[1] The other letters (lipi) which the poet wants to be disclosed to him may possibly here refer to some copper-plate inscriptions of Cholas which would give information about their early history.

[2] The Kaingattu-Parani introduces the Sun differently.  First it mentions Vishnu from whose navel sprang Brahma ; from Brahma came Marichi ; from him Kasyapa and Kasyapa’s son was the Sun.

[3] The Kalingattu-Parani refers to the story of the calf that was run over by the car of Manu’s son and to the spirit of public justice displayed by Manu by condemning his son to death on that account.

[4] According to the Matsya-Purana this king had a set of 114 sons who were ruling the country south to Meru and another set of 114 sons who were ruling the country north of that mountain ; see H. H. Wilson’sVishnu-Purana, p. 359, note 8.

[5] The Virodhabhasa brought out in this verse deserves to be noted.

[6] Vikukshi is also called Sasada, “the hare-eater”, in the Puranas.  The kalingattu-Parani omits this name and makes Puramjaya, a son of Ikshvaku.

[7] According to the Matsya-Purana this king had a set of 114 sons who were ruling the country south to Meru and another set of 114 sons who were ruling the country north of that mountain ; see H. H. Wilson’sVishnu-Purana, p. 359, note 8.

[8] The Virodhabhasa brought out in this verse deserves to be noted.

[9] The same story is narrated in the Vishnu-Purana.  In the Treta-age there was a war between the Devaand the Asuras.  The former being vanquished at first sought the help of Puramjaya who completely annihilated the Asuras.  The relationship given here from Sun to Kakutstha is in agreement with the Vishnu-Purana.

[10] I.e., the people who were his subjects had no anxieties or, in other words, were enjoying perfect peace.

[11] Trees produce fire by rubbing against one another.

[12] According to the Vishnu-Purana, Prithu held the powerful bow of Mahadeva called Ajagava.

[13] According to the Vishnu-Purana, also makes him the son of Yuvanasva.  It states that he was born from the right side of his father who had drunk of water endowed with prolific efficacy, that he was nursed by Indra and that he ruled over the seven continental zones.

[14] According to Vishnu-Purana, he was the 8th in descent from Dhundhumara and the second of that name in that family, the first being the great-grant-father of Kuvalaysva Dhundhumara.

[15] As here, the Vishu-Purana also makes him the son of Yuvanasva.  It states that he was born from the right side of his father who had drunk of water endowed with prolific efficacy, that he was nursed by Indra and that he ruled over the seven continental zones.

[16] This is the name of the mountain which is supposed to be beyond the ocean of fresh water and beyond which again is the shell of the mundane egg ; see H. H. Wilson’s Vishnu-Purana, p. 202 and note 6.

[17] According to the Puranas, Purukutsa, Ambarisha and Muchukunda were the three sons of Mandhatri born to his wife Bindumati, the daughter of Sasabindu.  Muchukunda’s long sleep and his burning of Kalayavana on waking up are mentioned in Vishnu-Purana, p. 566 f.

[18] The Vishnu-Purana mentions a prince Prithulaksha who was eighth in descent from Bali in the line of Anga.

[19] Here the words ‘fire’ and ‘quenched’ printed in italics are intended to produce the alamkara known asvirodhabhasa.

[20] There was a Satyavrata in the Solar race who had married a Kekaya princess, a descendant of Usinara.

[21] He was one of the four sons of Usinara of the Lunar race.  His descendants are called Saibyas, from which the Tamil Sembiyan may possibly have been derived.  It might be noted that in the Mahabharata (Vanaparvan, Ch. 132), the incident of the falcon and the pigeon is related in connection with king Usinara, the father of Sibi.

[22] Marutta was a king of the Solar race, a son of Avikshit who had carried off the daughter of Visala, king of Vidisa (Markandeya-Purana).  In favour of Marutta his father is said to have abdicated the throne, being stung by the shame of his action.  The Aitareya and Satapatha-Brahmanas state that Marutta performed splendid Rajasuya and Ageamedha sacrifices using golden utensils and pleased Indra and the Brahmanas, the former with the libations of Soma juice and the latter with magnificent donations.  Marutta, after crowning his son went to the forest where he was slain by Vapushmat.  The murder was avenged by Marutta’s son Narishyanta, who in his turn  killed Vapushmat.  The story of the performance of a grand sacrifice by Marutta is related in the Mahabharata (Asvamedhikaparvan, Ch. 10).  Here also it is stated that Yudhishthira was advised by Vyasa to perform his Asvamedha sacrifice with the help of the gold left behind as balance by Marutta.

