No. 31─ TWO PANDYA INSCRIPTIONS FROM DINDIGUL
H. K. NARASIMHASWAMI AND K. G. KRISHNAN, OOTACAMUND
The two epigraphs edited below come from the villages Rāmanāthapuram and
Perumbuḷḷi in the Dindigul Taluk of the Madurai District, Madras. Rāmanāthapuram is
about 6 miles due east of Dindigul, a railway station on the Tiruchirapalli-Madurai line of the
Southern Railway and Perumbuḷḷi is about 9 miles due north east of Rāmanāthapuram. The
Rāmanāthapuram record was copied as early as the year 1905 and the Perumbuḷḷi inscription,
recently during the collection tour in February 1956. Both the epigraphs are engraved on
boulders which show on their engraved faces clear signs of having been dressed for the purpose.
The Rāmanāthapuram record with bold deep-cut characters is remarkably well preserved while
the Perumbuḷḷi epigraph which is comparatively less deeply engraved and is on the flat top of a
boulder is exposed to the effects of the weather, which has resulted in some damage to
the writing in certain crucial passages of the text. Nevertheless, the main theme of the record can
be substantially reconstructed. The two epigraphs together furnish certain interesting details
which help us to understand some important chronological sequences in the early Pāṇḍyan history
that were hitherto only conjectured. Both the epigraphs are written in simple chaste Tamil,
a feature that is characteristic of the early lithic records of this dynasty. Palaeographically both
the epigraphs may be assigned to about the middle of the 9th century. However, a close
comparison of their alphabet would show that the Rāmanāthapuram inscription could be
assigned to a period at least about three decades earlier than the Perumbuḷḷi record. This, is
will be seen, conforms perfectly with the conclusions arrived at in the sequel.
The Rāmanāthapuram inscription consists of 11 lines which occupy a rectangular space 3′-4″ X
2′-1″ of the boulder. Crude sketches of a fish, a bow and a lamp-stand are engraved on the proper
right side of the inscription while on the proper left only a lamp-stand is depicted opposite the one
on the right side. The fish is no doubt the emblem of the Pāṇḍyas. The bow by its side, the
emblem of the Chēras, apparently signifies the Pāṇḍya overlordship over the Chēras.
As for its contents, the epigraph records that Parāntaka-Ppaḷḷivēḷān alias Nakkam-Puḷḷan
who accompanied king Mārañ-Jaḍaiyan on an expedition to Iḍavai in the Chōḷa country, constructed
a tank called Puḷḷan-ēri after his own name, (providing it) with revetment and the main outlet.
But some work having still remained over, Puḷḷa-Nakkan completed it. That (i.e. the main)
work was done by the stone-mason Vaḍugaṅ-Kūrran. His son having completed the remaining
work, Puḷḷa-Nakkan gave the letter as kāṇi two pieces of land irrigated by the village tank in the
two divisions of Paḷḷi-nāḍu, each sowable with a padakku of paddy.
The Perumbuḷḷi record (in 18 lines) commences with the mention of a place by name Kulumbūr
and of the chief Paḷḷivēḷān who probably fell fighting, apparently in an encounter at this place.
 A. R. Ep., No. 690 of 1905.
 Ibid., No. 290 of 1955-56.
 The passage had been construed in another way also. It is said that “Nakkam-Puḷḷan granted to him as
kāṇi, land in the two divisions of the Panni (for Paḷḷi)-nāḍu and pasakkuū paddy per field watered through the
channel from the headworks of this tank.” South Indian Temple Inscriptions, Vol. II, No. 1090.