Indra Aaram Part 3: Capture of the Aaram


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This is a guest post By Mr.Vijay Kumar. Contents of his essay are edited by me to suit the taste of my readers and few additions are also made by me to add details to his post.


Earlier we had seen that the Aaram was taken to Lanka by the Pandiya king and deposited to the Sri Lankan King.

This quest was continued by successors of Paranthaka. But even the famed Raja Raja couldn’t successfully invade Rohana situated in deep South of Lanka.

But his son Rajendra did the unthinkable of conquering Rohana and capturing the Pandya Crown jewels.

The Sri lankan King during reign of Raja raja was Mahinda. There was military upraising against him in Sri Lanka(991 AD), which made move south to Rohana which was an inacessiable hill country. Raja Raja took this opportunity to conquer the North Lanka(1005 AD). But he couldn’t succeed in capturing the crown jewels from Rohana.

In 1017 AD Rajendra the son of Raja Raja Chola invaded Lanka and as a result of his expedition Rajendra claims to have captured the crown of the kings of ceyon the exceedingly beautiful crowns of their queens, the fine crown and the garland of Indra which the Pandya had previously deposited with them(the kings of Ceylon), and the whole Ila madapam on the transparent sea.

We come to know this from his meikerthi which as below

பொருகடல் ஈழத்து அரசர்தம் முடியும்

ஆங்கவர் தேவியர் ஓங்கெழில் முடியும்
முன்னவர் பக்கல் தென்னவர் வைத்த
சுந்தர முடியும் இந்திரன் ஆரமும்
தெண்திரை ஈழ மண்டலம் முழுவதும்

The Karandai  plates say that “Rajendra conquered the king of Ceylon with a fierce army and seized his territory, his crown, his queen and her crown, his daughter, all his wealth, his transports, and the spotless garland of Indra and crown of Pandya left in his charge.

This is also confirmed by Mahavamsa

“In his six and thirtieth year of king’s (Mahinda V) reign the colas seized the mahesi, the jewels, the diadem he had inherited, the whole of (royal ) ornaments, the priceless diamond bracelet, a gift of the gods, the unbreakable sword and the relic of the torn strip cloth.”

By capturing the Pandya crown jewels and having total control over the Pandya Kingdom, Rajendra established his own son as viceroy of the Pandya kingdom and gave him the title Chola Pandya(around 1018 AD). The newly appointed viceory was Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya. With this Rajendra thought he had completely destroyed the Pandya Kingdom and annexed it to Chola Kingdom.

But history proved him wrong as the Cholas after 200 years were thrown out of power by the Pandyas(by Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I

Part 1: Unfinished Conquest

Part 2: Indra Aaram legends in literature.



Colas by K.A.N.Shastri

History of the Later cholas by Sri Sadasiva Pandaarathar

Then Indiya koil sasanangal

Thiruvilayadal puranam commentary by Vengadasamy Natar

Cilapathikaram commentary by Vengadasamy Natar

Cilapathikaram translation by Ramchandra Dikshitar

Cilapathikaram translation by Alien Danileou

Tamil traditions on Subrahamanya Muruga – Kamil Zvelebil

Tamil Temple Myths David Shulman



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Indra Aaram Part 2 – Legend of Indra Aaram


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This is a guest post By Mr.Vijay Kumar. Contents of his essay are edited by me to suit the taste of my readers and few additions are also made by me to add details to his post. Me here refers to me (translations).


So what is so special about this jewel Indra Aaram?

First of all what is a Aaram?

*ஆரம்³ āram

, n. < hāra. 1. Necklace of pearls or gems; மணிவடம். (பிங்.) 2. Garland of flowers; பூமாலை. (சூடா.) 3. Pearl; முத்து. (பிங்.) 4. Pendant; பதக்கம். (திவா.) 5. Ornament; ஆபரணம். (பிங்.)

So where do we first find the reference of Indra Aaram in Tamil Literature?

The first ever reference is made in Silapathikaram. In fact Silapathikaram has 2 references of Indra Aaram in Madurai Kandam.

