century of the Christian era, refers to three generations of Chera rulers—
lrumporai, his son Perumkadungo and his son llamakadungo. Two royal
poets of the Chera line—Perumkadungo and llamakadungo—are found in the
Sangam works. The Perumkadungo and llamakadungo of the inscription are
identified with the royal poets of the same names in Sangam works.
The poems of the Sangam attest to the anxiety of all Sangam’ rulers to
connect themselves with the events of the Mahabharata war. The first Chera
monarch we hear of, Udiyanjeral (AD 130), is said to have fed sumptuously
both the armies of Kurukshetra.
The son of Udiyanjeral was Nedunjeral Adan who won a naval victory
against some local enemy on the Malabar coast, and took captive several
Yavana traders. He won victories against seven crowned kings, and thus
reached the superior rank of the adhiraja. He was called ‘Imayavaramban’,
‘he who had the Himalayas as his boundary’. He fought a war with the
contemporary Chola king in which both the monarchs lost their lives and
their queens performed sati.
Adan’s younger brother was Kuttuvan who extended the Chera power.
Adan had two sons by different queens. One of them was known as ‘the
Chera with the fibre crown’. He too was an adhiraja.
The other son of Adan was Senguttuvan, celebrated in song by Paranar,
one of the most famous poets of the Sangam age. He was a skilled rider, wore
a garland of seven crowns as adhiraja, and was adept in besieging fortresses.
Pattini cult, that is the worship of Kannagi as the ideal wife, was started by
him. The stone for making the image of pattini, the divine chaste wife, was
obtained after a fight with an Aryan chieftain and bathed in the Ganges
before being brought to the Chera country. All these events are narrated with
numerous embellishments and in epic detail in the Silappadigaram.
Senguttuvan took the lead in organising this cult of pattini and was supported
in his effort by the contemporary rulers of the Pandya and Chola countries
and Ceylon as the Silappadigaram says.
Altogether five monarchs of the line of Udiyanjeral belonging to three
generations are mentioned in the Padirruppattu. The number of years they
are said to have ruled totals 201, while another three monarchs of the
collateral line are said to have reigned for a further 58 years.
The last Chera prince mentioned in the extant portions of the Pattuppattu