya and Ayyappan), Mahavishnu, Bhadrakali, Navagrahas, Hanuman, Serpent deities and Brahmarakshassu.

Kuzhanthai Velappar Temple (Poombarai, Kodaikanal Murugan Temple)

Kuzhanthai Velappar Temple is a Hindu temple in the Village of Poombarai near Kodaikanal in Dindigul.

10/12 centuries when Bogar returned from China, (ie., after completing Palani andavar statue before his China visit), he built one more Navabasanam Statue at mid of Palani and Poombarai (called western gates nowadays), the place is called as Yanai Gejam(Bogar Kadu). As per inscriptions in the temple, the temple was built by king of Chera dynasty


Nedungadi is a Samanthan last name, originating in the Indian state of Kerala. Nedungadi belong to Samanthan section of the Malabar ruling class.Samanthans were the erstwhile rulers of small Nadus (Places) under the Chera Dynasty. The name Nedungadi is believed to be derived from the word "Nedunganadu" and the word "aadi", meaning "to rule". "Nedunganadu" used to be a small region that now includes Shornur, Ottappalam, Kothakursi, Pattambi, Kootanad, Naduvattam, Karalmanna Cherpulasserry, Karimpuza, Nellaya, Vallapuzha are the old seats of Eralpad Raja, the second Sthani of Zamorin. The Zamorin obtained this place after defeating Nedungadies. The places ruled by the Nedungadies at an earlier time are mainly in Palghat District and also include Aliparamba, Thootha, Anamangad, Arakkuparamba, Eravimangalam, Nattukal, Valamkulam, Amminikkad in Malappuram District of Kerala. In all these places, there are still Samanatha families with "Nedungadi" in their names. Though they were rulers of a collection of villages, they were not considered as Kshariyas and were classified as Shudras by the conservative Brahminical Hindu society.Only Varmas were given Ksatriya status in Kerala by the Brahminical society and that too on an adhoc basis , renewed every 12 years based on fulfilment of certain conditions.

In medieval times Nedunganadu was a small territorial unit within the Chera kingdom. The place was also known as Parambu Nadu in old writings. Parambu Nadu is seen as the territory ruled by Velir chief famous Vel Pari. Later on divided and ruled by Chola, Chera and Pandya Kings and other velir chiefs with their fighting heads. In Purananooru of Sangham texts, Tirukoilur, surrounding present Dharmapuri is mentioned as Nedunadu, the land lies between the esastern and western seas. The name for the place Cherpulassery came from Chera Pulla Cherry. The place were the sons of Cheras lived. The nearby place is Kotha Kursi. Kotha was the pet name for Cherans. The name Shornur is derived from the old name Cheran vanna oor (places ruled by Chera Kings) later on corrupted to Cheruvannor and to the present day Shornur. A place with a railway junction connecting railway lines to Trivandrum, Chennai, Mangalore and Nilambur. The original family name of the rulers is unknown, but the members of the royal families are referred to as "the Nedungadis" in the later documents of the Samutiris of Kozhikode who conquered and ruled this territory.

Nedungadi is the term generally used to describe the men of the caste, and the women are known by name Kovilamma / kovilpad.

In addition, one of the authors of "Kundalatha," one of the first Malayalam novels, was from this family: T.M. Appu Nedungadi. The first scholar who did research on the evolution of the Malayalam language was one Kovunni Nedungadi belonging to this community. The contribution made by Nedungadi for CV Raman's optics research is significant and worthwhile.

Nedungadi Bank was also a famous bank in India until 2003, when it was bought by Punjab National Bank.

Perum Cheral Irumporai

Perum Cheral Irumporai, the Victor of Tagadur, was a member of the Irumporai line of the Chera dynasty in early historic south India (c. 1st - 4th century CE). Perum Cheral is sometimes identified with Perum Kadungo, the Irumporai Chera royal mentioned in the Pugalur inscriptions.He is famous for the victory of Tagadur of Adigaman chieftain Ezhni. He is the hero of the eighth chapter of the Pathittupattu composed by poet Arichil Kizhar.


