Saturday, February 11, 2012


Chiefs bearing the title of Sampuvaraya figure in some
epigraphs of our collection.

They belonged to the Chenkeni lineand bore also the
names of Attimallan and Ammaiyappan. During the hey day
of the Cholas, they allied themselves with the Chola kings
when they affixed the titles or names of their masters to their
names, e.g. Attimallan Ammai Appan alias VikkiramaChola  
Sampuvarayan.  When  the  Cholas  became  weak,  the  
Sampuvaraya chiefs associated themselves with whatever  
power was then ascendant, as for instance the Katavarayas,  
the Telugu Cholas, and the Pandyas in the 13th Century
which is testified to by the inclusion in their names, the titles
of the new associates as for instance Alakiyaciyan, Alappirantan
etc. of the Katava chiefs and Kulasekara of the Pandya king.
These chiefs continued for long in the 14th Century when
Tamilnadu experienced a worst kind of political disaster
brought  about  by  the  invasion  more  than  once  of  the
Muhammadan armies from Delhi and their occupation of
several parts of Tamilnadu till A.D. 1363 when they were
dislodged from here by the viceroys of the newly emerging
Karnataka empire, popularly known as Vijayanagara empire.
The Sampuvaraya chiefs of this period seemed to have been
free and independent until they were completely wiped out
of the political scene of Tamilnadu in the last quarter of the
Century, by the Vijayanagara viceroys.

In the reign of Kulottunga Chola-III (A.D. 1178-1218),
the  activities  of  the  Sampuvaraya  chiefs  increased.
Ammaiyappan Pantinadu kondan alias Kandar Suriyan
Sampuvarayan who  built  a gopura to  the  temple  at
Tiruvakkarai in Rajadhiraja II's time, is said to have built
the 1000 pillared mardapa at the same place in Kulottunga's
2nd year (A.D. 1179-1180). One Sankeni Ammaiyappan
Kannutaiperumal alias Vikkirama chola Sampuvarayan, who
is known for the first time in this reign, figures in some
epigraphs of the king dated in his regnal years like 10
(A.D. 1187-88), and 13 (A.D. 1190-91).

An epigraph dated in the 27th year of Kulottunga-III
(A.D. 1204-05) from Tiruvantlamalai four Sampuvarayas
are  mentioned  including  Pandinadu  kondan alias
Sampuvarayan  Pavantittan alias Irajendira  Chola
Sampuvarayan,  Senkeui  Attimallan  Virandan alias
EthiriliChola Sampuvarayan and Attimallan Pallavantan
alias Kulottunka Chola Sampuvarayan. Apparently they
are  each  an  independent  individual  and  their  mutual
relationship is not known, though sharing the dynastic
name  in  common. The  titles Virandan,  Pallava, and
Pallavantan borne by two of these suggest that they had
some connection with the Katavarayas. Similar is the case
with the chief named Mindan Siyan Sampuvaratittan alias
Mintan Siyan Chetiyarayan figuring in a damaged epigraph
recently discovered at Tiruvannamalai. It is interesting to
note that this chief bore the title of Chetiyarayan indicating
his connection with the Chetiyaraya family or with the
rulership of the Cheti region. Another point to be noted
in his case is that he called himself as Sampuvaratittan(the
Sun  amongst  the  Sampuvarayas). Then  comes  Senkeni
Ammaiyappan  Alagiya  Cholan alias EthiriliChola
Sampuvarayan, also called Chola pillai.

Several Sampuvaraya chiefs of Rajaraja-III's time are
known from epigraphs. Of these Senkeni Ammaiyappan
Kannutaiperumaj alias Vikkirama Chola Sampuvarayan
of  an  epigraph  discovered  recently  at Tiruvannamalai,
belonging to the 25th year (A.D. 1241) of Rajaraja-III, is the
same as the one who was in the service of Kulottunka-III in
A.D. 1197-98. His son Senkeni Ammaiyappan Alagiya
Cholan alias Ethirili  Chola  Sampuvarayan  of  the  35th
year (A.D. 1212-13) of Kulottunka-III continued to be
in  the  service  of  Rajaraja-III  also  as  known  from  the
inscriptions of the king's 16th and19th Regal Year A.D.
1234-35)from   Tiruvannamalai.

Like   his   father Kannudaiperumal Sampuvarayan,
who continued to serve Rajaraja-III till A.D. 1240-41, Ethirili Chola Sampuvarayan
seems to have been also loyal to the king. From about
A.D. 1229, Rajaraja-III was in trouble in managing his
kingdom. He was helped by the Hoysala Narasimha against
the rising rebel the Katavaraya chief Kop Peruncinka-I
who, in spite of the check imposed on him by the Hoysala
king, had established his independence from A.D. 1231-
32, and continued to work for the downfall of the Chola

It  appears  that  during  this  troublesome  period
Kannudai  perumal  Sampuvarayan  and  his  son  Ethirili
Choa Sampuvarayan stood firm supporting Rajaraja-III
in stemming the progress of Kop Peruncinka. Probably in
recognition of this, Ethirili Chola Sampuvarayan got the
titles   of Virsani (thunderbolt   to   heroes)   and
Tanininruvenran  Tani  vasikattuvan (who  vanquished
singlehanded and who showed his unequalled valour).
In view of the fact that this chief was no longer heard
of, it is possible that he did not survive the violent political
events  of  the  period. There  was  another  chief  named
Virapperumal Ethirili Chola Alappirantan alias Rajaraja
Sampuvarayan,  the  grandson  of  Cenkeni  Virakaran
Ammaiyappan  dated  A.D.  1245.  He  was  evidently  a
subordinate under Rajaraja-III at the fag end of his reign.
Rajendra-III's reign marked the decline of the Chola
power in the Tondaimantalam.

