Mushika dynasty

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Mushika

Eli or Ezhi (Kolladesam)
Mushika country (Ezhimala) in early historic south India
Mushika country (Ezhimala) in early historic south India
Capital
Common languages
  • Tamil (early historic)
  • Malayalam (medieval)
Religion
Hinduism
Today part ofIndia

Mushika dynasty, also spelled Mushaka, Tamil/Malayalam: Eli or Ezhi, was the name of the lineage of rulers of a region in and around Mount Eli (Ezhimala) in present-day Kerala, south India.[1]

The country of the Mushikas, ruled by an ancient lineage of chieftains of the same name, appears in early historic (pre-Pallava) south India.[2][3] The chiefdom gradually developed into a monarchical polity (known as Kolladesam[4]) in the early medieval period. In the late medieval period, the Mushika kingdom was known as Kolathunad (Kannur-Kasaragod area).[5] The Mushikas were considered as Kshatriyas of Soma Vamsa.[6] The hereditary title of the Mushika kings in the medieval period was Ramaghata Musaka (Tamil/Malayalam: Iramakuta Muvar).[7][8]

The Mushaka Vamsa Kavya, a dynastic chronicle composed in 11th century by poet Athula, describes the history of the Mushika lineage.[9][10] The dynasty was founded by the mythical Ramaghata Mushaka, a contemporary of sage Parasurama. Nandana, identical with Nannan of Ezhimalai or Konkanam from early Tamil poems, succeeded Ramaghata.[10] Nannan is known as a great enemy of the early (pre-Pallava) Chera chieftains (western Tamil Nadu and central Kerala).[5]

Mushika kingdom came under the influence of Kodungallur Chera kingdom in 11th century AD.[11] Mushika royals such as Vallabha II (c. 1000 AD) are seen assisting the Chera kings in their struggle against the Chola Empire.[10][6] Vallabha II is stated to have conquered several islands of the ocean (probably the Laccadives).[6] Chola emperor Rajadhiraja (1019–1044, 1044–1054 AD) claims to have to destroyed the Ramakuta Muvar (the traditional title of the rulers of the Mushikas).[6]

The Mushika kings appear to have encouraged a variety of merchant guilds in their kingdom. Famous Indian guilds such as the anjuvannam, the manigramam, the valanchiyar and the nanadeshikal shows their presence in the country. The kings are also described as great champions of Hindu religion and temples. Some Mushika rulers, such as Vikrama Rama (c. 929 AD) and Valabha II (c. 1000 AD), are known for their patronage to a famous Buddhist vihara in central Kerala.[6] Presence of Jewish merchants is also speculated in the ports of Mushika kingdom. A location in Madayi is still known as "the Jew's Place" (the Jutakkulam).[6]

Etymology[edit]

The term "Mushaka" is the Sanskrit translation of the ancient name "Ezhimalai" ("the Mountain of the Rats"). The name was, perhaps incorrectly, pronounced as "Elimalai" ("the Seven Hills") also.[5]

The Ezhimala hill is described in Mushaka Vamsa Kavya as the "Mushaka Parvata".[10]

Origins[edit]

Ezhimala, the ancient capital, as seen from train

The ancient ruling family of the Rama Kuta Muvar seems to have existed in northern Kerala at least from early historic period.[6] Scholars assume that the Mushikas migrated to northern Kerala from central India and settled in the Ezhimala mountain.[6] Ramghad in the Vindhya mountains, on the Musi river[disambiguation needed], is sometimes cited as a possible homeland of the Mushikas.[12][6]

The mythical founder of the dynasty, Ramaghata Mushaka, is said to have appointed by sage Parasurama himself.[6][13] Mushaka Vamsa Kavya traces the origins of the family to the kings of Chedi - Haihaya in central India.[14] Even in medieval period, according the kavya, the family was known for its matrimonial alliances with the kings of Chedi in central India.[12]

