Kulashekhara was an Indian King from modern day Kerala and one of the Alvars, a prominent group of Vaishnava saints. From historical estimates it is believed he lived in or around the 8th century. Born in the asterism "Punarvasu" as Kulaśekhara Varma, he was king of the Chera Dynasty and lived in Kollam in Kerala. After ruling for a few years, he gave up his throne, became a sanyasi and is revered as the 9th of the alvars (one of 12 mendicant saints venerated by South Indian Sri Vaishnavism) and wrote bhakti songs filled with yearning towards God called paasurams which are an important part of Carnatic classical music repertory. A great devotee of Rama, he considered the painful experiences of Lord Rama to be his own. He is therefore also known as ‘Perum-al’, meaning ‘The Great’ – which is usually the epithet for the Lord. His devotion was so intense that he worshipped the devotees of the Lord as the Lord Himself. He lived in Srirangam and was serving the deity Ranganatha in the temple there.

Much of the details of Kulashekhara's personal life have been lost. He was an exceptional poet of devotional hymns and songs (including the famous Mukundamala-stotra). He wrote a set of ten exquisite poems in Tamil, and the work is called "Perumal Tirumoli". His poems are devotional in nature, being dedicated to the most prominent avatar's of Vishnu (Rama and Krishna).

The rock band Kula Shaker is named after King Kulashekhara as is their music company Alvar Music.


*"Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend" (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
*Naalaayira divya prabhandham: Commentary by Dr. Jagadrakshakan (1997). Aazhvaargal Research Centre, Chennai 600017.

ee also

* Kula Shaker
* Mukundamala stotra
* Divya Prabhandham.
* Kulasekhara (the dynasty)

External links

* [http://mukundamala.com/mm/en1 Mukunda Mala Stotra] (Prayers of King Kulashekhara)
* [http://www.boloji.com/bookreviews/111.htm Kulashekara's contribution to theatre]
* [http://www.divyadesamonline.com - Information about the 12 Alvars]

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