Chera Dynasty – Founder & Rulers of Chera Empire

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

Chera Dynasty ruled over the Southern part of India in the early period. The Cheras were Dravidians. Though they were called Keralaputra, the sons of Kerala, they were of Tamil origin. During Sangam Age Chera Dynasty, Pandyas and Cholas were powerful kingdoms. Analysis of the Sangam texts shows that the first rule of the Cheras Dynasty may have started in the 5th Century B.C

Most of our known history of the Chera Dynasty is from their second rule between the 9th and the 10th centuries. This article cover important notes regarding the Chera Dynasty that would help the UPSC aspirants during their prepartion.

Table of content

  • 1. Origin of Chera Dynasty (more)
  • 2. Chera Dynasty – Important Facts (more)
  • 3. Chera Dynasty Rulers (more)
  • 4. Dynamics Between the Chera Dynasty Period, Cholas, and Pandyas (more)

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.
  • Their first capital city was Vanchi, and the later rulers moved their capital to Kulasekharapuram.
  • The Cheras constantly warred with the Pandyas and Cholas.

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.

Chera Dynasty – Important Facts

Sangam texts tell us that two lines of rulers ruled the Chera Dynasty. 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 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 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.

Chera Dynasty Rulers

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


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

Nedum Cheralathan


He took the title of Adhiraja.

Senguttuvan Chera


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

Mantaran Cheral


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

Kulashekhara Varma


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

Rajashekhara Varma


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

Sthanu Ravi Varma


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

Rama Varma Kulashekhara


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



Illam Cheral Irumporai



Rama Varma Kulashekhara



Goda Ravi Varma



Indu Kotha Varma



Bhaskara Ravi Varma I



Bhaskara Ravi Varma II



Vira Kerala






Bhaskara Ravi Varma III



Ravi Rama Varma



  • The most famous Chera Dynasty rulers were Nedunjeral Adan, Senguttuvan, and Kudakko Ilanjeral Irumporai.
  • Uthiyan Cheralathan, or Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan, is the first documented Chera Dynasty 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.
  • Uthiyan Cheralathan ruled with Kuzhumur as his capital city and was a contemporary of the Chola ruler Karikala Chola.

Dynamics Between the Chera Dynasty Period, Cholas, and Pandyas

The dynamics of the Chera Dynasty, 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 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.
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