|Zamindar of Pitchavaram|
Those who were favored by the British seized the opportunity to make false claims about themselves. They changed their caste names and also claimed that they are descendants of ancient kings.
One such claim is made by the landlords of Pitchavaram. They claim that they are the real descendants of Cholas. They justify this by stating that they have the coronation right in the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple just like the Chola kings.
The Pitchavaram zamin family claims that since the traditional priest of the temple, the Dikshitars, perform the coronation and also pass the temple key to them, then they must be the real Cholas under the title Cholanar or Cholanganar.
Having coronation in Chidambaram with titles like Cholanar in the hands of Dikshitar during British era does not make one a Chola king. Temple management can always change when different rulers rule the land. The former Chola country was ruled by the Pandyas, the Vijayanagars, the Nayaks, the Marathas and finally it fell into the hands of the British
When the Nayaks conquered Madurai, they crowned themselves in the Meenachi Temple. However, this does not make them Pandyan kings.
Gettibommu Naicker, the Telugu Palayakarar of Panchalankurichi was called VeeraPandya Kattabomman. This does not make him a Pandyan king.
The Cholas were defeated by the Pandyas in the 13th century. Some historian puts the year as 1280. The earliest record of Pitchavaram coronation in Chidambaram is only in 1908.
So for 628 years, there were no news about any Chola kings. All of a sudden in 1908, somebody calls himself Chola king and that too only during the British era.
The Pitchavaram family could not provide any record of coronation prior to 1908. If they were indeed the real Chola kings, then they should be able to provide a list of successors since 1280.
As we know, the Dikshitars pass the key to the Pitchavaram family after closing the temple each day. It is not the duty of a king to hold the key of the temple.
That is actually the duty of the temple guardians who are appointed by rulers to manage and guard the temple. Such people will usually be given lands near the temple so that they can live nearby and help to manage it.
Since they have the key, they will also need to rush to the temple if there is an emergency during wee hours. The priest will knock on their door each morning as early as 4am to retrieve the key.
The priest will also pass it back to them late in the night once the prayers are over. Practically speaking, kings will not commit themselves to such responsibility.
They will have to hold the key and stay in the palace daily if they commit to this. It is logical to just appoint someone and let him handle it.
Holding the key of a temple makes one important but that does not make him a king. There were also many communities such as Kaikolars who were made temple guardians.
The Pitchavaram family belongs to a community which calls itself as AgniKulam (Fire Race). Lately, many cyber cadres from the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) waged an online crusade claiming that Rajaraja Chola belongs to the AgniKulam community which is also known as Palli or Vanniyar in Tamil Nadu.
This cannot be true because Rajaraja Chola belongs to SuryaVamsam (Solar Lineage). This is why he is also known as RaviKulaManikam and RaviVamsaSikamani. Ravi is the other word for Surya. So there is no chance of Rajaraja Chola being a Vanniyar because he is not from AgniVamsam.
To counter this, the PMK cadres claimed that SuryaVamsam descended from the AgniKulam or AgniVamsam (Fire Lineage). This is actually a baseless myth.
Let us examine some of the myths which is used by the PMK cadres to justify their claims....
They claimed that SuryaVamsam and ChandraVamsam (Lunar Lineage) came from AgniVamsam. Dushenthen was believed to be a descendant of Agni. Dushenthen's son was King Guryamen or Karendhamen: he had four sons called Pandyan, Keralen, Solen (Cholan) and Kolen. The kingdom was divided among the sons by their father who called the divisions after their names Pandya, Sola (Chola), Kerala and Kola.
If this myth is true, then the Pandyan and Chola dynasty will become brother dynasties. Their children will become panggali (parallel cousins). Therefore they cannot intermarry.
We know this is not true because Pandyas and Cholas are not panggali. They are muraipasangga (cross cousins) and they intermarry. The Pandyas belong to ChandraVamsam and the Cholas are SuryaVamsam.
The actual origin of the royal lineages of India is written in the Puranas.
