The Migration of Nagarathars
The Nagarathars migrated
towards Pandya kingdom. The reason is that one of the Chola kings fell in
love with one of the nagarthar girls, but the King refused to marry her.
The nagrathars requested the King to marry her, but the king was very
stubborn.Therefore the whole women community gave up their life and the
men moved to the Pandya kingdom. The Pandian welcomed the Nagarthars and
asked them where they wanted to live in his land. The nagrathars opted for
the Chettinad Area. The Pandian wanted the community to grow and therefore
he requested the nagrathars to marry again. Therefore they married the
girls from the Saiva Vellalar community from Tirunelveli area. May be that
is the reason they still have the practice of dressing the dad as Appachi
,mom as Aatha ,granny as Appatha / Aaya & grandad
We, presently known as
Nattukottai Nagarathars, are believed to have originated from Chandrapuri
in the former Naganadu. There appears to be no authentic record in writing
for said belief, excepting what has been handed down to our ancestors by
word of mouth, especially 'Thalattu Padal' which itself has taken twist
and turn over the years and has lost its originality. Our 'Isaikudimanam'
(marriage deed) also bears testimony to our origin wherein it refers to 'Nagavalla…..'
Location of former Naganadu is also debatable. Some of our Nagarathars say
it is the border between Kerala and Tamilnadu and some say it is the
present day Nagaland. Now we hear the origin is from an area in present
Eminent authors have
written that Nagarathars migrated to Kanchipuram during Kaliyuga era, year
204 and lived there for 2,108 years. Again no written record is available
for this. They are said to have moved to Kaviripoom Pattinam, a coastal
city and port also known as Poombugar, Capital of Chola Nadu, in Kaliyuga
era, year 2312. They lived in Kaviripoom Pattinam for 1463 years until
Kaliyuga era, year 3775.They were then known as Nattukottayars.
Silapathigaram and Periyapuranam describe Kaviripoom Pattinam and bear
testimony to the greatness of Nattukottayar community there. They are said
to have traveled from Kaviripoom Pattinam to Melaka during Chola Dynasty
as traders in Gem, Pearls, Silk and Spices. But available records indicate
they traveled to Kandy, Colombo in 1805, Penang, Singapore 1824, Moulmein
1852, Rangoon 1854, Mandalay 1885 and later to Medan - Indonesia, Hochimin
City (Saigon) Vietnam, Pnompen Cambodia, Vientiane Los, Southern Thailand,
various States in Peninsular Malaysia, established money lending business
and subsequently some of them settled there.
It has been said that
available records at Patharakudi madam, Thulavoor madam indicate the
arrival of Nattukottayrs in Pandiya Nadu during Kaliyuga era, year 3808.
They first settled in Ilayathankudi and were called Nagarathar as they had
attained Thanavanigar status while at Poombugar.
Nattukottayar are said to
have lived in splendour at Kaviripoom Pattinam. While the King lived in
the City in his castle (kottai), Nattukottayar lived in their countryside
mansions (Kottai). Hence, 'nattupurathil kottai katti valnthathal' they
were then called 'Nattukottayar'. 'Thanavanigar' status attributes to
their mercantile activities in Poombugar.
obligation to the Royal family was to Crown the King during Coronation
ceremony. King Poovandi Cholan's misdeed caused 8,000 Thanavanigar
families inclusive of women and all female children to perish in suicide
to save their Honour, Reputation and Dignity. Only male children at
Kurugulam (Community Boarding School) out of Town survived. After nine
years (Kaliyuga era, year 3784) King Poovandi Cholan requested young
Thanavanigars to crown his son Erajapooshna Cholan. They consented and to
comply with tradition that only married person could perform crowning
ceremony young Thanavanigars married 'Vellalar' community women.
King Sounthara Pandiyan
of Madurai Nagar wishing for good immigrants to dwell in his Kingdom,
requested King Erajapooshana Cholan and in Kaliyuga era, year 3808,
Thanvanigars migrated to Pandiya Nadu. They first settled in Ilayathankudi
and were called 'Nagarathars'.