[23] Dushyanta and his son Bharata are the lineal descendants of Puru and well-known kings of the Lunar race.  Dushyanta married Sakuntala and the fourth in descent from his son Bharata was Samkriti, whom our plates place so far high up in the list.

[24] The Kalingattu-Parani refers to two Rajakesarins, not a rajakesarin and a Parakesarin as here and in the Leyden plates.

[25] There is no finite verb in this verse.  Either the usual has to be understood or must be changed into which would offend against the metre.

[26] The Tamil poem Kaligattu-Parani evidently refers to Suraguru and Mrityujit as two different kings : Suraguru is first mentioned under the name Suradhiraja in the words “soorathirasan muthalaga varu cholanumunnatt cholamandala amaintha piragu and then it seems to introduce Mritynjit in the words ‘kalanukkithu vazhukkana uraithavanum.

[27] Evidently there was no premature death in his kingdom.

[28] The Kalingattu-Parani refers to him thus : puliyana kodiyilirathinai vaithavanum and mentions him not immediately after Mrityujit but after a king who is stated to have conquered all the worlds (perhaps Visvajit and himself to have succeeded the king who brought the river Kaveri (kaveripunal konernthavanum, i.e.,Chitradhanvan)

[29] This king, also called Uparichara-Vasu, was a member of the Lunar race and a descendant of Puru. His story is given in the Mahabharata (Adiparvan, Ch. 64), where it is specifically stated that he was presented by Indra with an serial car made of crystal.  The Tamil poem Kalingattu-Parani evidently refers to this same king in the passage Sudarmanithiral vimaanamadhu vaanmisaiuyarnthavanum.

[30] See note above.  According to the Puranas there was a Visvajit in the line of Puru, the fifth in descent from Ajamidha.

[31] The Kalingattu-Parani refers to him thus : Thalavazhikukkaiyinil  pozhipilathin vazhiya thaninadanthurakar thangal mani  kondavanum.  The order in which this king and the two others that follow are mentioned, is different in the Leyden grant and the Tamil poem ; see South-Indian Inscriptions, Vol. II., p. 377 and note 5.

[32] If the author of the Tiruvalangadu plates meant the construction of the dam or anicut across the Kaveri, he would not have used the word tata.

[33] In the Leyden grant and the Kalingattu-Parani the form Kalikala does not occur.  In the latter he is described as the king who bestowed on the author of Pattinappalai 1,600,000 gold pieces as a reward for that composition.  He is also stated to have defeated the Valudi (i.e., Pandya) and the Uthiya (Chera) kings, to have destroyed Mukari in the course of his constructing the banks of the Kaveri and to have conquered Kurumi.

[34] See above, p. 414, note. 8.

[35] This is a reference to the story of Kochchengannan related in the Periyapuranam. The latter in the form of a spider is said to have woven cobwebs over the Siva-linga at Jambukesvara (Tiruvanaikkaval).

[36] The form Tanchapuri (in which Tancha stands for tanja) appears to have continued down to the Vijayanagara times and we find in the introductory prasasti of the kings of that dynasty that king Narasa, the father of Krishnaraya, conquered the Tamcha-rajya, i.e., the Tanja (Tanjore) country ; Epigraphia Indica, Vol. IX, p. 340.

[37] This temple of the goddess Nisumbhasudani does not exist now at Tanjore.  But there is a famous shrine of Kali at the western gate of the fort, which is popularly known as Pachchaikkali and Pavalakkali. The annual festivities of the goddess in her double-colored form are celebrated with great devotion, the palace contributing a substantial amount for the conducting of these festivities.

[38] It may be noted that the name Adityavarman is also here intended to convey the sense of the sun. In this case, for the double entendre the latter has to be understood as a supporter of the gods, quick in movements, removing darkness (dosha) and remaining in the sky which is the path of the stars.

[39] This word has to be taken metaphorically here to mean misery.  The heat of the sun is not felt in the shade of an umbrella.

[40] The Virodhabhasa-alamkara is also hinted here ; the virodha appears in his considering himself kriti(virtuous) even after taking into his possession the enemy’s wife (dayita).

