Sunday, 29 November 2015

Srirangam temple plundering (1300s) by Delhi Sultanate

Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi www.slideshare.net
Malik Kafur.bytwodesign.com

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 th 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
and got vast treasures. Treasure that escaped Malik's attention at Srirangam temple were taken away by Khailji's military Commander Ulugh Kahn and his powerful army in C.E. 1323 leaving 
a trail of chaos, destruction, blood shed  and killing of 12,000 innocent Vaishnavite residents (in Tamil - 'Pannerayiravar mudi tiruthiya pandriazhwan mettu kalagam'). The annual ritual of ''Tithi'' (Pithroo Karyam) or' Sirardham' for the Pithroos (Ancestors) is being performed on Adi Ammavasai day every year on the banks of the Vaikkal near  Gopurapatti temple. 


Ref:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khilji_dynasty 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadayavarman_Sundara_Pandyan I

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-editorialfeatures/a-village-intertwined-with-history-of-srirangam/article4233379.ece