Discovery at Azhagankuam and Reasons for the Decline of the Pandyas

Discovery at Azhagankuam and Reasons for the Decline of the Pandyas

Question: Excavation at Azhagankulam village in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu, has revealed fresh evidence that it was an important trading post between the Sangam Pandyas and the Romans from circa 50 BCE to circa 500 CE. Discuss the key elements of this discovery and the reasons behind the fall of the Pandyan Empire.

Key Elements of the Discovery :

- Archaeologists from TN Department of Archaeology indicated that Azhangankulam, Arikamedu in Puducherry and Pattanam or Muziris in Kerala form the troika of trade centres between Rome and Pandyas during the Tamil Sangam Age

- Azhagankulam is situated about three km from the sea, near the area where the Vaigai river enters the sea.

- State Department of Archaeology had previously excavated the site in 1986-1987 and for five seasons in the 1990s

- Excavations at Azhagankulam have revealed broken Roman Amphora jars, Mediterranean pottery, Roman potsherds, copper coins, Chinese Celadon ware, potsherd with Tamil Brahmi letters, rouletted wares, potsherd with swastikas and more

- Beads created out of quartz, carnelian and glass were also found

- 4 of the 5 trenches were in Kottaimedu area and they yielded Roman amphorae, copper coins, black and red potsherd and roofing tiles

- Trench near Parithikaadu yielded corroded copper coins

- This indicates that there were trade contacts between Rome and the Pandya empire.

- Roman gold coin hoards have also been found in Utthamapuram, Nathampatti and Karivalamvandha Nallur.

- Madurai was the capital of the Pandyas. From circa 50 BCE, Roman influences are found here.

- Romans brought pearls from the Pandya empire.

- Contacts lasted till 500 CE

- Fall of the Pandyan Empire

- The 13th century was the greatest period in the history of the Pandyan empire under Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan in the middle of this century .

- The foundation for such a great empire was laid by Maravarman Sundara Pandya early in the thirteenth century.

- Following the death of Maaravaramban Kulasekara Pandyan I in 1308, a conflict

- stemming from succession disputes arose amongst his sons. Sundara Pandya and Vira Pandya fought each other for the throne.

- Madurai fell into the hands of the invading armies of the Delhi Sultanate.

- Pandyas and their descendants were confined to a small region around Thirunelveli for a few more years and after the seventeenth century C.E., no trace of them can be found

Facts and Stats

- During the Sangam Age, three dynasties ruled S. India: Cholas, Cheras and

- Pandyas

- The earliest kings of the Pandyan dynasty were Nediyon, Palyagasalai Mudukudumi Peruvaludhi and Mudathirumaran.

- There were two Neduncheliyans. The first one was known as Aryappadai Kadantha Neduncheliyan while the other was Talaiyalanganattu Cheruvenra

- The last famous Pandyan king was Uggira Peruvaludhi.

- The Pandyan rule during the Sangam Age suffered a defeat due to the invasion of the Kalabhras.
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