The cholas descendants are “Pichavaram Poligars” (Royal Family).
They are entitled to crown in the “Thillai Natarajar Temple”, the family deity of imperial cholas. Others are not entitled for the same is clearly mentioned in the hymns of “Periya Puranam” of 12th century A.D written by the noted poet “Sekkizhar”. The “Pichavaram Cholas” are mentioned in their documents as “Kshatriya” by caste. The “Umapathi Sivacharya” (14th century) one among the “Thillai Dikshidars”, period “Parthavanam Mahatmiyam” and “Rajendrapura Mahatmiyam” published by the “Madras Sanskrit College” clearly says about the chola king “Vira Varma Chola of Pichavaram”. That is why, the “Thilla Dikshitars” used to crown to “Pichavaram Cholas Royal Family”.
The great imperial chola dynasty hails from the Vanniya Kula Kshatriya. The Poligars (Zamindar) of Pichavaram near Chidambaram are the descendant of imperial cholas. Only the clans of Cholas are entitled for crowing in the Golden roofed Chidambaram Natarajar temple, which is the family deity god (Kuladeivam) of imperial cholas. Others are not entitled for the same, according to well known Tamil Periya Puranam hymns. The imperial cholas are the real kshatriyas of Southern India. According to Anbil copper plate of Sundara chola (10th century A.D) and the birudas assumed by the King Raja Raja Chola, the cholas are the real Kshatriyas. The descendant of the imperial cholas (i.e) the "Pichavaram Cholas" are Kshatriyas (i.e) Vanniya Kula Kshatriyar by caste according to the documents of the Royal Family.
The family deity God (Kuladeivam) of imperial Cholas is Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. That is why the Chola King Parantaka made a roof with five tons of pure Gold. Crowning ceremony will be performed in Nataraja temple to the Pichavaram Zamindars, who supercedes the heiarchy as next Chola king. Those days the Kings were considered as equivalent to God and the Pattabishekam had been conducted in the sanctum sanctorum of Nataraja temple (i.e) Panchachara Padi. The Chief Priest used to wash the head of the king in Valampuri Sangu (a unique conch), which is used for God to perform abishekam.
Then the priest perform mantram and then anoint with pattam in the forehead of the king in "Palm Leaf with Mantras" and garland with "Aathi Malai", the chola clan family garland. After pattabishekam, the crowning ceremony held at 1000 pillar mandapam, which is called as "Raja Sabai." The Chief Priest (they called as Thillai Dikshidhars) anoint the Crown to the Chola King at the appropriate time with the slogans, that the Chola King to long live and the country to flourish. After that, they handover the victorious Sword and their "Tiger Flag."
The poets praise the Kings about the valours and prides. This custom and rituals clearly shows that the Pichavaram Zamindars are the descendants of imperial Cholas family and are very Pure Kshatriyas. It is the custom of Chola Kings to crown in Chidambaram Nataraja Temple (Cholas family deity god) and that too, the Thillai Dikshidhars are only eligible to crown the Chola Kings and no other kings are not eligible for the same rights is clearly explained in "Kutruvanayanar episode" by the great poet "Sekhizhar" of 12th century.
Names of the Pichavaram Zamindars, the imperial Cholas descendants, Crowned in Chidambaram Nataraja Temple in the 20th century :
(a) Maha Raja Raja Sri Samidurai Surappa Chola (Crowned in 1908 A.D).
(b) Maha Raja Raja Sri Thillai Kannu Surappa Chola (Crowned in 1911 A.D)
(c) Maha Raja Raja Sri Andiyappa Surappa Chola (Crowned in 1943 A.D)
(d) Maha Raja Raja Sri Chidambaranatha Surappa Chola (Crowned in 1978 A.D).
His elder son yet to crown, since they are now in low economic conditions. The big Chidambaram Natarajar temple belongs to the property of Pichavaram Zamindars. The temple priest daily used to close the temple and handover the key to the Palace of Pichavaram (nine km from Chidambaram town), through palanquin bearers. In the early morning King used to handover the key to temple priest through palanquin bearers. If any problem rose among the temple priest, the Pichavaram King come and solve the problem by sitting in "perambalam".
The "Chola Mandagapadi" still conducted by the Pichavaram Chola King twice in a year at the sanctum Sanctorum in the dais of "Surya Chandra Mandapam". This practice existing from the times of the great Kulotunga Chola-1. The Pichavaram Royal Family have the marriage alliance at par with the Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas Royal Families such as "Udaiyar Palayam Zamindars", "Ariyalur Zamindars", "Mugasaparur Poligars" (Virudachalam), "Vadakal Poligars" (Sirkali), "Mayavaram Poligars", "Kadalangudi Poligars" (near Kumbakonam) ect.
