Ponniyin Selvan

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Ponniyin Selvan
Ponniyin selvan volume 1.jpg
Volume 1
AuthorKalki Krishnamurthy
Original titleபொன்னியின் செல்வன்
GenreHistorical, Romance, Espionage, Thriller, Novel
Published1951–1954 (Kalki)
Media typePrint
Pages2600 pages (approx)
Original text
பொன்னியின் செல்வன் at Tamil Wikisource

Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil: பொன்னியின் செல்வன், English: (The Son of Kaveri) is a 2400-page 20th-century Tamil historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy. Written in five volumes, this narrates the story of Arulmozhivarman (later crowned as Rajaraja Chola I), one of the kings of the Chola Dynasty during the 10th and 11th centuries. Kalki finished the novel after nearly three and a half years of writing and he visited Sri Lanka three times to gather information for the novel.

Historical background[edit]

Ponniyin Selvan is a historical novel that centers on a number of real historical characters and incidents.[1]

The oldest evidence available about the Chola dynasty is about the Chola kings Karikal Peruvalathan, Killivalavan, Nedunkilli, and Perunkilli, among others. After this, the trail runs cold and resurfaces as Vijayalaya Chola once again established the Chola dynasty after defeating the Pandiyas and the Pallavas.

Vijayalaya Chola(AD 848-871) was the founder of the Medieval Chola dynasty. He conquered the country from a vassal chief of the Pallavas, and established Pazhayarai as the capital of the dynasty which was later shifted to Thanjavur during the rule of Sundara Chola. His son and successor Aditya I conquered the Pallavas and the Kongu country. Later, under the leadership of his son Parantaka I (c AD 907-955), the Cholas acquired a dominion which foreshadowed the greater empire of Rajaraja and Kulothunga Chola I. Parantaka I won victories over the Banas, the Gangas, the Pandya and the King of Ceylon.

This fact and the extent of his conquest are known from his inscriptions. Towards the end of his reign, or before his death, the Rashtrakutas under Krishna III invaded Tamilakam, killed the Chola prince Rajaditya at Takkolam (near Arakkonam) in c. AD 948, and seized Tondainadu which they ruled for about a quarter of a century, confining the sway of the Cholas to their ancestral dominion comprising the modern day Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli districts.

The names of the next five kings after Rajaditya are known by various historical evidences.

Gandaraditya a great Shaivite, whose son was to become the famous Madhurantaka. Gandaraditya was, however, not a great king and the enemies of the Chola kingdom began to rise again at the end of his reign. Moreover, both of his brothers Rajathitha and Arinjaya could not be crowned after him as the former was already dead and the latter was expecting his end any moment. So Arinjaya's son Sundara Chola or Paranthaka II as he was formerly known, became the king after Arinjaya Chola died at a young age at battle, he was the father of Paranthaka II who ascended the throne after Gandaraditya.

Parantaka Chola II (son of Arinjaya, also known popularly as Sundara Chola as he was exotically handsome and ruled the kingdom particularly well), though later fell fatally ill as his legs were paralysed. He was the proud father of Rajaraja Cholan, Aditya karikala Cholan and Kundavai. Aditya II was the elder son of Parantaka II and was the heir apparent of the Chola dynasty after Paranthaka II. But before he could ascend the throne, he was taken by death due to the treachery. He is killed in kadambur Melakadambur sambuvarayar maaligai.

Madurantaka, officially Uttama Chola, was the son of Gandaraditya and Sembian Mahadevi. Though he did not wish for the crown, it was thrust upon him by Rajaraja Cholan and his friend Vallavaraiyan Vandiyathevan, a Bana prince. He ruled for a period of about 12 years, after whose death Rajaraja Cholan ascended to the throne.

Aditya Karikalan II re-conquered Tondainadu from the Rashtrakutas a few years later. He was a great warrior. He performed many heroic deeds in the battlefields of Sevur and beheaded the long-elusive Pandiya king -Veerapandiya. On Aditya's death, the succession was disputed as one community of the Chola empire. Most of the nobles and subjects preferred the popular prince Arulmozhivarman ascend the throne, but he himself was in favour of his uncle, Madurantaka Uththama Chola becoming the King. At last, Arulmozhivarman tricked Madhurantaka into accepting the crown. After him, Arulmozhivarman became the King in AD 985. His reign brought unparalleled glory and greatest fame and prosperity to the Imperial Chola empire.