The Katavarayas, Telugu Cholas and the Kakatiyas,
as well as due to the Pandyan invasion of the Chola kingdom
brought this about. As a consequence of this political situation, t
he Sampuvaraya chiefs of these times changed their allegiance
frequently from one powerful dynasty to another.
About  A.D.  1260  the Telugu  Coda  chief  Vijaya
Gandagopala was killed by Jatavarman Sundarapandya-I
(accession c. A.D.1251) and his territory was annexed to
the  Pandyan  kingdom.  So,  his  allies  and  subordinates
including the Sampuvarayas had to switch their loyalties
over to the Pandyan king, losing in this process whatever
independence they possessed during the earlier years. After
this till A.D. 1322, the Sampuvaraya chiefs appear to have
served as subordinates of the Pandyas.

It appears that by A.D. 1359 Bukka I of the newly
established  Vijayanagara  Empire  held  sway  over  the
Rajagambhira rajya, which has been rightly identified with
the territory possessed by the Sampuvaraya family. This
territory  may  be  said  to  comprise  the  taluks  of
Tiruvannamalai, Cheyyaru and part of Chengam in the
North  Arcot  district.  In  fact  the  range  of  hills  to  the
northwest of the Tiruvannmalai region goes by the name
of  Rajagambhiranmalai.  According  to  epigraphical
evidence in A.D. 1352, and 1359, Kampana II, the son
of Bukka I was already ruling in this region.
Sakala loka chakkaravartti Rajanarayana Sampuvaraya
was the most powerful member of the Sampuvaraya family of
the 14th Century.This unmistakably shows that Rajanarayana
Sampuvargya began to experience the pressure of the mighty
Vijayanagara empire from A.D. 1352 onwards.
An epigraph recently discovered atTiruvannamalai refers
itself to the reign of one Sakala loka chakravattikal (¼.)nna

The name is damaged but seems to read as (Ariya)nna.
Ariyanna evidently was after the Vtjayanagara
epigraphs are met with in our collection. It seems that the
Sampuvaraya chief, though issuing this record in his 11th
year, was a subordinate under Harihara-II. It is not impossible
that he succeeded Rajanarayana Sampuvaraya and was put
in charge of the Tiruvannamalai area by the Vijayanagara
emperor. It is not known how he was related to his predecessor
and when he began to rule, and so his 11th regnal year cannot
be equated to any year in the Christian era. It is not unlikely
that after Rajanarayana's demise, this chief was put in charge
of the North Arcot region by Chaluva Mangi due to which
the latter got the title of Sambuvaraya Sthapakacarya, as per
an epigraph dated about A.D. 1770 and the literary works
the Sijuvsbhyudayam and the Jaimini Bharatam. For the time
being this chief may be considered to be the last representative
of the Sampuvaraya family which like that of the Katavarayas
had played an important role in the 13th and 14th centuries
in the history of Tamilnadu, by checking the advances made
by the Kakatiyas, the Hoysalas and the Muhammadans into
the Tondaimantalam.


In  the  13th  year  (A.D.  1190-91)  of  the  reign  of
Kulottunka  chola-III,  (97)  Cenkeni  Ammaiyappan
Kannutaipperumal alias Vikkirama Chola Sampuvarayan
gifted a nunda lamp to the god Tiruvannamalai udaiya
nayanar for which he endowed 32 cows and one bull which
were left in charge of one Irantayirakkon. Another chief
named Vira Cholan Attimallan Sampuvarayan alias Ethirili
Chola Sampuvarayan who was a subordinate under Rajaraja-
III, gave in the latter's 19th year (A.D.1234-35), a nunda
lamp to the same god with a similar endowment of 32 cows
and one bull. In the 25th year of the reign of the same king
(A.D.  1240-41)  " Cenkeni  Kannutaip  Perumal  Alagiya
Pallavan alias Vikkiramachola Sampuvarayan " gifted the
village of Kottapunthi in Uttamachola valanadu in Palkunrak
kottam as devadanam together with a number of items of
income to the same god to provide for a service called Alagiya
Pallavan canti to the god instituted in his name.
One Mintan Siyan Sampuvaratittan stated to be the
brother of Prithtvi Kankchar and Chetiyarayan had gifted
gold  for  making  handles  for  flywhisks  etc.  to  be  given
probably to the same god as per the epigraph which is
badly damaged. This chief may have been an associate of
Kop Peruncinka-I who had the same name.