Adoor K.K. Ramachandran Nair
Kerala State Gazetteer - vol. II, Part .I
First edition: 1986



An objective assessment of  the ancient history of  Kerala is attempted in the background of the rationale  of an inter - disciplinary approach containing the results of  modern research.   Hitherto the ancient history of  Kerala was largely interwoven with legend and myth.  Recent advances in historical studies however  warrant a reconsideration.  The traditionalist study of  “Tirvithamkur Charithram”(1867) by Pachu Moothathu and  K.P. Padmanabha Menon’s four volume History of Kerala, from the starting point of the  study of Kerala History.  To this, was reinforced, the path breaking almost iconoclastic interpretation of  Prof. Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai which added a new dimension  to historiography.  His focus was centered  on Kerala as an integral constituent of a Tamilakom in the Sangam age,  in contrast with the considered  view of earlier scholars of Kerala as a well defined entity in itself in matters of religion, society, language, creed, and race.

A civilization can come into existence through the disintegration of one or more civilization of an older generation and transformation of some of their elements into a new configuration.  This process termed “affiliation” by none-less than Arnold Toynbee-the  genuinely civilized and dispassionate cosmopolitan   - is brought into the foreground when judged in  the context of Kerala History. Distinctly an affiliate of the earlier Dravidian and Tamil Civilization, subsequently it intertwined with the Arab and Occidental cultures. The assimilation has been so much that it is impossible to divide and detect.

The role of the Sangam workers, in the early history of Kerala needs further probe by scholars.  Such an effort will throw much light on the obscure aspects of archaeology, anthropology, sociology and linguistics of the period. The pertinent observation of George L. Hart of  the university of  Wisconsin - “Ancient Tamil literature, was written by high class poets who followed the model of the oral poetry of the Panans and Paraiyans, men of lowest class and Bramanical bias. For this reason, it gives a more accurate picture of the social life and customs of the area to which it belongs than does any other classical literature of India” - is germane.

The lacunae in the conclusions of Prof. Elamkulam have been considerably filled by the studies emanating from contemporary sources like Department of History, University of Kozhikode, Deccan college, Poona, Saiva Siddhantha works publishing Society, Madras, Society for South Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, U. S. A. etc. Mention undoubtedly has to be made of the valuable contributions of the contemporary Indian and Western historians, among whom the most prominent  are Prof. K. A. Neelakanta Sastry, Dr. K. K. Pillay, T. V. Mahalingam, M. G. S. Narayanan, Iravatham Mahadevan, K. G. Krishnan, Burton Stein, Gilbert Slater, Oppert. The Journal of Kerala Studies of the Department of Kerala History, University of Kerala has significantly assisted to bring to the fore the results of the advanced studies and investigations. Still many a void needs to be filled, which a future historian would well be justified in attempting.

1-  1 -1986


Pre-history - Iron Age - Chronology of the Iron Age.   ( 1 - 15 )
Early Inhabitants of Kerala       ( 15 - 23 )
Kerala between 10th century B. C. and 5th century A. D.     ( 23 - 28 )
Ezhimala Kingdom       ( 28 - 45 )
The Ay Kingdom          ( 45 - 54 )
The Early Cheras          ( 54 - 83 )
Vanchi, the Chera Capital      ( 84 - 90 )
Kerala during Sangam Period - Society Religion - Kingship -
Social Structure - Educational System - Fine Arts -  Manram -
Festivals - Food - Dress - Ornaments - Trade.        ( 91 - 140 )
The Kalabhra Interregnum       ( 141 -  147 )
Kalabhra Interregnum and after - The Chalukyas of Vatapi -
The Pallavas of Kanchi - The Rashtrakutas -
Impact of Chola and Pallava occupation.      
  ( 147 - 154 )
Post  Sangam Period - The Ays - Social and other conditions in
the Ay Kingdom - Buddhist and Jaina temples.       ( 154 - 169 )
The Kalasekharas of Mahodayapuram.            ( 169 - 192 )
The legend of the Perumals.                             ( 192 - 197)
Social and Cultural life under the Kulasekharas - Administration - Capital city - Progress of trade - Literature - Decline of Buddhism and Jainism - Impact of Buddhism and Jainism - Aryanisation - Rise of Temples and Temple Arts - Devadasi System - Education and learning - Marumakkathayam - The coming of the Islam - The coming of the Jews - The Advent of Christianity.         ( 197 - 300 )
Appendix 1
Pre-historic Archaeology     ( 301 - 303 )
Appendix 2
Megalithic Monuments of Kerala   (304 - 326 )
Appendix 3
Legendary Genealogy of Mushika Kings    ( 327 - 341 )
Appendix 4
Origin of Malayalam    ( 342 - 347 )
Appendix 5
Sakthibhadra       ( 348 - 356 )
Appendix 6
Kollam Era     ( 357 - 360 )

1) The Neolithic Monument discovered by Babington from Kanyakode Hills, Malabar.
2) Laterite monument at Angadipuram.
3) Kodakkallu.
4)a. A group of Toppikkallus, Arayannur.
b. A Dolmen
5)Multiple Rock-cut cave, Kattakambal.
6)A cist inside stone circle, Porkkalam.
7)Pottery Types 1 to 17 - From the Megalithic Burials, Valapai near Trichur.
8)Megalithic Burials, Valapai near Trichur.
9)A set of 8 undated punch-marked coins discovered at Eyyal, Cochin
10)A set of  12 Roman coins discovered at Eyyal (Cochin) 1st - 2nd century A. D.
11)Another set of  12 Roman coins discovered at Eyyal (Cochin) 1st - 2nd century A. D.
12)Bharanikavu Buddha.
13)Karumadikuttan (Stupa and Statue).
14)Mavelikkara Buddha.
15)Buddha at Paruvasseri.
16)The image of Buddha in Kilirur Temple, Kottayam.
17)Kuthirakettu Festival(Olipurathu Temple, Thattayil)
18)Jaina Basti - reliefs at the Bhagavathi Temple in Kallil, Ernakulam District.
19)a. Rock-cut Siva Shrine at Vilinjam, Trivandrum District.
b. Inner ambulatory of Kaviyur - Wall carvings, Kaviyur.
20)Approach to the Sri Mahadeva temple, Kaviyur, Alleppey District - Inner prakara at Kaviyur.
21)Bracket figure at Thiruvanchikulam temple with “Hoy sala” elements, Trichur District.
22)View from Mattancheri Palace, Cochin towards temple and Synagogue.
23)Kaladi, The Birth place of Sankaracharya.
24)Mosque at Cranganore.
25)St. Thomas Church, Palayur.
26)St. Thomas Shrene, Mylapore.