Ponniyin Selvan was the sobriquet given to Arulmozhi varman. Ponni was another name for the Kaveri and Arulmozhi was the darling of the Kaveri as in Ponniyin Selvan to all his people.

The original title of Arulmozhivarman was Raja Raja Cholan. He was the second son of the Parantaka Chola II alias Sundara Chola and Queen Vaanamaadevi. Raja Raja Cholan had an elder sister, Kundavai and an elder brother, Aditya Karikalan. He had a high regard for his sister, who spent her later life in Thanjavur with her younger brother, and named his first daughter after her. Who later, inspired by his sister, built the world-renowned Brihadeeswarar Temple known as Periya Kovil.

Kalki’s other sources were stone inscriptions, copper-plates and other books. There is a stone tablet in the great temple of Thanjavur which has the following inscription: “The revered elder sister of Raja Raja Chozhan, the consort of Vandiyadevan, Azhwar Paranthakar Kundavaiyar”.[1] The book History of Later Cholas has a five-line reference to Vandiyadevan, a real historical character, who is the hero of this novel. The names of the conspirators also came from a stone inscription. [ref:Sadasiva_Pandarathar].

A lot of the information about the activities of various kings came from inscriptions like these as well as copper plates like the one found at Anbil. The Thiruvalangadu copper-plates state, "The Chola people were very keen that after Sundara Chola, Arulmozhivarman should ascend the throne and rule their country. But Arulmozhivarman respected the right of his Uncle Uttama Chola, the son of his grandfather’s older brother, Gandaraditya, to the throne and crowned him King".

Plot summary[edit]

Chart of characters involved in Ponniyin Selvan.

The story revolves around Vandiyathevan, a charming, brave and a brilliant young man who sets out to the Chola land to deliver a message to the King and the Princess from the Crown Prince Aditya Karikalan. The story shuttles between Vandiyathevan's travels in Chola country and the young Prince Arulmozhivarman's travels in Sri Lanka. The narrative deals with attempts by his sister Kundavai to bring back Arulmozhi (as Raja Raja was called before his crowning) to establish political peace in a land seemingly getting besot with unrest and signs of civil war, plotted by vassals and petty chieftains.

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In the meanwhile, with Poonkuzhali's help, Vandiyathevan reaches Sri Lanka, meets Arulmozhivarman, and becomes his close friend. In Lanka, Arulmozhivarman realizes that his father had spent some time in an island near Lanka and had been with a girl born deaf and dumb. He meets her and realizes from her drawing that she and his father have had two children. Who are those children and do they have the right to the throne? Later one day in Thirupurambayam forest Vandiyathevan sees Nandhini and the Pandya conspirators place a small boy on a throne and take a vow in front of him. Who is this boy and what right does he have to the throne?

While coming back from Lanka, Arulmozhivarman is caught in a cyclone and goes missing. Rumor spreads that he is dead, but he survives and stays at Choodamani Viharam to get cured from a deadly pnemonea, a Buddhist monastery. Then slowly the dispersed family starts assembling. The conspirators meanwhile choose one day in which both the king and both of his sons would be assassinated.

Nandhini, meanwhile, calls Aditya karikalan to Kadambur Palace to discuss about the future of kingdom, Though Karikalan knows that his life is in utter danger, He goes to Kadambur palace despite warning from his grand father. Adithya karikalan was then assassinated there(it was debated till about the assassin), for which Vandiyathevan framed as victim.

Arulmozhivarman in the mean time recovers from his illness and returns to Tanjore, where he was forced to crown and he accepts to get crown initially. Later he tricks everyone and crowns his uncle Uthama chola. Thus gets the fifth part name as Tyaga chigaram.

The story ends with the uneventful death of Manimekalai in the arms of Vandiyathevan, whom she loved the most. The author also included an epilogue, which gives the fate of the main characters involved in the plot.