The Tiruvalangadu copper-plates of the sixth year of Rajendra-Chola I


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Translation of the Sanskrit text

(Verse 1.) May bashful Bhavani (Parvati) who, seeing her (own) from (reflected) in the gem on the hood of the king of serpents (which forms) the necklace of Srikantha (Siva), (and) (suspecting) it (to be) another woman, looks askance, excited and jealous, at her husband who, with a heart all-desirous of (her) embrace, prays (for it) bowing at (her) feet, grant you uninterrupted prosperity!

(V. 2.) May that pond in which the royal swan of heroism sports ; the sun (which delights) the lotuses (viz.,) the learned ; the sole caravan-leader of the vast crowd of travelers on the two routes (viz.,) (the temporal), where the results (of actions) are seen, and (the transcendental), where the results are not seen ; the supreme ruler of all royal races ; the ocean where the multitude of gems (viz.,) all virtues, has its birth ; — the Chola family — rule for ever the circle of the earth, redressing the grievances of all !

(V. 3.) The letters (of the alphabet) limited in number are only fifty ; (whereas) the virtues of (the kings of) the Solar race are resplendent beyond number. How can I describe these (virtues) with those (letters) ? Oh ! Mother Sarasvati ! secure for me (the help of) other letters (lipi) (also)[1].

(V. 4.) The eye of the three worlds was the Sun[2] from whom sprang the sprouts of all (families of) kings. From him (i.e., the Sun) was born by concentration (manana), Manu,[3] the first of kings whose name became (thus) conformable to (its) meaning.

(V. 5.) Great Ikshvaku[4] was born (as) his son ; of him, in great battles the enemies of gods (i.e., the danavas) were greatly afraid. The three worlds, though completely immersed I the ocean of his spotless fame, (still) enjoyed extreme delight.[5]

(V. 6.) (Then) came forth his son, the heroic Vikukshi,[6] who was the husband of the youthful Earth adorned by the girdle (viz.,) the waves of all (surrounding) oceans, (and) whose lotus feet were resplendent by the luster (proceeding from) the diadems of many crowds of bowing kings.

(V. 7.) To him was born as son the king named Puranjaya, whose abundant prowess and heroism were well known and the expansive white parasol of whose blooming fame, having spread over the whole surface of the entire universe, was (still found to be) in excess.

(V. 5.) Great Ikshvaku[7] was born (as) his son ; of him, in great battles the enemies of gods (i.e., the danavas) were greatly afraid. The three worlds, though completely immersed I the ocean of his spotless fame, (still) enjoyed extreme delight.[8]

(V. 8.) This mine of prowess, because (he) sat upon the hump of Hari (i.e., Indra) who had assumed the form of a bull, (and) killed in battle the warriors of the enemies of gods, bore on this account the name Kakutstha[9] (i.e., one who sits on the hump).

(V. 9.) (People) say that his son Kakshivat was a king of unopposed power, whose fame was sung by the celestial singers (gandharva) in the houses of gods ; and the light of the moon (viz.,) the reflection of his spotless white parasol, extinguished the fatigue (of the people) on the surface of (this) earth.[10]

(V. 10.) His son was Aryyama, the lord of the earth, who obtained the Lakshmi (of victory) by stirring the ocean of his enemy (forces) with the churning rod of his mountain (like) arm ; (and) whose greatness was pre-eminently extolled.

(V. 11.) In his family was born the king (named) Analapratapa, whose magnanimity was well known in the world, and the fire of whose prowess sprang forth from his tree (like) shoulders[11] rubbing against the bow-string, and destroyed (his) enemies.

(V. 12.) The full-moon (in swelling) the ocean of his (i.e., Analapratapa’s) family was Vena, the foremost of kings. His son was king Prithu, whose prosperity was great, who was the chief of rulers, (and) who, like heroism incarnate for putting down injustice (in this world), came forth (clad) in mail, wearing a diadem of gems and holding a bow of matchless strength[12] with the string (drawn) and the arrow (set) from Vena’s right arm which was churned (for that purpose) by chiefs of ascetics.

(V. 14.) In this family was born a king who, having killed the demon Dhundhu of enormous strength, (bore) on earth the name Dhundhumara.[13] This king also (having become) the sole resort of virtues, ruled the whole earth.