Ancient Tamil poems also describe the velir-level chiefdom of Ezhimalai (also Ezhilmalai) on the northern edges of the Tamilakam.[15] The rulers of Ezhilmalai were the most prominent hill chieftains of ancient Kerala.[2] The port known as Naravu was located in Ezhimalai chiefdom (Akam, 97). The "Muvan" chieftain of the early Tamil poems, described as an adversery of the early Chera chieftains, is also identical with the Muvan of Ezhimalai.[16]

Mahabharata, the Sanskrit epic poem of ancient India, also mention the Mushika as one of the kingdoms of south India, and is grouped with the Cheras, Pandyas and Cholas.[17]

Ezhimala Nannan[edit]

Nannan was a velir-level chieftain of Ezhimalai ("the Ezhil Kunram").[2][3] He appeas in Akananuru and Purananuru poems, and also in Natrinai, in Pathitruppathu and in Kurunthokai.[16] He is described as the hunter chieftain of the vetar descent group ("vetar-ko-man").[2]

Early Tami poems contain several references to the exploits of Ezhimalai Nannan (who was also known as the lord of Konkanam).[16]

  • Poet Kudavayur Kirattanar speaks about the defeat of certain Pazhayan by Nannan and his associates Ettai, Atti, Gangan, Katti and Punthurai. In another battle Nannan defeated a chieftain called Pindan (Akam, 152, and Natrinai, 270).
  • When Nannan invaded Punnad, the Chera warriors came to the aid of the people of that country. It seems that Nannan managed to defeat Ay Eyinan, the leader of the Chera warriors, in the ensuing battle at Pazhi. The warriors of Nannan were led by a person called Minjili in this battle (Akam, 141, 181, and 396, and Natrinai, 265).
  • In the meanwhile, Kosar people from Chellur (identified present day Taliparamba) attacked Ezhimala country, and even cut down the vakai (albizia), the tutelary tree of Nannan.[3] Nannan defeated the Kosars with help of Chola Ilanchettu Chenni, but Pazhi was sacked by the Cholas (Kurunthokai, 73 and Akam, 375).
  • Nannan was killed in a battle at Vakai Perumthurai by Chera Narmudi Cheral (Pathitruppattu, IV).

Mushaka Vamsa Kavya[edit]

The Mushaka Vamsa Kavya is a dynastic chronicle composed in 11th century by poet Athula describing the history of the Mushika lineage.[9][10] The chronicle moves from mythological beginnings of the founding ancestors to more authentic genealogical history in later sargas.[9]

The following is a list of medieval royals of the Mushika family known from the kavya. Several kings mentioned in the kavya are known from inscriptions also.[18]

  • Kunchi Varma - the daughter of Kunchi Varma married Kodungallur Chera king Kota Ravi Vijayaraga (c. 883–913 AD) [19]
  • Isana II Mushika (c. 900 AD) - son of Kunchi Varma
    • Married a Chedi princess Nandini and a Chola princess[18]
    • Father of Nandini, the Chedi king, is usually identified with either Kokkala or Sankara Gana.[19]
    • Brother-in-law of Kodungallur Chera king Kota Ravi Vijayaraga[18]
  • Nriparama (son of Isana II Mushika by Nandini)
  • Chandra (son of Isana II Mushika by Nandini)
  • Palaka (son of Isana II Mushika by the Chola princess)
  • Validhara (nephew)
  • Ripurama (nephew)
  • Validhara Vikrama Rama (c. 929 AD) (brother)
  • Janamani
  • Sankha
  • Valabha I
  • Kunda (brother)
  • Palaka II (nephew)
  • Ripurama II
  • Gambhira (nephew of Palaka II)
  • Jayamani (brother)
  • Valabha II (nephew) (c. 1000 AD)
  • Srikantha (brother of Valabha II) (c. 1020 AD)
    • Also known in as Kantan Kari the Ramakuta Muvar.[18]
    • Mentioned in a record (1020 AD) of Kodungallur Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (962–1021 CE).[18]

Chola attacks on Mushika kingdom[edit]