In order of appearance (omitting the flashbacks)

  • Vallavaraiyan Vandiyathevan: The brave, adventurous and sarcastic warrior/prince of Bana clan, who later becomes the Commander for Southern Troops under the reign of Utthama Chola. He is the second main protagonist of the story other than Ponniyin Selvan himself. He was a bodyguard and close friend of Aditya Karikalan in Kanchi who sends him as a messenger to Sundara Chola in Thanjavur to invite him to the newly-built golden palace in Kanchi and also as a trustful guard for Kundavai in Pazhayarai. His hasteful acts put himself and others in danger but comes out of them by trickery and luck. He is the lover of Princess Kundavai. He was greed of being a ruler which he leaves after meeting her. He is loved one-sidedly by Manimekalai, the sister of Kandanmaran. The author introduces most of the characters to the audience through him.
  • Azhwarkadiyan Nambi alias Thirumalaiappan: A Veera Vaishnavite spy who works for the Prime Minister and Chembiyan Maadevi. He is the foster-brother of Nandhini and also a close friend of Vandiyathevan. He works closely with him and saves him from many dangers. He was a loyal trustful servant for the Chola royal government. He often does many religious word battles with Veera Shaivites and Advaitis. He witnesses along with Vandiyathevan the petty rulers conspiracy in Kadamboor and also Prince Arulmozhivarman refusing to accept the Title Crown of Sri Lanka by Buddhist monks.
  • Sambuvaraiyar: The petty ruler of Kadamboor who was part of the Petty rulers conspiracy.
  • Kandanmaran alias Chinna Sambuvaraiyar: Prince of Kadamboor. Son of Sambuvaraiyar and close friend of Vandiyathevan. He is the one who arranges the conspiracy meeting of petty rulers to be taken in Kadamboor.
  • Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar (D): The chancellor and treasurer of the Chola kingdom who was respected for his valor and 64 scars he got in battles. The second most powerful man in the empire next to the Emperor himself. He marries a much younger Nandini in his sixties, gets seduced by her beauty and gets used by her as a puppet for her plot. He was the leader of the conspirators who acted against the sons of the Sundara Chola and tried to make his cousin Madurantaka the next emperor under the plans of Nandini. He commits suicide after confessing in the court that he is the one who killed Prince Aditya accidentally.
  • Thevaraalan (alias Parameswaran), Idumbankkari, Soman Sambavan, Ravidasan, Revadasa Kiramavithan: Main antagonists of the story along with Nandini. Loyal bodyguards of the late Veerapandiyan. They conspirate to kill the Chola Emperor and his sons and to create chaos in the kingdom. Ravidasan and Parameswaran were once ministers in Chola court. Ravidasan and Revadasa Kiramavithan were acting as wizards. Idumbankkari was acting as a guard in Kadamboor palace.
  • Madurantaka alias Amarabhujangan Nedunchezhiyan: Foster son of Chembiyan Maadevi who raised him as a Shivite. Biological son of Veerapandiyan and Mandakini Devi. Son-in-law of Chinna Pazhuvettaraiyar. Twin brother of Nandini. He was raised a calm and humble Shivite and taught not to desire on the throne but he was brainwashed by Nandini so that the developed a greed over the throne. Kundavai and others thought that he was untalented and lacked the basic characters and skills for being an emperor. People of Chola country did not want him to become the ruler. After rejection of the throne for him and knowing the secret of his birth, he joins the Pandya conspirators.
  • Kundavai alias Ilaya Piratti: The Chola princess. Second child and only daughter of Sundara Chola. Lover of Vandiyathevan. She was respected much by her father and the people for her intelligence, intellect and wit. Unlike other princesses of those times, she had an ambition of making Chola empire wide and great and took a vow never to leave her motherland. She used anyone to achieve her ambition. She grew and taught his younger brother Arulmozhivarman as a witful prince and wished to make him the Chola emperor. She is the one who sent Vandiyathevan to bring back Arulmozhivarman from Sri Lanka and to prevent Aditya from going to Kadamboor palace and also guard him. She took care of Vanathi more than any of her friends.
