Sunday, 26 January 2014

Chapter 6 - The Midnight Conference

After the Kuravai Koothu, a big feast was spread out for the guests. Vallavareyan didn’t enjoy it much as he was exhausted. Nonetheless, he sat down along with his friend who kept a steady stream of conversation about his guests.

Apart from Pazhuvetarayar, Mazhavereyar, Mazhapadi Thanavan, Kunrathur Perunilakezhar, Mammudi Pallavareyar, Thenthongi Kalingarayer, Vanangamudi Munnaireyar, Devasenathipati Puvareyar were some of the prominent figures in Sambuverayar’s guest list that night.

Vandiya Devan was aware that these noblemen were the most influential officials of the Chola court. It wouldn’t be wrong to call them as petty kings and powerful chieftains. In those days, one could not be a king just by birth. Only those, who stood by the emperor with loyalty and bravery during a war, would be recognized and given lands and property and established as a petty king or a lord.

Vandiya Devan realized that unless it were something of great import these noblemen would not have gathered here.

“Why have they all come here…? What is happening here today?”

With these questions playing in his mind, he went with Kandanmaran to the terrace, where he was given a bed under the stars at the far end.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Chapter 5 - Kuravai Koothu

After stepping out of the anthapuram, Vandiya Devan heard a woman’s voice calling out for his friend from inside.

“Mother is calling me. Wait here, I will come back soon,” said Kandan Maran and reentered the anthapuram.
Vandiya Devan heard the women folk talking and laughing simultaneously and a garble of voices questioning his friend, who was finding it difficult to answer. He thought that they were all laughing at him. Soon Kandanmaran came out and said, “Come, I will show you our palace.”

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Chapter 4 - The Kadambur Palace

Vandiya Devan reached Kadambur Palace within an hour after he left Veeranarayana Temple. Sengannar Sambuverayar was one of the foremost noblemen in the Chola Kingdom. His palace stood as a testimony of his power. It looked almost as huge as a king’s fort with high walls and well-armed guards.

At the entrance, there were horses, elephants and their caretakers moving around and guards on the fort ramparts holding torches.

“Seems like something important happening here. Why did I have to come here today, of all days?” thought Vandiya Devan
But he was also interested in knowing what was happening in Kadambur palace. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Chapter 3 - The Veiled Palanquin

Sometimes, small inconsequential moments lead to momentous periods in one's life. It is indeed life’s great mystery, or one might even call it as God’s grand plan! One such small incident occurred in Vandiya Devan’s life.

Chapter 2 - Azhvarkadiyan Nambi

An original illustration

Riding along the banks of the lake, Vandiya Devan turned his horse towards the South. As he rode, he wondered about his mission. He intuitively felt that he was bound on an adventure that was destined to change his life forever. As he traveled towards the Chola Empire, he couldn’t help but be amazed by the scenic beauty of the fertile lands and the gurgling tributaries of the River Kaveri.

He had heard about the numerous temples that the Chola Kings had built along the banks of the river Ponni and was excited about the fact that he would be visiting famous cities like Thanjavur the present capital of Cholas and Pazhaiarai, a former capital. Apart from that, he was going to meet the king! A great warrior whose handsome mien made people forget his real name ‘Paranthakan’ and led them to call him ‘Sundara Chola.' And if that was not enough, he was also going to meet the most beautiful and intelligent woman in the Chola Empire, Elayapirati Kundavai Devi.

He just hoped he wouldn’t have any significant hurdles to surmount to accomplish his mission. “But what if there are obstacles? As long as, I have a sword in hand, I can tackle any hurdle,” he told himself.

Chapter 1 - Aadi Perruku


The Chola Family Tree and other important characters

Centuries ago, the Cholas of South India rose to great heights when King Vijayalaya Chola (AD 846 - 871) conquered the Pallava Kingdom and established Thanjavur as the capital city of Cholas.

His son and successor King
Aditya I (AD 871 - 907) vanquished the Pallavas and the Kongu land
. Later, under the reign of his son Paranthakan I (AD 907-953), the Cholas acquired a dominion that laid the foundation for the vast empire that later Kings Rajarajan, Rajendran, and Kulothungan would establish and expand.

I, won significant victories over the Banas, the Gangas, the Pandyas and the King of Elangai and one can learn all about his conquests from the many inscriptions that were written about him. Towards the end of his reign, the Rashtrakutas under the command of Krishnaraja III invaded the Chola Kingdom and the Chola Crown Prince Rajadithan, who led the army, fell dead at Thakkolam (near present day Arakonam) in AD 947-948. Following this defeat the Rashtrakutas seized Tondainadu and ruled over it for about a quarter of a century, confining the sway of the Cholas to their ancestral dominion comprising of Thanjavur and Tiruchinapalli.

King Paranthakan I had three sons, the eldest Rajadhitan (who was killed in the Thakkolam battle), Prince Gandaradithan and Prince Arizhayan. After the demise of King Paranthakan, Gandaradithan ascended the throne
, but he was a widower who had no intention of marrying again or siring heirs. Instead, he proclaimed his nephew, young Paranthakan, his brother Prince Arizhayan’s son, as his heir apparent.

However, unexpectedly a few years before his death, King
Gandaradithan got married to Sembiyanmadevi and begot Prince Madhuranthakan. Despite the birth of his own son, he willed that his nephew would remain the crown prince and his heir apparent. After his death, his Queen Sembiyanmadevi upheld her husband’s wishes, as her own.

II ascended the throne after his uncle’s death and ruled the Kingdom wisely. He was so attractive and handsome that he came to be known as King Sundara Chola, by his subjects. King Sundara Chola had two sons and one daughter. He made his eldest son, Prince Aditya Karikalan, a peerless warrior, his heir apparent.

This is where our story begins.

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Volume 1 - New Flood