வாழ்க, எம் கோ, மன்னவர் பெருந்தகை!

ஊழிதொறு ஊழிதொறு உலகம் காக்க!

அடியில் தன் அளவு அரசர்க்கு உணர்த்தி,

வடி வேல் எறிந்த வான் பகை பொறாது,

பஃறுளி யாற்றுடன் பல் மலை அடுக்கத்துக்

குமரிக் கோடும் கொடுங் கடல் கொள்ள

வட திசைக் கங்கையும் இமயமும் கொண்டு,

தென் திசை ஆண்ட தென்னவன் வாழி!

திங்கள் செல்வன் திருக் குலம் விளங்க,

செங் கண் ஆயிரத்தோன் திறல் விளங்கு ஆரம்

பொங்கு ஒளி மார்பில் பூண்டோன் வாழி!

“முடிவளை உடைத்தோன் முதல்வன் சென்னி” என்று

இடி உடைப் பெரு மழை எய்தாது ஏக,

பிழையா விளையுள் பெரு வளம் சுரப்ப,

May our great king live for ever, protecting this world from aeon(yuga) to aeon(yuga)! Long live Tennavan,the ruler of Southern region who added to it the Ganges and the Himalayan regions in the north , who once showed his prowess to the other kings by standing on the shore of the sea and throwing his spear upon the fierce waters which, in a spirit of revenge, consumed the river Pahruli and Kumari with their adjoining groups of hills!

Long live he who wore on his shining breast the bright garland of the thousand eye god(Indra), adding glory to the lunar race! Long live our King who, when thunder clouds withheld abundant showers, broke the bracelet(kimburi) set in the crown of Indra, imprisoned the clouds, so that there might be great prosperity from an unfailing harvest of crops.

Translated by Ramachandra Dikshitar (slightly modified by me)

Other reference in Silapathikaram ,

“விளங்கு பூண் மார்பின் பாண்டியன்”

Pandiyan who wears the illustrious jewel(Indra Aaram) on his chest.

“கோவா மலையாரம் கோத்த கடலாரம்

தேவர்கோன் பூணாரம் தென்னர்கோன் மார்பினவே
தேவர்கோன் பூணாரம் பூண்டான் செழுந்துவரைக்
கோகுல மேய்த்துக் குருந்தொசித்தா னென்பரால்”

On the breast of the Pantyan king can be seen a garland of painted with Potiyil sandal paste,a string garland of pearls, and a jeweled garland of the king of gods.

It is said that he who wears the garland of the king of gods is he who tended the cattle in Gokulam(adjoining) the flourishing Dvaraka and rent asunder the Kurunta tree.

(“under Krishna’s guidance who capital was Madhura Pantiya moved down and established Maturai”)

“தேவரார மார்பன்வாழ்க வென்றுபந் தடித்துமே”

“Long Live he who wears Indra’s garland on his chest.”

“வானவர்கோன் ஆரம் வயங்கியதோட் பஞ்சவன்றன்”

“Pancavan(Pandiyan) whose shoulders shine with the garland of the king of the gods.”

Translated by Ramachandra Dikshitar

Silapathikaram account gives an Idea that an ancient Panidya King had fought with Indra and broke his crown ornament(Kimburi) to get abundant rain and also got to wear the Indra Aaram from then on.

First account speaks about the an ancient Pandiya and second account was in reference to the current King. So the Indra Aaram was part of crown jewels passed on to each Pandiya King for generations.

14th century works Halasayamahamtya(Sanskrit) and Tamil work based on it from 17th century Thiruvilayadal puranam gives more details on this account.

Since Three chapters in the work are dedicated to this I would just summarize the story.

Anceint Pandiya King Malayattuvcan and his wife Kancani didn’t have any child. So they performed a sacrifice and a daughter appeared in the sacrificial fire,an incarnation of Durga,aged three and with three breast. They named her Tatakai and she rules the kingdom and while trying to fight Shiva in Kailsha she falls in love with him and her third breast disappears and she marries Shiva. Tatakai was from then was known as Minakshi and Shiva was from then Sundareswara(Cuntaramaran,Comacuntarar).