(V. 15.) In that family was born king Yuvanasva[14] who had no second (to him) in austerity, celebrity, truth and (other) good qualities ; all people well understood his prowess to be a rampart-wall in protecting the whole world, ever increasing on all sides.

(V. 16.) The son of that (king), whose greatness was widespread (and) who was respected by (those) who were (themselves) deserving of respect, was Mandhatri,[15] the master of courage, wisdom, love, prosperity and learning. (He), the birth-place of mercy, ruled for a long time the earth as far as the Lokaloka mountain[16] as (if he were) the embodiment of the protective power itself.

(V. 17.) Begotten (of him) was his son (known as) king Muchukunda,[17] who kept himself awake in the duty of protecting the camp of the army of gods which was attacked by the forces of powerful demons ; who was engrossed in the sleep obtained (as boon) through the grace of the lord of gods (i.e., Indra) and whose eyes, opening in anger, immediately consumed the crafty demon Kalayavana and (thus) pleased Mukunda (Vishnu).

(V. 18.) In that family was also born he of immense prosperity who was a store-house of celebrated heroism, whose name was known (to the world) as Valabha, who offered up (his) enemies as moths to the flames of (his) arrows and founded (the city of) Valabhi.

(V. 19.) To him was born (the king) named Prithulaksha,[18] who, at request of crowds of gods and demons, set whirling in the ocean the huge mountain Mandara for (the purpose of) securing nectar.

(V. 20.) To him was born a son (known as) parthivachudamani, who was a mine of power and who, while Mukunda (Vishnu) was giving the gods a drink of nectar, destroyed the army of the demons (who were disturbing).

(V. 21.) Dirghabahu, the foremost of the virtuous and a jewel of that race, then became the paramount sovereign. Learned men say that the fire of his prowess quenched the grievances of the virtuous.[19]

(V. 22.) He, king Chandrajit, the parental home of the goddess of victory, conquered the unconquerable army of the enemies of gods and (also) the Moon who had carried away the wife of his teacher (Brihaspati).

(V. 23.) His son Samkriti became the emperor at the close of the Krita age. That he highly reddened (i.e., pleased) the earth with the (white) rays of the moon of (his) fame is (indeed) strange.

(V. 24.) A jewel in that family was the king known as Panchapa the victorious, who, by the excellence of his body, surpassed the five-arrowed (Cupid) and vied (in prosperity) with the lord of the heaven (i.e., Indra).

(V. 25.) In his family was (born) Satyavrata[20] who, being ordered by (his) father to protect the horse which was let loose for the horse-sacrifice, conquered, by (virtue of his superior) strength, Kasiraja, the king of Varanasi (i.e., Benares).

(V. 26.) (Seeing that he) conquered Rudra in a battle where a multitude of arrows proceeding from the bows of opposite parties struck (one another) and produced flames, the assemblage of gods proclaimed, “thou art Rudrajit (the conqueror of Rudra).”

(V. 27.) The jewel of that prosperous family was king Sibi,[21] the son of Usinara, who, out of compassion in protecting the pigeon which was threatened (to be killed) by a falcon, gave up attachment for his own body. An ornament in his family was king Marutta,[22] who was famous in (this) world. With the riches that were used and left over (as balance, after the performance) of his sacrifice, the Pandavas performed (their) sacrifice.

(V. 28.) (People) say that Dushyanta was an ornament of the race of this (king). His son was Daushyanti (i.e., born of Dushyanta) Bharata.[23] To him was born a son named Chola after whom the Solar race on this earth became illustrious.

(V. 29.) Him (i.e., the king Chola), learned men described as the generous lord of gods (i.e., Indra) who incarnated on earth (on seeing that) the glory of his own (i.e., Amaravati) was humbled by the varied and lustrous riches of the Chola country.

(V. 30.) Cholavarman’s son was Rajakesarivarman (‘the lion among kings’) who split asunder with (his) nails (viz., crooked knives) the elephants (viz., crooked knives) the elephants (viz., his enemies) and (was) the cage (wherein resided the goddess) of prosperity.

(V. 31.) Rajakesarin’s[24] son was king Parakesarin by whose fire-like anger the enemies’ forces were consumed.

(V. 32.) Thenceforward these two names indicative of (their) suzerainty were alternately borne by the Chola (kings) in the order of their coronation.

