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Kanchi Thalaivaas ! ~ History of Pallava Kingdom

Posted on the 26 September 2021 by Sampathkumar Sampath

உங்களுக்கு சரித்திரம் பிடிக்குமா !  - பள்ளி நாட்களில் மொகலாயர்கள் ஆண்டது !, கஜினி, கோரி முகம்மது படையெடுப்புகள் விவரமாக படித்தோம். பானிப்பட்டு யுத்த விவரங்களை மனப்பாடம் செய்தோம் ! - தென்னிந்தியாவை ஆண்ட மூவேந்தர்கள்  - சேர, சோழ, பாண்டிய மன்னர்களின் போர்களையும், அவர்கள் கலைகளை வளர்த்ததையும் படித்தோம். பல்லவ சாம்ராஜ்யம், மாமல்லபுரத்து சிற்பங்கள், சாளுக்கிய மன்னர்கள் - தமிழ் மன்னர்களின் கடாரம், இலங்கை படையெடுப்புகள் வியக்க வைத்தன. எனினும் நாம் அறிந்த விவரங்கள் மிக குறைவு .. ..  த்ரிலோசனை பல்லவர்  என்ற மன்னவரைப்பற்றி கேள்விப்பட்டு இருக்கிறீர்களா !!

Kanchi Thalaivaas !  ~ history of Pallava Kingdom

The history that we studied in Schools was more of British, Mughals invasion and the like .. and in South Indian history, we read about Chera, Chozha, Pandya, Pallava, Chalukya kings too – ever heard of Trilochana Pallava ? – I have not !!

Of the trinity (Moovendargal) – the Chera country was geographically well placed to profit from maritime trade via the extensive Indian Ocean networks. The Cheras of the early historical period   had their original center at Karur and harbours at Musiri, Thondi as also governed the   Malabar Coast between Alappuzha in the south to Kasaragod in the north.  

The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Cauvery River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century.  The most prominent kings were - Rajaraja Chola I and his successors Rajendra Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola, Virarajendra Chola, and Kulothunga Chola. 

The Pandyas kingdom was ruled from  city of Madurai and the southern port of Korkai.  The Pandyas entered their "golden age" under Maravarman I and Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I. The Pallava dynasty   existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India. They gained prominence after the eclipse of the Satavahana dynasty, whom the Pallavas served as feudatories.  Prominent Pallava kings include:  Mahendravarman  and Narasimhavarman.  Throughout their reign,   they were in constant conflict with both Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Tamil kingdoms of Chola and Pandyas in the south.  

Trilochana, Trinayana, Trinétra, or Mukkanti  ( all these are synonymous and are the names of a single individual) is a mysterious figure that stalks the stage of the South Indian History. He is purportedly a Pallava king (hence his name Kádnvetti) who played a conspicuous part in stemming the tide of the Chálukya invasion from the north. 

Kanchi Thalaivaas !  ~ history of Pallava Kingdom

Pallava kingdom : https://www.mapsofindia.com/history/pallava-dynasty.html

However, in the opinion of some scholars  ‘Trilochana Pallava was a mythical king'! , and has history ignored  Trilóchana altogether !! or is he seen only as a mythical king and not a real one who existed in Pallava lineage ?    Although several inscriptions refer to Trilôchana  Pallava, some  evidence are not regarded as trust-worthy; for they belong to a period considerably  posterior to the time at which he is supposed to have lived.  

So historians mostly refer to traditional references - tradition is a species of history that had grown up for centuries in our villages. All the important villages in South India used to keep an account of their origin and growth. These were known as dandakavilás or kaifiyats in the Telugu districts. The karnam or the Village accountant was its custodian. He would record all the important events concerning the village that happened in his time, and pass it on to his successor. It would, thus, grow in bulk from generation to generation, each generation making its own contribution to the history of the village. Thus flourished a species of recorded events.

As the city of Dharanicóta was Trilóchana's capital of Trilochana Pallava, it is only natural that people in this region should remember him for a long time. According to legend, once  there flourished a king called Mukkanti or Triléchana  Pallava. He was the son of a Brahman virgin. He was the ruler of all the Telugu districts to the south of the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra. His capital was  Dharanikota.   He was an enemy of the great Chola monarch Karikala  who vanquished him in battle, and wrested from him the country corresponding to the modern ceded Districts.

It appears, therefore, that the tradition regarding the rivalry of Karikala and Mukari recorded in the Kalingattupparini and other Tamil books, should ultimately be traced to Telugu  sources.  Three Tamil works give us very brief accounts of the circumstances under which a king called Mukarii lost his third eye as a consequence of his  failure to obey the commands of Karikala, The earliest work which refers to the episode of Triléchana is the

Kalingattupparini of Jayamgondan a poet who lived and was at the  court of Kulóttunga I during the 12th century  A.D.  Ottaküttan who flourished at the court of Kulottunga II refers to the same incident in his Kulóttunga Sélan Ula. He speaks of Karikila as “the Senni (Chola) who put out the eyes of him who did not come with earth carried on his head for building the banks of the Kávéri."

The earliest Telugu work which mentions the story of Trilochana and Karikiila is Palkurki Soma’s Рапditarádhya Charita, a poem which is slightly later in date than Jayamgondan’ s Kalingattu-parini.  This work mentions - “There was once a king called Mukkanti KAduvetti who was born with a third eye, in virtue of his meritorious deeds in a former birth. His devotion to Siva was so great that he was regarded as an incarnation of  Lord Shiva himself. The Chóla king Karikàla whose devotion to Shiva  was even greater than that of Mukkanti was building the embankments of the Kávéri. Mukkanti who was commanded by Karikála to proceed to that river to help him personally in building the embankments, declined to obey the command saying, ‘Why should a person endowed with three eyes serve another who has only two eyes? This was reported to Karikala, and he was so enraged at his conduct that he  resolved to punish him severely.  

The same story is briefly alluded to by Tikkana who flourished at the court of Manumasiddha IT, the Telugu Chóla king of Nellore. Tikkana must have been a contemporary of Ottaküttan and  Kambar. In his  Nirvachana Uttara Rámáyana, he speaks of Karikála as the king who put out the ""forehead-eye" (falalóchana) of the Pallava king. Linga Kavi, a poet who lived probably in the 14th century A.D,, gives an elaborate  account of this story in his Nava Chóla Charitra.

Inconclusive but very interesting history of Cholas and Pallavas .. excerpted from the book Trilochana Pallava and Karikala Chola by N Venkata Ramanayya, printed and published by V Ramaswamy Sastrulu & Sons, 292 Esplanade, Madras in the year 1929 !!

The photo at the start is from the movie - Kaanchi Thalaivan (transl.Leader of Kaanchi)  directed by A. Kasilingam, starring MG Ramachandran,  Bhanumathi, C. R. Vijayakumari, with M. R. Radha and S. A. Ashokan as villains released in 1963. . The film, produced by M. Karunanidhi, A. Kasilingam and Murasoli Maran under Mekala Pictures, had musical score by K. V. Mahadevan.  The film was subject to numerous controversies, and became a financial failure.  The story reportedly was  about the rivalry between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas, MGR as the Narasimha Pallava King, also known as Mamallan, rules Kanchipuram with peace, Pulikesi (S. A. Ashokan) wants to capture Kanchipuram, .. .. .. was the plot !!

 
With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Sept. 2021.
 

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