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. 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.
The contemporary of Karikala
The most famous among them was a contemporary of Karikala Chola as well as poet Kapilar and lived during the Sangam era. 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. He proudly traces his lineage back by 49 preceding generations without a break to one of the kings of ancient Dvārakā. He is later defeated by Karikala and becomes a subordinate to the Chola sovereign.
It has been recorded that one Irunkōvēl was present at the coronation of a Karikala Chola after giving him some earth for the ceremony.
The Irungovel chieftains were not merely feudatories but were related to the Cholas through matrimony. 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. 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.
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.
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