In 1005 AD, i. e., 20 regnal year of emperor Rajaraja I (985–1014 AD), there is a reference (in the Senur inscription) to the defeat of the "haughty" kings at Kollam, Kolladesam and Kodungallur at the hand of Rajaraja. The Kolladesam is identified with the Mushika kingdom in north Kerala. According to scholars, "plunder is emphasised more than conquest [in the inscriptions] and it is likely that the victories at Kollam in the south, Kodungallur in the center and Kolladesam in the north of Kerala have been primarily the achievement of [the Chola] naval forces". The Tiruvalangadu plates confirms that no Chola king other than Rajendra I (1012–44 AD) "could dare to think of the conquest" of Kerala.[4] The sloaks 7-8, 14th sarga of the Mushaka Vamsa Kavya state that Valabha II (c. 1000 AD) was sent to south Kerala (while he was still a crown prince) to assist the Chera against the Cholas.[20]

Chola emperor Rajadhiraja (1019–1044–1053/4 AD) is stated to have "confined the undaunted king of Venatu [back] to Che[ra]natu, destroyed the Iramakuta Muvar in anger, and put on a fresh garland of Vanchi flowers after capturing Kantalur Salai [Vizhinjam?] while the strong Villavan [the Chera king] hid himself in terror inside the jungle".[8] The Irumakuta Muvar is not named in the above Chola prasasti. Most probably the Muvar who was "destroyed" (around 1018–19 AD) was Valabha II. The presence of Chola army in north Kerala (1020 AD) is confirmed by the Eramam inscription of Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (962–1021 AD) (which mentions a meeting attended by Rajendra Chola Samaya Senapati in the Chalappuram Temple).[8]

The Chola references to several kings in medieval Kerala confirms that the power of the Chera king was restricted to the capital Kodungallur. The kingship was only ritual and remained nominal compared with the power that local rulers (such as the king of Mushikas and Venatu) exercised politically and militarily.[21]

Inscriptions related to Mushika country[edit]

Inscription Location Notes
Ramanthali/Ezhimala-Narayankannur inscription (929 AD)
  • Mentions Mushika Validhara Vikrama Rama.[22]
  • The so-called Agreement of Muzhikkulam is quoted in the record.[23]
  • Merchant guild manigramam is appointed as the guardian of the Narayankannur Temple.[24]
Panthalayani Kollam inscription (973 AD)
  • Single stone slab in the upper frame of the srikoyil (central shrine) entrance in Tali temple.[25]
  • Name of the king – probably Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (962–1021 AD) – is built over by the present structure. [25]
Pullur Kodavalam inscription (1020 AD)
  • Pullur, near Kanhangad.[26]
  • Engraved on a single stone slab in the courtyard of the Pullur Kodavalam Vishnu Temple[27][28]
  • Mentions Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (962–1021 AD).[29][30]
  • Identified king Manukuladitya with king Bhaskara Ravi.[30]
Eramam inscription (1020 AD)
  • Eramam, near Payyanur.[31]
  • A single slab in the site of the ruined Chalappuram Temple.[31]
  • Mentions Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (962–1021 AD) and Iramakuta Muvar Kantan Karivarman (Srikantha Kartha) (c.1020 AD).[31]
  • Mentions the merchants guilds of Valanchiyar and Nanadeyar.[31]
  • Mentions Rajendra Chola Samaya Senapati from Katappa Palli.[31]
Tiruvadur inscription (c. 1020 AD)
  • Partly in the courtyard of the temple on either side of the sopana.[32]
  • Partly in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.[32]
  • Creation and endowment of a grama (Brahmin settlement) with members chosen from some old grama settlements from central Kerala (Vaikom, Paravur, Avittathoor, Irinjalakuda and Peruvanam).[32]
  • The engraver is mentioned as Rama Jayamani, the "royal goldsmith of the Mushika king [Jayamani]".[32]
Trichambaram inscription

(c. 1040 AD)

  • Three blocks of granite on the base of the central shrine of the temple.[33]
  • Mentions Chera king Raja Raja (c. 1036–1089 AD).[33]
Ramanthali/Ezhimala-Narayankannur inscription (1075 AD)
Trichambaram inscription

(c. 11th century)

