Arpakkam Inscription of the Fifth Year of Rajadhiraja II

A Tamil inscription belonging to the fifth regal year of the Chola ruler Rajadhiraja II (c. 1166-1178 A.D.) has been found in the Tiruvalisvaram temple at Arpakkam, a village situated in Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu State, India (A.R.E., 1889; Rangacharya, 1919). This inscription is considered very important as it confirms the Sinhalese expedition against the Pandya country in the 12th century A.D. (Rangacharya, 1919).

This inscription is found inscribed on the south wall of the central shrine in the Tiruvalisvaram temple (Subrahmanya Aiyer, 1928). It contains a record dated to the fifth regal year (probably 1171) of Chola King Parakesarivarman alias Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajadhirajadeva (Rangacharya, 1919; Ray, 1960).

The grant of Arpakkam village to Swamidevar by Edirili-Sola-Sambuvarayan is mentioned in this inscription (Rangacharya, 1919). According to its content, a Sinhalese army came from Sri Lanka invaded the Pandimandalam (the Pandya country) by dethroning King Kulasekhara from Madurai and then began battle against the samantas (feudatories) of King Sri Rajadhirajadeva (Rangacharya, 1919; Ray, 1960). The prospect of war spreading to the districts of Tondi and Pasi, make fear in the hearts of the people of Solamandalam (Chola country). Edirili-Sola-Sambuvarayan who approached to a holy man, Swamidevar requested to avert this calamity by doing prayers, sacrifice and worship (Rangacharya, 1919). On the request of Sambuvarayan, Swamidevar (also known as Umapati-deva or Jnana-Siva deva - a native of Dakshina Lata in Gauda-desa) performed the relevant ritual for Siva for 28 days and at the end of it, a news received that the entire Sinhalese army led by dandanayakas Jayadratha and Lankapuri had suffered defeat (Rangacharya, 1919; Ray, 1960). In the gratitude of that Sambuvarayan granted the Arpakkam village to Swamidevar.

The inscription also mentions that the Ramesvara temple had been damaged by the Sri Lankan army (Karashim, 2012).

Sri Lankan chronicle
The Sri Lankan chronicle, Culavamsa also gives a narration about the Sinhalese expedition against the Pandya country during the reign of King Parakramabahu [(1123–1186 A.D.) Liyanagamage, 1963]. According to the chronicle, during the time of Rajadhiraja, a dispute was arisen between the two Pandyan princes, Kulasekhara, son of Sri Maravarman Vallabha and Parakrama Pandya over the succession to the throne of Madurai. When Madurai was besieged by Kulasekhara, Parakrama sought the military assistance from Sri Lanka (Liyanagamage, 1963). 

Parakramabahu, the king of Sri Lanka prepared an army and appointed his general Lankapura as its commander. He ordered Lankapura to lead his forces to Madurai and reinstate Parakrama as the king. However, before they set out from Sri Lanka, Parakrama had been killed by his rival Kulasekhara (Liyanagamage, 1963). Without dropping out the expedition, Lankapura sailed to Madurai to defeat Kulasekhara and to place a scion of the family of Parakrama on the throne (Liyanagamage, 1963).

As in the Arpakkam inscription, Culavamsa also mentions the names Tondi and Pasa (Ray, 1960).
1) A.R.E., 1889. - Annual Report on South Indian Epigraphy, Calcutta. No. 20.
2) Karashima, N., 2012. The Past as known from Tamil Inscriptions: Village Community and Challenge to the Caste System. In Traces of the Past:” The 2012 Annual Tamil Studies Conference, Toronto, Ontario. pp.11-12.
3) Liyanagamage, A., 1963. The decline of Polonnaruva and the rise of Dambadeniya, (Circa 1180-1270 AD) (Doctoral dissertation, SOAS University of London). pp. 108-110.
4) Rangacharya, V., 1919. A topographical list of the inscriptions of the Madras Presidency, collected till 1915: with notes and references. Vol. I. Madras. p.45.
5) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. p.482.
6) Subrahmanya Aiyer, K.V., 1928. South Indian inscriptions (Texts): Vol. VI: Miscellaneous inscription from the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada countries. Archaeological Survey of India. pp.188-190.

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This page was last updated on 17 November 2022

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