Uthiyan Cheralathan - Founder Of Chera Dynasty

Uthiyan Cheralathan - Founder Of Chera Dynasty

Uthiyan Cheralathan, also known as Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan and Udiyanjeral is the first recorded Chera ruler of the Sangam period in ancient South India, ruled around 130 A.D. Chera dynasty was one of the three geatest dynasties of ancient south India, the other two being the Pandyan dynasty and the Chola dynasty.

 He is famous to have feed the armies of Kauravas and Pandavas during the epic battle of Mahabharata. To feed such a huge army is not a small thing. It effects the economy of the empire and results in the scarcity of food and resources for the people of his kingdom. But the Chera empire under his rule was very rich in resources and abundant in food production that they easily fed such huge armies of Kauravas and Pandavas. The food for armies in such large quantities has to be cooked in a giant kitchen. That royal kitchen in which food for armies of Kauravas and Pandavas was cooked, is said to have been at Kuzhumur.

His wife was Veliyan Nallini, the daughter of Veliyan Venman. He ruled his kingdom with capital at Kuzhumur in Kuttanad which is central part of Kerala. He was a contemporary of the Chola ruler Karikala Chola.

During the reign of Uthiyan Cheralathan, Foreign trade by famous ancient sea port Muziris flourished. Muziris was an ancient sea port and urban centre on the Malabar coast. The trade was done between Chera empire and the Phoenicians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Roman empires. The important known commodities exported from Muziris were Spices ( such as black pepper and malabathron ), semi-precious stones ( such as beryl ), pearls, diamonds, Sapphires, ivory, chinese silk, gangetic spikenard, tortoise shells etc,. This trade relations brought prosperity to the Chera empire and strengthened economy.

 He assumed the title "Vanavaramban" which could either mean "one whose kingdom reaches up to sky" or "the one who's loved by the gods". The Mauryan emperor, the great Ashoka also assumed the title of "the one who's loved by the gods" like him.

The army of Uthiyan Cheralathan was very huge. His army consisted of huge cavalry. He also had big number of war elephants which were crucial in the battle fields. A battle took place between Uthiyan Cheralathan and Chola emperor Karikala Chola which was called as "Battle Of Venni". In this battle his back was injured while leading the army. He probably lost that battle because several records mention that unable to bear the disgrace he is believed to have committed suicide by starvation. So it is clear that he lost the battle. To commit suicide by starvatiion was a common practice at that time. Some of his companions also died with him unwiling to part him.
Uthiyan Cheralathan was succeeded by his son, Nedum Cheralathan.

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