Kingship was attributed to define origin. The kings claimed their descent from the God Brahma. It has hereditary. Yet, on one occasion a king was elected. Most of the kings were accomplished scholars. Mahendravarman I wrote the famous burlesque, Masttavilasa Prahsana. Many of the vaishnava azhvars and saiva nayanars flourished during their rule.
The kings adopted high-sounding titles like maharajadhiraja, dharma-maharjadhiraja (great king of kings ruling in accordance with the dharma), agnistomavajpeya, asvamedha-yaji (he who has performed the agnithtoma-vajapeya and asvamedha sacrifices) they were assisted by ministers. History shows that the ministerial council played a great part in the state policy in the later period.
A hierarchy of officials in provincial administration, the governor of a province was assisted by district officers, who in turn worked in collaboration with autonomous local bodies. In local administration the meeting of assembles were frequent, and the administration the meeting of assemblies were frequent, and the assemblies were of many varieties and of many levels. Often special meetings were held. As the village level the assembly was the sabha which looked after almost all the matters of the village, along with endowments, irrigation, crime, maintaining census and other necessary records, Courts at villages level dealt More >
The summer heat drives us towards shades from trees. Those who are indoor, use fans and coolers. Those who are affluent install an air conditioner. Now on the same analogy, we are suffering from the heat of worldliness. We have to seek the cool shade of Divine Name chanted with love and faith. For every season nature provides corresponding remedies also. In hot summer seasons, we see the abundance of watermelon, and other seasonal fruits which appease the heat. For this Kaliyuga, God has compassionately provided an easy remedy, i.e., repeating the name of God with love and faith. Even in this practice, we are not consistent. Let us make it a habit to repeat the name of God during morning and evening for Five minutes at least with concentration and devotion. The story of Ajaamilan – a classic example of how taking the name of God will help us. This story is part of the Bhagavatham.
Ajaamilan was born in a Brahmin family and did his duties well. He was married to a very pious lady who served him well and had good children. One day when he went to the forest to collect wood for homam, he met a woman More >
Political History of Pallavas
The first important ruler was Siva Skandavarman who performed an Aswamedha and other Vedic sacrifices. His capital was Kanchi. Samudragupta forced the Pallava king, Vishnugopa, to acknowledge the Gupta suzerainty. And the story of the Pallavas in the 5th and 6th centuries is very sketchy.
By end of the sixth century the Pallavas re-emerged on the scene. Simhavishnu (575 to 600 A.D.) captured the territory of the Cholas and humbled the pride of his neighbors including Ceylon. He was ovavaishnava faith as borne out by the magnificent reliefs representing Simhavishnu and two of his consorts in the Varsha cave at Mamallpuram.
With Mahendravarman I, the son and successor of Simhavishnu, began the titanic tripartite struggle with the Chalukyas of Vathapi and the Cholas. The Chalukya king, Pulakesin II, captured Kanchi. Pulakesin II won the pitched battle fought at Pullalur, fifteen miles north of Kanchi. However, Narsimhavaram I, the son and successor of Mahendravarman I, defeated Pulakesi II in many battles and probably killed Pulakesi himself. He also defeated the Cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas. He even sent two naval expeditions to Ceylon and placed his protégé on the throne of Ceylon. Narasimhavarman I was a great builder too. More >
Ptolemy lists six coastal places in Tamilnadu to which he appends the word ‘emporium’.
· Three of these, Musiri, Korkai and Kavarippattinam are known from anthologies to have been chief ports of three early kingdoms.
· Another city, called either Perimula or Perimuda, is described as “the greatest emporium of trade in India”. It was on the Vaigai delta near Rameshwaram.
· A walled city called kapadapuram was situated around tambraparani delta.
· Akkadu village in Tanjavur has been suggested to have been the Arkatos of Ptolemy which was also the second capital of the Cholas.
· Musiri of anthologies was known as Muziris of the Greeks.
· A subsidiary capital, Tondi has been identified with Ponnani.
· Greek records also mention Vaikkarai, Nilakanta and Netravati as ancient port towns in Kerala.
· Pantar in the South of Kerala and Puli (around Tuluva) were ports of the Sangam period.
· Kaveripumppattinam was known to Ptolemy as Khaberis (Puhar of literature).
