|Regions with significant populations|
|Tondai Nadu, Chola Nadu|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Mudaliar, Kongu Vellalar, Karkathar, Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai, Tamil people|
Thondaimandala Mudaliar (Tamil: தொண்டைமண்டல முதலியார்) is a Forward caste and vegetarian community in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They trace their lineage to the ancient Chola Velirs (relatives of the Chola Dynasty). Sekkizhar, the author of the Periyapuranam, was from this community.
- 1 History
- 2 Ceremonies
- 3 Historical personalities
- 4 Modern personalities
- 5 Sports
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
Sangam and Medieval Tamil literature
According to Sangam literature, the Vēlir migrated from the Gangetic plains of ancient Dvārakā under the guidance of the sage Agastya. This is described by Nacchinarkkiniyar in his commentary on the Tolkāppiyam (Payiram; Porul.34). The sage Agastya took with him 18 families of Vēls or Vēlirs and their kings from Tuvarai (identified with Dvārakā) in the north, and migrated south. Irunkōvēl, a Vēlir King of the Irunkōvēl line and a contemporary of Karikala Chola (circa 270 BCE), mentions his lineage and traces it back 49 generations to one of the kings of their ancestral home in Dvārakā. This is repeated by the poet Kapilar when he sings to Irunkōvēl and asks him to marry the two daughters of his close friend and patron Vēl Pāri, another Vēlir king.
Sekkizhar, one of the most prominent members of this community, is referred to as Ganga-Kula Tilaka, and his lineage is extolled in various pieces of medieval Tamil literature, the most notable among them being his biography by Umapati Sivacharya. He was born in Kunrattur and would soon rise to become the Chief Minister of Kulothunga Chola II. The word 'Velanmai' which we take to mean as agriculture is in fact means 'Benevolence', helping others. The Manimekhalai states "He is a Vellala who would not take his food, keeping the guest hungry outside".
48,000 Vellalars migrated north with the Chola King Karikala Chola (ruled around 270 BCE) after he conquered Thondaimandalam from the Kurumbars, a nomadic tribe also known as the Aruvalars. He parcelled out the land to the Vellalar chiefs, now known as the Thondaimandala Mudaliars, and divided the territory into 24 Kottams or districts: Pulal, Puliyur, Eekadu, Manavur, Chenkkadu, Payur, Eyil, Thamal, Uttukadu, Kalathur, Chembur, Amur, Eethoor, Venkundram, Palkunram, Ilankadu, Kaliyur, Chriukarai, Paduvur, Kadikai, Chenthirukai, Kunrapattiram, and Venkadam Velur.
During the pre-Chola period, the chiefs of the Muthuraja/Muttaraiyar community ruled over the Tanjore district in Tamilakkam. They controlled the fertile plains of the Kaveri region. When the Cholas came to power, the Muttaraiyar were turned into feudatories. Muttaraiyar literally means King of three territories. They built many temples for Siva. One of the most famous from this clan was Peru Muttaraiyar, who was known for his great wealth and grand feasts. Two stanzas (200, 296) of Nāladiyār, one of the works of ancient Tamil literature, is dedicated to him. One of their titles was Lord of Tanjore.
During the period of Ko Rajakesarivarman Rajaraja Chola I, we know of at least one high ranking chief and a feudatory of the Chola from this community: Śēkkizhār Araiyan Sankaranarayanan, also known as Chola-Muttaraiyan. Araiyan, which is the Tamil equivalent of the Sanskrit Raja or King, in this context means a chieftain or a governor. The title Chola Muttaraiyan means that he was a subordinate of the Chola King and was the Lord of the Muttaraiyar people.
The Kalappālar clan was an ancient and powerful Tamil clan which finds mention in Tamil literature. They embraced Saivism among other sects and religions. Two of the most famous from this clan are Achyuta Kalappālarāyan and his pious son Meykanda Deva. Achyuta Kalappālarāyan was a powerful chieftain or king, while his son, Meykanda Deva, (the enlightened one), is the author of Sivagnanabodham and is considered the father of modern Shaivism. Some historians like P.T Srinivasa Iyengar identify the Kalabhra king Achyuta Vikranta with Achyuta Kalappala, while others like Krishnaswami Aiyangar refute this theory. Iyengar holds the view that Achyuta Vikranta of Kalabhra kula was the same person as Achyuta Kalappala, and that Kalabhra in Pali becomes Kalappala in Tamil. He also proposes that Achyuta Vikranta was Tamil, as the three Tamil kings (Chera, Chola, and Pandya) sing to him in Tamil when they are displaced and imprisoned.