  • Vanathi: Shy and innocent Princess of Kodumbalur who is the future wife of Raja Raja Chola and mother of Rajendra Chola- I. Daughter of Paranthakan alias Kodumbalur Chinna Velar who died in the battle against Mahinda in Sri Lanka. Niece of Boodhi Vikrama Kesari.She lost her mother and father in her childhood. She is the most beloved friend of Kundavai. She had an immense love for Arulmozhi but did not had desires of ascending the throne
  • Nandini: Princess of Pazhuvoor and wife of Periya Pazhuvettraraiyar whose birth and origin was doubtful in the beginning. The main antagonist of the story. Twin sister of Amarabhujangan alias Madurantaka. She was grown in a priest family along with royal children in Pazhayarai till her youth. She hated Kundavai as the latter showed hatred towards her because of her jealousy over her beauty. But Kundavai changed thoughts about her after coming to know that she is the daughter of Mandakini Devi. She and Prince Aditya Karikalan developed love interest in their childhood which nobody in the royalty liked. She was forced to flee Pazhaiyarai and live in Madurai. After Aditya beheaded the injured Veerapndiyan (who was later revealed to be her real father while Mandakini is her mother), she vowed to take revenge to kill him and destroy the Chola dynasty. Thus, she joins the Pandya conspirators. By using the power and wealth, Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar who had fall in lust with her and married her, she helped Pandya conspirators and tried to create a civil war. She had a deep hate towards the royal people for their ill-treatment towards her in her childhood. She had a desire for the throne which she thought to make real using her husband. Parthivendra Pallava and Kandan Maran too fell for her beauty and charms and she used them for her plot too. She had a strinking resemblance in facial features to her mother which she unknowingly used to haunt Sundara Chola. This made Vandiyathevan and Azhwarkadiyan to prove that she is the daughter of Mandakini. She saved Vandiyathevan many times from being killed by Pandyan conspirators though he was the one who never obeyed her orders and acted against her plans.
  • Senthan Amuthan alias Madurantaka Uttama Chola or Uttama Chola: The cousin of Sundara Chola and his successor to ascend the throne of Chola empire. Biological son of Gandaraditya and Chembiyan Maadevi. Uncle of Aditya Karikalan, Kundavai and Arulmozhivarman. Foster son of Vaani Ammal. Husband of Queen Poonkuzhali. He was thought to born dead and was given to Vaani to be buried but later rescued and grown by herself. He is a close friend of Vandiyathevan. He helped him many times in his missions when he was still the son of Vaani and a calm, humble and honest Shivite devotee.
  • Vaani Ammal: The deaf and mute foster mother of Senthan Amuthan and aunt of Poonkuzhali. She was a good in practising traditional medicine.
  • Chinna Pazhuvettaraiyar alias Kaalandhakandar: The chief in-charge of Thajavur fort. who was responsible for the protection of the Emperor. Younger brother of Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar to whom he had huge respect and love. He was a part of the petty ruler conspiracy and married her daughter to Madurantaka who was later known to be the son of Veerapandiyan. Both brothers hated Vandiyathevan at first.
  • Sundara Chola alias Paranthaka-II: The emperor of Chola empire. He was known for his facial beauty which gave him his name 'Sundara'. After his health became poor, his legs being paralysed and was expecting his death, he was moved from Pazhayarai to Thanjavur by Pazhuvettaraiyars for his protection. This sparked the quest for the next rightful heir. His wish was to appoint his uncles's son as his successor. There was a rumor that the emperor was kept as a prisoner by them. In his youth, he had a secret love affair with a young deaf and mute woman named Mandakini while he was in Boodha Theevu (Sri Lanka) but was made to leave her. He was continuously haunted by the "ghost" of Mandakini whom he thought was dead and believed that it was cursing his children. She loved and respected his daughter Kundavai so much that he told her his personal secrets about Mandakini which were known only to him and his close friend Aniruddha Brahmarayar.