UkkiraKumaraPantiyan was born as the child to the divine couple. Ukkira Kumara(incarnate of Muruga) was grromed to be the king and was married to princess Kantimati (an incarnate of Valli).

After the marriage Sunderesvara told his son” Indra,Varuna and Mount Meru are your enemies.I give you three weapons: a discus to aim at Indra,a javelin to quell the sea and a club to strike down Mount Meru. Use them well”

During the reign of Ukkirapandiya there was a great drought, followed by famine and misery. The Chola,Chera and Pandiya kings went to see Indra on advice of Agastya who predicted 12 years of drought. The kings went to Indra to beg Indra to release some rain clouds.

Chera and Chola kings accepted the low and humble seats Indra offered. But Ukkirapandiya went and sat on the same level as Indra. Chola and Chera offered precious gifts to Indra and begged for rain, Indra granted rain for both the countries. Ukkirapandiya stood next to Indra, he looked as majestic as Indra himself.  Seeing this majesty, as well as the Ukkirapandiya’s refusal to beg for rain made Indra scheme against him. So Indra gave him a Aaram to make him feel honored.

பொற்பு உற வரிசை செய்வான் போல் அளவு இறந்தோர் தாங்கி

வெற்பு உறழ் திணி தோள் ஆற்றல் மெலிவது ஓர் ஆரம் தன்னை

அற்புற அளித்தான் வாங்கி அலர் மதுத் தார் போல் ஈசன்

கற்பு உடை உமையாள் மைந்தன் கதும் என கழுத்தில் இட்டான்.

(Indra) as if to honor Ukkarapantiya, presented him with affection a Aaram  which  reduced the strength of the  mountain like shoulders of many men who had carried it and the son of Uma, the chaste wife of Shiva, accepted it and wore it swiftly on the neck which was like garland of  flowers dropping its honey.

The poem could also mean the following,

(Indra) as if to honor Ukkarapantiya, presented him with affection a Aaram  which has faded because it has been on many mountain like shoulders of many men and the son of Uma the chaste wife of Shiva,accepted it and wore it swiftly on the neck which was like garland of  flowers dropping its honey.

Translated by me

Commentators are divided on whether this Aaram was carried over by many men or worn by many men. Either way in the next poem Indra when he sees the Aaram on Ukkrapandiya is jealous that the Aaram is adding beauty to the chest of the Pandiya.

கண்டனன் கடவுள் நாதன் கழியவும் இறும் பூது உள்ளம்

கொண்டனன் இன்று தொட்டுக் குரை அளி துழாவு நிம்பத்

தண் தழை மார்ப ஆரம் தாங்கும் பாண்டியன் என்று உன்னை

மண்டலம் மதிக்க என்றான் வான நாடு உடைய மன்னன்.

King of gods who had his kingdom in sky saw this and was amused in his heart, seeing the chest of the Ukkrapandiya with cool neem garland with bees buzzing over it felt that from now will call him the Pandiya who sported the aaram .

Translated by me

But to humiliate Ukkirapandiya ,Indra didn’t  grant his land rain. The Pandiya king went to Podiyaimalai and captured and imprisoned four large rain clouds especially dear to Indra.

Indra in a fury mounted on his elephant and waged a war on Madurai. Pandya attacked Indra with his discuss and broke his crown. Indra’s army was crushed. Ukkarapandya ordered Indra to send prompt rains in exchange for the release of the clouds.

This legend is also found in Sinnamanur copper plates

From Tamil inscriptions:

he who carried away the garland of Pakasasana (i.e., Indra) ; he who, appearing with ornaments of valuable gems, mastered the Tamil (language) of the south ; he who by throwing a sharp-edged javelin caused the quick return of the sea;

who wore the necklace of Harihaya (i.e., Indra) and sat with him on one half of his throne ; who raised (their) arms showering many (arrows) from (their) quivers on the sacred crown of Surivalaiyavan ; who threw the javelin in order to drive back the (encroaching) sea ;

From Sanskrit Inscription:

(Another) born in that (family) was adorned with the necklace of Hari (i.e., Indra) (which he had) captured (from him) after breaking (his) wristlet on the head of the Lord of gods (i.e., Indra) ;

The legend also features in Velvikudi grants.