Magadaimandalam was the region around Aragalur and was ruled by the clan of Banas. They were feudatories of the Chola and the Pallava. One member of this clan was Ekambavānan or Ekamabara Mudaliyar. The son of a rich landlord and a Bana prince, he was tutored by the poet Kambar. Tradition has it that on one occasion, the three kings, Chola, Chera and Pandya, paid him a visit. His wife welcomes the kings and informs them that he had just left for the fields. To this, the three kings crack a joke that he has gone to plant the fields and that it was not an appropriate job for a prince. Enraged by the ridicule of the kings regarding agricultural operations, the wife retorts that her husband would indeed plant the crowns of the three kings in the fields.
When Ekambavanan returns, his wife informs of the visit of the kings and he immediately goes after them and takes them to task. The three kings realize their mistake and pay homage to Ekambavanan, who then releases them.
Sekkizhar, the author of the Tamil hagiography Periyapuranam or The Great Purana, consisting of the life stories of the 63 Tamil Saiva Saints or the Nayanars, hailed from this community. Kulottonga was a devotee of Lord Siva Nataraja of Chidambaram and continued the reconstruction of the cult center of Tamil Shaivism begun by his predecessors. At the same time he was enchanted by the Jain epic Jivaka Cintamani. To wean him away, Sekkizhar composed and sang the Tamil epic Periyapuranam.
The Periyapuranam was composed during the 12th century during the reign of Kulothunga Chola II. Sekkizhar introduces his brother as Thondaimān Pallavaraiyan, the Lord of Thondaimandalam and the king of the Pallavas. When Thondaimandalam was affected by a famine, Sekkizhar sacrificed all his wealth in support of the people. For this act, the Chola king conferred upon him the title Thondaimandalam nindru kātha Perumāl (the great one who stood in front and saved Thondaimandalam). Here we have an inscription of him from the Amman shrine of the Kunnattur, Sriperumbudur Taluk on the west wall of the Amman shrine, Tirunagēśwara temple:
Initially a feudatory of Rajaraja Chola III (ruled 1216 to 1256), Kōpperunchingadēva I lived in one of the most turbulent times of the Chola and the Pallava empires. He had numerous titles, a few of which were Alagiya Siyān (the handsome lion), Sakalabhuvana Chakravarthin (the emperor of the universe), and Avaniyālapirandān (born to rule the world). From multiple inscriptions, we know that he bore numerous titles and would assume the titles of all his ancestors: Ātkondadēvan, Gāngēyan, and Tamilnādu Kātha Pallavaraiyar or Tamilnādu Kātha Perumāl. In one of his inscriptions he is described thus (about mid 13th century):
the victor of victors, the Ātkondadēvan Gāngēyan of militant long spear.
The Chola empire was rife with corruption and was surrounded by hostile states waiting to make a move. He had to frequently suffer incursions by the Hoysalas into Thondaimandalam. Finally, the breaking of the treaty by king Maravarman Sundara Pandya and the blind eye turned by Rajaraja Chola III would enrage him so much that he would decide to take on the reigns of the Chola empire. He marched to Sendamangalam and imprisoned the Chola king and become the guardian of young prince Rajendra Chola III. Rajaraja Chola III appealed to the Hoysala emperor Vira Narasihma, who was matrimonially related to the Chola family, for help. The Hoysala emperor realised the weak state of affairs in the Chola empire, and took this opportunity to expand his own empire. Kopperinchinga submitted briefly and released the Chola emperor.
After having released Rajaraja Chola III, Kopperunchinga I retreated, regrouped. He decided to take a stand one last time. He dispatched his son, Kopperinchingadēva II. Born to Kōpperunchingadēva I and his wife Silāvathi, he fought the Hoysalas in the north-west, the Telugu Tikkas in the north, and the Pandyas in the south. He razed the Hoysala empire in the north-west, planted a pillar of victory, assumed the title Karanataka mana mardhana, and then performed the Tulahabara (weighing oneself against gold and precious gems) with the huge war booty at Tillai (Chidambaram). He installed Rajendra Chola III on the throne and they worked together to regain some of the lost territories of the Chola empire). It is for this reason that he is described in his inscription as the Sun to the Lotus tank (of Chola).
