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Uthiyan Cheralathan

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Title: Uthiyan Cheralathan  
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Subject: Thiruvithamcode Arappally, History of Kerala, Chera kingdom
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Uthiyan Cheralathan

Uthiyan Cheralatan (Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan, Athan I) is the first recorded Chera ruler of the Sangam period in ancient South India. He had his capital at a place called Kuzhumur in Kuttanad (central Kerala) and expanded the kingdom northward and eastward from his original homeland. His lifetime is broadly determined to be between first and third century AD. His queen was Veliyan Nallini, the daughter of Veliyan Venman. Uthiyan Cheralathan was a contemporary of the Chola ruler Karikala Chola. He is praised for his elephant corps and cavalry.

His famous royal kitchen is said to have been at Kuzhumur. He is even exaggerated to have fed the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war.

During the reign of Uthiyan Cheralathan, foreign trade by the famous sea port Muziris flourished, bringing great prosperity to his kingdom. Uthiyan Cheralatan assumed the title "Vanavaramban" which could either mean "one whose kingdom reaches up to the sky" or "the one who's loved by the gods". The latter title was previously adopted by the Maurya emperor Ashoka. He went into several battles and in the Battle of Venni with Karikala Chola, his back was injured while leading the army. Being unable to bear the disgrace he is believed to have committed suicide by starvation, a common practice at the time. It is said that some of his companions also died with him unwilling to part him. Uthiyan Cheralatan was succeeded by his son, Nedum Cheralathan.

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