Ilango Adigal

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Ilango Adigal
Statue of Ilango Adigal at Marina Beach, Chennai

Ilango Adigal(Tamil:இளங்கோ அடிகள்) was a Jain prince of the 2nd century AD/CE, who is thought to be the author of Silappathikaram, one of the five great epics of Tamil literature.[1] His name is a pseudonym meaning 'Venerable Prince'. As per literary conventions at that time, he was not allowed to disclose his real name.[citation needed]

Prince Ilango was the brother of Chera king Cheran Chenguttuvan was born in the Chera dynasty, the west part of Tamilakam, (in modern day Kerala), in South India. According to a legend, an astrologer predicted that he would become the ruler of the land and to obviate such a happening, especially when his elder brother the rightful heir was alive, the prince became a Jain monk taking the name of Ilango Adigal, Adigal indicating that he had become a Jain monk.[2]

He is reputed to be the brother of Chera king Senguttuvan, although there is no evidence in the Sangam poetries that the famous king had a brother.[3] There are also claims that Ilango Adigal was a contemporary of Sattanar, the author of Manimekalai.[4] The prologues of each of these books tell us that each were read out to the author of the other [Silappatikaram, pathigam 90].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rosen, Elizabeth S. (1975). "Prince LLango Adigal, Shilappadikaram (The anklet Bracelet), translated by Alain Damelou. Review.". Artibus Asiae 37 (1/2): 148–150. 
  2. ^ Mohan Lal (2006) The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot), Volume 5 Sahitya Akademi. 8126012218 p. 4098
  3. ^ K. A. Nilakanta Sastry, A history of South India, pp 397
  4. ^ Manimekalai, a Buddhist poem, tells the story of Manimekalai, the daughter of Kovalan and Madavi.