Chera Dynasty: Founder, Rulers, Symbol, Time Period, Chera kingdom

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 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 delves into the remarkable history, rulers, symbol, and time period of the Chera Dynasty, shedding light on their maritime influence, significant contributions to trade and commerce, and enduring cultural legacy.

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 Chola Dynasty.

Chera Dynasty Notes

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 Cheralathan, 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 age. 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 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

Famous Chera Dynasty Rulers

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.

Chera Dynasty UPSC

Chera Dynasty is a part of the medieval Indian history which is a significant part of the UPSC History Syllabus. That’s why for aspirants preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination, understanding the importance of this dynasty, its rulers, time period, and symbol is crucial. Candidates need to cover Chera Dynasty topic comprehensively so that they can answer all the medieval history question in UPSC easily, and ace the history section.

Chera Dynasty MCQs

Question: The Chera Dynasty was an ancient dynasty that ruled over which region of present-day India? a) South India b) North India c) East India d) West India

Answer: a) South India

Question: The Chera Dynasty had its capital at: a) Vanchi b) Puhar c) Mahabalipuram d) Kanchipuram

Answer: a) Vanchi

Question: The Chera Dynasty is known for its contributions to which field? a) Literature b) Architecture c) Sculpture d) All of the above

Question:: d) All of the above

UPSC Notes
World Trade Organisation Tiger Reserves In India
World Bank  Tectonic Plates
Wahabi Movement Svamitva Scheme 
Uniform Civil Code Statue Of Equality 
Ujjawala Scheme  Small Finance Banks 
Trips Agreement  Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
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