Why did 102 Dancers accompany a Tamil King during Invasion?


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1190; Dated 23rd July 2014.

Cheran Senguttuvan ( also written as Cenkuttuvan) was a powerful Tamil king who ruled western part of Tamil Nadu 1800 years ago. That part of South India is called Kerala now and Malayalam is spoken in the state. He was so powerful that he destroyed all the sea pirates in the Indian ocean and his father Netuncheralathan captured the Yavanas (Ionians or Arabians) and shaved the heads of Yavanas and poured oil on their heads. It is ancient punishment. He had good friendship with the mighty Brahmin rulers Satavahanas. When he wanted to go to the holy Himalaya to bring a stone for the statue of a Chaste woman (Patni) Kannaki, Satavahanas helped him. He was successful in his expedition. He bathed the stone in Holy River Ganga and sculpted a beautiful statue for Kannaki. He invited kings from all over India and Sri Lanka. Tamil Epic Silappadikaram says that the consecration of Kannaki Temple was attended by Gajabahu of Sri Lanka. So we knew his age for sure. This happened in the second century CE.


The interesting detail from the Tamil epic is that Senguttuvan was accompanied by 102 dancers!
Senguttuvan was accompanied by
Chariots — 100
Elephants — 500
Horses — 10,000
Carts and carriages — 20,000
Kancukar (Police) — 1000
Dancing girls — 102
Musicians — 208
Jesters — 100

There is nothing new about dancers in the royal entourage. Raja Raja Choza, a mighty Tamil King whose rule extended up to Indonesia, had donated lands and houses for 400 dancers in Thanjavur. Their beautiful names in Tail and Sanskrit are found in the inscriptions in Thanjavur Big Temple.
The dancers entertained the kings and the general public during festivals and royal events.

group dance

Senguttuvan was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Just before the Himalayan expedition he went round Sri Padmanabha swamy Temple at Trivandrum. At the same time the priests from the nearby Vishnu temple brought him some Prasad which he put on the shoulder and walked to show respect. His head bowed only to the gods, says the Tamil epic.

As soon as he reached the Himalayas he ordered his soldiers:
“Go and courteously assure our support to all those who uphold the Vedas in the northern region and who led holy lives by keeping alive sacrificial fires”.

Source : Tamil Epic Silappadikaram, Canto 26– Lines 128-140

Senguttuvan came back to his capital after spending two and a half year in his Himalayan invasion.

50 kilo+ Gold for a Brahmin

In the chapter 27 — the Nirpatu katai—there is another incident of donating 50 tula (Over 50 kilo) to a Brahmin called Matalan.

The great king and wielder of lance, wearing the Palmyra garland, became mightily pleased, and saying, “O Brahmana Matalan, please accept”,he honoured him with a gift of fifty tulams of pure gold equal to his own weight.

This means Senguttuvan weighed 50 Tulam. Tula bharam is an ancient ritual and considered one of the 16 supreme gifts enjoined on all and on the king particularly. It is clear from the Vijayanagara inscriptions that its kings performed these sixteen gifts.

Pictures are taken from other websites;thanks.

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