June 26

Decline of the Pandya dynasty

The Pandyan kingdom was an ancient Tamil kingdom in South India. They were one of the three ancient Tamil kingdoms that ruled the Tamil country from prehistoric times until the end of the 15th century. Initially, the centre of their rule was Korkai which was a seaport on the Indian peninsula’s southern tip. Later they moved towards Madurai which became their capital. The golden age of the Pandyas started with the rule of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya who expanded the empire into Telugu country and invaded Sri Lanka to conquer the northern half of the island.

The groundwork for Pandya supremacy was laid by Maravarman Sundar Pandya following the decline of the Chola dynasty on the other side. Later the dynasty consolidated under the capable rule of Jatavarman Sundar Pandya and Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandya. However, the tide turned after a war of succession began between the two sons of Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandya, one of whom was legitimate while the other one was illegitimate. The dispute coincided with the Conquest of the Southern Kingdoms by Alauddin Khalji

Pandya Dynasty, Pandyan empire, Chola empire, Chola dynasty, Maravarman Kulasekara Pandya, Jatavarman Sundara Pandya, Maravarman Sundar Pandya, Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandya, Alauddin Khalji, Malik Kafur,


The Pandya dynasty was destroyed beyond recovery by the conquests led by Khusrau Khan and Ulugh Khan of the Khalji Sultanate

According to the sources, Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandya wanted Jatavarman Vira Pandya to succeed him on the Pandya throne. However, this was not acceptable to Jatavarman Sundar Pandya who later defeated him. Taking advantage of the political turmoil, the neighbouring Hoysala king Ballala III invaded the Pandya territory. However, Malik Kafur invaded the Hoysala kingdom of Dwarasamudra and later turned his attention towards the Pandyan kingdom and raided the Pandya Kingdom of Madurai. Several areas in the Pandyan kingdom were raided by his troops, civilians were massacred and temples were destroyed. Both the Pandya brothers fled their headquarters and Malik Kafur pursued them but without any success. Later he marched back to Delhi and took with him a large amount of booty including several elephants, precious stones and treasure. This dealt a severe blow to the Pandya kingdom. Later the brothers resumed their conflict after his departure. Jatavarman Sundara Pandya was defeated and asked for help from Alauddin Khalji and with his help, he was able to regain control of the South Arcot region. The later Pandya kings ruled from Tenkasi which was their final capital. With the invasions of Sultanates, Vijayanagaras and Nayakaras beginning in the 14th century lost their control over several important cities. The last Pandyan king known in history was Kolakonda.

However, soon after, two expeditions led by Khusrau Khan and Ulugh Khan of the Khalji Sultanate were carried out in the region. The Pandya dynasty was destroyed beyond recovery by these expeditions. The third invader Ulugh Khan not only invaded and looted the Pandyan kingdom but also brought it under the control of the Delhi Sultanate.

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