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Official language Tamil
Family name Thondaiman
Capital Tondai Nadu (Thondaimandalam)

Members of the Thondaiman family were Tamil rulers of the ancient Tondai Nadu division of Tamilakkam. They ruled with the Pallava dynasty, which controlled northern Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and had its capital at Kanchipuram. Hundreds of records and edicts exist pertaining to the Thondaiman rulers.[1]

Sangam literature[edit]

Ruler Thondaiman Ilandirayan was mentioned in Purananuru (புறநானூறு) (in one of the poems written by Avvaiyar) as a king confronting Adhiaman; battle was avoided by the tactics of Avvaiyaar.[2]He is said to be the founder of Pallava dynasty.[3] Pathupaattu (பத்துப்பாட்டு) a sangam literaure work mentioned that Tondaiman Ilandriyan ruled th Kanchipuram town before 2500 years.[4]

Chola Empire[edit]

Kalingathuparani was written by Jayamkondar in praise of Karunakara Tondaiman for the victory over Kalinga (present day Orissa). He was a Pallava prince, serving under Kulothunga Chola I as a Thalaphathy. Karunagara ngs toThondaiman is also known as Vandai arasan.

The poet Kambar wrote Silaiyezhupathu about Karunagara Thondaiman vanniyan he belongs to Vanniyar or Vannia (Tamil: வன்னியர்).That clearly infers the Karunakara tondaiman belongs to Vanniyar community. There are number of origin theories for the feudal chiefs - connected to the Koneswaram shrine, as the Vanniyar caste coming from modern Tamil Nadu state or as an indigenous formation.[5]


In ancient times a nomadic shepard class abandoned it's wanderings and settled around kanchi and it's neighbourhood, destroyed the forests, converted them into fertile lands, made many administrative divisions or kottam's. from this sheppard class or kurumbas emerged great pallavas[6]

Aranthangi Thondaimans[edit]

The Aranthangi Thondaimans ruled Aranthangi from the 15th to the 18th centuries as feudal chiefs under the Pandyas and the Vijayanagar rulers. There are references to the Aranthangi Tondaimans in temple inscriptions at Avudayarkovil, Alappiranathan, Palaiyavanam, Pillaivayal, Aranthangi, Kovilur[disambiguation needed], Paramandur, Palankarai, Piranmalai, Thiruvarankulam and Kurumbur. Similarly, the Aranthangi Tondaimans were an independent line of chieftains ruling from Aranthangi; they flourished about 200 years before the rule of the Thondaimans of Pudukottai (which began about 1640).[7]

The Aranthangi Thondaimans were the chief patrons of the Avudayarkovil temple, and liberally donated to its maintenance (as indicated by copper plates in the possession of the Tiruvavaduthurai Adheenam). They donated land to the Tiruvarur, Rameswaram, Kanchipuram and Benares temples. About 25 copper plates indicating grants from the Aranthangi Thondaimans have been recorded so far; 16 are in the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam.

Pudukkottai Thondaiman dynasty[edit]

Thondaiman King in his durbar (Pudukkottai, 1858)

The princely state of Pudukkottai was created by Raghunatha Thondaiman, a ruler of Pudukkottai. Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati of Ramnad (1673–1708) married Kathali Nachiar (Thondaiman's sister), who appointed his brother-in-law Raghunatha Thondaiman as chief of the Pudukottai district. Raghunatha Thondaiman (son of Avudai Raghunatha Thondaiman) earlier ruled Thirumayam. In appreciation for Raghunatha Thondaiman's services, Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati gave him Pudukkottai.

In later centuries the Thondaiman rulers, while nominally feudatories of the Ramnad state, often pursued an independent foreign policy (a trend common in all parts of India at that time). After becoming ruler of Pudukottai, Raghunatha Thondaiman fought against the Nayaks of Tanjore in support of the Nayaks of Madurai and conquered Thirukkattupalli. A clash followed between the Thondaimans of Pudukottai and the Nayak rulers of Tanjore, and Thondaimans conquered the west of Thirukkattupalli.

The next ruler, Vijaya Reghunatha Raya Thondaiman, helped Nawab of Arcot against Hyder Ali (ruler of the Mysore Kingdom) and was loyal to the British government. When Hyder Ali’s army tried to enter Pudukkottai, the Thondaiman army drove Hyder’s army away. Thondaiman captured Kilanilai and Aranthangi, and assisted the British government against Tipu Sultan.

Pudukkotai came under formal British protection. This was arguably unavoidable, since the Thondaimans were menaced during that period by a resurgent Mysore ruled by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan tried to leverage the power of the French against his British adversaries, and Pudukkotai (in common with its neighbours such as Thanjavur and Travancore) found it expedient to ally with the British.

Rajah Rajagopala Thondaiman (1928–1948), the ninth (and last) in the line of Thondaiman rulers, was selected by the British government and was crowned at six years of age. After Indian independence in 1947, the Pudukkottai Princely State was amalgamated with the Indian Union in 1948 and became part of the Tiruchirappalli district; the long history of Thondaiman rule came to an end. He was succeeded to the throne by his son Rajah Rajagopala Thondaiman in the year 1997. In early 1700 the Cholas built a temple in Madivala, which is now within the Bangalore city limits. This temple is still visited by Kathiravans who belong to this group.

Social life[edit]

During the early part of Thondaiman rule, people of the Pudukkottai region led a normal life; kings concentrated on political matters and the people’s welfare. Choultries were built for pilgrims. In the later part of their rule, due to famine the people suffered. Heavy rains and floods damaged the city of Pudukkottai, spreading disease. Later, Pudukkottai was modernized; a new school was opened, water tanks were built and the population was vaccinated against smallpox.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The Imperial and asiatic quarterly review and oriental and colonial record, page 328.
  2. ^ History of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, 610-1210 A.D., page 446.
  3. ^ Vijaya Ramaswamy (2007). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. 
  4. ^ P. V. L. Narasimha Rao (2008). Kanchipuram: Land of Legends, Saints and Temples. 
  5. ^ Silaiyelupathu (in Tamil) Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  6. ^ vews of elliot sevol. 
  7. ^ C.Sivaratnam: The Tamils in early Ceylon, page 116


  • The Imperial and Asiatic quarterly review and oriental and colonial record. Oriental Institute (Woking, England), East India Association (London, England).
  • Bhavaraju Venkatakrishna Rao, Bhāvarāju Vēṅkaṭakr̥ṣṇarāvu, History of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, 610-1210 A.D..
  • C. Sivaratnam, The Tamils in Early Ceylon.
  • M. Krishna Kumari, History of Medieval Andhradesa.
  • Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri, The Cōḷas
  • N. Sethuraman, The Cholas: Mathematics Reconstructs the Chronology
  • K.V. Raman, Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture
  • Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India
  • Ramachandra Dikshitar, Studies in Tamil Literature and History
  • Tamil culture, Volume 4. Tamil Literature Society, Academy of Tamil Culture