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Paṇḍū

A nation in South India, the Pāṇḍyans. Their country comprised the greater part of the Madura and Tinnevelly, with its capital first at Kolkai and later at Madhurā.¹ Sri Lanka was inconstant communication with this country, both peaceful and otherwise. Marauding bands of Paṇḍū often came to Sri Lanka and, having deposed the rightful sovereign, ruled over the country. Chief among these invasions were the following: (a) for fourteen years, when Vaṭṭagāmaṇī lay in hiding; (b) for twenty-seven years, after the death of Mahānāma and until Dhātusena established his authority; (c) in the time of Sena I; (d) after the death of Mahinda V. They also came with Māgha and Candabhānu, and, later, with Āryacakkavattin, who succeeded in carrying the Tooth Relic away to the Pāṇḍyan court; this was later rescued by Parakkamabāhu III. Sometimes the Singhalese kings would make reprisals by invading the Pāṇḍyan territory — e.g., in the reign of Sena II, and, perhaps also, under Nissanka Malla. Parakkamabāhu I sent an army under his general Laṅkāpura to help the Pāṇḍyan king Parākrama Pāṇḍya against the Coḷa king, Kulasekhara. This, according to the Mahāvaṃsa account, brought great joy to the Singhalese.

Mention is made in the chronicles of several marriages between members of the Pāṇḍyan and the Singhalese royal families. Vijaya himself took his consort from the Pāṇḍyan king at Madhurā, and later, Mittā, sister of Vijayabāhu I, married a Pāṇḍyan prince who became the grandfather of Parakkamabāhu I. This led to the establishment of a “Pāṇḍyan party” in Sri Lanka, which was not always loyal to the reigning monarch, e.g., in the case of Vikkamabāhu III. Parakkama Paṇḍu, who deposed Līlāvati, evidently belonged to this party and probably also Vijaya III. The Pāṇḍyan kings claimed descent from the Lunar race.

¹ Codrington, op.cit., 15. For other references, see under the names mentioned. Reference should also be made to the Index at the end of the Cūḷavaṃsa, s.v. Paṇḍū.

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