Origin & the spread of the Cult of Kannaki (Paththini)-1

Thread started by virarajendra on 7th March 2010 04:40 PM

Author - Virarajendra
Copyright - Virarajendra

Brought forward on account of "Aattukaala Pongala" Festival (Mahotsavam) scheduled to takes place from the 1st of March to 10th of March at Aattukaal in Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala, India, venerating Goddess Kannaki (Paththini = Bagawathi Amman = Maari Amman = Mangaladevi))

Origin & the spread of the Cult of Kannaki (Paththini) - Part 1

(1) Prologue

The great Tamil Epic of the Chera county (Kerala) of second century A.D. namely the Silappathikaaram, is the story of the woman named Kannaki who was born in the Chola country, met a great tragedy and performed miracles in the Paandiya country, and went to heaven (demised) and deified as a Goddess in the Chera country. Goddess Kannaki (also known as Kannaki or Kannahai Amman) with her virtuous life coupled with her inherant divine powers made her be known as Paththini (or Paththini Theivam & Pattini Deviyo), as Mangala Madanthai (or Mangala Devi), as Baghavathy (or Baghavathy Amman), and also as Maari Amman.

Kannaki - as Mangaladevi, as Bagawathi, as Paththini (Pattini) Deviyo and as Kannakai Amman was worshipped as the Goddess of chastity and as one who destroys evils and bestows favours (especially in Kerala & Sri Lanka). She was also worshipped as the Goddess who provides rain fall (Maari in Tamil) with unfailing agriculture and all prosperity (especially in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka) known as Maari Amman and Pattini Deviyo. Kannaki as Maari Amman and as Pattini Deviyo was also considered in some regions (especially in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka) as the Goddess who cures infectious deceases.

(2) Linguistic background of Tamil Nadu of the Silappathikaaram period

The region of the former Chera country was encompassed within the present Kerala state, while the regions of the former Chola and Paandiya (Pandiya) Countries were encompassed within the present Tamil Nadu State, and were known in the early days as the “Muth Thamil Nadu” (three Tamil Countries) as the language spoken in all these three countries was Tamil. These three Tamil countries from their early days had as their royal emblems the Bow (Chera), Fish (Paandiya), and Tiger (Chola) respectively in their flags.

The history of the present Kerala State - South India could be divided into two eras, one ranging from ancient times to the end of the twelveth century (A.D.1200) and classified as the Tamil Period of it's History, and the other ranging from the beginning of the thirteenth century (A.D.1201) to this date and classified as the Malayaalam Period of it's History. The Silappathikaaram events having taken place in the second century A.D. falls during the Tamil Period of the Chera Country (Kerala).

(3) Religious background of Tamil Nadu of the Silappathikaaram period

During the Silappathikaaram period, the Chola country, the Paandiya country and the Chera country, had as their 'main religions' the Saivaism, Vaishnavaism & Vedism along with Buddhism and Jainism. There were no religious prejudices seen among the kings and the people of the Chera, Chola & Pandiya countries during the Silappathikaaram period, and the people were free to practice the religion of their choice.

There were Buddhist Vihares & Chaitiyas and Jain Temples in the capital cities Kaviripoompattinam, Mathurai and Vanji Nagar - of the Cholas, Paandiyas and Cheras of this period, along with the Hindu temples namely that of Siva, Thirumaal (Vishnu) Murugan & Kottravai (Kaali) and other minor Hindu deities, and Centres where the Vedic Rituals were practiced. Manimekalai the twin Tamil Epic of Silappathikaaram of the Chera country (Kerala) of this period gives a complete list of religions that existed in Vanji Nagar (present Kodungallur) of Kerala in the second century A.D. as follows:

(a) Saivam
(b) Vainavam
(c) Piramam
(d) Vedam
(e) Bauddham
(f) Ulokaayatham
(g) Saangiyam
(h) Naiyaayikam
(i) Vaisedikam
(j) Meemaanjakam
(k) Aaseevakam
(l) Nikandam

There is a local tradition that St Thomas one of the deciples of Lord Jesus Christ landed at Musiri the seaport city of the Chera Nadu (Kerala) closer to the Vanji Nagar, in the year A.D.52 (the source of this date - of this tradition is not known).

It could be that though the Christianity was introduced around A.D.52 by St Thomas to a section of people in Chera country, 'only' after a century and half later around the beginning of the third century(A.D.201) Christianity too gradually became a prominent religion of this region, along with the other religions. This is due to the fact the Silappathikaaram and Manimekalai of the early second century doesnot mention Christianity among the religions of Chera country of their period, and we note the Chera kings of these two centuries too were strong Saivites.

(4) Political and Social highlights on India of the Silappathikaaram period

The Silappathikaaram events took place during the period of Cheran Chenguttuvan (A.D.65-120) the Tamil Emperor of Chera country (Kerala) of the second century A.D. It was his father "Imayavaramban" Nedun Cheralaathan (A.D.07-A.D.65) who went on a war expedition to North India, defeated many Ariya kings and conquered their countries and carved the Chera emblem the "Bow" on the face of the Himalayan mountain, and commemorating his achievements he bore the title as 'Imayavaramban' meaning 'the one whose (northern) limits was the Imaya Malai (Himalayan mountain).