  • Vanavan Maadevi: Empress of the Chola empire succeeded by Poonkuzhali. Chief queen, wife and caretaker of Sundara Chola. Mother of all his children. Daughter of Thirukovalur Malaiyamaan.
  • Chembiyan Maadevi alias Periya Piratti: Wife of Gandaraditya and mother of Utthama Chola. Foster mother of Madurantaka. A Shivite devotee who donates a lot to build many temples for Lord Shiva across the Chola empire. She was very strict in not making her foster son the emperor, which was also the wish of her husband since they knew he was not of Chola origin. She came to knew that Senthan was his own son when he was 5.
  • Eesaana Sivapattar: The priest of the Shiva temple in Pazhayarai. Elder brother of Azhwarkadiyan and foster brother of Nandini. He helps Vandiyathevan to meet Kundavai secretly in Pazhayarai when Pazhuvettararaiyars were searching for him there.
  • Pinaagapani (D): Son of the traditional healer in Pazhayarai. He was narrow-minded and always considered Vandiyathevan as his enemy but gets beaten by him all often in the story. He was sent by Kundavai with Vandiyathevan to show him way from Pazhaiyarai to Kodikkarai. There he had lust over Poonkuzhali but fails in attracting her. He thought she loved Vandiyathevan. He always had a desire to become a government official but all goes in vain when he dies unexpectedly at last.
  • Aditya Karikalan (D): Eldest son of Sundara Chola and the commander of Northern troops in his reign. He was the Crown Prince who was the most rightful one to ascend the throne next to his father. He was a brave warrior who entered the battlefield at the age of 12. He was known all over the empire for his valiant acts. He beheaded Veerapandiyan for which he got the title "Veerapandiyan thalaikkonda Kopparakkesari". It was him that sent Vandiyathevan to Kundavai for being her trustful guard. He developed a close relationship with Nandini while she was in Pazhayarai. Though he knew that Nandini was waiting to take revenge on him for killing Veerapandiyan, he goes to Kadamboor, where he is later assassinated mysteriously. She thought that Aditya was not fit for being an emperor due to his hastiness and unpredictable anger. He was disrespectful towards elders which made them to hate him. His death at Kadamboor palace remains a mystery till the end.
  • Thirukovalur Malaiyaman alias Milaadudaiyar: Father-in-law of Sundara Chola and maternal grandfather for his children. He was a well-wisher and advisor for Aditya Karikalan and lived with him in Kanchi. He was a rival of the Kadamboor ruler.
  • Parthivendra Pallava: Friend of Aditya Karikalan. He fought along with Aditya in his battles. He fell in lust with Nandini and hated Vandiyathevan from the beginning.
  • Poonkuzhali: Empress and Wife of Utthama Chola. She was born and raised in Kodikkarai. She was an adventurous and fearless boat woman and had a hate towards other men and civilisation. She had a great affection for her aunt Mandakini Devi. She had a love interest towards Arulmozhivarman who also had the same before marrying Senthan Amuthan. She was named "Samudrakumari" (Princess of the Ocean) by the Prince Arulmozhi himself. She rowed Vandiyathevan to Sri Lanka and also saved Arulmozhivarman from the storm and secretly took him to Chudamani Vihara in Nagapattinam against many dangers.
  • Thiyaaga Vitankar: Father of Poonkuzhali and in-charge of the light house in Kodikkarai. He is the younger brother of Mandakini Devi and Vaani Ammal.
  • Rakkammaal: Sister-in-law of Poonkuzhali. She joined the Pandiyan conspirators due to her greed for money.