Perumal, (literally the Great One) may refers to,

Perumal, south Indian god

Perumal/Perumal Atikal/Permati, medieval Indian royal title of

Western Ganga dynastySripurusha



Pandya dynastyMaran Chatayan

Chola dynastyParantaka

Pallava dynastyParamesvara Varma II of Kanchi

Kodungallur/Western Chera dynastyRama Rajasekhara (Cheraman Perumal Nayanar)

Sthanu Ravi (Kulasekhara Alvar)

Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya

Rama Kulasekhara

Raviswarapuram Siva Temple

Raviswarapuram Siva Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva at Kodungalloor of Thrissur District in Kerala state in India. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in Raviswara form, located in main Sanctum Sanctorum, facing East. The existence of temple was mentioned in Sangam Literature as one of the major temples under Chera Dynasty. According to folklore, sage Parashurama has installed the idol. It is the part of the 108 Shiva temples of Kerala .


Senguttuvan Chera, identified with Vel Kelu Kuttuvan, the Imayavaramban, and the Kadal Pirakottiya, (c. 2nd century CE as per Gajabahu-Senguttuvan synchronism) was the most renowned ruler of the Chera dynasty in ancient south India. It is assumed that the Kuttuvan ruled for 55 years with Vanchi as his headquarters. He was known as one of the greatest warrior-rulers of the early historic south India (c. 1st - 4th century CE) and was also a well known patron of commerce, arts, and literature.Vel Kelu Kuttuvan is celebrated by poet Paranar in the 5th decade of Pathitrupathu, the fourth book in the Ettuthokai anthology. Senguttuvan is famous for the traditions surrounding Kannagi, the principal female character of the Tamil epic poem Silappatikaram. A method, known as Gajabahu-Chenguttuvan synchronism, is used by some historians to date Senguttuvan Chera.

Thrissur (Assembly constituency)

Thrissur Assembly Constituency is a legislative assembly constituency in the Indian state of Kerala.

Uthiyan Cheralathan

Uthiyan Cheralathan ("Perum Chorru Uthiya") is earliest known ruler [[Chera dynasty|Chera] of early historic south India (c. 1st - 4th century CE) from available literary sources. He had his headquarters at a place called Kuzhumur in Kuttanad (central Kerala). His lifetime is broadly determined to be between first and third century CE. His consort was Veliyan Nallini, the daughter of Veliyan chief Venman. Uthiyan Cheralathan was a contemporary of the Chola chief Karikala.

Uthiyan is fabled to have fed the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas in the Mahabharata War. Uthiyan Cheralatan assumed the title "Vanavaramban" which could either mean "One whose Kingdom Reaches up to the Sky" or "the One who is Loved by the Gods". The latter title was previously adopted by the Maurya emperor Asoka.

Uthiyan's elephant corps and cavalry forces are particularly praised in the early Tamil literature. He went into several battles and in the battle of Venni with Karikala Chola, he was wounded on the back while leading the warriors. Being unable to bear the disgrace he committed suicide by slow starvation. It is said that some of his "Companions" also committed suicide with him [unwilling to part him]. Uthiyan Cheralatan was succeeded by his son, Nedum Cheralathan.

Vanchi Muthur

Vanchi (Malayalam: വഞ്ചി, translit. Vañci) was a headquarters of Chera dynasty, who ruled parts of Kerala and central Tamil Nadu (the Kongu country) in the early historic south India. The exact location of Vanchi is matter of a debate among historians. It is speculated that the location is identical with medieval Vanchi-Karur (modern Karur).The following medieval Chera capitals were also known as "Vanchi".