Chera victory over Yavana (Indo-Greek) king

From Silappathikaaram we note in addition to the Ariya kings of North India, he also won over the Yavana king and his country. The only country of this period that belonged to a Yavana (Indo- Greek) king with Yavana settlements was the East Punjab in North-West India. The Yavana king who was ruling this region during this period was Strato - 2 (B.C.25 - A.D.10), and as we are aware the beginning of the rule of Imayavaramban Neduncheralathan was from A.D.07, it is quite possibile the Yavana king who was defeated by him could have been Strato - 2.

The following URL helps to have a study of the Indo-Greek kings and the last king among them namely Strato - 2

Another Chera (Kerala) Tamil Literary work of this period known as Pathittruppaththu, in it's second Paththu (part) composed by Tamil poet Kumattoor Kannanaar of the same period on the Chera (Kerala) Emperor Imayavaramban Nedun Cheralathan, too clearly states that he won the Yavanas in battle and took them captives with their hands bound behind and oil poured, seizing their expensive treasures along with diamonds. (van sol Yavanar piniththu neithalai peithu kai pitkoli aruvilai nankalam vayiramodu kondu)

Silappathikaaram further confirms the above reference in the second Paththu of the Pathittruppaththu on the victory of Imayavaramban Nedun Cheralathan, stating that the limits of his empire were the Yavana country (in north-west India), the Himalayan range (in the north), and in the south of India the Kumari region. Silappathikaram too states that even during the period of his son Emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan, the Yavana country was under the Chera (Kerala) rule (possibly a tributary), as it specifically says while speaking of him as the one ruling the Yavana country. (Yavanar valanaadu aandu)

The following URL helps to have a study of the "Full Text" of the Original Chera (Kerala) Tamil Literary work the Pathittruppaththu

Chera alliance with Sathavahana king

During this period the Sathavaahana king ruling from Kalinga region south of Ganges river had been an ally of emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan (A.D.65-120) and had helped the Chera forces to cross the Ganges river by providing numerous boats made by his artisons during his second north Indian expedition to cut stone from Himalayas to carve out the statue of Kannaki. They are referred in Silappathikaaram as Nootruvar Kannar (Nootruvar = hundred, and Kannar = Karnar. But we also note Satha = one hundred and Karni = Karnar. Hence Nootruvar Kannar king is no other than the Sathakarni of Sathavaakana dynasty of Kalinga region of that time, and would have been the Sathavaahana king Gautamiputra Sathakarni {Nootruvar Kannar} (A.D.78-102) of this period.

As we are aware that Imayavaramban Neduncheralaathan had as the limits of his empire the Yavana country (in north-west India), the Himalayan range (in the north), and in the south of India the Kumari region, it is quite possible that Imayavaramban Neduncheralaathan in the process of his capture of the Aryan countries in the north made the Sathakarni king too submissive and on agreeing to pay tributes possibly handed back their territories to them and made him his ally.

This is gleaned from the very fact the Sathakarni king assisted Cheran Chenguttuvan son of Imayavaramban Neduncheralaathan with many boats for his forces to cross the river Ganges during his second North Indian expedition. This good relations with the earlier Sathakarni king and his son Gauthamiputra Sathakarni possibly existed both during the period of Imayavaramban Neduncheralathan and Cheran Chenguttuvan, and this possibly made the Sathakarni kings to make use of Tamil in their coins.

The following URL helps to have a study of the Sathavaahana kings of the Silappathikaaram period, using Tamil & Dravida legends in their coins

Cheran Chenguttuvan with the death of his father Imayavaramban Neduncheralathan in A.D.55 set out on an expedition towards North India with his mother Manakkilli, to enable her perform the religious rights to her late husband and have a holy bath at the river Ganges. Silappathikaaram states on his way to North India he had to meet the stiff resistance from some of the North Indian kings before he reached the Ganges river, but defeated them namely the kings of Konkans, Kalingas, Karnatakas, Bangalas, Gangas, the Katiyar along with the other Aryans of the North, who obstructed his Gangetic expedition and accomplished the religious rights of his father at river Ganges and returned to Chera Nadu.

This was Cheran Chenguttuvan's first expedition to the North India up to Ganges, while his second expedition to North India was crossing the Ganges river to the Himalayas to bring stone from the Himalayas for Kannaki statue.

Chera alliance with Malawa king

We also note among the kings who came for the consecration ceremony of Kannaki Temple built by Cheran Chenguttuvan at Kumily in Chera Nadu was the king of Malawa. The Malawa king of this period was attended this ceremony was Bhumaka (A.D.??-119). It is quite possible that Malawa country too was a tributary country of Cheras or became their ally, in the light of the very fact that the limits of the Chera empire was the Yavana country (in north-west India), the Himalayan range (in the north), and in the south of India the Kumari region as confirmed by Silappathikaaram.

