The Chera Dynasty is one of the three principal dynasties that reigned in Southern India during the early centuries dotting the Christian Era. The origin of Chera Dynasty dates back to 300 BC. The Sangam literature is replete with details and stories of the rulers of the Chera dynasty who achieved and accomplished extraordinary respect, and also with tales of the great poets who were patronized by the Chera Rulers.
Traditionally, the Chera Dynasty is broadly classified into the following sections, based on the Areas and Topography –
- Puzhinadu (the sandy land) – This was formerly known as Ezhil Malai kingdom.
- Kudanadu (the western land) – This comprised of the land lying on the western end of the Cheran domain.
- Karkainadu (the rocky, impenetrable land) – This lies to the East of Kudanadu.
- Kuttanadu (the land of lakes) – The name, as it clearly signifies, was adopted no doubt because the land was abundant with lakes and ponds.
- Velnadu – The fifth and last domain.
Chera Dynasty – Military
Like all powerful kingdoms, the Cheras too had their fair share of enemies, and fought several battles with their competitors – the Cholas and the Pandiyans. To prepare themselves for such attacks, the Cheras put together a fully equipped army that was complete with chariots, elephants, infantry and cavalry. The Cheras were also a superstitious clan, and they had many ingrown traditions, one of which involved the Chera rulers who fought and won their battles wearing anklets made out of the crown of the rulers they defeated.
Chera Dynasty – Trade and Commerce
Trade flourished during their reign, it involved commercial relations with the Satavahanas within the Indian Territory, and the Romans and Greeks abroad. Since the Chera power extended to coastal areas of Southern India, they used it to their advantage by building ports and thereby enabling trade and commerce to flourish.
At the time when the Chera Dynasty was thriving, differences on the basis of caste and race had not cropped up, and the people lived under the common banner of equality.
Written By: Saikrupa Chandramoli