Tambaram Stone Age Settlement Rajendra Chola Inscriptions

Tambaram,now a bustling suburb of Chennai was a settlement of Stone Age People.

Implement of the Stone Age and Iron Age have been found here for a radius of 10km from Old Tambaram.

A 13th Century inscription of Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola have been found(1000 AD).


The areas around Tambaram, especially the stretch from Nemilicherry, Nanmangalam , and the route from nanmangalam is declared as archeological area.

I investigated this.

This is the information.

Tambaram,now a bustling suburb of Chennai was a settlement of Stone Age People.

Implement of the Stone Age and Iron Age have been found here for a radius of 10km from Old Tambaram.

A 13th Century inscription of  Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola have been found(1000 AD).

Stone Age Hand Axe, Tambram.image.jpg
Stone Age Hand Axe, Tambram, Chennai

The area then was called Thondai Nadu.

Aathondai Flower.Image,jpg
Aathondai ,Capporis zeylanicaFlowers Used by the Pallava Kings.

Tambaram is referred to as  Taamapuram.

It’s still earlier name was Gunaseelpuram

Kunrathur near Tambaram is the birthplace of Sekkizhar who compiled the 63 Nayanmars ‘(Devotees of Shiva) lives, calling the work as Periyapuranam.

This was first inaugurated during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.


. One of the famous battles of Pallava history was fought in this region. The later Cholas, the Pandias and the Vijayanagar kings also ruled this region. Even the flowers in the jungle are connected with our history. During February and March the beautiful pink and white flowers of the aathondai or thondai creepers (Capparis zeylanica)1 adorn the campus. The region of thondai nadu comprising mainly Madras and Chinglepet districts derives its name from this flower from which garlands of the famous Pallava kings were made.

About 200,000 years ago people of the Old Stone Age (Lower Paleolithic Culture) roamed about Tambaram. They fashioned rough stone implements out of quartzite and used them for hunting and skinning wild animals. These implements or artifacts are called ‘ the hand axes of Madras industry.’ . The primitive men did not know the use of wooden handles for their stone axe-heads but used their hands instead. The first hand axe was picked up at Pallavaram over a century ago, and within the campus, several artifacts have been picked up by students4 and members of staff .


Around 300 B.C., there were people of the Iron Age living in Tambaram area and they built their burial monuments in the form of dolmens and stone circles which are called Megaliths5 (big stones). Fine examples of such Megalithic Monuments can be seen about 100 metres east of the Great Southern Trunk Road near Guduvancheri railway station.

Tambaram region must have been a flourishing country during the later Chola period which lasted for about 250 years after 1000 A.D. Tamil inscriptions of the Cholas are found in Manimangalam, Tiruneermalai, Tirusoolam and Kunrathoor. At Kunrathoor, the birth-place of Sekkilar, one Kaasyappa was the local doctor (Vaidya) 8 and some lands were set apart for his services. Inscriptions at Tiruneermalai refer to certain merchants from Pammal showing that this village near Pallavaram existed even then. Inscriptions at Manimangalam of Rajadhiraja I (1018-1054) give us details of a war with Ceylonese kings. Rajadhiraja defeated one Veerasalaamaygan of Ceylon, carried away his wife and sister and cut off the nose of his mother. This sort of barbaric behaviour seems to have been very common in those days even though the kings were supposed to follow Manu’s Dharma Sastra. Stories of such mutilations and abductions have been handed down to us in epics like the Ramayana. The inscriptions of Kulothunga I (1070-1120), the hero of Kalingathu parani, are found at Tirusoolam near Pallavaram and of the inscriptions of Kulothunga III there are several in this area.

At Pammal, on the basement of a ruined Siva temple, two Chola inscriptions not heretofore noticed were copied by the students. One is dated in the reign of Tribhuvanachakravarti Sri Rajarajadeva, and the other, in the reign of Virarajendra.

The inscription of the time of Rajaraja (III) is incomplete. It refers to an endowment for burning a lamp at a temple at Pammal. The inscription mentions that the village of Pammal belonged to Surathurnadu. It may be interesting to note that Surathurnadu was a territorial division probably named after Tiruchuram. Tiruchuram happens to be the old name of the apsidal Chola temple near Pallavaram, which is now called Tirusulam.

The second inscription at Pammal is dated in the 35th year of the reign of Virarajendra Chola. If Virarajendra is Rajendra III, the king who succeeded Rajaraja III, then this is probably the latest reported inscription of the reign of Rajendra III.

The inscription is complete and refers to an endowment of land by Panchanadhivaanan Nilakangarayan and to its exemption from taxes. The endowment is made to the temple of Azhaga Perumal by the Sri Vaishnavas.

Of special interest was the fact that this inscription refers to Tambaram, which is also called Gunaseelanallur. Tambaram is referred to here as Taampuram.


A a newly discovered Chola inscription on the basement of the Ahatisvara temple in Perungalatur gives the old name of the village as Perunkulatur, that is, the village of the big tank.

Pandya inscriptions are found at Kunrathoor, Tirusoolam and Tiruneermalai. Temple building activity which started during the Chola period continued during the Vijayanagar period in this area and inscriptions of the Vijayanagar kings of the 14th to the 17th centuries are found here. This brings us to the modern period.

This find will be one of the references for my theory that the Sanatana Dharma was in Dravida desa , if not originated from it.



1.S. Gamble, Flora of the Presidency of Madras (Calcutta, 1957), p. 33.
2 Nandikkalambakam (Tamil), (Madras, 1961), p. 66.
3 V. D. Krishnaswami, ‘ Stone Age India ‘, Ancient India (1947).
4 The largest hand axe was picked up by Mitran Devanesen when he was a student here in the Pre-University class.
5 N. R. Banerjee, ‘ Megalithic problem of Chinglepet district in the light of the recent exploration’, Ancient India, (1956), pp. 22-32.
6 V. Rangacharya, Inscriptions of the Madras Presidency, Vol. i (Madras, 1919), p. 411.
7 E. Hultzsch, South Indian Inscriptions, Vol. I (Madras, 1890), p. 152.
8 K. V. Raman, The Early History of the Madras Region (Madras,1957), p. 184.
9 E. Hultzsch, South Indian Inscriptions, Vol. 3, Part I (Madras, 1899), p. 53.
10 Annual Report of Epigraphy (1932-33), p. 75.

Author: ramanan50

Retired Senior Management Professional. Lectures on Indian Philosophy,Hinduism, Comparative Religions. Researching Philosophy, Religion. Free lance Writer.Blogger

2 thoughts on “Tambaram Stone Age Settlement Rajendra Chola Inscriptions”

  1. Excellent article sir.. Request some more details about the old temples situated in chennai.



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