Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan

Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan was a Pandyan king who ruled the Pandyan kingdom in ancient South India with Madurai as his capital, from 1251 to 1268. He succeeded Maravarman Sundara Pandyan. It was the time when the might of the medieval Cholas was fading away and the muslim invasion of South India had begun. Jatavarman started from a well laid platform for an empire by his predecessor Maravarman. During his reign the medieval Pandyan kingdom attained its greatest splendour. It extended to the river Krishna in the north and the whole of island of Ceylon in the south.

The Pandyan kingdom was shared among the several princes of the royal family and one of them enjoying primacy over the others. Sundara Pandyan enjoyed the support and co-operation of other Pandyan princes including Jatavarman Vira Pandyan. Sundara Pandyan used the vast treasure he got out of his wars to beautify the Siva temple in Chidambaram and the Vishnu temple in Srirangam. He built a temple at Aragalur (Magadai Mandalam) for the merit of Kulasekara around 1259.

Sundara Pandyan died in 1268 and was succeeded by Maaravaramban Kulasekara Pandyan I.


Sundara Pandyan first invaded the Chera country ruled by Viraravi Udaya Marthandavarman and annexed it to his empire. He then attacked the then Cholas who were facing troubled times and were greatly supported by their Pallava allies. Sundara Pandyan then went south to Ceylon and defeated its ruler and returned with a bulk of treasures. On his return from Ceylon invasion, he went north again - this time invading Hoysalas under Someshvara. The famous Hoysala general Singana along with other generals were killed in the war between Pandyas and Hoysalas. Sundara Pandyan captured the major Hoysala forts in their southern part, resulting in Someshvara's retreat into north. Someshvara renewed his war in 1262 which saw him killed by Sundara Pandyan.

Sundara Pandyan's conquests included the Magadai and Kongu countries. He heard about the wealth and richness of Kakatiya dynasty of Orugallu, but stopped his invasion into Telugu Land because of their strong Military groups. But He came into conflict with Kakatiya Ganapathi and defeated a Telugu army at Mudugur in the present Nellore district, However Ganapathi Deva recaptured and Occupied up to Kanchi by defeating Tamil army again in the same year and occupied the total Tamil land up to the River Kavery.

Between 1262 and 1264 on an appeal from a Ceylon minister, Jatavarman Vira Pandyan, a prince invaded the island, defeated and killed the Ceylon king. Sundara Pandyan had Maldives and Lakshadweep under his control.

He was given titles like, "Emmandalamum Kondaruliya Pandiya", "Tribhuvana Chakravarthy", "Ponveintha Perumal".


* Nilakanda Shasthri, "The Pandyan Kingdom - Early Times to The Sixteenth Century", Swati, Chennai, 1975
* N. Sethuraman, "The Imperial Pandyas: Mathematics Reconstructs the Chronology", Sethuraman, 1978

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