It is said the present Goddess temple named Pathaini Devi temple at Naakoats district in Malawa country could be possibly a Kannaki temple built by the Malawa king after attending the consecration ceremony of Kannaki statue at the temple in Neduverl Kuntram at present Kumily in Chera nadu (Kerala). (more studies to be done on same)

The following URL helps to have a study of the Malawa king who was present at the consecration ceremony as per Silappathikaaram

Chera friendship with Sri Lankan king

A very notable king who was present at the consecration ceremony of Kannaki (Paththini) at the newly built temple in Kumily in Chera Nadu (Kerala)was the "king Kayavaaku of ocean surrounded Ilankai". Ilankai is one among the two traditional name of then Sri Lanka known to Tamils of South India, the other being the Elam. Kayavaaku of Silappathikaram is undoubtedly the king Gajabaahu - 1 (A.D.113-135) of Sri Lanka. It is to be noted that Poet/Monk Ilango Adikal has mentioned the actual name only of the king of Sri Lanka, while the names of the kings of all other regions have not been mentioned by him.

This familiarity of the actual name of the Sri Lankan king indicates, that Gajabaahu - 1 had a very close friendship with the Chera Emperor Chenguttuvan than the other kings. There is a possibility that with this good relationship king Gajabaahu requested the Chera Emperor for his assistance, in relieving the 12,000 Sri Lankans taken prisoners by an earlier Chola king to his country (as mentined in the seventeenth century chronicle of Sri Lanka named Rajavaliya). This request materialised without any war with the Chola king of that period (which is also noted in Rajavaliya), as the Chola king was the 'own cousin' of the emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan. This Chronicle also states he brought to Sri Lanka a Silambu (Silamba) from the Chera country which was consecrated by him in a temple in Anuradhapura.


Rajavaliya states king Gajabaahu - 1 went only with "his" general 'Neela' to meet the Chola king, without any of his forces being taken with him, and Neela showing his arm's strength was able to make the Chola king to abide to their request of releasing the 12,000 Sri Lankans taken earlier as prisoners, during the period of the father of the Chola king.

From Silappathikaaram we note the emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan had a successfull expedition to Himalayas in North India to bring stone for carving the statue of Kannaki. Prior to his return he ordered "Neelan" the head of "his" 'armour-clad warrior regiment' (Kanchuka Maakkal) of one thousand men to take the North Indian kings Kanakan and Vijayan along with the other kings who were defeated and captured by him in war in the north under their custody, to the Chola & Pandiya kings of of South India and exhibited to them as his war trophies, prior to they being taken as prisoners to his Chera country.

From these references it could be surmised that with the request of king Gajabaahu - 1 to assist him in releiving the 12,000 Sri Lankan prisoners from the Chola country, emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan would have sent the head of "his" own 'armour-clad warrior regiment' the "Neelan" along with king Gajabaahu - 1 to the Chola country. Their visit was to negotiate the release of the prisoners with the Chola king, and went without the backing of any Sri Lankan forces or Chera forces as seen from Rajavaliya. This would have been quite possible, as the Chola king was the own cousin of the Chera emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan. Hence it could be that these dim memories of the head of the 'armour clad warrior regiment' namely Neelan of the Cheran Chenguttuvan's forces, would have been mistakenly mentioned as the general of the Gajabaahu - 1 in Rajavaliya - a seventeenth century historical Chronicle, as against the information of the second century Literary work Silappathikaaram of the contemporary period.

Rajavaliya further states additional 12,000 men of the Chola country were captured and brought to Sri Lanka by king Gajabaahu - 1, along with the 12,000 Sri Lankans relieved - taken earlier as prisoners by the Chola king's father, and settled them too in Sri Lanka. Serious doubts prevail as to whether this could have been possible, as the Chola king of this period was the own cousin of the powerful Chera emperor the Cheran Chenguttuvan as mentioned earlier, and would have had the backing of his forces.

Chera relationship with Paandiyan (Pandiyan) kings

The king who ruled Paandiya Naadu during the time of Kannaki and Kovalan was the Paandiyan Neduncheliyan(A.D.??-110). He won over some Ariyan kings of North India and bore the title the "Ariyap Padai kadantha" Neduncheliyan. With his death during the great tragedy, his brother Vettrivet Cheliyan (A.D.110-??) ruling as his subordinate from Kotkai the seaport city of Paandiya country, succeeded on throne at Mathurai as the next Paandiyan king.

Chera relationship with Chola kings

During the period of marriage of Kannaki and Kovalan the king ruling Chola Country was Cholan Nedumudikkilli (A.D.60-114). His sister Manakkilli was married to the Chera Emperor the Imayavaramban Neduncheralaathan (A.D.07-65). It was their son who was the next Chera Emperor the Cheran Chenguttuvan (A.D.65-120). Chola king Nedumudikkilli demised in the same year the Kannaki Temple was built at Kumilly by Cheran Chenguttuvan in A.D.114. He was followed by his son Perungkilli on Chola throne, and it was in this year the Chola seaport capital city Kaviripoompattinam too was swallowed by the sea (Tsunami). With the destruction of Kaviripoompattinam by sea, Cholan Perungkilli moved to the Chola interior capital "Uraiyur" (also known as Koliyakam in the present Thirutchiraappalli district in Tamil Nadu).