· Vellaiyan-Irrupu (“white man’s settlement”) is located near Kaveripattinam.
· Kalaiyur, located near Kaveripattinam has yielded a structure which was identified as a dock by S.R. Rao, Korkai, a port of the Sangam period, was a pearl market and the seat of the Pandyan vice-royalty.
· Manabalipuram may have been Ptolemy’s mélange More >
Sangam works may be generally classified into three parts like Ettuttogai (the eight anthologies) and Pattupattu (the ten idylls) and pathinenkilu kanakku. The group of Ettuttogai consists of:
1. Narrinai 2. Karuntogai 3. Aingurunuru 4. Padirrupattu 5. Paripadal 6. Kalittogai 7. Ahanamuru 8. Puraanuru. The group Pattupattu includes:
1. Tirumurugarruppadai 2. Porunararruppadai 3. Sirupanarruppadai 4. Perumbanarruppadai 5. Mullaipattu 6. Maduraikanchi 7. Nedunalvadai 8. Kurinjipattu 9. Pattinappalai 10. Malaipadukanchi
· Some scholars have included Tolkapium, the Tamil grammatical treatise by Tolkappiyar (supposed to be the disciple of Agastya, the famous saint who is said to have crossed the Vindhyas first and propagated the Brahmanical culture in the South), Patinenkilkanakku, the eighteen didactical texts (comprising:
1. Nladiyar 2. Nammanikkadigai 3. Inna Narpadu 4. Iniya Narpadu 5. Kar Narpadu 6. Kalavali Narpadu 7. Aintinai Aimpadu 8. Aintinai Elupadu 9. Tinaimoli Aimpadu 10. Tinaimalai Nurraimpadu 11. Kainnilai (or Innilai) 12. Kural 13. Tirikadugam 14. Charakkovai 15. Palamoli 16. Sirupanchachamulam 17. Mudumo Likkanchi 18. Eladi),
· Silappadikaram and Manimegalai, the twin epics, remnants of poems like Togadur Yattirai and Bharatam of Perundevanar in the Sangam corpus.
The Ettutogai and Pattupattu are together grouped as Melkanakku (the longer serials) for they consist stanzas composed of metre which permits of a larger numbers of lines.
· On the other hand the Kilkkanakku works (the shorter serials) are so called because they consist of poems composed in the Venba metre which permits on an average four lines for each stanza.
· There More >
• The Cheras ruled over an area comprising north Travancore, Cochin and South Malabar.
•The site of Vanji, the Chera capital has been located by some scholars near Musiri (Cranganore) while many others identify it with the inland city of Karur on the Amaravati river in the Coimbatore district.
• The Cheras had the ankusha (elephant-goad) and the bow and arrow for their emblem. • Musiri was their chief port, but there were many others e.g., Tondi (Kadalundi), Marandai, Naravu (Naura and Nitrias of the Greek writers) and Bakare (Porkad), etc.
• The information on the geneolgoical history of the Cheras largely comes from the Padirrupattu (ten tens).
• Some sundry information is also gathered from the Purananuru and the Silappadikaram.
• One of the earliest and better known Chera rulers was Udiyanjeral (130 AD).
• The titles Vanavaramban ‘one whose kingdom is bounded by the sky’ or ‘by the sea’, and Perunjoran Udiyan are applied to him by the poet Mudinagarayar in Puram literature.
• Udiyanjeral was famous for his lavish hospitality; and his kitchen had become a bye-word for sumptuous feeding.
• The commentator of Puraunanuru makes out that he supplied the rival armies at Kurukshetra with food. • More >
The religion of the Sangam age was not uniform.
· Their rituals were related to animism and other forms of anthropomorphic deity worship.
· The whole philosophy of reincarnation, hero worship, ancestor worship, sati worship etc. were related to death.
· Animism accounts for a good part of Tamil Sangam religion and comprised worship stones, water, stars and planets.
· A mere planted log of wood called Kandu was an object of worship for it was believed that a deity resided in that log of wood.
· Three strands of religion, clearly marked off from each other, are discernible during the Sangam period:
1. The indigenous Gods and systems of worship 2. The exotic Hindu Gods and systems of worship 3. The exotic non-Hindu religious faiths and functions.
