Season 01 | Episode 09

The realm of Tamil dynasties

5 September 2020 / 12 mins 11 secs

Show summary

Topic: History of India - Ancient India.

Timeline: 600 BCE - 300 CE

In this episode of Namaskar India, we will talk about the lands deep south, the realm of three famous Tamil dynasties- Pandyas, Cholas & Cheras, collectively known as Tamilakam.

Tamilakam refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people. Tamilakam covered today's Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and southern parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

During the period between 600 BCE to 300 CE, Tamilakam was ruled by the three Tamil dynasties: the Chola dynasty, the Pandya dynasty and the Chera dynasty; fighting among themselves and other forces for dominance of the region. Despite this turmoil, they were crucial in advancing south Indian art, architecture, and literature. These early kingdoms sponsored the growth of some of the oldest extant literature in Tamil. This classical Tamil literature is referred to as Sangam literature and has poems which deal with emotional and material topics.

Although the area covered by the term "Tamilakam" was divided among multiple kingdoms, its occurrence in the ancient literature implies that the region's inhabitants shared a cultural or ethnic identity, or at least regarded themselves as distinct from their neighbours.