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Adi Veera Rama Pandian – A Pandya King

Adi Veera Rama Pandian, also written as Ativirarama Pandya, is one of the later Pandya kings who ruled from Tenkasi as a subordinate ruler under the Vijayanagara kings. Adi Veera Rama Pandian, also known as Sri Vallabha, attained distinction as a scholar, poet and patron of arts and religion. He was proficient in both Sanskrit and Tamil. He reigned from 1564 – 1603 CE.

Several Tamil literary works are attributed to Adi Veera Rama Pandian, the most important being Naitatam, an adaptation in Tamil verse of the Sanskrit work Naishadam of Sri Harsha. According to tradition, Adi Veera Rama Pandian decided on his adaptation, after he had listened to the Sanskrit work. His work, which consists of 1172 verses, shows the author’s familiarity with the earlier literary classics like the Kamba Ramayanam (the classic Tamil Version of Kamban) and Jivaka Chintamani, a Jaina Classic.

Adi Veera Rama Pandian is also credited with translations of Sanskrit religious works such as the Kurma Purana, Linga Purana and Kashi Kandam in Skanda Purana. He also authored a small book known as Verriverkai or Naruntohai containing moral aphorisms on the model of  Kondrai-vendan of Avvaiyar.

Adi Veera Rama Pandian patronized literary figures such as Serai Kavirajan, the author of eulogy on the deity of Kalahasti and Seyur Murugan Ula (in praise of Subrahmanya) by Chidambaranar of Tiruvannamalai.

Adi Veera Rama Pandian’s contemporary was Paranjothiar, the author of Thiruvilayadal Puranam. Another great scholar, Ellappa Nayanar, who was the author of Arunaiantati, Tiruvarur Kovai, Arunachala Puranam, Tiruvirinjai Puranam and Saundaryalahari urai also lived during his period.

Adi Veera Rama Pandian built two temples, one for Shiva and another for Vishnu, the former at Tenkasi and the latter nearby.