· The hunters of the hill tracts worshipped murugan as the God of the hillock. · Indra, God of Marudam, was worshipped by the agriculturists. There was a special festival instituted in puhar in honor of Indra.
· The fishermen and the people of the coastal regions worshipped Varuna, the God of the wide ocean.
· Korravai was the goddess of victory.
· Among the established Gods worshipped according to rituals, the three eyed god (Siva), Murugan, Tirumal, Balram and Indra seem to have been More >
The stratification in Tamil Sangam society was primarily confined to the binary between the Vyarntor (the high born) and Ilipirappalar (the low born).
· Tolkappiyam list of four categories (castes): Andanar (brahmanas), arasar (kings), vaisiyar (traders) and velalar (farmers). · Tamilham consisted of five Tinais or physiographical divisions viz., Kurinji (hilly backwoods), Palai (parched zones), Mullai (Pastrol tract), Marutam (wet land), and Neital (littoral).
· The Kanavar, Kuravar and Vetar or Kadar were the inhabitants of the Kurinji-tinai and hunting and gathering their form of subsistence.
· Palai-tinai, the inhabitants were Kalavar, Eyinar and Maravar living by plunder and cattle lifting.
· In the Mullai-tinai the inhabitants were Ayar and Idaiyar subsisting on shifting agriculture and animal husbandry.
· Marutam-tinai were inhabited by Ulavar and Toluvar subsisting on plough agriculture.
· Neital-tinai was inhabited by Paratavar, Valavar and Minavar dependent on fishing and salt extraction.
· We get a total of eight social groups, viz., 1. Kuravar (shifting agriculturists) 2. Vetar (hunters and food gatherers) 3. Idaiyar (cattle-keepers) 4. Kallar (plundering cattle lifting-people) 5. Ulavar (plough agriculturists) 6. Paratavar (fisherman) 7. Umnar (salt manufacturers) 8. Panar (wandering bards associated with all the tinails)
· On the basis of nature of production the agriculture zone (marutum) was called Menpulam and the rest, excluding Neital, were collectively called Vanpulam.
· More >
The road to dholavira goes through a dazzling white landscape of salty mud flats. It is close to noon in early April and the mercury is already past 100F. The desert monotones are interrupted only by the striking attire worn by the women of the nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral tribes that still inhabit this land: Ahir, Rabari, Jat, Meghwal, and others. When I ask the driver of my hired car to stop for a photo, they receive me with curious stares, hoots, and giggles..
The Rann of Kutch, an area about the size of Kuwait, almost entirely within Gujarat and along the border with Pakistan. Once an extension of the Arabian Sea, the Rann (“salt marsh”) has been closed off by centuries of silting. During the monsoons, parts of the Rann fill up with seasonal brackish water, enough for many locals to even harvest shrimp in it. Some abandon their boats on the drying mudflats, presenting a surreal scene for the dry season visitor. Heat mirages abound. Settlement is limited to a few “island” plateaus, one of which, Khadir, hosts the remains of the ancient city of Dholavira, discovered in 1967 and excavated only since 1989.
Entering Khadir, we pass a village and More >
Burzahom was the first Neolithic site to be discovered in Kashmir. It is located on a ‘Karewa’ between the banks of the Dal Lake and the Zabarvan hills, about 5 km from the famous Mughal garden of Shalimar. After the discovery and excavation of Burzahom, other Neolithic sites were discovered in Kashmir at places such as Begagund, Brah, Gofkral, Hariparigom, Jayadevi-udar, Olichibag, Pampur, Panzogom, Sombur, Thajiwor and Waztal, all located on karewas mainly in the south-east parts of the Kashmir valley.
Burzahom translates as ‘place [hom] of birch [burza]‘ in Kashmiri. Burnt birch found in the excavations showed that birch trees must have been common in the area in the Stone Age. Plentiful food from the forests on the Himalayan foothills, an abundant water supply from the lake, and a raised location protected from seasonal inundation ensured that the Burzahom plateau remained continuously settled from the New Stone Age to the Early Historical period.
Neolithic [New Stone Age] Phase I c.3000 B.C.
The earliest Neolithic homes at Burzahom were pits dug below ground level using stone tools. The sides of the pits were plastered with mud. These pits must have provided the early Neolithic people of Burzahom protection from the elements during bitter More >