Chera Dynasty - Founder, List of Rulers, and Chera Dynasty Facts

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 14th, 2022

The Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom, the Keralaputra dynasty, ruled over central Kerala and Tamilnadu. The Cheras were Dravidians. Though they were called Keralaputra, the sons of Kerala, they were of Tamil origin.

The Cheras ruled in two different periods. We come to know of the first rule through the Sangam texts. Analysis of the texts shows that the first rule of the Cheras may have started in the 5th Century B.C. Most of our known history of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom is from their second rule between the 9th and the 10th centuries.

Table of Content

Origin of Chera Dynasty

The Cheras ruled Parts of Kerala and Tamilnadu, and their kingdom included Cochin and parts of Malabar and Travancore.

  • Present-day Kerala, Salem, and Dharmapuri were parts of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.
  • Their first capital city was Vanchi, and the later rulers moved their capital to Kulasekharapuram.
  • The Cheras constantly warred with the Pandyas and Cholas.

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These three kingdoms formed the prominent ruling dynasties of the Iron Age. With the wedding of the Chera king Netum Ceralatan with the Chola princess Illanko Venmal, Thiruvvur and Nagapatman came under their reign.

  • Most of the population of the Chera Dynasty was agrarian.
  • There is evidence of flourishing trade between the Romans, Greeks, and the Cheras for locally grown spices.

The Chera Dynasty - Important Facts

Sangam texts tell us that two lines of rulers ruled the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom. The founder of the first line of rulers was Uthiyan Cheral Athan, and Irumporai founded the second line of rulers.

  • The Chera Dynasty and its kings belong to one of the two clans, Irumporai and the Vanavaraman.
  • The Cheras ruled the central and northern parts of Kerala and the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu.
  • Vanji was Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom capital, and the ports of the west coast, Musiri, and Tondi were under their control.
  • 'Bow and arrow' was the Chera Dynasty symbol.
  • The Chera kings were also referred to as "Keralaputas" (sons of Kerala).
  • Inscriptions from the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom period show intermarriages between these two clans.
  • The Vedic influence started from Brahmanism, and Cheras preceded that period.
  • For this reason, the Cheras did not follow any specific religion.
  • However, we know that they worshipped their ancestors.
  • The Chera country got geographically well recognized to profit from sea trade through the vast Indian Ocean networks.
  • Trade of timber, Indian spices, pearls, and gems was regular.

List of Chera Dynasty Kings' Names

The first known Chera king is mentioned in the Sangam texts. His name was Uthiyan Cheralathan, and he is widely considered the founder of the Chera Dynasty. Below is the Chera Dynasty kings list.

Chera Dynasty Kings

Reign (AD)

Contribution (s)

Uthiyan Cheralathan

NA

He was the first recorded Chera ruler in ancient South India of the Sangam period.

Nedum Cheralathan

NA

He took the title of Adhiraja.

Senguttuvan Chera

NA

He was popularly known as Senguttavan, Kadalpirakoottiya Vel Kelu Kuttuvan,and Chenkuttuvan.

Mantaran Cheral

NA

He was one of the fearsome kings of the Chera Dynasty period in Tamilakam during the Sangam period.

Kulashekhara Varma

800–820

He is considered the author of Sanskrit lyrics Perumal, Mukundamala, and Tirumozhi, which are a portion of Nalayira Divya Prabandham.

Rajashekhara Varma

820–844

He is the first known ruler of the Chera of Cranganore.

Sthanu Ravi Varma

844–885

He was a popular astronomer, the author of Sankara Narayaniyam, and was a member of the royal palace of Sthanu Ravi at Mahodayapuram.

Rama Varma Kulashekhara

1090–1102

He was the last ruler of the Later Chera dynasty (Kulasekharas of Mahodayapuram), and his reign was known for severe political crisis and instability.

Other Chera Dynasty kings names whose contribution is not known are:

Chera Dynasty Kings List

Selva Kadumko Valiathan

NA

NA

Illam Cheral Irumporai

NA

NA

Rama Varma Kulashekhara

885–917

NA

Goda Ravi Varma

917–944

NA

Indu Kotha Varma

944–962

NA

Bhaskara Ravi Varma I

962–1019

NA

Bhaskara Ravi Varma II

1019–1021

NA

Vira Kerala

1021–1028

NA

Rajasimha

1028–1043

NA

Bhaskara Ravi Varma III

1043–1082

NA

Ravi Rama Varma

1082–1090

NA

  • The most famous Chera rulers were Nedunjeral Adan, Senguttuvan, and Kudakko Ilanjeral Irumporai.
  • Uthiyan Cheralathan or Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan is the first documented Chera king of the Sangam era.
  • He is known to have ruled during the 2nd Century AD.
  • According to the lore, he was responsible for feeding the Pandava and Kaurava armies during the battle of Mahabharata.
  • It may be a symbol to depict the prosperity of his kingdom during his rule of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.
  • Uthiyan Cheralathan ruled with Kuzhumur as his capital city and was a contemporary of the Chola ruler Karikala Chola.

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The Dynamics Between the Chera Dynasty Period, Cholas, and Pandyas

The dynamics of the Chera, Chola, and Pandya dynasties are an essential part of south Indian history. For a while, the Cheras and Cholas had friendly relations.

  • They were marriages between dynasties and regions given to each other as dowries.
  • The Cheras, Pandyas, and the Cholas were constantly warring for dominance in South India.
  • Later, the Cheras and Pandyas united to fight against Cholas.
  • The Chera king to rule was Rama Varma Kulakshekhra.
  • After he died in 1102 A.D., it was observed as the Decline of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.
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FAQs on Chera Dynasty

  • Uthiyan Cheralathan is known as the founder of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.

  • The Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom had two lines of kings.

  • The Cholas and Pandyas were the contemporaries of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.

  • Rama Varma Kulakshekhra was the last king of the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom.

  • Muziri, also known as Vanchi/ Vanji, was the Chera Dynasty Capital. The Cheras were the ruling dynasty of Kerala's current-day state and Tamil Nadu's regions in South India.

  • It got proclaimed that the Chera Dynasty descended from the Cheras, who flourished in pre-Pallava (early historic) south India.

  • Kerala state is where the Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom established its kingdom. It was one of the three major kingdoms of southern India that constituted Tamilkam (territory of the Tamils).

  • Sengutturan was the greatest king of the Chera dynasty, and he conquered the Chola and the Pandya kings.

  • The Chera Dynasty - Chera Kingdom ruled in two different spans. The first Chera Dynasty ruled in Sangam Era, while the second Chera Dynasty led from the 9th century AD onwards.

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