  • Anbil Aniruddha Brahmarayar: The Prime Minister of Sundara Chola's Court and a trustful intimate close friend of him. He was very much respected by the people for his wit and intelligence. On the request of Sundara Chola, he became the minister and assisted Sundara Chola in administration from being a teacher. He knew many royal secrets including the personal secrets of his friend. He had many spies across the Chola empire that almost nothing could happen out of his knowledge. One of the best of them is Azhwarkadiyan.
  • Boodhi Vikrama Kesari alias Kodumbalur Periya Velar: Petty ruler of Kodumbalur. Uncle of Vanathi. The Commander of the South Troops during Sundara Chola's reign. He is the one that fights along with Prince Arulmozhivarman against Mahinda's troops in Sri Lanka. He had a desire of marrying Vanathi to Arulmozhi and make her the Empress. He and Thirukovalur Malaiyaman opposed the plan of making Madurantaka the heir to the Chola throne. Kodumbalur Velars and Pazhuvettaraiyars were rivals to each other though they both were loyal to Cholas.
  • Arulmozhivarman alias Raja Raja Chola-I alias Ponniyin Selvan: One of the two protagonists of the story after whom the novel was named. The youngest son of Sundara Chola. He was raised in Pazhayarai by Periya Piratti and Ilaya Piratti. He was taught well by his sister and she sent him to Sri Lanka at the age of 19 for battle.He was said to be saved by the Deity of Kaveri (Ponni) herself from drowning in the river when he was five. This gave him the title "Ponniyin Selvan" or "Son of Kaveri". It is later came to know that Mandakini is the one who saved him. He was beloved by all the people and soldiers of the Chola kingdom and even in Sri Lanka due to his religious tolerance, good behaviour towards the people and his facial attraction. He had an equality towards all religions but was more attracted to Shivism. He had a love interest on Poonkuzhali but later changed his mind due to his sister's advice and married Vanathi. He had a desire to conquer many far countries and expand the Chola empire which was fueled by Kundavai from his childhood. Though the people were supporting him to become the next emperor, he gave away his royal title to his uncle Utthama Chola, whom he considered the rightful heir. Thus, he gets the title "Thiyaga Sigaram" (The Pinnacle of Sacrifice). Vandiyathevan and him were close friends ever from their meeting in Sri Lanka. He loved and respected Mandakini so much that he once says that he loves her more than his own parents.
  • Mandakini Devi aka Singala Naachiyaar aka Oomai Rani("The Mute Queen") (D): The deaf and mute mother of Nandini and Maduranthaka. Love interest of Sundara Chola. She had great affection towards his children. She was the woman who saved Ponniyin Selvan from being drowning in the river Ponni and from many dangers in Sri Lanka. She is also the one who saved Sundara Chola from being assassinated by Soman Sambavan. She dies at the hands of Sundara Chola. She loved Arulmozhi so much that she said that he was his own son, during her last seconds.How she had children with Veerapandyan was not described by the author.
  • Murugaiyan: Elder brother of Poonkuzhali. Husband of Rakkammal. He rowed the Pandiyan conspirators to Sri Lanka from Kodikkarai. But later felt his wrongdoing and helped Arulmozhivarman to reach Thanjavur.
  • Manimekalai (D): Innocent, playful, shy yet fearless princess of Kadamboor. Younger sister of Kandan Maran and daughter of Kadamboor Sambuvaraiyar. She had a deep, immense one-sided love on Vandiyathevan. She was used by Nandini for her plot to kill Aditya. She tried to save Vandiyathevan from punishment for murder by accpeting that she killed Aditya. She later goes lunatic thinking that Vandiyathevan was punished and killed. At the end of the story, she dies tragically at the hands of Vandiyathevan.
  • Karuthiruman aka Paithiyakaran (The Madman): An assist of Veerapandian. The man who knew about the secrets of location of "Pandyan insignia" and also the secrets about Chembian Maadevi's real son. He is the one who saved the baby Senthan Amuthan from being buried alive by Vaani who did not notice that the baby was crying as she was deaf.