Chera relationship with the Kongu kings of Kudahu Country and Kongu country

Kudahu country was a region sandwiched in between the Konkan (Tuluva) country and the Kongu country of Tamil Nadu. During the period of Silappathikaaram the southern Kudahu was under the rule of Kongu country, while the northern half was under the control of the Konkan (Konganam in Tamil) country. The name of the king ruling same is not known. However we are made aware by Silappathikaaram that the king of the Kongu country was king Ilangkosar.

The Greeks and the Romans in Muth-Thamil Nadu during the period of Silappathikaaram

It was during this period there had been much Greek & Roman sea traffic with Chera country, Paandiya country and Chola Country, with active trading on various commodities taking place between the Roman empire and the three Tamil countries. From Tamil literature we note the Roman ships came to Chera Port Musiri with gold ad returned with pepper which grew in great abundance in Chera country which the Greeks and Romans treasured very much. Silappathikaaram states Roman traders lived in tall residential buildings sky-high in the Chola capital the Kaviripoompattinam, and the Paandiyan king employed Roman soldiers as his city entrance guards. Many Roman Coins (gold & silver inclusive) have been unearthed by the present Archaeologists form many regions of then Chera, Chola & Paandiya countries belonging to the period of Roman Emperors - from Augustus Ceasor up to Nero.

From other sources we note the presence of the Roman traders, and the regiment of Roman mercineries at the Port of Musiri in Chera country to safeguard their interests, was so great that they collectively erected a temple in honour of their Roman emperor of this period the Augustus Ceasor (B.C.27-A.D.14) at the seaport city of Musiri in Chera country (Kerala)

The following URL helps to have a glimpse at the map of Vanchi Nagar (present Kodungallur of Kerala) and the Musiri port nearby of the Silappathikaarem period. The "Temple Augusti" [Page - 15](Augustus temple) could be seen at Musiri in the map.

(5) The Story of Silappathikaaram

The great Tamil Literary work of the Chera country (Kerala) namely the “Silappathikaaram” was composed by the Monk/Poet Ilango Adigal of late second century A.D. while he was residing at the 'temple at the eastern gateway' (Kunavaayil Koattam) of the capital city - the Vanji Nagar of Chera country (the present Kodungallur in Thiruchchur district of Kerala). He was the younger brother of the Tamil emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan (A.D.55-110) of the Chera country (Kerala) of this period. He was a Tamil poet of the Saivite religion like his brother Cheran Chenguttuvan, but appears from Silappathikaaram that subsequently he turned to be a Monk practising Jainism (though there is no positive evidence of same in Silappathikaaram)

The following URL helps to have a glimpse of Ilango Adigal as depicted on the granite stone panel fitted on the walls of the Poompuhar Kalikkoodam

Silappathikaram is the story of a virtuous woman named "Kannaki" of Kaviripoompattinam (also known as Poompuhar) the seaport capital city of Cholas of the second century A.D. Her father Maanaaikan gave her in marriage to "Kovalan" of the same region the son of Maasaaththuvaan. Kannaki's father Maanaaikan and Kovalan's father Maasaaththuvaan were both from the Tamil Vanikar (Trader) community of Kaviripoompattinam and were very rich merchants.

Silappathikaaram specifically states their wedding took place according to the Hindu rites ("maa muthu Paarppaan Marai vali Kaattita Thee valam kaanbaar"), and at the wedding ceremony Kannaki was compared by those who were present to the mythical woman of Hindus of great chastity, the Arunthathi (am kan ulakin Arunthathi annaalai).

After their marriage they spent some time living at Kovalan's parent's house. Later Kovalan's mother decided to settle them in a seperate house, and accordingly they began their life in the middle level of the seven level palace at Kaviripoompattinam. Silappathikaaram states during their love life Kovalan described the physical features of Kannaki in comparison to the attributes of "Hindu Gods" namely God Siva, God Aarumugan (Murugan), Indiran, and Manmathan.

Some years passed happily after their marriage. In the meantime Maathavi a young women also from the city of Kaviripoompattinam of Chola Nadu, wished to perform her Dance - Arangettram (first performance of dance on stage to the public) in the audience of the then Chola king Nedumudikkilli and his ministerial retinue. At the Arangetram Maathavi exibited her dancing talents, and won the applause of the king and won the Talaikkol title, a green garland, and 1008 kalanju of gold as reward from the king.

The green garland was given to a women of Mathavi's community who proclaimed to those who were present at the Arangettram that the individual who could purchase the green garland presented by the king at a price of 1008 kalanju gold will be the suitor of Maathavi whom she will marry. Kovalan who saw Mathavi at this Arangetram, greatly absorbed in her beauty purchased the green garland at that price, married and lived with Maathavi at her place forgetting his own wife Kannaki.

Then came the annual “Indra Villa” - the Kadalaadu festival at Kaviripoompattinam in the month of April, where the Chola king Nedumudikkilli too participated in the festivities. Mathavi and Kovalan too went to this festival and enjoyed themselves throughout the period of this festival. Towards the end of this festival, one day Maathavi noted Kovalan in depressed mood and played a song in the Yarl (musical instrument) to rejuvinate him, following which Kovalan and Maathavi alternatively played songs with the Yarl.

