RESEARCH ARTICLE by London swaminathan


Date: 5 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London –   2-09 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5183


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.




Sangam Tamil Literature is at least 2000 years old; Rig Veda came several thousand years before that. Vyasa divided them into four Vedas 5100 years before our time according to tradition.


Rig Veda has used Yupa in two meanings

Sacrificial post-5-2-7

A pillar or a post-1-51-14

2000-year-old Tamil Literature used the same Sanskrit word in several places in two meanings; sacrificial pot or just a post.

Let me explain the places where it is used in the meaning of a sacrificial post; in addition to the Sanskrit word Yupa, it has beautiful translated it as Velvi Thun in a few other verses. Velvi = Yaga and Thun= post or pillar.


Tamil kings are well versed in Yagas and Yajnas. Under the guidance of able Brahmins, they did Rajasuyam and Asvamedham.


Sangam Literature consists of 18 books. Of them Purananuru is the encyclopedia of Tamil community.

Following are the very important references of YUPA:-

Purananuru  verse 224- line 1

Purananuru  15-21

Velvi Thun (Yaga Post)- Purananuru verse 400

Perumpanatruppadai- Lines 315-318

Akananuru – Velvi Nedunthun -220

Purananuru- 400

In addition to the above verses, we come across a reference to Rajasuyam in Purananuru verse 367. The Rajasuyam was performed by the Choza king Perunarkilli and attended by Ukkra Peruvazuth and Chera king Mari Venko. Avvaiyar, the mst famou Tamil poetess was over the moon to see all the three kings in unity. Tamils were notorious fighters who fought with one another for 1500 years continuously. That was the reason for Avvaiyar’s great jubilation.

From the above Yupa or Velvi Thun references we come to know that the kings who did Yaga and ereced Yupa post were:

1.Greatest of the Choza kings Karikalan

2.Greatest of the Pandya Kings Mudu Kudumi Peruvazuthi

3.Choza Nalamkilli

4.Sellur Kosar Community

5.Thondaiman Ilanthiraiyan

6.perhaps Rajasuyam performer PerunaR Killi


Some interesting details about them are:

Kadiyalur uruttiran Kannan (Rudraksha of Kadiyalur) sings about King Thondaiman Ilanthiraiyan—

“A king fisher coloured like a  sapphire seeking for prey took the jewel of  in its bill, and instead of going to the leaf of the Palmyra tree filled with birds, sat on the YUPA at which learned finished their sacrifice; it looked like a swan lamp on the mast of the boat of the Yavanas and twinkled like Venus which heralds dawn” (Perum Panatruppatai)


In the Puram verse 15, poet Nettimaiyar is wondering about the powerful Pandya Mudukudumi , whether his enemies are more in number or the Yupa post more in number. The emperor as performed so many yagas.

Kalidasa also confirms it in his Raguvamsa Kaya. When the Panady king was introduced to Indumati, her maid says this king always appear in wet cloth worn during Asvamedha Yajna (actual verse mentioned only Avabruda Snana done during Asvameda). Recent discoveries include the kings name in Tamil on a coin with Ava/horse image.


Before going into the details available in Hindu scriptures about the appearance and significance of Yupa, let me list the famous 19 Yupa posts discovered so far:-

1.Isapur, Mathura in Uttarpraesh, dated 102 CE

2.Kosam, Prayag, U.P. – 125 CE

  1. and 4.Naandsaa, Udaipur, Rajas. – 225 CE

5.Barnaala, Jaipur, Rajs.- 227 CE

6-9.- Badvaa- Kotah, Rajas.- 238 CE

10.Nagar, Jaipur, Rajas.- 264 CE

11.Barnaala, Jaipur- 278 CE

  1. Bijayagarh, Bharatpur, Rajas.- 71 CE

13-19- Kotei, Borneo, Indonesia- Seven Sanskrit Inscriptions on Yupa Stone Pillars- King Mulavarman 400 CE.

( This is not a comprehensive list)

Yupa inscriptions in Sanskrit


In Borneo scattered undated materias are found near Kapuas, Rata and the Mahkam rivers or in isolated pockets, the earliest epigraphic data from the island refer to Kotei at Muarakaman, on the Mahakam river in Borneo dated 400 CE.

The Kutei inscriptions are seven in number, of which four were found in 1879 and the rest in 1940. The inscriptions belong to Mulavarman, son of Asvavarman and grandson of Kundungga.

The inscriptions engraved on stone Yupas or sacrificial posts, refer to the performance of certain rituals and offerings of various kinds.

Mulavarman Sanskrit Inscription in Bangkok Museum.

In the second part let us look at the appearance of Yupa.


–to be continued…………………….


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