One of the three main kingdoms of Tamilkam, the Chera Dynasty ruled portions of modern-day Kerala and, to a smaller extent, Tamil Nadu in southern India. Cheral, which in old Tamil means "mountain declivity," is most likely the source of Chera. Their nation, the "Keraputras," was situated to the north and west of the Pandya monarchy. Archives reveal that the Chera dynasty was divided into two distinct periods. The Early Chera ruled during the fourth and fifth centuries BC, and the Later Chera (also known as the Kulasekharas) ruled between the eighth and twelfth centuries AD.
History of Cheras
• One of the most important dynasties of the Sangam period in Tamil Nadu and the modern-day state of Kerala was the Chera dynasty.
• Along with the Cholas of Uraiyur and the Pandyas of Madurai, the early Cheras were considered one of the three primary powers of ancient Tamilakam in the early decades of the Common Era.
• Their kingdom was situated to the north and west of the Pandya kingdom, and they were also known as "Keraputras."
• The Cholas and the Pandyas have been the Cheras' continuous enemies throughout their history.
• According to Tamil scriptures, Uthiyan Cheralathan is regarded as the Chera line's first recorded king.
• His capital was Kuzhumur in the Keralan district of Kuttanad.
• The Kulasekhara dynasty, which eventually developed into the later Chera kingdom, was founded by Kulasekhara Alwar, the first ruler of that state.
• A Chera king had been extinct for more than five centuries when Kulasekhara Alwar, who claimed to be a Chera ancestor, suddenly arrived.
• He most likely governed from Tiruvanchikkulam in the modern state of Kerala approximately 800 AD, and he did so for a period of more than 20 years.
• The throne was then held by Ramavarma, also known as Kulasekhara Koyiladhikarikal, Kulasekhara Perumal, or Ramar Tiruvati.
• Political unrest and instability characterized his administration.
• He served as the Later Chera dynasty's final emperor.
Important Cheras Rulers
Uthiyan Cheralathan (first to third centuries AD)
• The first Chera king of ancient South India during the Sangam period was Uthiyan Cheralatan (Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan, Athan I), also known as Udiyanjeral.
• From his birthplace, he founded his capital in Kuzhumur, Kuttanad (Kerala), and grew his empire north and east.
• Between the first and third century AD are thought to have been the range of his life.
• His cavalry and elephant units are well-known.
• He is said to have had his renowned royal kitchen in Kuzhumur. During the Mahabharata battle, he is also credited with providing food for the Kaurava and Pandava forces.
• Foreign trade through the renowned harbor of Muziris flourished during his rule, bringing his country great prosperity.
• He participated in several wars. He died after suffering a back injury while leading the army alongside Karikala Chola in the Battle of Venni.
Kulashekhara Alwar (800 AD)
• The southern portion of the current province of Kerala is home to the Travancore royal line, where Maharaja Kulasekhara Alwar, also known as Kulasekhara Varman or Kulasekhara Nayanar, was born.
• His reign as a monarch of the later Chera Dynasty
is seen as lasting from 800 to 820 AD.
• He was proficient in a variety of subjects, including martial arts. He developed into a brave and strong warrior.
• Maharaja Kulasekhara Varman rose to power and ruled the surrounding Chola and Pandya countries in addition to the Chera territory.
• He became well-known as one of South India's legendary kings very rapidly. He rules over the nations of Kongu, Kolli, and Koodal, which are modern-day Madurai, Uraiyur, and Madurai, respectively.
• Justice ruled supreme in his kingdom, the populace was extremely content and lived in peace, and his administration was faultless.
• A person who delves deeply into the ocean of God's innumerable qualities is referred to as an alwar.
• He later underwent a saintly transformation thanks to the teachings of Vaishnava saints.
• He paid visits to several shrines in Tirunagari, which is close to the modern-day Tinivelli, in his dying days.
• At the age of 67, he most likely passed away there.
• Additionally, it is argued that he could not have survived into the ninth century, because a king of the Pallava dynasty (dating from the second to the ninth centuries) asserts to have vanquished the Chera.
Rama Varma Kulasekhara lived from 1090 until 1102
• The Chera Perumal dynasty of mediaeval Kerala was ruled by Ramavarma Kulasekhara till its end.
• He lived during the reigns of Vikrama Chola (1118–35 AD) and Kulottunga I (1070–1120).
• Rama Kulaskehara is most known for momentarily removing the Chola dynasty from the Kollam-Trivandrum-Nagercoil region.
• The lengthy conflict between the Cholas and Cheras enters a significantly more lethal phase.
• He defeats the Cholas, but is unable to restore his already-devastated empire because of his animosity for the indigenous Brahmins.
• His rule is currently restricted to South Kerala, where it is known as Venad, and his adherents are known as Cheras of Venadu.
• Rama Varma abdicates the throne and passes away shortly after, further destabilizing the state as a result of internal conflict.
The Cheras, who ruled over a sizable portion of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern and western India, were the first to establish a historical reigning dynasty in the area. The Kongu region of Tamil Nadu, as well as the centre and northern regions of Kerala, were all under Chera dominion. Their main city was Vanji, and they were in charge of the ports on the west coast, Musiri and Tondi. A bow and arrow served as the Cheras' symbol. Being close to the Indian Ocean, this kingdom was well situated to take advantage of marine trade. Indian goods such as spices, wood, jewels, and stones were sold widely. All of this was made possible by the control of a few key members of this dynasty.