Other characters in the novel are:

  • Kudanthai Jothidar: (jothidar- astrologer) The astrologer in the town of Kudanthai (present day Kumbakonam) who predicts that Arulmozhivarman will become a great emperor. He also mentions that Vanathi will marry Arulmozhi and bear a great king who will take the Chola dynasty to its glory. He later moves to Thiruvaiyaru since his house was destructed by Kaveri floods.
  • Kalyani: Mother of Sundara Chola. Wife of Arinjaya Chola.
  • Paranthakan Devi: Another wife of Sundara Chola.
  • The Buddist monk in Chudamani Vihara of Nagapattinam who saves Arulmozhivarman when he was affected by fever.
  • The Pandyan Prince whom the Pandyan conspirators made the successor of Veerapandiyan at Thirupurambiyam Pallipadai.
  • Chandramathi: Maid and companion of Manimekalai in Kadambur palace.

(D) - Deceased by the end of the novel.

Cultural references[edit]


There have been several attempts to create film adaptations of Ponniyin Selvan, beginning with an attempt in 1958 by M. G. Ramachandran. Ramachandran cast several of the roles such as Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan and Kundavai, but later dropped the project for unstated reasons.[2] Director Mani Ratnam also attempted to film a complete adaptation of the book for a 2012 release, but had to shelve the project due issues with the potential budget for the film and difficulty locating financiers to back the project.[3] In 2018, Mani Ratnam directed 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam' which was rumoured to be a modern day adaption of Ponniyin Selvan.[4]

A 32-hour animation film was created by Rewinda Movie Toons, a Chennai-based animation studio. The project was started in 2008 and took seven years to complete. The film is distributed over 15 DVDs and will be released direct-to-video by April 2015.[5]

Stage play[edit]

In 1999 the book was adapted into a stage play by E. Kumaravel and was staged by Magic Lantern Theater in Buck's Theatre inside YMCA Nandanam, Chennai.[6] The script's length was originally over nine hours long, but was shortened into a performance time of four hours and 20 minutes and featured 72 actors on a multi-level setting.

Again, the book was adapted into a stage play in a very grand scale by SS International Live along with Magic Lantern theatre group in Chennai, in June 2014. The crew includes Kumaravel, who penned the screenplay & dialogues, Thotta Tharani as art director, Preethi Athreya as costume designer and Bhanu leading the make-up and hair styling department. Pravin directed the play.[7]

Chicago Tamil Sangam staged the play in May 2013 with over 40 volunteers in cast and crew . [8]


An attempt to turn the book into a television serial was made by Makkal TV, but was shelved.[9] Another attempt to adapt the novel into a series surfaced on 27 March 2015. Eros International would be producing the series,with creative heading handled by Soundarya R. Ashwin, and direction being handled by Sooriya Prathap, one of her assistant directors. Screenplay and dialogues for the same was written by writer Jayamohan. Unlike most Tamil series, this would be released online on a pay-per-episode basis rather than on television.[10]


There are at least three different translations of Ponniyin Selvan available in English - by Indra Neelamegam[11] CV Karthik Narayanan,[12] and an ongoing one by Pavithra Srinivasan.[13] On 21 February 2015, a Sanskrit translation by Rajalakshmi Srinivasan was released at a public function in Chennai by the then HRD Minister of India, Smriti Irani.[14]

Audio book[edit]

There is a Tamil audio book, done by Sri of itsdiff.com,[15] and it is available for download in emagaz.in,[16] iTunes and Amazon for a fee. There is a dramatized unabridged edition of this book enacted by over 40 actors by Krishnamachary kannan also known as Bombay Kannan. Produced in 2012, the audio version has won acclaim from all purists and readers.There is a AudioBook done by Jevita Naresh and released in Apple podcast on the first three parts , Part-1 can be accessed here.

Prequel and sequel[edit]

Vikraman and Anusha Venkatesh, historical novelists wrote "Nandi Purathu Nayagi' and "Kaveri Maindan" respectively as sequels to Ponniyin Selvan, narrating various incidences which subsequently happened.

Dr L. Kailasam wrote Malar Cholai Mangai which is a prequel to Ponniyin Selvan, wherein he described how Vandiya Devan was brought up and the necessity of the occurrences of the various historical incidences mentioned in Ponniyin Selvan.

Ponniyin Selvan trail[edit]

TourBee, a chennai-based travel startup first created an itinerary that includes the historic places mentioned in the historic novel and announced it as "Ponniyin Selvan trail" in 2015.

"Ponniyin Selvan trail" is an unique travel experience curated by TourBee with interesting trivia and stories.

TourBee has been curating this one of a kind trail from Chennai with rave reviews, attended by lot of Ponniyin Selvan readers all over South India. This popular trail got wide media coverage in leading magazines and newspapers so far.


The book is available for free in e-book format at projectmadurai.org (English and Tamil) and ponniyinselvan.in(Tamil).

See also[edit]


.15. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jevita.ponni&hl=en

External links[edit]