  • Two granite blocks on the base of the central shrine of the temple.[35]
  • The chieftan of Eranad Manavepala Mana Viyatan creates an endowment for the thiruvilakku at the Trichambaram Temple.[35]
  • Manavepala Manaviyatan appears in the famous Jewish copper plates (c. 1000 AD).
Maniyur inscription

(c. 11th century)

  • Single stone slab outside the prakara (outer wall) of the temple.[35]
  • Confirms the extension of the so-called Agreement of Muzhikkulam to Mushika country.[35]
Tiruvalla Copper Plates

(Huzur Treasury Plates)

Panthalayani Kollam inscription

(c. 1089 AD)

  • Single granite slab in the courtyard of the Panthalayani Kollam Bhagavati temple.[37]
  • The record was destroyed.[37]
  • Mentions Chera king Rama Kulasekhara (1089–1122 AD).[37]
  • The location given as "Kollathu Panthalayani".[37]
Kannapuram inscription

(beginning of the 12th century)

  • Single stone slab fixed on a platform outside the prakara (outer wall) of the Kannapuram temple.[38]
  • Ramakuta Muvar Udaya Varma is mentioned.[38]

Udayavarman Kolattiri[edit]

An inscription discovered from Kannappuram Temple, found fixed on a platform outside the prakara of the temple, in old Malayalam mentions king "Utaiya Varma Ramakuta Muvar".[38] The record give details of land set apart for the expenses of the Kannapuram Temple. The inscription can be attributed to the early years of 12th century on the basis of script and language.[38]

King Udayavarman of Karippattu palace in Kolattunadu is described as a favourite of the Chera king in traditional Kerala chronicles. He is described as the overlord of the Fort Valapattanam, the Chera king's Palace, the Taliparamba Temple, and the Perinchellur Brahmin village.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 178.
  2. ^ a b c d Gurukkal, Rajan. “DID STATE EXIST IN THE PRE-PALLAVAN TAMIL REGION.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 63, 2002, pp. 138–150.
  3. ^ a b c Ganesh, K.N. (1 August 2009). "Lived Spaces in History: A Study in Human Geography in the Context of Sangam Texts". Studies in History. 25 (2): 151–195. doi:10.1177/025764301002500201. ISSN 0257-6430.
  4. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 118-119 and 137-138.
  5. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 195.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 180-182.
  7. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 140-141.
  8. ^ a b c d Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 122-123 and 141.
  9. ^ a b c Thapar, Romila, The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. Penguin Books, 2002. 394-95.
  10. ^ a b c d e Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 178-179.
  11. ^ Ganesh, K.N. (June 2009). "Historical Geography of Natu in South India with Special Reference to Kerala". Indian Historical Review. 36 (1): 3–21. doi:10.1177/037698360903600102. ISSN 0376-9836.
  12. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 97-98.
  13. ^ T. Madhava Menon 2000, p. 120.
  14. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 195.
  15. ^ Madras, University of (1 January 1961). Journal: Humanities. p. 188.
  16. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 195.
  17. ^ "Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Geography".
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 180-181.
  19. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 97-98.
  20. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 138.
  21. ^ Noburu Karashmia (ed.), A Concise History of South India: Issues and Interpretations. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 144-145
  22. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 475-76.
  23. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 483.
  24. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 475-76.
  25. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 448-49.
  26. ^ Annual Reports of Indian Epigraphy (1963-64), No. 125.
  27. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 68-70, 84 and 454.
  28. ^ Narayanan, M.G.S. THE IDENTITY AND DATE OF KING MANUKULĀDITYA. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 31, 1969, 73–78.
  29. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 68-70, 84 and 454.
  30. ^ a b Narayanan, M.G.S. THE IDENTITY AND DATE OF KING MANUKULĀDITYA. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 31, 1969, 73–78.
  31. ^ a b c d e Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 455.
  32. ^ a b c d Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 480-81.
  33. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 465.
  34. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 483.
  35. ^ a b c d Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 486.
  36. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 197.
  37. ^ a b c d Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 470.
  38. ^ a b c d Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 485.
  39. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 131.

Bibliography[edit]