uraga and AlavAy

Michael Rabe mrabe at ARTIC.EDU
Tue Apr 20 00:12:01 UTC 1999

Defending V. Venkayya and E. Hultzsch & in response to
Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan
>Date:         Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:42:44 EDT
Venkatraman Iyer
>Date:         Mon, 19 Apr 1999 04:36:42 PDT

These pioneering epigraphist took at face value, as do I, the Gadval plates
assertion  that in  c. 674 A.D. the Chalukya  king Vikramaditya I first
sacked Kancipuram and then continued southwards as far as Uragapura on the
Kaveri.  It seems perfectly reasonable, moreover to equate THAT Uragapura
with the one Kalidas mentioned a couple centuries earlier, [but as a city
of Pandyas].    The only uncertainty or difference of opinon between them
was as to which place along the Kaveri had that name in the 7th century, if
not earlier.  Two alternatives they came up with were Uraiyur, i.e, the
environs of Tiruchi, or Nagapattinam, on the coast.

So, to my esteemed contemporaries, who share an interest in these matters,
I have expressed doubts that  Kalidas was referring to Madurai when he
wrote of Uraga of the Pandyas.  Perhaps, when he wrote Pandya mandalam
extended northwards to include portions of the Kavari delta.
So I retract my comment that he was less than well informed about the Tamil
place names of his day.  But it is unwarranted, I believe, to ascribe a
snake-related name to Madurai on the basis of the Kalidas reference, which
is what I took Palanaiappan to be doing last month.

Likewise, if Kalidas is the first to report that:
>2. The Pandya king was so powerful that Ravana thought it prudent to effect a
>peace-treaty with him.

then I take it as more likely that the author of  the Sanskrit portion of
the taLavAypuram copper plates [>908 AD.] knew Kalidasa's reference, than
the alternative, espoused by Palaniappan that  Kalidasa was familar with an
allegedly earlier local tradition among the Pandyas.  The assertion strikes
me more as a poetic conceit than a local sthala-puranic tradition.

And as far as special jewels are concerned, just about every dynasty of
ancient India had them in abundance: special jewels, drums, crowns, icons,
you name it... I don't see the Raghuvamsa reference as indicating any
special knowledge of Pandya specific palladiums.

Michael Rabe

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