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Pandya Empire (around 1100)
Pandya Empire (around 1300)

The Pandya were a south Indian dynasty. They belong to the Tamils , sat in Madurai and their peak of power was in the 13th century under Jatavarman Sundara (r. 1251–1268).

The Pandya in antiquity

A dynasty of this name already existed in Ashoka's time, alongside the Cholas and Cheras (or Keralas). Like its neighbors, it benefited from the regular trade that ran across the southern tip of India to the Roman Empire. So came z. B. a Pandya embassy around the year 13 to Emperor Augustus in Rome. The early Pandya kings kept Roman soldiers as bodyguards, described in Tamil literature as "dumb strangers with long cloaks, weapons and cruel souls". They traded in luxury goods: shells, diamonds and precious stones, gold articles, spices, perfumes and especially pearls. The importance of pearls is mentioned in both Megasthenes (4th century BC) and Marco Polo (13th century). The population lived from fishing, salt extraction and trade. The Pandya kings appeared as promoters of poetry, from the 1st to the 4th century numerous works were written: the Sangam literature . The rule of the kings was still largely based on family and tribal ties and the predominant power of the region lay with the Cheras.

Partial list of the Pandyas of the Sangam period:

  • 000000000 Nedunj Cheliyan I. (Aariyap Padai Kadantha Nedunj Cheliyan)
  • 000000000 Pudappandiyan
  • 000000000 Mudukudumi Paruvaludhi
  • 000000000 Nedunj Cheliyan II.
  • 000000000 Nan Maran
  • 000000000Nedunj Cheliyan III. (Talaiyaalanganathu Seruvendra Nedunj Cheliyan)
  • 000000000 Maran Valudi
  • 000000000 Musiri Mutriya Cheliyan
  • 000000000 Ukkirap Peruvaludi

Pandya of the early Middle Ages

The intervention of the Kalabhra ended the Sangam period in the southern Indian kingdoms and the Middle Ages began. The Pallava rose to dominance in the south at the end of the 6th century and pushed the Pandya and Chola down to vassals. Little that is known about the Pandya kings of the 7th to 10th centuries relates almost exclusively to constant wars with the Pallavas, Cheras and Ceylon . The Buddhist Chinese monk Xuanzang visited the kingdom in 640 AD. The influence of the Buddhists was already waning at the time and shortly afterwards the king converted to Shiva worship and had the Jainas murdered.

Pandya kings in the 6th – 10th centuries century

Vassals and rivals of the Cholas

In the early 11th century, the Pandya became vassals of Chola Rajaraja I (ruled 985-1014). Only at the end of the 12th century. They began with the help of the King of Ceylon , Parakramabahu released again by the Chola. Soon the Chola king Rajaraja III. (r. 1216–1252) lost his throne to the Pandya Maravarman (r. 1216–1238), if Hoysala Narasimha II. (r. 1220–1234) had not saved him again. The most successful king of the dynasty was Jatavarman Sundara (ruled 1251–1268). He defeated the Hoysala king Someshvara II (ruled 1234-1263), who fell in a battle and intervened in Ceylon - in short: he held supremacy in southern India. Finally, the Chola Empire ended in 1279. The Pandya could not enjoy this dominance for a long time: The campaign of Malik Kafur, the general of the Delhi Sultan Ala ud-Din Khalji to southern India shook the Pandya position of power in 1311 (favored by a conflict of succession to the throne). The capital Madurai was burned down in spite of stiff resistance and the temple cities plundered.

The Pandya were replaced by the Sultanate of Madurai (1334-1370).

Pandya kings in the 10th-14th centuries century

The gate tower ( gopuram ) of the Andal temple in Srivilliputhur is the official symbol of Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu coat of arms


  • Nilakanda Shasthri: The Pandyan Kingdom - Early Times to The Sixteenth Century. Swati, Chennai 1975

Web links

Commons : Pandyan Dynasty  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Kandadai Vaidyanatha Subrahmanya Aiyer; Kandadai Subrahmanya Vaidyanathan: Historical sketches of ancient Dekhan. Madras 1917, p. 82
  2. Husaini, AQ, pp. 8-17
  3. Sastri, KAN, pp. 22-25
  4. Purushottam, Vi.Pi, p. 42