Ariyanatha Mudaliar was the Vellala Dalavoy (Chief Office Holder) of the Vijayanagar viceroy Viswanatha Nayaka (1529–64). He took power in the rich Tamaraparani rice lands. He is credited with founding the palayam or small principalities system ruled by petty chiefs called poligar or palayakarars. He divided the Pandya kingdom into 72 palayams and commanded the 72 dry-zone poligar chiefs. The Thousand Pillar Hall in the Meenakshi Temple was constructed by him in 1569. At the entrance of the Mandapam, there is a statue of him seated on horseback.
The members of this community held the right of handing over the crown at the time of coronation ceremony (mudi-sootu vizha) of kings and religious heads. In the Tamil classical literature, Kamba-ramayana, Kavi-chakravarthy Kambar stated that "the great sage Vashista took the crown from ancestors of Vallal Sadaiyappa Mudaliar and crowned the King Rama".
- Sekkizhar, the author of the Tamil hagiography Periyapuranam or The Great Purana consisting of the life stories of the 63 Tamil Saiva Saints or the Nayanars hailed from this community.
- Thirunavukkarusu Nayanar, also known as Appar, one of the 63 Nayanars, celebrated by Sekkizhar in his epic Periyapuranam hailed from this community. He was a contemporary of Tirugnanasambandhar (younger of the two) and lived during 7th century. Sambandhar affectionately referred to him as appa(father). Though born into an orthodox saivite family, Appar initially embraced Jainism and was known as Dharmasena. He would later convert back to Saivism and travel to many places and undergo ordeals to show his devotion to Siva. He would sing one of his hymns in praise of Siva at Vaitheeswaran Koil.
- Kotpuli Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanars hailed from Nattiyantankuti. He was so attached to Lord Siva that he allotted a heap of paddy in the form of huge hill in each of the Siva temples to feed the Saiva devotees.
- Vallal Sadaiyappa Mudaliar, a rich 12th-century Vellala chief who had residences at Puduvai and Thiruvenainallur. He was known for his philanthropic activities. He was a close friend and a patron of Tamil national poet Kambar, who wrote Ramavataram and Pararajasingam.
- Ambi Aramvalartha Mudaliar was a minister during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (1509-1530 AD).
- Andhaka Kavi Vira Raghava Mudaliar was a poet of the 16th century. He was from Pon-vilaintha Kalathur.
- Maavai Kumaraswamy Mudaliar administered the districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Trichy from 1688 to 1700. His son-in-law, Aarai Aagappa Mudaliar, administered these areas from 1701 to 1726. Since Aarai Alagappa Mudaliar had no children, he handed over the authority to his sister’s son-in-law, Dalavoy Kumaraswamy Mudaliar, whose direct descendants enjoy the title of "Dalavoy" to this day.
- Subramanya Mudaliar, a patron of arts and literature, was a Minister in the Pudukottai Kingdom. He is a direct descendant of Sekkizhar.
- Muthuranga Mudaliar: A well known freedom-fighter; hailed from Vanavarayar Gothram of Nasarath Pettai near Poonamallee in Thiruvallur District
- Sarojini Varadappan, Indian freedom-fighter and social activist; daughter of M. Bhaktavatsalam
- M.B. Nirmal, Social Activist & Founder, ExNoRa International.
- Makaral Karthikeya Mudaliar: A scholar and poet in the 19th century who hailed from Veyttur, near Maduranthakam. He authored a number of Tamil books, including Veleer varalaatrumanbu, Tamil Solvilakkam, and Mozhi Nool.
- Raosahib Vellakal Pa. Subramania Mudaliar: A Tamil poet of the 19th century who hailed from Athur Mappothiyar gothram of Vellakal, Tirunelveli District
- Rasikamani T.K. Chidambaranatha Mudaliar: A scholar and author of Kambar tharum Ramayanam; hailed from Athur Mopothiyar Gothram of Tenkasi
- Arasan Sanmuganar of Cholavandan, Madurai District wrote Paayira Virudhi for Nannool, Tamil Grammar
- Thiru V. Kalyanasundara Mudaliar, Tamil litterateur, social activist and trade union leader
- VP Subramanian Mudaliar, Tamil Writer
- Ann Ariel A, The first poetess to have written a Sangam Tamil Epic in history, novelist, lyricist, and singer.
Arts and music
- Thengai Srinivasan yesteryears actor
- Salem K.Meera a Karnatic musician in Salem
- KS RaviKumar, a cinema director
- Salem Jayalakshmi is a well known singer in Tamil Nadu
- B. ArunKumar, Dindigul, Indian Politician, Peoples Party.