According to the Puranas, Manu was the progenitor of mankind. He was the son of Surya (Sun). Manu had 9 sons and a daughter named Ila. Manu's son, Ishvaku, is the founder of the SuryaVamsam dynasty named after his grandfather, Surya.
Ishvaku's sister Ila married Budha, son of Chandra (Moon). Their union created the ChandraVamsam dynasty named after Chandra.
Both Rama of Ayodhya and Rajaraja Chola belong to the SuryaVamsam dynasty created by Ishvaku. The Pandyas belong to the ChandraVamsam created by Ila and Budha.
That means, those of ChandraVamsam and SuryaVamsam are muraipasangga. They can intermarry.
The origin of the AgniVamsam is different. AgniVamsam was created later during the time of Sage Vasistha. Vasistha performs an AgniHoma (Fire Sacrifice) and from the burning fire, emerges a man. He is the founder of the AgniVamsam.
This is the real origin of the royal lineages as written in our Puranas. People of the same lineage cannot intermarry because they are SaGothra; of the same gothra.
Vanniyars were born in opposition to two demons named Vatapi and Mahi. These demons received the boon of invincibility against everything except fire allowing them to swallow the wind and the sun. The first Vanniyar (known as Veera Vanniyan, Rudra Vanniyan, Vanni Raja or Banniraya) was born from the flames of the sacrificial fire with a host of armed horsemen to defeat the demons. He then sired 5 sons who later become the ancestors of the divisions in Vanniyar caste.
In this myth, it is said that the subdivisions of the Vanniyar caste was created by 5 brothers who were born to the first Vanniyar. That means all Vanniyars will become panggali as they are descendants of brothers from the same father. If this is true, the Vanniyars cannot even marry other Vanniyars. They will have to look for brides from other castes because this will make all of them panggali.
This is another myth which cannot be taken as true.
The Vanniyars claim to also descend from the Dvarapalakas or "gate guardians" who were created to guard a particular Vanni tree which the Pandava brothers used to hide their weapons upon entering the kingdom of Virata. The descendants of these gate guardians worshiped Draupadi, the shared wife of the Pandava brothers. For this reason, Draupadi cult is quite popular among present day Vanniyar community members.
Anyone who read Mahabaratha or Ramayana knows that both the Pandya and Chola dynasty existed even before the era of Draupadi or Pandavas. These dynasties were mentioned in our Itihasas.
That means the Vanniyars cannot be the founders of these dynasties because the Vanniyars were only born after the kingdoms were created.
The cadres are relying on mythology to justify their fire origins. Not only these myths contradict with one another, the myths also does not match the origins of royal lineages as written in our Puranas. Therefore, claims of fire origins based on unreliable mythology holds no water.
Based on this, the following can be established:
1.The fire myth origin of the Vanniyars does not conform to the originaly mythology as written in our Puranas.
2.SuryaVamsam and ChandraVamsam did not originate from AgniVamsam.
3.SuryaVamsam, ChandraVamsam and AgniVamsam did not originate from the same father.
4.AgniVamsam was created only after ChandraVamsam and SuryaVamsam were created.
5.Vanniyar's claim of Agni origin and that they have Surya and Chandra lineages is questionable.
6. Pandyas and Cholas existed even before the fire myth of Vanniyars happened.
7. Rajaraja Chola is SuryaVamsam, therefore, he cannot be a Vanniyar.
8.There is no record of Pitchavaram Zamin coronation prior to 1908.
9.There is no historical proof to support claim that Pitchavaram Zamin are descendants of Cholas.
10.There is no mention of Pitchavaram Zamin as Cholas for 628 years.
The communal identity of Tamil kings can only be established by proper research. It cannot be established by making false assumption. Since we know that the real Pandyas belong to ChandraVamsam and the real Cholas belong to SuryaVamsam, we can use this information to research about them.
The Tamil royal families also intermarried with other royalties irrespective of linguistic differences. They also have descendants living in Southeast Asia.
All these needs to be considered when researching. One has to research genuinely by putting aside communal affiliation else the truth will never be out.