Kovalan suspected Maathavi of her displeasure on him from her songs, and felt very sad and left her and went off immediately. Maathavi too unhappy over this incidence returned home alone. Later she sent a message through her friend Vasanthamaalai to Kovalan, expressing her greivance over the unfortunate incidence and for him to return back to her which he didnot accept.

Kovalan's wealth in hand heavily dwindled, being drained off to Maathavi who came from the community of prostitues. Finally with all his wealth lost Kovalan returned back to his first wife Kannaki empty handed. However Kannaki realising his unfortunate position accepted him back whole heartedly.

Kannaki with no money in hand, offered to Kovalan to sell her anklets and both opted to go to Mathurai the capital city of the Paandiyas (Pandiyas) to fetch good prices for same. They left early morning crossed the outer entrance of the city of Kaviripoompattinam and the riverfront of Kaviri river with the sea, and went towards the west and reached the region where the elderly female Jain Monk Kaavunthi Adigal was residing. There they offered their salutation to her and indicated to her their travel to the city of Mathurai. As the Monk Kaavunthi Adikal too already had intentions to go to Mathurai, she offered to come along with them.

All three of them first reached Sri Rangam, there in a garden they met some Followers of Jainism, and from there they crossed the Kaveri river by a boat towards it's southern side and reached the city of Uraiyur. The next day morning they got ready to go to the city of Mathurai, and met a Maraiyon who was returning from Mathurai from whom they got the directions to this city. Accordingly they travelled through jungles and reached Kodumbalur.

On reaching the outskirts of the city of Mathurai, with much tiredness of travel Kovalan left Kannaki in the safe custody of Mathari the head of shepard women and went alone to the city. In the city of Mathurai he met the chief goldsmith of the royal household of the Paandiyan king to whom he showed the anklets and offered it for sale.

This goldsmith took this opportunity to cover-up the truth that he stole the anklet of the queen Ko-Perunthevi of the Paandiyan king Nedunjeliyan (A.D.???-110) earlier being the goldsmith to the royal household, intended to put the blame on Kovalan as the anklets offered for sale by Kovalan resembled almost the same. He kept Kovalan in waiting at his house and informed the Paandiyan king that the thief who stole the queen’s anklets is presently in his custody.

Paandiyan king on hearing same being angered very much, without having any formal inquiry or checking into the truth of same ordered his city-guards to behead Kovalan immediately, and the order was executed by his city-guards.

Kannaki came to know of the unfortunate tragedy that befell her husband with much grief became very furious and left in haste to the city of Mathurai saw the deadbody of Kovalan wailed over in much grief, and then proceeded to the royal court where in the audience of the Paandiyan king she shouted and cried, and accused the Paandiyan king of having done grave injustice to her, and claimed that her husband Kovalan was not a thief.

On Paandiyan king requesting her to prove same, she asked the king of what stones the queen’s anklets were embedded with, and he replied it was with pearls. Then she asked them to bring the anklets which Kovalan offerd for sale now in the custody of the king. She dashed same with force on the ground and to the amazement of onlookers the rubies that were embedded in these anklets broke loose and fell all round instead of pearls.

The Paandiyan king was stunned and despaired over his law of justice having failed, and with utmost grievence striking him so suddenly fell dead on the throne. His queen Koperum-Thevi too unable to bear the grievance over the crime commited by the king and also with her grief over the death of her husband also fell dead within short time.

Kannaki’s terrible anger never abated even after these incidences and becoming more furious and squeezing her breasts cursed the Mathurai to be caught in fire for the grave injustice done to her innocent husband. Very miraculously the royal palace and other buildings in the city of Mathurai caught fire immediately and went ablaze. The people of Mathurai shuddered in fear and felt that Kannaki was of a supreme incarnation with godly nature. The great tragedy that befell Paandiya Nadu took place in the third week of the month of July in A.D.110 (approx) as per Silappathikaarem.

The following URLs helps to have a glimpse of the 'scene of Kannaki in the Paandiyan court' questioning the king on the injustice done to her. The first among them is a clipping from the Tamil Film titled "Poompuhar"


The second is as depicted on the granite stone panel fitted on walls of the Poompuhar Kalikkoodam


The third is a Baratha Naatya recital of Kannagi Court Scene

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tQ7...yer_detailpage Courtesy: Dances of India - YouTube

She thereafter left the city of Mathurai and walked her way towards Cheranadu along Vaigai river and its branch the Suruli river and reached the hill the Neduverlkuntram sacred to God Muruga (presently situated at in the Suruli hills range at Kumily in Idukki District of Kerala). Here after fouteen days of the tragedy Kannaki has been apparently (demised) in the first week of the month of August - seen by the villagers of this hill of having got into a vanavoorthi (vimana) that came flying therein with Kovalan seen already within this vanavoorthi, and both went into heaven.

