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Official language Tamil
Family name Malayaman
Capital Tirukkoyilur

Chiefs (Araiyars) from the Malayaman clan ruled Nadunaadu (Tirukkoyilur) at the time of the Chola Kingdom, and worked closely with the Chola Dynasty.


Malayaman in Sangam literature

Sangam literature mentions Thirumudi Kaari, a Malayaman king who defeated Valvil Ori, assisted the Chera Dynasty in routing Athiyaman and was eventually killed by the Chola king Killivalavan. It also mentions his son Thaervann Malaiyan, a Malayaman chief who fought alongside the early Chola king Perunarkilli to defeat the Chera Irumporai (Irumporai Cheras). Cholas and Cheras both controlled the destiny of a great kingdom during that time.

Malayaman belonged to Malayaman-nadu, according to Sangam literature. They had their capital at Tirucoilur, on the Ponnaiyar River. Tirucoilur was situated on the early north-south trade route and traded with the Satavahana dynasty. The main port was Arikamedu, in the east.


Having taken the throne at age fifteen, Kaari was tested many times by the Chola emperor and the neighbouring kurunila mannargal (minor kings). His country was fertile and prosperous, because of two rivers: Ponnai Aarru in the north and Vellaarru in the far south. The land attracted both the Cholas and the Cheras. His domain included the North Kolli Malai range, the Chera Varaiyan Malai (the Shervaroy Hills) and Thiuvannaamalai, the ancient homeland of the Siththar, devotees of the god Shiva and practitioners of meditation and the healing arts.

Kadai ezhu vallal

Malayamaan Thirumudi Kaari is considered one of the seven greatest "bestowers" (Kadai Ezhu Vallalgal) of the last Sangam era. The others were Paari, Valvil Oari, Athiyamān Nedumān Añci, Perumpeyar Pegun (or Perunceyal Paegan), Aai Eyinan (Aay Kandiran) and Nalli. His contemporaries saw him as modest. He was generous to his subjects, and the visitor who came on foot would usually return mounted on a horse or an elephant of his choice. He did not refer to himself as a king, but a "rightful servant of his beloved people". His people lived in prosperity. Every citizen had a job, and none of them starved. The descendants of Malayamaan Thirumudi Kaari are collectively known as the Parkavakulam caste.

"The Modest"

During peacetime, the king of Mulloor and Thirukkoiloor would begin his day in the paddy (nel), saamai and thinai fields working with his plough and sickle. He was strong, and reputed to be so kind-hearted that he would rather plough his fields by hand than to trouble bulls to work for him. In one story about Kaari, the Tamil poet and saint Auvaiyar happened to pass by his field during a long journey. Kaari quickly recognized the tired "Mother" and, without introducing himself, requested that she look after his field for a few minutes and help herself to his rations, so that he could go to a nearby pond to fetch some water. The king was away for a long time, and the saint ate well and fell asleep. When sun rose the next day, Kaari returned to the field to find Old Mother angry. Kaari revealed his identity and explained that since she was a great friend of Athiyamān of Thagadooru (who was his arch-rival), he feared she would not consent if he asked her to rest in his land. Therefore, he wanted to make her stay awhile and bestow his land with her saintly presence. Auvaiyar, flattered, blessed his country with perennial prosperity.


Tirukkoyilur has many temples built before the 12th century. Many saintly poets visited these temples and wrote poems in praise of the gods. Thirukoyilur Sri Veerateshwarar Temple is a well-known ashtaveeratanam temple in Tamil Nadu.

Copper-plate grant

Vanavan Mahadevi, a princess from the Malayaman clan, was the mother of the emperor Raja Raja Chola I. She committed sati at the king’s death and her image may have been installed at the Thanjavur temple by her daughter, Kundavai Pirāttiyār.

Malayaman coins

The Malayamans issued copper coins of quadrilateral shape which bore their royal emblem, a horse (sometimes facing left, and sometimes right). In some of the early coins, the legend "Malayaman" above the horse motif decorates the coin obverse. Most of their coins carried the symbolic map of their territory on the reverse: "A wide curved river with fishes flowing in it, and a hillock on side of the river". This depicted the territory over which they ruled. The Malayaman coins generally weighed from 2–4 gm and were thin, unlike the contemporary Chera coins.


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