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Irunkōvēl, also known as Irungkōvēl, Irukkuvēl, and Ilangōvēlar, was a title of the Irunkōvēl line of Yadu Velir kings. The Irunkovel line of kings ruled over Kō nādu identified with the Kodumbalur and surrounding areas in ancient Tamilakkam.[1] They trace their lineage to the clan of Krishna; one of the inscriptions at Kodumbalur belonging to one of the kings in the Irunkovel line, namely Tennavan Irunkōvēl, declares that he belonged to the race of Krishna.[1]

The contemporary of Karikala[edit]

The most famous among them was a contemporary of Karikala Chola as well as poet Kapilar and lived during the Sangam era.[2] In addition, this particular Irunkōvēl also bore the title Pulikadimal, literally meaning the hero who destroyed the tiger or tiger slayer in reference to a hunting expedition when he breaks away from the party while being pursued by a tiger but in the end kills it.[3] He proudly traces his lineage back by 49 preceding generations without a break to one of the kings of ancient Dvārakā.[4] He is later defeated by Karikala and becomes a subordinate to the Chola sovereign.[5]

It has been recorded that one Irunkōvēl was present at the coronation of a Karikala Chola after giving him some earth for the ceremony.[6]

Irungola Cholas[edit]

The Irungovel chieftains were not merely feudatories but were related to the Cholas through matrimony.[7] The Cholas considered the offspring of these unions as one of their own and referred to them as Pillai meaning child or son in their epigraphs.[8] These princes assumed both the Chola and Irungovel titles like for example there was one Adavallan Gangaikonda Cholan alias Irungolan during the time of Kulottunga I and then there was a certain Sendamangalam Udaiyan Araiyan Edirili Cholan alias Irungolan during the reign of Kulottunga III.[9][10]

Related inscription[edit]

Here is an inscription belonging to one of the kings of the Irunkōvēl line from the Adhipuriswara temple in Tiruvorriyur district:

Records in the reign of the Ganga-pallava king Kovijiya Kampavarman, gift of 27 kalanju of gold for offerings by Pudi Arindigai, wife of Videlvidigu-Ilangovelar of Kodumbalur in Ko-nadu. The money was placed in the hands of the residents of Vaikattur, a suburb of Tiruvorriuyur, on interest at 3 manjadi per kalanju per annum.[11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Epigraphia Indica, Volume 12, page 122
  2. ^ Historical heritage of the Tamils, page 287
  3. ^ Journal of Indian history, Volume 42, page 883
  4. ^ Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes, page 165
  5. ^ Studies in Indian epigraphy, Volume 32, page 58
  6. ^ Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes, page 66
  7. ^ S. R. Balasubrahmanyam. Early Chola Temples: Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, A.D. 907-985. Orient Longman, 1971 - Architecture, Chola - 351 pages. p. 110.
  8. ^ N. Sethuraman. Medieval Pandyas, A.D. 1000-1200. N. Sethuraman, 1980 - Pandyas - 200 pages. p. 21.
  9. ^ D. Ananda Naidu, Gaṅgiśeṭṭi Lakṣmīnārāyaṇa, Vi Gōpālakr̥ṣṇa, Dravidian University. Dept. of History, Archaeology, and Culture. Perspectives of South Indian history and culture. Dravidian University, 2006 - History - 314 pages. p. 198.
  10. ^ B. Natarajan. The city of the cosmic dance: Chidambaram. Orient Longman, 1974 - Travel - 164 pages. p. 36.
  11. ^ South Indian shrines: illustrated By P. V. Jagadisa Ayyar, page 57


  • Historical heritage of the Tamils By Ca. Vē Cuppiramaṇiyan̲, Ka. Ta Tirunāvukkaracu, International Institute of Tamil Studies
  • Journal of Indian history, Volume 42 By University of Allahabad. Dept. of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala. Dept. of History, University of Travancore, University of Kerala
  • Epigraphia Indica, Volume 12 By Devadatta Ramkrishna Bhandarkar
  • Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes By M. van Bakel, Renée Hagesteijn, Piet van de Velde
  • Studies in Indian epigraphy, Volume 32 By Epigraphical Society of India