With regards to the existence of Pichavaram cholas, my beloved Guru and eminent archaeologist Thiru. Natana Kasinathan Sir, has done research work along with myself and my friend annal. Many valid evidence such as inscriptions/documents relates the Pichavaram cholas existence from 16th century A.D. onwards. After the downfall of the chola empire in the end of 13th century A.D., the chola clans settled in the secured place in “Devikottai”, 05 kms from Pichavaram. I have visited to “Devikottai” fort alongwith Thiru. Chandrapandia Padaiandavar of Chidambaram a few years before.
The fort is totally damaged and few ramparts are scattered in the marooned area. Most of the Learned Scholars are in the opinion that the Pichavaram cholas are the descendants of imperial cholas. However, the lack of evidence for 14th and 15th century A.D. In order to bridge the gap for the lack period, I have tried through several sources and prayed God to render evidence for the lack period. The God has fulfilled my pray. Now, I have discovered an unshakable evidence proving the Pichavaram cholas are the descendant of imperial cholas. The evidence is from Sanskrit and that too, the “Thilla Dikshidars” certified that, Pichavaram cholas are chola kings.
The details of the evidence : The “Parthavana Mahatmayam” and “Rajendrapura Mahatmayam”. Both the mahatmayams are published by Madras Sanskrit College/K.S.R. Institute, Mylapore, Chennai – 06. The mahatmayams are in Sanskrit and its about “Umapathi Sivacharya”, one among the “Thillai Dikshidars” of 14th century A.D. The mahatmayams mentions “Chola king named Vira Varma Chola of Pichapuram” is significant in history.
In Parthavana Mahatmayam : “A lady reported to the chola king named Vira Varman, who ruled the Pichapuram.”
In Parthavana Mahatmayam : “Umapathy Sivacharyar went to Vira Varma Chola and asked for a land grant to a lady. The king donated the land and went to Pichapuram.”
In Rajendrapura Mahatmayam : “Umapathy Sivacharyar went to south east of Chidambaram area the Rajendirapuram (alias) Kottrankudi and stayed along with his disciples in the madalayam constructed by Vira Varma Chola.”
In the preface of the book “Sri Umapati Sivacarya / His Life, Works and Contribution to Saivism”, the K.S.R. Institute adviser S.S. Janaki has stated the following :
“As is usual with great religious teachers and philosophical leaders there is no authentic history about the personal, religious and literary life of Umapathy Sivacharya except some scattered information. His traditional biography is found in Sanskrit at some detail in the two texts, Parthavana Mahatmya or Korravangudi Purana in 240 verses as found in Chidambarasara and in the form of a dialouge between Brahmanan dayati and Sankaracarya and Rajendrapura (Tillai) – Mahatmya or Umapati Vijaya in 108 verses by Tillai Sivananda Diksita. Both Rajendrapura and Parthavana are identical with the place Kottrangudi, the modern Kottangudi, east of the Chidambaram Railway station.
The two puranic accounts glorify Umapathi Sivacharya as having performed or participated in some miraculous deeds at Chidambaram and its vicinity. The two puranas were published in Grantha Script with summaries in Tamil in the introduction to the Chidambaram edition of the Pauskara Agama with the bhasya of Umapathi Sivacharya. They were edited from mss. secured from “Bhrama Sri Somayaji Appaswami Diksita” and Bhrama Sri Somayaji Rajaratna Diksita at Chidambaram.”
The above mentioned facts clearly shows that the Pichavaram cholas are the descendants of imperial cholas. Without knowing the fact , some elements spread the irrelevant message, stating that the, Pichavaram Zamindar is a “Pannaiar”. In what way, a pannaiar allowed in the world class Thillai Nataraja temple to crown as a Chola King. It is family deity God (Kuladeivam) of imperial cholas and that is why the, Thillai Dikshidars” crown to the Pichavaram cholas.
It is the custom/rituals to crown in the Nataraja temple by chola clans. From the times of later cholas, the “Thillai Bramins” used to crown to chola clans. Others (which includes other kings) are not entitled for the same rights. The “Thirumanikuzhi” inscription of Kulotunga Chola-II states that, he crowned in “Thilla temple. The “Thirugokarnam” inscription of Kulotunga Chola-I states, that the “Thillai Bramins” crown to chola kings. The noted poet of 12th century A.D, the “Sekkilar” clearly specify in the “Kuttuvanayanar episode” the “Thillai Bramins” refused to crown to non-chola king and said “We crown only to Chola’s clan and not to any other"
In view of the above facts, it is established that, the Pichavaram Cholas are the descendants of imperial cholas clans.
Thanks to : Murali Nayagar