(V. 33.) Parakesarin’s son was king Chitraratha ; his son (was) Chitrasva ; to him (was born) king Chitradhanvan.

(V. 35.) Having come to know that king Bhagiratha engrossed in penance brought down (from heaven) the river of gods (i.e., Ganga) (to earth), this king (also) desirous to fame brought her (i.e., Ganga) to his dominions under the name Kaverakanyaka (i.e., Kaveri).[25]

(V. 36.) In that family was (born) Suraguru[26] who was the hereditary abode of the maiden, the Lakshmi of victory. This king having conquered by his glory the god of Death in his own territory[27] acquired the name Mrityujit.

(V. 37.) In his race was born king Chitrartha called Vyaghraketu[28] from his banner-cloth bearing (the figure of) a tiger, who was a store of great heroism and who wore as an ornament on his head the flowers of the dhataki (Grislea Tomentosa).

(V. 38.) The Treta-age having come to a close, a son of this king known as Narendrapati became the ruler. The diadems of (subordinate) kings dropped down their gems ; (because their) fastenings had become loosened by the constant rolling at his footstool.

(V. 39.) From him was produced the head-jewel of the powerful Solar race, (king) Vasu, who was the cause of the destruction of the demons (and) who (known) by the significant surname of Uparichara[29] moved in any direction he liked in a celestial car which was presented (to him) by the lord of gods (i.e., Indra).

(V. 40.) At the end of the Dvapara (-age) was born in the family of this head-jewel of kings a conqueror of all hostile kings named Visvajit.[30]

(V. 41.) In his race was born Perunatkilli[31] who was the receptacle of all sciences, the abode of (the goddess of) Prosperity, who was worshipped by the diadems of all the rulers of the earth which were set with rows of precious gems.

(V. 42.) In this (king’s) family was born he, the leader of all the lords of the earth, the foremost of the great on account of his virtues, the king who renovated (the town of) Kanchi with gold, who had established his glorious fame by constructing embankments of the Kaveri[32] (river) and whom (people) called Kalikala[33] because (he) was (the god of) death to the elephants (kari) (of his enemies) as also to the Kali (-age).

(V. 43.) In the family of that (king) of extensive glory was born the emperor Kochchengannan who bore on his arm the earth (extending) as far as the Lokaloka mountain,[34] whose tremulous eyes were as blue as the petal of the blue lily (and) the bondage of (whose) spider-body[35] and cut off by (his) devotion of Sambhu (i.e., Siva) the conqueror of (the demon) Tripura.

(V. 44.) In the illustrious family of that (king) was born Vijayalaya of praiseworthy prowess, whose footstool was battered by the diadems in the rush for precedence (ahamahamika) of kings desirous of prostrating.

(V. 45.) He, the light of the Solar race, took possession of (the town)[36] Tanchapuri (i.e., Tanjore) which was picturesque to the sight, was as beautiful as Alaka (the chief town of Kubera), had reached the sky (by its high turrets) and the white-wash of (whose) mansions (appeared like) the scented cosmetic (applied to the body), just as he would seize (by the hand) his own wife who has beautiful eyes, graceful curls, a cloth covering (her body), and sandal paste as (white as) lime, in order to sport with her.

(V. 46.) Having next consecrated (there) (the image of) Nisumbhasudani[37] whose lotus-feet are worshipped by gods and demons, (he) by the grace of that (goddess) bore just (as easily) as a garland (the weight of) the (whole) earth resplendent with (her) garment of the four oceans.

(V. 47.) (After him), (his) son king Adityavarman, the asylum of the wise, a Dhishana (Brihaspati) (in learning), energetic, always bent upon removing evil and adhering (himself) to the path of the righteous, protected the earth.[38]

(V. 48.) The earth having sought refuge under the shadow of his matchless white parasol did not experience on any occasion, the pain caused by the heat (of misery).[39]

(V. 49.) Having conquered in battle the Pallava (king) Aparajita who possessed a brilliant army though (he was in name) aparajita (i.e., the unconquered) he (i.e., Aditya) took possession of his (i.e., Aparajita’s) beloved country and thus fulfilled the object (of his desire).[40]

(V. 50.) His son was Parantaka (i.e., the destroyer of (his) enemies, whose name was full of meaning, who was a bee at the two lotus-feet of Purantaka (i.e., Siva) and who was as (it were) the embodiment of the boundless joy of (his) subjects.