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Villavars[1] were the primary rulers among the Dravidians. Villavars (Bowmen who used a bow as their main weapon) were archers who emerged from the ancient martial clans of India. The Tamil Villavars were also known as or Eyinars in Pandyan Kingdom Ezhinar in the Sri Lanka and Chera Kingdom respectively.

Chera Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Chera dynasty

The Chera king had the title Villavar Kon[2] indicating Villavar clans founded the ancient Chera Kingdom. The Emblem on the flag of Cheras was Bow and Arrow. The Chera kingdom was founded by the integration of various Villavar tribes such as Vanavar, Puraiyar, Velliar and Pazhuvettaraiyars [1] After the arrival of Nagas the Villavar culture who cherished Patriarchy and Monogamy was replaced by Matriarchy with Polyandry as the norm. Soon around the 12th century the Chera dynasty came to an end.

Pandyan Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Pandyan Kingdom

The Minavars of Pandyan Kingdom was the allies of the Villavars. The Early Pandya Kingdom had Bow and arrow in their flag but later it was replaced by Fish insignia later. Mahabharatha calls the king of the Pandya Kingdom as Saranga Dwajan meaning Bow flagged king. The Eyinars (archers)had some connection with the Villavars too. Pandyan kingdom had the titles Maran and Eyinan and Enadhi.[3] The Minavars ( kings who were with fish as their logo in the Flag - also called in "Mahabharatha" as Matsya Raja) had some role in the founding of the Pandyan kingdom at Korkai. The Meenavar or Parathava who were descendants of the ancient Pandyan kingdom could be of Villavar stock too Enadhi or Enadi, Eyinan + Adi (ancient archer) a title used in the ancient Pandyan kingdom indicates the Villavar origins.

Sri Lanka[edit]

Sri Lanka was named Ezham or Ezha Theevu in ancient times or Heladiva in Sinhalese. Ezham was named after Ezhinar a Villavar people of Sri Lanka. The other ancient names of Sri Lanka such as Taprobane[4] or Tamraparni, Serendib or Cheran Divu indicate the influence of other Villavar kingdoms such as Pandyan Kingdom and Chera Kingdom over Sri Lanka.

Villavars and Meenavars (minavar)[edit]

The Kalitokai, an ancient Tamil work, mentions the association of the Villavars(Bowmen) and their allies Meenavars(Fishermen)(known as Malthsya Kings in "Mahabharatha") who fought a fierce battle against Nagas. When the Villavars and Minavars were defeated by the Nagas in the Central India, the Present day Maharashtra, Chatthisgarh and Madyapradesh area was lost to the Villavars and Nagas occupied it.[5] [2]

Maravar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aru-Valur and Parathavar[edit]

Maravar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aru-Valur and Parathavar are believed to have Naga origins. Some Nagas who converted to "Budha" religion moved to some places in Sri Lanka also, which were in turn renamed Nagadipa. They also moved to Indo China and South Asian countries and moved to Philippines also. Eyinar may have Villavar origins too since Eyin

The North Indian Villavars[edit]

Rajputs regard the Bhils though tribals one among them. The North Indian Villavar clans might have been assimilated by the Rajputs. Until recently during the coronation of Rajput princes their foreheads had to be smeared by the blood drawn from the thumb of a Dravidian Bhil tribal to authenticate their authority.

Bhil Meenas of Rajastan[edit]

In the ancient times Rajasthan was ruled by a dynasty of Meenas which had the emblem of Fish like the Pandyan kingdom of the south. The Meena kingdom ruled the west of the river Jamuna roughly corresponding to the modern Jaipur and Alwar (ruler) areas. The meena kingdom (Fish kingdom) was called Matsya Kingdom in Sanskrit was mentioned in the Rig Veda. The Bhil Meenas could correspond to the Dravidian Villavar (Chera) and Meenavar (Pandya Kingdom)respectively and may descend from indigenous Dravidian rulers (Alwars) originally. Most of the Bhil Meenavas were aryanised even during the Vedic Period (1500 BC) and were considered as Vedic Tribes and had adopted Indo Aryan languages but a minority of the Bhil (tribal) Meenas still talk Dravidian as their mother tongue. Bhils and Meenas are included in the Kshatriya Varna. In the later days the Bhils and Meenas mixed with the Pardeshis or Rajputs who were Scythian, Hepthalite or other Central Asian clans. The Scythian mixed Meenas and Bhils remain as Rajput subclans while the Meenas and Bhils who were displaced by the Scythian invaders and Muslims have mixed with the tribal Bhils and form the Bhil (tribal) meenas who still talk a Dravidian tongue and still considered as Rajputs. Bhil meenas are also found in parts of North eastern India and Sind area of Pakistan.

Fate of the Meenavars[edit]

Meenavars might have mixed with Parada or Paratarajas or ParvataRajaKulam, an Indo-Scythian clan and got alienated from the Villavar clans. Mudirajus or Mudaliar a Kalabhra aristocracy who once ruled Chera, Chola and Pandyan kingdoms as Muvendars regard Paratas as one of their own clan. Now at the present day, Meenavar caste has been spread up to eight divisions, the major tribes are Maravar and paravar(parathavar), who were ancient rulers of land and seas of Pandya kingdom. Parataraja


  1. ^ V., Kanakasabhai (1997). The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-0150-5. 
  2. ^ Perumal Thirumozhi
  3. ^ Pandyan Inscription
  4. ^ [C:\Documents and Settings\winxp\Desktop\History\Book 2 Cosmos Taprobane Brachman India Cosmas.mht# Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (1897) pp. 23-90. Book 2 ]
  5. ^ Villavar