King Senguttuvan; also Chenguttawan, was the most famous and powerful Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 king who ruled in Ancient south India during the early centuries of the Common Era. He is famous for the legends surrounding Kannagi
Kannagi or , a legendary Tamil woman, is the central character of the South Indian epic Silapathikaram. Legend states that Kannagi took revenge on the King of Madurai, for a mistaken death penalty imposed on her husband Kovalan, by cursing the city with disaster.-The story:Kovalan, the son of a...

, the heroine of the legendary Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 epic Silapathikaram. According to legends, Ilango Adigal
Ilango Adigal
Ilango Adigal was a Tamil poet and a Jain monk, who was instrumental in the creation of Silappathikaram, one of the five great epics of Tamil Literature. Prince Ilango was the brother of Chera king Cheran Chenguttuvan , in South India. Ilango Adigal was born in the Chera dynasty that ruled parts...

, a Jain monk and the author of Silapathikaram was king Senguttuvan's younger brother, but renounced the throne to become saint. Senguttuvan was a Hindu, and holds an important position in the expansion and consolidation of the ancient Chera kingdom. Senguttuvan moved his capital from present day Karur to Thiruvanchikkulam on the Malabar coast. Pliny, the Roman historian, writes that his seaport, Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

Pattanam , presently a land locked rural hamlet located in the Periyar Delta, 2  km north of North Paravur, 9  km south of Kodungallur and 25  km north of Kochi in Ernakulam District in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Pattanam that means coastal town has ancient origins...

), ‘abounds in ships’. Senguttuvan ruled for 55 years dated to c. 110–165 CE (according to the Pathirruppaththu ) or c. 241–296 CE.

Senguttuvan, says the epic Silapathikaram, was born to King Nedun-cheralathan, who bears the title, Imaya Varamban ("He who has the Himalayas as his boundary") and Nalchonai- the daughter of a Chola king Manikilli; and as such, he is seen as representing a Tamil unity. Senguttuvan was a great warrior, he said to have defeated the Yavanas, or the foreigners, and sent an embassy to China and his army consisted a powerful navy.

Senguttuvan and his father were great conquerors; their territories extended northward until the mountains. The three parts of the epic Silappathikaram emphasize the glory of the three Sangam dynasties-the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Cheras. In the Silappatikaram, there is reference to a certain Kayavaku, the king of Ceylon. He is said to have attended the coronation of Senguttuvan and in opening of Kannagi's temple. The Silappathikaram says that Gajabahu of Lanka invoked the goddess Pattini at Senguttuvan’s capital to come to his country and give her blessings on the day Senguttuvan’s father Imaya Varamban’s birth was commemorated there.

Senguttuvan's interest must have been in promoting trade with China. The Chera kingdom was already having trade with Syria, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Ayyavole inscriptions bear this out, as does the famous Polonnaruva inscription of Sri Lanka in the time of Vijayabahu (ca. 1120) in which the Tamil Idangai Velaikkarar are referred to in association with the trade organization of the Valanjiyar.
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