This too gave much impetus to events that already took place in Mathurai and the story spread all round and the people regarded Kannaki as a very virtuous women with godly powers and referred to her as the goddess “Paththini” (meaning woman of great virtue), and was also known as the “Mangala Madanthai” (Mangaladevi).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvTm...yer_detailpage Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 1. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWzH...yer_detailpage Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 2. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f53...layer_embedded Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 3. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEXf...layer_embedded Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 4. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2Cg...layer_embedded Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 5. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDyy...layer_embedded Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 6. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYP2...layer_embedded Silappathikaaram (Naatya Naatakam) - Part 7. With courtesy to Raj Video Vision Tamil - Chennai, and Producer Naatya Perarasu Mathurai R.Muralidharan - YouTube

After the great tragedy of loss of life of Kovalan and Kannaki, the Pandiyan - king and the queen, and the burning of the city of Mathurai, the mother of Kovalan greatly distressed over this tragedies died in much unbearable grief. Maasaaththuvaan the father of Kovalan distributed his wealth to others, prayed at the seven Buddhist Vihares that were in Kaviripoompattinam during this period, where in their presense of three hundred Buddhist monks residing there embraced Buddhism, and lead a religious life doing many charities and mediatation.

The mother of Kannaki died in grief on the day she heard Kannaki burnt the city of Mathurai. Maanaaikan the father of Kannaki too turned to religious life in the presense of great monks of divine appearence the Aaseevakar (followers of Aseevaka religious faith of the Saint Matkali), providing meritorial thaanam to them.

Maathavi along with her daughter Manimekalai - by Kovalan, renounced the life of prostitues doing away glamouros dressing, shaved their heads and embraced Buddhism and turned into religious life, by provided meritorial thaanam to the Buddhist monks residing under the Boe trees in Kaviripoompattinam of Chola country.

Mathari the head of the shepard women under whose custody the female Jain monk Kaavunthi Adikal entrusted Kannaki and Kovalan, on hearing of the tragedy felt guity of not having provided them their safety too died in much grief by setting herself on fire. Kaavunthi Adikal too fumed in anger over the trajedy humbled herself on comming to know that Pandiyan met his death for his great injustice. However feeling guilty that it was since they came to Mathurai with her that they met this tragedy, and lost her life by fasting to death.

During this time the Tamil Emperor of Kerala (Chera country) Cheran Chenguttuvan with a liking of seeing the scenic beauty of the hill country regions of his Chera kingdom came towards the present Idukki district of Kerala and there he was met by may villagers and jungle tribes who came to greet the king with their presents, and related the events of Kannaki they saw on the hill of Neduverlkuntram.

At this time the Poet Saththanaar who already knew the entire story of Kannaki, related same to Cheran Chenguttuvan and his younger brother Poet/Monk Ilangoo Adikal who were present there. The king and queen were amazed with the happenings and on the request of Venmaal the queen of Cheran Chenguttuvan, he decided to glorify this virtuous women of godly nature by building a temple in her honour on this hill.


From the references in Silappathikaaram on the wedding of Kovalan & Kannaki taking place according to Hindu Rites, Kannaki being compared to Arunthathi a mythical woman of great chastity in Hindu wedding rites, and the comparison of the Kannaki's physical features to that of Hindu (Saivite & Vedic) Gods clearly shows Kannaki & Kovalan were Hindus right through. Under this circumstances following reference in the Silappathikaaram has to be re-interpreted as follows:

Text as it appears in Silappathikaaram:

Line (1) "Kaavunthi Iyai kandu adi tholalum" (so said Ilango Adigal)

Line (2) "Uruvum kulanum uyar per ollukkamum Perumagan Thirumoli piralaa noanpum udaiyeer enno" (so said Kovalan)

Line (3) "Urukanaalarin kadai kalinthu inganam karuthiyavaaru enna" (so said Kaavunthi Adigal)

Line (4) "Uraiyaatu illai uruthavaththeer, Yaan Mathurai moothuur varai porul vetkaiyen" (so said Kovalan)

In the above the most Commentators on Silappathikaaram have coupled together Line (2) and Line(3) and considered both being statements of Kaavunthi Adigal and when put together gave the impression that that Kovalan & Kannaki were of Jain religion.

But in the light of the other references in Silappathkaaram shown above which clearly indicates both Kovalan & Kannaki were of Hindu religion, we have to re-interpret the meaning correctly which again leads us to the conclusion that they both were of Hindu religion.

The re-interpreted format comprises taking Line (2) as that of Kovalan and Line (3) as that of Kaavunthi Adigal, and also taking the the word "enno" in Line (2) to mean as "what forth".

In short it means that Kovalan & Kannaki prayed at the feet of Kavunthi Adigal and said to her "with your Thavasi form (uruvum), kulanum, and of great virtue (uyar per olukkamum), with Aruka Kadavul's (Perumagan) holy sayings (thirumoli) undefying religious practice (piralaa noanpum) you possess - what forth (enno = 'ennavendru' kooralum).

From this re-interpretation it is very clear it was Kovalan who has praised Kaavunthi Adigal as "Perumagan Thirumoli piralaa noanbu udaiyeer", and not the Kavunthi Adigal who praised so the Kovalan & Kannaki. Hence it is clear from all evidences that Kannaki & Kovalan were of Hindu religion right through their life.