Ilayathankudi Kovil. To the others, King Sounthara Pandiayan granted
Mathoor Kovil, Vairavan Patti Kovil in Kaliyuga era, year 3813. Irraniyur
Kovil, Pillayar Patti Kovil, Illuppakkudi Kovil in Kaliyuga era, year
3815. Soorakkudi Kovil and Velangudi Kovil in Kaliyuga era, year 3819.
Note: Many Scholars
opine; Thanvanigars migrated to Pandiya Nadu at the invitation of King
Sounthara Pandiyan. Others say, the male children at 'Kurugulam' fled
under the guidance of the Guru and sought refuge in Pandiya Nadu.
Salvage operations going
on at Poombugar site has unearthed some ancient Temples buried in the sea.
Tamilnadu State Government announced their plan to excavate stone carvings
at ancient Temple sites. We hope these would produce some source of
information on early Nagarathar community in Poombugar.
carved in stone, copper plates and 'Olai Chuvadi' (palm-leaf manuscripts)
available in Madalayams and Libraries bear testimony to the aforesaid
grants from King Sounthara Pandiyan. Subsequent British Administration is
said to have authenticated referred grants and issued Document of Tile to
the various Temples. (I have during my younger days seen the Title Deed
signed by the then Governor of Madras Presidency, in respect of the 12 odd
acres of land granted to Soorakkudi Kovil).
Historians belive, when
Thanavanigars arrived at Chola Nadu, King Manuneethi Cholan honoured them
by granting 'Singak kodi' (Flag with Lion emblem/logotype) and decreed
that they would be the Prinicpal Vaisigar and Maguda Vaisigar. He
permitted them to inhabit in three streets at Kaviripoompattinam,
excepting the North Street wherein other merchant community had already
It is said that, before
the 8,000 Thanavanigar families, inclusive of women and all female
children, perished in suicide, their male children from the aforesaid
seven groups, were left in the care of their Kurugula Prathana Guru, Shri
Athumanatha Sathiriyar together with their possessions, to perform 'Sisu
Paribalanam' and 'Maragatha Vinayagar Poojai'.
children, 600 from West street, 400 from South street, 502 from East
street, totaling 1,502 are believed to have left Kaviripoom Pattinam on
the guidance of their guru. Upon arrival at Pandiya Nadu all of them
settled at Ilayathankudi. When they attained marriageable age, they took
Bride from 'Arumbuhuthi Velalar' community of 'Pandukudi' and 'Thiruvetriyur'
origin. Their 'Thirumangalyam' was worn with, what was then known as 'Arumbuk
Kaluthooru', is beign called the same to this day.
Nagarathars in the seven groups resulted in the eventual shifting of six
groups to various Kovils in Pandiya Nadu.
||Seven pirivu moved to Matroor
||Three pirivu moved to
|Name not known group
||Moved to Nemam Kovil
||Moved to Iluppakudi Kovil
|Puhal vendiya parakiramudayar
||Moved to Soorakkudi Kovil
||Moved to Velankudi Kovil
||Seven Pirivu & Two brothers
remained at Ilayathangudi Kovil
|Some years later elder
brother Thiruvetpoorudayar moved to Iraniyur Kovil
|Younger brother also
known as Thiruvetpoorudayar moved to Pillayarpatti Kovi
Between 1300 and 1500 A.
D. Mohamedan raid, conflicts between smaller principality, escalating
civil disorder, robbery by Palayakkarars (Zamindars), burglary, in Pandiya
Nadu caused the Nattukottai Nagarathars to burry their valuables including
that of their Temples, Ahyembon Idols, Jewellery, ornaments, silver,
copper, brass ware etc and moved out off the nine Temple area and settled
in 96 adjoining villages. Thus, they were then called 'Thonnutraru-oorar'.
They dwelled in the 96 villages along with other communities. These
villages were then classified into seven Vattahais or Pirivus (sub
regions), called to this day, 1. Pathinettur Vattahai, 2. Melappattur, 3.
Mela Vattahai, 4. Kila Vattahai, 5. Terku Vattahai, 6. Kilappattur and 7.
Nindakarai Pirivu. As of March 1953, they were reported to have domiciled
in 75 villages only. In 1994 it was only 75 villages. Either they had
moved out off their earlier place of domicile and migrated to other towns
and cities or its entire residents abandoned the whole village itself and
who had moved into Nattarasankottai, have built their Nagaram on the same
concept as our earlier settlement at Kaviripoom Pattinam. We find all the
Kovils, Kulam, within a large square in the center of Nattarasankottai
Nagar and Nagarathar dwellings around the square.
comprises of seven groups namely, 1. Okkurudayar, 2. Arumboorkilarana
Pattana samiyar, 3. Perumaruthoorudayar, 4. Kalnivasarkudiyar, 5.
