Velu Nachiyar

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Rani Velu Nachiyar
Queen of Sivagangai
Princess of Ramanathapuram
Sivagangai Aranmanai.jpg
Statue of Rani Velu Nachiyar at the historic palace and her residence, Sivagangai
Reign c. 1780-c. 1790[1]
Successor Vellacci[2]
Born 3 January 1730
Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died 25 December 1796 (1796-12-26) (aged 66)
Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India
Father Chellamuthu vijayaragunatha Sethupathy
Mother Muthathal Nachiyar
Religion Hindu-Saivam

Rani Velu Nachiyar (3 January 1730 – 25 December 1796) was a queen of Sivaganga estate from c. 1780–1790.[3][4] She is known by Tamils as Veeramangai ("brave woman").[citation needed]


Velu Nachiyar was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the only child of Raja Chellamuthu vijayaragunatha Sethupathy and Rani Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.

She was a scion of suryavamsam and kasyapagotram like cholas. Ramnad sethupathis are suryavamsi kshatriyas and their predecessors were crowned in sethu(Rameswaram) by lord Vishnu during his incarnation as Sree Rama.She was known to be an extremely beautiful lady like draupadi the crown queen of pandavas. Some copperplates call her as virtuous as mangayarkkarasiyar the consort of king ninraseer nedumaran of pandyan dynasty who was patron of saint tirugnanasambandar.She was also trained in saivite and vaishnavite studies of both tamil,and Sanskrit traditions.She was also trained in works of ancient jurist karnisuta etc for criminal investigation and penal code formation.She proposed and implemented several reforms in trade like sangam cholas that led to development of democratic councils.As a result ancient nanadesi multinationals like narpattiyennayiravar, disai ayirattu elunnurruvar, manigramattar etc who find mention and praise in earliest of sangam works (12th century B.C.E), set up firms in Singapore, Malaya, Vietnam, and also in western sea.Other development works included laying roads, irrigation systems, , waterways, canals, building other transport infrastructure like shipping, libraries,schools , colleges,improving land defense and navy etc.

Rani velu nachiyar was a great devotee of Lord Ayyanar or Sevugan, who is son of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Whenever she was in distress she visited the temple of Ayyanar in madappuram near sivagangai, to offer worship and other services. This temple finds mention and praise in earliest of sangam works and is supposed to be a place where Chera, Chola,Pandya and Velir kings offered worship prior to setting off to war fields. Ayyanar is supposed to have appeared before her and solved several of her problems. The sthala puranam or place history of this temple also says that The queen attained his beatitude here.

Appointment of Professors

Another interesting record deals with an establishment of a higher institution of learning and the qualifications prescribed for the professor, the method of appointment and the duration of his service.

Those who are conversant with ancient Indian learning know that these are very high standards compared to this age, where a professor of Ancient History, for example, need not have even basic understanding of Sanskrit or epigraphy to interpret the original sources of ancient Indian culture.

The Ancient Educationists on the other hand insisted on multi-dimensional understanding of the relevant subjects as the best system of education. The record states that the teacher is appointed for a period of only three years at the end of which one has to take an examination for another term of appointment. The endowment with all the stipulations was created by a gentleman of the village in association with the Members of the Village Assembly, which would monitor the functioning. Here one finds that local democracy played a vibrant role in keeping the standard of education high.

She revised and re-implemented taxes like kandacharam,sungam(toll tax), virpidi(arms tax),ecchoru,perammu, makamai, devasthanam related taxes .

The word makamai means a kind of tax offering that tradesmen tithe to temple right from their earnt revenue. They can be for some kind of additional development activities or some other kind of munificence.Makanmai is same as makamai.

The kasi Grant

This grant was issued in the saka year 1687, month of margazhi(December-january), on Saturday, on the asterism of uttradom, i.e 3/12/1765.3-dec-1765.

This which has a handle bar is 33cm long and 22 cm wide.In the beginning it is written that “with the protection of kasi visweswarar”. Symbols of siva’s trident, sun, and goddess visalakshi ambal.Goddess is seen lifting flowers from both her hands.The is head dress as well as flowing saree.There is sivalingam,nandi,moon. In the first part there are 40 lines and in second there is 41 lines.

During 1760’s, There was an official in Coimbatore district in tamil nadu by name mathayan. He was a tax collector. One of his staff was a person by name Rajasree sankar ayyan. His wife lingammal instituted some services in kasi that also included building of a feeding house(annadhana chattram). There are many merchant guilds. These merchant guilds want to protect this charity and they agree to do so in name of 3.12.1765, in the Coimbatore region sree mathayan mentioned above was incharge of kandacharam,sungam(toll tax), perammu, makamai, devasthanam related taxes .The charity of feeding house instituted by lingammal wife of rajasree sankara ayyan was agreed and protected by 8 kinds of officials.

Narisampettai,palakkadu(now in kerala),pilapatthu, vannarkadu(in kerala), melnadu this way, way of uniselkkandi, melkkatupettai, etc, were the districts from where several raw materials like arecanut, pepper, turmeric,blue,provisions,tobacco,thread,ghee,fenugreek,sandalwood, wheat etc were sourced by kandirayan by paying money in unit arakkal and9 types of grains, vettilai,jaggery, lavanam etc for which kandirayan agrees to make payments in units of makaani. He agrees to make payment in these two units. Taxes for porting were also paid by him.This charity of lingammal would last as long as sun and moon endure. From the names it is known that they are saivite people.

Those who attempt to Stall or destroy this charity accrue the sins of having slaughtered a cow on the banks of river ganga.Those who complete this shall reap the fruits of having gifted cows in kasi temple. The names of those who protect the charity is followed by Sanskrit shlokas in granta and tamil lipi. The grant has been composed in tamil script.

The grant was composed by neelakanta muthaliyar, son of danappa muthaliyar. The person was a resident of Madurai. The grant was prepared by anantha asaari, son of veerappa asaari who was born in lineage of viswakarma.

Since this grant was composed in 1765, it may be assumed that tiru chirrambala desikar(1730-1770) headed the mutt.

The above mentioned annachattram was expanded and renovated by certain kannappa swamikal who acquired further lands and home.

Popular culture[edit]

On 31 December 2008, a commemorative postage stamp in her name was released.[5]

OVM Dance Academy of Chennai presenting "VELU NACHIYAR" a Grand Dance Ballet on Sivaganga Queen.

Professor A.L.I., a Tamil-American hip-hop artist, released a song dedicated to Velu Nachiyar entitled "Our Queen" as part of his Tamilmatic album in 2016.[6]

On 21 August 2017, a grand dance ballet was conducted in Naradha Gana Sabha in Chennai depicting the life history of the queen Velu Nachiyar. The play was directed by Sriram Sharma, who researched on the Queen's life history for almost a decade.

The same play was performed in Mumbai on 09 September 2017 & in Delhi on 21 September 2017.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ K. R. Venkatarama Ayyar, Sri Brihadamba State Press, 1938, A Manual of the Pudukkóttai State, p.720
  2. ^ K. R. Venkatarama Ayyar, Sri Brihadamba State Press, 1938, A Manual of the Pudukkóttai State, p.720
  3. ^ The Hindu - 10-Aug-2010
  4. ^ The News Minute -3 January 2017
  5. ^ "India Post - Stamps 2008". Postal department, Government of India.
  6. ^ "International Women's Day Dedication to Queen Velu Nachiyar".