The following URLs helps to have a glimpse of the "Full Text" of the "Original Chera (Kerala) Tamil Literary work" the "Silappathikaaram"

(6) The Construction of the first Kannaki temple by Emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan at Idukki district in Kerala

Cheran Chenguttuvan decided it to be of high esteem for emperer of his calibre to bring the stone required for the carving of the Kannaki statue at this proposed temple only from Himalayas instead of from a hilly region within Chera country.

The Chenguttuvan went on an big expedition to the north crossed Ganges river with the assistnce provided by the Sathavahana king Gautamiputra Sathakarni {Nootruvar Kannar} (A.D.78-102), but met the resistance thereafter of the other kings in the north headed by kings Kanakan and Visayan. He waged war with them captured Kanakan and Visayan and proceeded to Himalayas cut out the stone required bathed same in holy Ganges river and made the two captive kings to carry same on their heads and came back to the Chera country. Cheran Chenguttuvan returned to the Chera country with his retinue, after a period of nearly three years since they left to Himalayas (2 years & 8 moths + approximately 4 months for return) as per Silappathikaaram.

The fifth Paththu of the Paththupaatu also confirms that Cheran Chenguttuvan fought with the Ariya kings and brought the stone to carve the Kannaki statue. The carving of the statue of Kannaki from this stone took place after the worship of the God Siva residing on the mountain top of the Himalayan range (Imayavar uraiyum Imaya sevvarai simaiya sennith Theivam parasi), and the construction of the temple to house same took place at the Neduverlkuntram hill with the guidance of the Hindu-Priests of virtues, Astrologers, Sculpturers and skilled Artisons versed in the treatise on architecture.

Cheran Chenguttuvan instructed to his officers that on completion of the carving and the construction of the temple, a big consecration ceremony of the statue of Goddess Pattini in the temple built to be done with the statue dressed up with rich cloth and jewellery made by expert artisons, with floral sacrifices made and protective ornements fitted, the Velvi (fire sacrifice) and festival to be conducted daily to sanctify the Goddess.

Accordingly a big consecration ceremony of the Kannaki statue in the temple built at Kumily was held with religious rituals in the year A.D.114. at which were present the kings brought in as captives from the north during Cheran Chenguttuvan's North Indian expedition, the other kings released from the jails, and the kings of Kudahu, Konganam, Maluvam, and the king Gayavaahu {Gajabaahu - 1(A.D.113-135)} of the ocean surrounded Ilangai (Sri Lanka).

At the ceremony Cheran Chenguttuvan himself circumbulated the Kannaki statue three times and prayed to her. Thereafter the kings present at the ceremony preyed to the Kannaki statue and requested the Goddess to be present in the day's Velvi rituals to be conducted in their countries, as it has been done (today) on the birthday of Imayavaramban NedunCheralathan the father of Cheran Chenguttuvan, and to bless them. Miraculously a voice was heard saying that the blessings are given as they wished. The Cheran Chenguttuvan and other kings who heard of same greatly rejoiced.

(7) The Construction of the second Kannaki temple by Emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan at Kodungallur district in Kerala

After the construction of the of the first Kannaki temple at the Neduverl Kuntram hill closer to the Chengkuntram hill in the Suruli Hills range, Cheran Chenguttuvan built another Kannaki temple just out side his capital city the Vanji Nagar (the present Kodungallur in Thiruchchur district of Kerala) and consecrated in this temple the statues of "both" Kannaki and Kovalan unlike in Kumily in Idukki district. This is confirmed by the reference in the Tamil Epic Manimekalai in the chapter "Vanji managar pukka kaathai" as follows:

அணி இழை அந்தரம் ஆறா எழுந்து
தணியாக் காதல் தாய் "கண்ணகியையும்" (Kannaki)
கொடை கெழு தாதை "கோவலன்" (Kovalan) தன்னையும்
"கடவுள் எழுதிய படிமம்" (deities carved statues) காணிய
வேட்கை துரப்ப "கோட்டம்" (Temple) புகுந்து

வணங்கி நின்று

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnUq...yer_detailpage Courtesy: P.Ayappan - YouTube


The Tamil Epic Silappathikaaram positively says that Manimekalai daughter of Kovalan and Mathavi went to the Chera capital Vanji Nagar from where she went to the temple dedicated to Kannaki and Kovalan. Further it states thereafter Manimekalai returned back to Vanji Nagar. Hence it is clear that this temple was built on the outskirts of Vanji city, and was the present Kodungallur Bhagavathy Amman temple.

From the Video referred above it is understood the present Bagavathi Amman Statue of the main shrine is made of wood. Hence this cannot be the statue of the same Kannaki consecrated in the second temple by Emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan, but by a subquent Kerala king of the Malayalam period. There is another granite walled room on the west of this Bagavathi Amman shrine which is closed and kept and nothing is known of its contents except the traditions prevailing that the Kannaki's Silambu (Anklets) or it's replica are kept within. This might be the possible reason why before the Poosai rituals conducted to the main Bagavathi Amman shrine, the Poosai rituals are first performed to this enclosed stone room indicating the "great importance" of same than the Bagavathi Amman Shrine.

