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- This article is about a Sangam age kingdom in South India, for the medieval feudal state in the same geographical area, see Kolathunadu
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Mushika Kingdom (also called Ezhimalai Kingdom, Puzhinadu, or Mushaka Rajya) was an ancient kingdom of the Tamil Sangam age in present day northern Kerala, India ruled by the Royal dynasty of the same name. They ruled the strip of land between Mangaluru in the north and Vadagara in the south. It was one of the three kingdom of Sangam Age Kerala, along with the Chera kingdom and the Ay kingdom. Ezhimalai Nannan was the most powerful ruler of Ezhimalai, he expanded the kingdom to Wynad, Gudallore and to parts of Coimbatore. With the death of Nannan in a battle against the Cheras, the kingdom dissolved in the Chera kingdom.
Mushika Kingdom is referred to in the Mahabharata epic. Over the millennia, they have also been known as the Kulyas, Kolis and Kolwas as also the Velirs, Ezhimala (also spelled as Ezhimalai), and the Nannans. Later they were better known as the Kolathiri or the Chirakkal Royal Family of Northern Kerala. Their last and erstwhile capital was in the town of Chirakkal to which they moved around 850 AD. The word 'Mushika' also means Mouse in Sanskrit. Ezhimala, where they had their capital earlier to Taliparamba and Chirakkal, literally means Rat Hill in the local Malayalam language as well as in Tamil.
The Mushika Royals who were later known as the Kolathiris and the Chirakkal Royal Family, might have been the only one, or one of the twelve Velir Families of the Tamil Sangam Era fame. They, over the millennia intermarried very frequently with the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Cholas, and also might have given rise to the royalties of the Lakshadweep, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. They have also had matrimonial alliances with the Chedis, the Somas, and the Yadavas. The Arakkal and the Nileshwaram Royal Families are both branches of this Royal Family, having branched out from them, over the centuries. A Southern branch of this family ruled over erstwhile Venad and was better known as the Thiruvithamkoor or Travancore Royal Family. The Mushika Royal Family has found mention in surviving ancient Indian texts like the Vishnu Purana and also in Greek accounts like that of Strabo.
Over the millennia, their kingdom roughly covered present-day Kasaragod and Kannur districts in Kerala, South India, along with some adjoining areas of Northern Kerala and Tulu Nadu, and in some periods parts of Tamil Nadu, Kodagu and Mysore as well.
The most famous king in the recorded history of this dynasty and kingdom was Udayan Venmon Nannan also known as Nannan or Nandan. Documented records of the rule of 118 kings till Srikanta at the start of the 11th Century CE have been compiled in the Sanskrit text known as Mushikavamsa, in reality a poem composed by the poet and historian Atula, who was one of Srikanta's courtiers. The territories they ruled over were known as Kolathunadu or Kolathirinadu. The Kovilakam (meaning Palace in the local Malayalam language) of the Kolathiris was located in Chirakkal where it still stands. The Mushika Royals were responsible for building many of the existing ancient temples of Northern Kerala and adjoining areas, besides forts like those at Bekal Fort, and major ports like those at Valapattam. The Arakkal and Nileshwaram Royal Families are both branches of the Kolathiri or Chirakkal Royal Family. The southern branch of this Family ruled over Venad and is today known as the Travancore Royal Family.
- Organiser - Content
- Traces of the Mahabharat in Sangam Literature
- Kannoor.com - Jewel of the Arabian Sea... A Kerala.com website
- The Vishnu Purana - Google Books
- Age of the Nandas and Mauryas - Google Books
- Kannur - Travel & Tourism - Kerala - States and Union Territories - Know India: National Portal of India