|Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi www.slideshare.net|
Plundering of Hindu temples and other places was not new in the early parts of Indian history. The Muslim invaders from NW Gazni Mohamed (998 and 1030) of Ghaznavid dynasty Mohd. Ghouri (1149 – 1206), Timur In 1398, and Nadir Shah in 1739 not only plundered the Hindu kingdoms and temples but also those of Muslim rulers. The purpose of such invasions was to fill up their coffers and to meet expenses for the next invasions and wars. The invasion of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah during the Mogul period saw them bleed, losing most valuable stuff. The diamond studded golden peacock and the famous Kohinoor diamond were taken away by him, not to speak of their honor and dignity. Mohamed
Ghori sacked Somnath Shiva temple treasures with which he improved his seat of rule in his native place. Among the rulers of Slave dynasty of Delhi, Alauddin khilji (1295 to 1316; alias Juna Khan) was the most treacherous and despicable one. He sacked many kingdoms and valuable treasures during his reign. His military commander one Malik Kaufur, a Hindu convert and slave, with whom Khilji had homosexual relationship, is more atrocious than khilji's other military commander Ulugh Khan. They did all the plundering, killing and other most heinous acts without any mercy and kept filling Khilji's treasury.
What made Malik Kaufur come down farther south and plunder Srirangam and other temples now in Tamil region? In fact he had no plan to go farther down south. It was the Pandya ruler of Madurai, engaged in serious internal dispute over the successor to the throne made the worst blunder in his life that impacted Madurai kingdom very much.
Among the rulers of Pandya dynasty of Madurai, Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I (1250–1268) was a well known ruler and was a patron of arts and Dravidian architecture, paying attention to the regular maintenance and decoration of temples in the Tamil region. Using treasures amassed during wars, he donated them lavishly to various
Shiva and Vishnu temples. According to an article
in 'The Hindu' dated 18th November, 2015 by L. Renganathan, Sadayavarman, Sundra Pandyan I showered the Srirangam temple with lots of gold, donated golden Garuda Vahanam, golden chariot, golden bed on the Adhisesha for lords comforts, gem beaded kondai (still in use at the temple), some other solid golden images, gold plated flag mast (Dwajasthambam). Further, he had several vimanams, including Pravakara vimanam gold plated. He made palm leaf manuscripts, recording the history of the temple, his exploits and preserved them for the posterity.
On the death of Kulasekara Pandyan I in 1308 CE, a conflict regarding successor to the throne arose among his sons. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan III the legitimate & younger son and Jatavarman Veera Pandyan II, the illegitimate older son (who was favored by the king) fought each other for the throne. Sundara Pandyan sought the help of Delhi ruler. Malik Kaufer, who was on a raid to the Yadava kingdom of Devagiri. Malik Kaufur moved into this part and looted Madurai and Srirangam in 1311 CE
|Map showing Malik Kafur expedition to S.India 1311centreright.in|