Annadatri-carita (study)

by Sarannya V. | 2020 | 34,082 words

This study analyzes the Annadatri-Carita: an epic poem connected with a regional history written by Prof. K Balarama Panicker. The plot of the drama is based on a Sangam period myth connected with the epic Mahabharata. The author introduces Utiyan Ceralatan as Vancishvara, an ancestor of the last Travancore ruler named Chithira Thirunal Balarama Va...

According to available evidences, Uthiyan Cheralathan was an emperor of an extensive territory. His honorary designation Vanavaramban’s one meaning is the “one who bounded by the sky”.

yanar vaippinnattuporunna vanavarambane niyo peruma[1]

(Sky bounds thy land alone! Majestic Monarch)[2]

Utiyan was a diplomatic king as well as a warrior. He made a solid foundation to his Empire in two ways, by battle and through diplomatic movements. He expanded his dynasty from east to west and also up to the north India. There are references in the Sangam works about the battles of Uthiyan. In the Nattrinai[3] 113, Ilamkiranar mentioned the war field of Utiyan perchance in a Palai song through the words of a hero about his heroine.

Her cries were like the music
Of flutes playing ampal tunes,
Played loudly by musicians
In king Uthiyan’s battle field.[4]

In the matter of political relations, the ancient Ceras kept a diplomatic relationship with Ay Vels on the western coast with an intention of sharing foreign trade and with Colas and Tondaimans[5] on the eastern coast. Many ancient rulers used marriage as a tool for keeping diplomacy with the other kingdoms. Similarly, Uthiyan’s Marriage with Nallini could consider as a diplomatic technique with the Veliyan Vel Tittan. Consequently, the “Muziris” and “Tondi” (Tyndis) ports in the Arabian sea came under the control of the Ceras. Foreign dealings through these two ports helped Ceras to increase their wealth. Thus he could spread his power in the western coast.

Puram 2 gives the evidence of the foreign trade during Utiyan Ceralatan’s reign.

kaimparum putattiyarkaipolap
pottarporutta luncuzhcciyatakalamum


Hail, warrior-king! Thy land with plenty smiles,
With untold wealth the deep sea’s bosom yields.
And treasures new that ceaseless to thy ports
From foreign lands rich merchant vessels bring.[6]

Footnotes and references:


Purananooru-2nd Song by Mutinakarayar


Sesha Aiyyar K.G., Cera Kings of the Sangam Period, London: Luzac& Co., 1937, p.6


Nattrinai is a classical Tamil poetic work which contains 400 poems dealing with the five landscape of the Sangam poetry-Kurinci, Mullai, Marutam, Palai and Neytal. It also included in the group of Ettutokai.


Herbert Vaidehi, Natrinai -Translation with English meaning, (Chennai: Kondrai Publication, 2012), 113.


Tondaimans were the rulers of the “Tondaimandalam” division of ancient Tamilakam. They had Kancipuram as their capital city. The poet Avvaiyar in Sangam literatures referred about a king called Tondaiman Ilandirayan, who ruled before 2500 years before the Common Era.


SeshaAiyyar K.G., Cera Kings of the Sangam Period, (London: Luzac & Co., 1937), 6.

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