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Muthuraja or Mutharaiyar are Tamil-speaking community of landowners. Historians believe that they are descendants of Kalabhras. Mutharajas ruled over the Kaveri Delta Region before the Cholas. Mutharaiyar (AD 610 - AD 851) earlier were a line of kings and were for a long time feudatory to the Pallavas, ruling part of Tamil Nadu in Southern India.
During the early Chola period, the chiefs of the Muthuraja community ruled over the Tanjore district in Tamilakkam. They controlled the fertile plains of the Kaveri region.[full citation needed] When the Later Cholas came to power, the Muthuraja were turned into feudatories. Muttaraiyar, literally means King of three territories.[full citation needed] They built many temples dedicated to Shiva.[full citation needed]
One of the most notable Muthuraja people was Peru Mutharaiyar, who was known for his great wealth and grand feasts. Two stanzas (200, 296) of Nālaṭiyār, one of the works of ancient Tamil literature, is dedicated to him.[full citation needed][full citation needed] One of their titles was Lord of Tanjore.[full citation needed][full citation needed]
During the period of Rajaraja Chola I, we know of at least one high-ranking chief and a feudatory of the Chola from the Muthuraja community: Śēkkizhār Araiyan Sankaranarayanan, also known as Chola-Muttaraiyan. Araiyan, which is the Tamil equivalent of the Sanskrit Raja or King, in this context means a chieftain or a governor.[full citation needed]
Narthamalai is 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Trichy on the Pudukkottai - Trichy Highway. There can be seen one of the oldest rock-cut temples built by Ilango Mutharaiyar, which was later rebuilt by Vijayalaya Chola, known as Vijayalaya Choleeswaram. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. There are also two rock-cut caves, one of which has 12 life-size sculptures of Vishnu. The temple is maintained and administered by the Archaeological Survey of India as a protected monument.
The Paluvettaraiyar regiment was a military regiment maintained by the Mutharaja chief Paluvettaraiyar. It comprised both Muthuraja and Sengunthar soldiers[page needed] in the regiment of Paluvettaraiyar and were involved in the invasion of Lanka by Cholas in the 10th century.[page needed][page needed]
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