This legend is also found in one of the inscriptions  Sankaranarayanar temple in Thirunelveli distirict.

விசுவாவசு வருடம் வைகாசி மாதம் 14 நாள் திங்கட்கிழமையும் உத்திராடமும் பெற்ற நாள் தெய்வேந்திரக் குடும்பன் பலாத்துப்படி : முன் துவாபர யுகத்தில் உக்கிரப் பெருவழுதியும் சோழனும் சேரனும் உலகம் வறுமைப்பட்டு இருக்கின்ற காலத்திலே தெய்வேந்திரன் பக்கல் மழை கேட்கப் போனவிடத்திலே பகவானும் மனம் மகிழ்ந்து இரும் என்ன சேரனும் சோழனும் வணங்கியிருக்க பாண்டியன் தெய்வேந்திரனுடனே கூடியிருக்க, தேவேந்திரனும் வரிசை செய்தாற்போல கவடு நினைக்க. பாண்டியன் கோபித்து எழுந்து. தேவ கன்னிகை மக்கள் நாலு குடும்பத்தாரை கைப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடித்துக் கொண்டு சென்னல் விதையும், கன்னல் விதையும் (கதலி) விதையும் பனைவிதையும் முதலான பல வித்தும் ஒரு ரிசபமும் ஒரு சாவியும் கொண்டு பூமியில் வந்தான். நால்வரில் முதல்வனுக்கு தேவேந்திரக் குடும்பப் பட்டமும் கட்டி, மூன்று பேருக்கு வாரியன், அக்கசாலை, (இளந்தாரியன்) என்று வரிசைப் பட்டமும் கட்டி ஒரு நாளையிலே 12000 கிணறு வெட்டி வேளாண்மை கண்ட படியினாலே ராஜாவும் மனம் மகிழ்ந்து வெள்ளானையும் வெள்ளை வட்டக் குடையும் சேறாடியும் பகல் பந்தம் பாவாடை ரெட்டைச் சிலம்பும் ரெட்டைக் கொடுக்கும் நன்மைக்கு

16 பந்தக்காலும் துன்மைக்கு 2 தேரும் பஞ்சவன் விருந்தும் . . . . .

18 மேளமும் கட்டளையிட்டு நடக்கிற காலத்திலெ . . . . .

(I am not giving translation of this because it repeats the same legend with more mythical elements and adds to it that Ukkrapantiya dug lot of wells.)

One must understand how this Indra Aaram got so famous at present. This is mainly due to the great author Kalki and his Ponniyin Selvan.

Height of Sacrifice – Chapter 58 – Story of Karuthirumaaran

The Pandya king arrived at the Palace of the Sri Lankan King in a few days. Both the kings set forth to the dense forests of Rohana in the southern parts of Sri Lanka. They stayed there for a few days. The Pandya king had a soft corner for Karuthirumaran and took him along. The Sri Lankan king showed them around the interesting places in Rohana. In the end, he took them into a inhospitable valley. There inside a rock cut cave, he showed them a hoard of gold coins, precious stones, priceless ornaments. After seeing all that, the Lankan king opened a golden chest. Inside was a radiant jeweled crown and an lustrous necklace. By the conversation between the two kings, he understood that this was the famed crown and diadem of the Pandya, personally presented by Indra to the Pandya. The Lankan king was pressurizing the Pandya to take his family diadems, but he refused. The day when the cholas were totally vanquished and the Pandya rule is reestablished in Madurai was not far away, when in due course the Lankan king will bring the diadems and return it back in front of the whole world.
Translated by Vijay Kumar

These are the literary evidences we have regarding that of Indra Aaram. A critical study of all the literary evidence is needed to understand about the Indra Aaram. This study has been made and I wish to publish it as paper in future.

Part 1: Unfinished Conquest

Part 3: Capture of Indra Aaram by Rajendra Chola.


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