Vatakkiruttal (Tamil: வடக்கிருத்தல், Vaṭakkiruttal, "fasting facing north" ?), also Vadakiruthal and vadakiruttal, is a form of Tamil ritual by fasting till death. It was especially widespread during the Sangam age. The Tamil kings, in order to save their honour, and prestige, were prepared to meet their death facing North ('Vatakkiruttal') and never would they turn their back in battle. It was a Tamil martial (Tamil: நோன்பு, nōnpu, "vow" ?). This was either done alone, or as a group with the supporters of the captured King.
Few examples for Vatakkiruttal for friendship:
- "Book excerptise: The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru by George L. (tr.) Hart and Hank Heifetz (tr.)". Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
Kapilar for King Pari #107 — When Vel Pari is killed in battle, kapilar is supposed to have committed suicide by vadakirrutal - facing North and starving.
- "From the annals of history". The Hindu. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- George L. Hart; Hank Heifetz (2002). The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11563-6.
- Thapar, Romila (1996). Tradition, dissent and ideology: essays in honour of Romila Thapar. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563867-0.
- Richards, John F. (1978). Kingship and authority in South Asia. University of Wisconsin--Madison.