- C. Muttukumarasami Mudaliyar, Indian politician and hereditary zamindar of Chunampet. Member of the Madras Legislative Council 1904-7
- S. Muthiah Mudaliar, Minister in the Composite Madras Government, 1928-1930 as a member of the Indian Justice Party. He was the author of the Communal Government Order in Madras Presidency in 1928.
- Sir P. T. Rajan (1892–1974): Justice Party politician and Chief Minister of Madras Presidency in 1936
- M. Kalyanasundaram (1909–1988): Communist Party of India and Member of the upper house of India's Parliament the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1986
- Palanivel Rajan (1933–2006): Politician of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Speaker, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, 1996–2001. Minister of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (2006).
- M. Bhaktavatsalam (1897–1987): Indian freedom fighter and leader of the Indian National Congress. Chief Minister of Madras state from 1963 to 1967.
- O. V. Alagesan (1911–1992): Indian politician and leader of the Indian National Congress. Minister of External Affairs in the Union Government and Minister of Railways. He resigned his post after a railway accident at Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu.
- V. R. Nedunchezhiyan (1920–2001): Founding member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. President of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (1962–1967). Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1969 and 1987. He was Education Minister in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Government and Finance Minister in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government during the M. G. Ramachandran period and the J. Jayalalithaa period. He held portfolios as Minister for more than 25 years in the State of Tamil Nadu.
- Professor K Anbazhagan: General Secretary, DMK Party. He was Minister for Health, Minister for Education, and is currently Finance Minister. He has served for more than 25 years as Minister in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
- Sa. Ganesan: Former Mayor of Chennai and Former MLA from T. Nagar, Chennai.
- P. Shanmugam: Former Chief Minister of Puducherry
- Jayanthi Natarajan - M.P. and congress politician, granddaughter of M. Bhaktavatsalam. She was Minister of Aviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India.
- Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Indian tennis player
- Journal of Tamil studies, Issues 29-30 by International Association of Tamil Research, International Institute of Tamil Studies, p. 28
- Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India, p. 358
- Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: history, art, and traditions in Tamilnāḍu, p. 34
- Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes, p. 165
- The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru Translations from the Asian classics, p. 201
- The Cōḷas By Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri
- Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh, p. 367
- Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh, p. 366
- A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Tiruchchirappalli District, page 388
- Tamil culture, Volume 5, p. 291
- Saiva siddhanta, Volume 15, page 26
- The grand epic of Saivism
- The economic history of India, Volume 1, p. 161: Karikala The Great defeated the Aruvalar and ... distributed the conquered lands to the Vellala chiefs, who were his relatives.
- An agrarian history of South Asia, Part 4, Volume 4, p. 100: Vellala gentry on the north Tamil coast trace their origins to a royal Chola ancestor who migrated north with 48,000 Vellala families, conquering Kurumba hunters.
- The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago by V. Kanakasabhai
- The political structure of early medieval South India, p. 112
- Journal of Indian history, Volume 19, p. 40
- Early Chōl̤a art:origin and emergence of style
- History of Tamil language and literature: beginning to 1000 A.D., p. 89
- Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist shrine
- The History and Culture of the Indian People: The classical age
- Indian archaeological heritage: Shri K.V. Soundara Rajan festschrift, Volume 1, p. 32
- History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 532
- Topics in South Indian history: from early times up to 1565 A.D., p. 79
- History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 534
- History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 533
- A primer of Tamil literature, p. 121
- Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees by Alf Hiltebeitel
- Extraordinary Child by Paula Richman
- A Sacred Thread by Raymond Brady Williams
- The Home of Dancing Śivan̲ by Paul Younger
- The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land, p. 73
- South Indian inscriptions, Volume 12 p. 84
- A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, Volume 3, p. 438
- Kanchipuram through the ages, p. 7
- Epigraphia Indica, Volume 27, p. 86
- The role of feudatories in later Chōḷa history, p. 140
- A survey of the sources for the history of Tamil literature, p. 57
- Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, p. 21
- Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, p. 22
- Epigraphy By Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle, p. 64
- Saints, Goddesses and Kings by Susan Bayly
- The Trading World of the Tamil Merchant by Kanakalatha Mukund
- History & Description of Sri Meenakshi Temple by T. G. S. Balaram Iyer, T. R. Rajagopalan - Meenakshi Temple - 1977 - 42 pages
- This fact can be seen from old Tamil classical literature "Thirukkaivazhakkam" which states "mangaiyoru bhagarkum, madhavarkum, mannavarkum thunga mudiyai sootumkai (the hands that hand over the crown to kings/religious heads at the time of coronation ceremony)".
- Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an indologist: a symposium:..born into an orthodox saiva vellala family..
- Tantric cult of South India
- Insights into Hinduism
- A history of Indian literature, 500-1399: from courtly to the popular, p. 33
- The embodiment of bhakti, p. 49:... The Lord at Pullirukkuvelur has the form of lightning; he is one in the heavens, two in the blustering wind, three in the flames of the red fire, four in the flowing water, five in the earth, a refuge that does not diminish..
- Journal of Tamil Studies by International Institute of Tamil Studies, International Institute of Tamil Studies
- A primer of Tamil literature By M. S. Purnalingam Pillai
- Ancient Jaffna: being a research into the history of Jaffna from very early times to the Portug[u]ese period, C. Rasanayagam
- A History of Culture by T. K. Venkataraman, University of Madras
- Madras District Gazetteers: Pudukkottai, p. 272
- The Cōḷas By Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri
- The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land By K. R. Subramanian, K. R. Subramanian (M.A.)
- Early Chola temples: Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, A.D. 907-985 By S. R. Balasubrahmanyam
- South Indian inscriptions, Volume 13 By Eugen Hultzsch, India. Archaeological Survey, India. Dept. of Archaeology
- Journal of Tamil studies, Issues 29-30 By International Association of Tamil Research, International Institute of Tamil Studies
- Enamul Haque, Gouriswar Bhattacharya, Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh
- Hemakuta: Recent Researches in Archaeology and Museology : Shri C.T.M. Kotraiah Felicitation Volume, A. V. Narasimha Murthy, ISBN 81-86050-66-3, ISBN 978-81-86050-66-8
- Rājarājeśvaram, the pinnacle of Chola art By Balasubrahmanyam Venkataraman
- Indian archaeological heritage: Shri K.V. Soundara Rajan festschrift, Volume 1 By K. V. Soundara Rajan, Chedarambattu Margabandhu
- The economic history of India, Volume 1 By Abdul Qadir Husaini
- Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes By M. van Bakel, Renée Hagesteijn, Piet van de Velde
- Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India By Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar
- Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: history, art, and traditions in Tamilnāḍu By T. Padmaja
- An agrarian history of South Asia, Part 4, Volume 4 By David E. Ludden
- The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru Translations from the Asian classics By George L. Hart, Hank Heifetz
- A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Thanjavur District By T.V Mahalingam
- Journal of Indian history, Volume 19, University of Allahabad. Department of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala. Dept. of History, University of Kerala, University of Travancore, Dept. of Modern Indian History, 1941
- History of Tamil language and literature: beginning to 1000 A. D. By Es Vaiyāpurip Piḷḷai
- Śaṅgam polity:the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils By N. Subrahmanian
- The History and Culture of the Indian People: The classical age By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Achut Dattatrya Pusalker, A. K. Majumdar, Dilip Kumar Ghose, Vishvanath Govind Dighe, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
- Early Chōl̤a art:origin and emergence of style By Rama Sivaram
- The Śrīkara Bhāshya: Introduction By Śrīpati, Śrīpatipaṇḍita, Conjeeveram Hayavadana Rao
- Madras District Gazetteers: Pudukkottai By Madras (India : State), B. S. Baliga
- History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D. By P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar
- A primer of Tamil literature By M. S. Purnalingam Pillai
- Tamil literature, Volume 2, Part 1 By Kamil Zvelebil
- Epigraphia Indica, Volume 18, By Devadatta Ramkrishna Bhandarkar, Archaeological Survey of India, India. Dept. of Archaeology, India. Archaeological Survey
- South Indian inscriptions, Volume 12, By Eugen Hultzsch, Archaeological Survey of India, India. Dept. of Archaeology
- A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states By T. V. Mahalingam
- Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India By Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar
- Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture By K.V. Raman
- The role of feudatories in later Chōḷa history By M. S. Govindasamy
- A survey of the sources for the history of Tamil literature By Muthusamy Govindasamy, Mu Kōvintacāmi
- History of South India By Pran Nath Chopra, T. K. Ravindran, N. Subrahmanian
- Insights into Hinduism By Ramchandra Narayan Dandekar
- Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an indologist: a symposium By Sir Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar
- A history of Indian literature, 500-1399: from courtly to the popular By Sisir Kumar Das, Sāhitya Akādemī
- Thondaimandala Mudaliars Vamsavali (1st & 2nd editions),
- Thondainadum athan tholkudiyum by Sri.C.S.Kannayiram,
- The great temple of Madurai published by Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukkoil, Madurai