Kinginikoorudayar, 6. Perasenthoorudayar, 7. Siru setroorudayar. These
seven groups, their two elder and younger brothers known as
Thiruvetphoorudayar had lived together at Ilayathankudi. Some years later,
elder brothers moved to Irraniyur Kovil and the younger to Pillayarpatti
Devasthanam had in the past established a maternity hospital cum infant
care center and Elementary school. These were later handed over to
Government. They have also provided piped water, lighting in the streets,
set up botanical garden, Guesthouse and Post Office at Ilayathankudi.
Sithar worshipped at
Mathoor Kovil. His incantation of Aimbon, resulted in ahinooru (five
hundred) variations of the alloy. Hence, Mathoor Kovil samy is known by
the name Ahinootreesar.
Nagarathar comprise of three pirivus namely, 1. Peria vahuppu, 2.
Theivanayagar vahuppu 3. Pillayar vahuppu with two sub pirivus, 3.1.
Kalanivasa ludayar and 3.2. Maruthentirapura mudayar. All three are
brothers. A Vinayagar, within the Kovil Ahvaranam (compound) is the
principal deity for Nagarathars in Pillayar vahuppu. The statue of
Theivanayagar at Samy sannathi, is the ancestor of Nagarathars in
Theivanayagar vahuppu. Some authors believe, Nagarathars in Periya vahuppu
may have derived their Pirivu name by order of descent and being greater
in number of Pullis.
A 1926 archeology report
No 3 mentions the discovery of stone carving dated; Rowthri varudam, Thai
matham, Irandam thethi (1501 A.D) at Irraniyur Kovil. Inscription therein
bear testimony to the granting of the site, south of Pathrakaliyamman
Kovil, to a person known as Kalvasa nattil, Ilayathankudiyan
Kulasegrpurathil Thiruvetpoorudayan. Residents of Irraniyur had freely
given the site, as Thevi's thanam to consecrate Amman deity. Subsequently,
the ancient temple on the site was dismantled and Nagarathars built
Irraniyur Kovil. Stone carvings around the four walls of Karpagraham at
Irraniyur Kovil describe many honourable and charitable deeds of the
highest order dating back to about 650 years. Copies of Archeological
report are available with Irraniyur Kovil Nagarathars.
Chola King, Seyangonda
Solan, consecrated Nemam Kovil. Hence, Nemam Kovil Samy is known by the
name Seyangonda Solaysar.
Nagarathar are said to have found nine Idols made of Ahimbon that was
buried deep, at the site of the present Temple, before it was built and
first known Kumbabishegam held in 1898. It is believed, to avoid burglary
by Theevetti kollai karan, probably Mohamedan invaders and Palayakkarars,
(Zamindars) their ancestors may have buried these Idols.
indicate, earliest known Kumbabishegam dates of the nine Nagara Kovils as
||Prabava varudam, Vaihasi matham,
||Saruvathari varudam, Thai matham,
||Jaya varudam, Chithirai matham,
||Subhanu varudam, Thai matham,
||Vilambi varudam, Thai matham,
||Pilavanga varudam, Vaihasi matham,
||Sowmiya varudam, Ahvani matham,
||Vilambi varudam, Ahni matham,
||Easwar varudam, Ahni matham,
About thirty different
communities in Tamilnadu have been identified to being called as "Chettiars".
We, the "Nattukkottai Nagarathar" otherwise commonly known, as
"Nattukkottai Chettiar" community is one among them. The word
"Chetti" affixed to our names in all documents in the past is
still being followed to a lesser extent. Our 'Isaikudimanam' (marriage
deed), 'Pana Thiruppu' (cash compliment at weddings), 'Pulli panam' at 'Padappu',
'Thiruvathirai', 'Puthumai', 'Karthigai Soopidi', weddings, 'Pulli vari'
(religious tithes - to respective nine Nagara Kovils, native village/town
Kovils administered by Nattukkotai Nagarathars, 'Pulli' register at Kovils,
'Jathaham' (horoscope), 'Undiyal' or 'Hundi' (Bill of exchange, promissory
note) all bear the word "Chetti" affixed to our names. Some 'Jathaham'
these days are found to have "Chettiar" affixed to the name of