|Reign||c. 670–710 CE|
|Pandyan Kings (100s BC–1345)|
|Musiri Mutriya Cheliyan|
|Maravarman Avani Culamani||(620–640)|
|Maravarman Rajasimha I||(735–765)|
|Maravarman Rajasimha III||(900–920)|
Arikesari Maravarman (r. c. 670–710 CE), also known as Arikesari Parankusa, was an Indian king from the Pandyan dynasty. He ruled parts of the present-day Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He expanded the Pandyan power substantially, and the Pandyan inscriptions credit him with several victories, including those over the Cheras ("Keralas") and the Pallavas.
Arikesari was the successor of Jayantavarman, but it is not known for certain if he was Jayantavarman's son or not. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri dated his reign to c. 670–710 CE; T. V. Sadasiva Pandarathar dated it to c. 640–670 CE. He was succeeded by his son Kochadaiyan Ranadhiran.
The reign of Arikesari Maravaran saw a significant increase in the Pandyan political power and prestige. According to the Velvikkudi grant, he won battles at Pali, Nelveli, Uraiyur and Sennilam. Except Uraiyur, the identity of these places is not certain. E. Hultzsch identified Nelveli with modern Tirunelveli, but K. A. N. Sastri disagreed with this identification.
The larger Chinnamanur grant states that Arikesari won battles at Nelveli and Sankaramangai, and also defeated the Pallavas. The inscription further states that he ruined the Paravar (a southern fishing community), and destroyed the Kurunattar. According to one theory, "Kurunattar" refers to people of Kurunadu (an unidentified place); another possibility is that the term refers to petty chieftains. Arikesari is also said to have defeated an unspecified enemy at Sennilam, which may refer to a particular place or is a generic term for "red (bloody) battlefield". Finally, the inscription states that he defeated the Keralas (the Cheras) multiple times, and once imprisoned their king.
A Tamil literary work Pandikkovai mentions a king named Arikesari; several military victories attributed to this king appear to be the above-mentioned victories of Arikesari Maravarman. Based on this, several historians believe that the two rulers are identical. However, Sastri contested this identification on the basis that the Arikesari of Pandikkovai won a battle at Vilinam, while Arikesari Maravarman is not known to have achieved such a success. N. Subrahmanian pointed out that Arikesari Maravarman's victory at Vilinam may have gone unrecorded in the extant sources.
Arikesari is known to have performed the Hiranyagarbha and Tulabhara rituals.
One theory identifies Arikesari with the legendary Koon Pandiyan (alias Ninra Sri-Nedu-Maran) mentioned in Shaivite tradition. According to this legend, Koon Pandiyan married the Chola princess Mangayarkkarasi. Sometime later, converted from Shaivism to Jainism. His wife and his minister Kulachchirai, who remained Shaivites, were perturbed by this development, invited Sambandar to the court. Under Sambandar's influence, the king re-converted to Shaivism. According to the legend, the rivalry between the Shaivites and the Jains ultimately led to the impalement of 8,000 Jains. This legend is an unhistorical myth which signifies the loss of Jain political influence.
- K. A. Nilakanta Sastri (1976). A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. Oxford University Press.
- Paul Dundas (2002). Jains. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26606-2.
- N. Subrahmanian (1994). History of Tamilnad (To A. D. 1336). Madurai: Koodal. OCLC 43502446.
- Sailendra Nath Sen (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.