Karuvur - Karur (capital of the Kongu Cheras)

Kodungallur - Mahodayapuram - Thiruvanchikkulam (capital of the Kulasekharas/Kodungallur Cheras)

Yanaikatchai Mantaran Cheral Irumporai

Mantharan Cheral Irumporai (Tamil: மாந்தரன் சேரல் இரும்பொறை) was a ruler of the Chera dynasty in early historic south India (c. 1st - 4th century CE). He was a warring ruler, and constantly moved about the frontiers of his dominions. He was hailed "Yanai Katchai" meaning 'the One with an Eye-sight Like an Elephant'.According to early Tamil literature, Mantharan Cheral was a contemporary of famous Pandya ruler Nedum Chezhian (II, early 3rd century CE). Purananuru tells that he participated in the battle of Talaiyalam-Kanam allied with Chola ruler Killivalavan and five other small rulers including Ezhini, Thithiyan, Irungo Vaenman, Porunan and Erumaiyuran against Nedum Chezhian. However, the Pandyas invaded the Chera country, won the battle and Mantharan Cheral was taken as a prisoner to Madurai. After his court trial at Madurai he was locked in a fort "inside a bamboo forest surrounded by the crocodile lake". Mantharan Cheral later escaped from his cell and returned to his country and "continued to rule his loving people in peace, plenty and harmony for many more uninterrupted years".The Chola ruler Rajasuyamvetta Perunnarkilli was also at war with Mantharan Cheral, and Thervan Malayan chief of Miladu is said to have assisted the Cholas in these battles. Kurunkozhiyur Kizhar, a poet in the Mantharan Cheral's court, praises the king for having once saved a city called Vilamkil from the enemies.

The poet Kurunkozhiyur Kizhar and Kudalur Kizhar who were present at the death of Mandaran Cheral state that the death was portended by a falling star (possibly a comet) seven days previous to the occurrence.

The mentioned brightly visualised comet that appeared in the said month of March and April might have been the Halley's comet of 141 CE (February–April) under the Aries across Phalguna.

Chera dynasty topics
Early Cheras (early historic)
Kongu Cheras
Kodungallur Cheras/Kulasekharas
Venadu Cheras
Timeline and
cultural period
Northwestern India
(Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)
Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India
Upper Gangetic Plain
(Ganga-Yamuna doab)
Middle Gangetic Plain Lower Gangetic Plain
Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period
(Srauta culture)[a]
Painted Grey Ware culture
Late Vedic Period
(Shramanic culture)[b]
Northern Black Polished Ware
 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha Adivasi (tribes)
Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation"
Rise of Shramana movements
Jainism - Buddhism - Ājīvika - Yoga
 5th century BC (Persian conquests) Shaishunaga dynasty Adivasi (tribes)
 4th century BC (Greek conquests) Nanda empire
Culture Spread of Buddhism Pre-history Sangam period
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 3rd century BC Maurya Empire Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
Culture Preclassical Hinduism[c] - "Hindu Synthesis"[d] (ca. 200 BC - 300 AD)[e][f]
Epics - Puranas - Ramayana - Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita - Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition
Mahayana Buddhism
Sangam period
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Shunga Empire
Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty
Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
 1st century BC
 1st century AD


Kuninda Kingdom
 2nd century Kushan Empire
 3rd century Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom Kushan Empire Western Satraps Kamarupa kingdom Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Culture "Golden Age of Hinduism"(ca. AD 320-650)[g]
Co-existence of Hinduism and Buddhism
 4th century Kidarites Gupta Empire
Varman dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Kadamba Dynasty
Western Ganga Dynasty
 5th century Hephthalite Empire Alchon Huns Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
 6th century Nezak Huns
Kabul Shahi
Maitraka Adivasi (tribes) Badami Chalukyas
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Culture Late-Classical Hinduism (ca. AD 650-1100)[h]
Advaita Vedanta - Tantra
Decline of Buddhism in India
 7th century Indo-Sassanids Vakataka dynasty
Empire of Harsha
Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)
 8th century Kabul Shahi Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom
 9th century Gurjara-Pratihara Rashtrakuta dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
10th century Ghaznavids Pala dynasty
Kamboja-Pala dynasty
Kalyani Chalukyas
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
References and sources for table


  1. ^ Samuel
  2. ^ Samuel
  3. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  4. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  5. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  6. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  7. ^ Micheals (2004) p.40
  8. ^ Michaels (2004) p.41


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