Further we are informed by Thiru Ayappan that there is another statue of Amman known as "Vaisoori Amman" in a seperate enclosure but of granite stone, and it is indicated that this Statue looks much ancient than the others. It is also stated this Amman is in the seated position on a pedestal with one leg folded and the other leg droping straight. Strikingly it is now observed the left over of the Goddess statue of granite stone at the first Kannaki temple at the Neduverl Kuntram at Kumily too has the same posture as that of Vanji Nagar - both consecrated by Cheran Chenguttuvan within a small time difference.

Hence it is undoubtedly clear this could have been the actual Kannaki Statue of the second Kannaki temple built by Cheran Chenguttuvan at Vanji nagar and is presently known as "Vaisoori Amman". However we are still to discover the granite stone statue of Kovalan which Manimekalai worshipped along with the Kannaki statue at this temple.

(8) The Story of Manimekalai sequel to the Story of Silappathikaarem

The other great Tamil Literary work of the Chera country (Kerala) namely the “Manimekalai” was composed by the Poet Saaththanaar of the same period as Ilango Adigal - the younger brother of the Tamil emperor Cheran Chenguttuvan (A.D.65 -120) of the Chera country (Kerala), while he was residing in the capital city - the Vanji Nagar (the present Kodungallur in Thiruchchur district of Kerala). He was a Tamil poet of professing the Buddhist religion.

The dates of the next "Indra Villa" festival too came forth, and the public in the city of Kaviripoompattinam where greatly distressed as they came to know Maathavi and her daughter by Kovalan to will not have their Dance performances greived over the great tragedy that took place to Kannaki.

Maathavi distressed over the tragedy and the events that took place thereafter insisted that her daughter Manimekalai should lead a virtuous life as against the wishes of Maathavi's own mother Chitrapathi, that her grand-daughter Manimekalai should return back to the profession of her community.

Manimekalai with her desire to worship "both her step-mother Kannaki and her father Kovalan" venerated in the second Kannaki temple in the outskirts of Vanji Nagar (present Kodungallur) built by Cheran Chenguttuvan, reached this temple where she prayed to them and Goddess Kannaki gave vision and blessed Manimekalai.

Thereafter Manimekalai entered the Vanji Nagar eager to meet her mother Maathavi, her friend Suthamathi and Aravana Adigal (the Buddhist Monk) passed many streets where people of various nationalities resided, and many other places and came to the monastary where the Buddhists monks resided. There she accidently met Maasaaththuvan the father of Kovalan (and her grandfather) who was meditating in this monastry.

To Maasaaththuvan she related many events, and of her worshipping Goddess Kannaki and what she heard from Theevathilakai that her mother Mathavi and her friend Suthamathi Aravana Adigal and escaped death from the sea errosion that destroyed Kaviripoompattinam and came and settled at Vanji Nagar, and of her meeting of the religious dignitaries of various prevailing religions at Vanji Nagar and not being satisfied with their philosophies and desirous of knowing of the Buddhist philosophy was eager to meet the the Buddhist monk Aravana Adigal.

Maasaaththuvan said to Manimekalai the purpose of he coming to Vanji Nagar is to worship at the Buddhist Chaitiya built by a Chera king nine generations ahead of Imayavaramban Neduncheralaathan, and as he heard from the Munivers (Sages) at Vanji Nagar that Kaviripoompattinam has now been destroyed by a big sea erosion, he preferred to stay back at Vanji Nagar in Chera country without going back to Kaviripoompattinam in Chola country his home town. He also mentioned to her that Maathavi, Suthamathi and Aravana Adigal have gone to Kanchipuram in Chola country from Chera Nadu selected as a suitable place to preach Buddhism to Manimekalai.

Manimekalai much desirous of knowing of Buddhism went to Kanchipuram where she met her mother Mathavi her friend Suthamathi and Aravana Adigal. She prayed at the feet of Aravana Adihal, and was initiated by him into Buddhism and lived a religous life and in meditation thereafter along with others.

(9) The spread of Kannaki worship to other countries as stated in Silappathikaaram

Silapathkaarem further states the new Paandiya king Vettrivet Cheliyan of Paandiya Nadu who succeeded Paandiyan Nedunchelian at Mathurai, did Kala Velvi to Goddess Kannaki by killing 1000 goldsmiths and conducting saanthi ceremonial rituals, and the country prospered with fall of rain and free from he sickness and sufferings of the people after the great tragedy.

The Ilangkosar king of Kongu Nadu too did saanthi ceremonial rituals to Goddess Kannaki and his country too prospered with fall of rain.

The Chola king Perungkilli built a temple for Patthini Goddess who was considered as the one who gives boons in many ways at Uraiyur, and arranged daily worship at this temple.

The king Gayavaahu of ocean surrounded Ilangai (Sri Lanka) built a temple for Kannaki and an alter for daily offerings considering her as one who destroys evils and bestows favours, and in the month of August held a festival in the city taken several times there had been rain fall with unfailing agriculture and all prosperity.

The following URL helps to have a glimpse of "Full Text" of the "Original Chera (Kerala) Tamil Literary work" the "Manimekalai"



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