(Ezra J.Samuel)

    Gatti Mudhali Dynasty 11th - 17th C: A renowned dynasty of local rulers of Taramangalam. The title, gatti meant 'solidity' and' firmness' and 'mudhali', 'primary'. They were known for their firmness in word, Veracity, and reliability. Their insignia - a combination containing representations of green mat, unwitting garland of flowers and tiger - is seen in all of the temples built and renovated by them.

   some authorities believe that the descendants of Gatti are the Kongu Vellala Class of Athiyar, Kanavalar, Marhavar, Narmudiyar, Vadakaraiyar.

   The earliest mention of Gatti is found in the Sangam Literature of Agananooru (first century) in a list of tribes, Konganar, Kalingar, Karunadar, gangar and Gattiyar.

   A nadukal of the seventh century mentions Kunra Gatti. A stone inscription of 1289 A.D by a Madhurai King, Sadaiyavarman Sundhara Pandiyan, mentions nine Gatti Mudhali's of Tharamangalam.

   According to a manuscript in the Mackenzie collection, the founder of the then Gatti dynasty was a valet in the Service of Thirumalai Nayakan the ruler of Madhurai Kingdom. Having Committed some indiscretion, he left royal service, came to Amarakundhi where he was trained as a barber-medicine man. When he cured the carbuncle on the back of the local vettuva Chief, Kunni Vettuvan, he was rewarded with a palayam. The Mackenzie manuscript mentions thirteen Gatti Mudhali's but lists only the following six in order of succession. Siyazhi, Ragunatha, Immudi, Punkkan, Vanangamudi and Kumara. Francis Buchaman also mentions, 'Guttimodalies'. Their rule extended east-west from Thalaivaasal to Dharapuram and north-south from Omalur to Karur.

   Their Chief Capital was Tarmangalam while Amarakundhi served as a second capital. The town of Kaveripuram was another centre of strategic importance of the Border of Mysore.

   After the fall of the Vijayanagar empire, the Gatti became the Palayakarar of Omalur are under Thriumalai Nayakan of Madhurai in 1623 A.D.

   Gutti Mudhali, Valve (2nd c): 'Gatti of the Strong spear' mentioned in the Sangam literature. He is believed to be the ancestor of the dynasty. He, with six other chieftains, fought a Chera King, Perumboot Chennai and loot.

   Gutti Mudhali, Haman (16thC): He built the Hamisvaram Udaiya Nayanar Temple in Tharamangalam.

   Gatti Mudhali, Vanna Immudi Hama Nayana (16thC): He made an endowment in 1564 A.D for the un keep of the temples of Kailasanathar and Hamisvaram Udaiya Nayanar in Taramangalam.

   Gatti Mudhali, Vanangamudi (17thC): 'Gatti of Unbending head' a pious Gatti who built a Pillaiyar temple and a matam in Chidhabaram. He granted the village of Ilavampatti to the Kailasanathar Kovil in Tharamangalam.

   After the departure of the Vijayanagar army, a number of petty chieftain's began to raise in the Kongu Country. Some of them had the title of Mudaliar. Inscriptional records mention some of the achievements and donations of Mudaliar Chieftain's of the Taramangalam region. Apart from the Mudaliars, there were a number of other poligars of large and small palayams. Besides there was a poligar at Salem, who tried to establish his power in the very heart of the District.

   The whole region was torn by dissension's among the poligars. Their mutual rivalry contributed to the insecurity of the region.

   The Nayakship of Maduri lasted from 1530 A.D to 1736 A.D. During all this period the Kongu Country passed through great vicissitudes.

   Visuvanatha Nayak introduced a great feudal system of administation. The Madura Kingdom of which Kongu formed part was divided into 72 palayams and it required the holders of palyam to offer military help to the ruler, palayakars such as the Gatti Mudaliyars of Omalur, Taramangalam and others. Bigger palayakars exercised control over the smaller palayakars.

   The kingdom was protected from invasion by a number of forts, well-built and well-garrisoned at strategic places like Sendamangalam, salem, Melur, Attur, Satyamangalam, Erode, Karur, Namakkal, Coimbatore, Dharapuram and Dindigul.

   Gatti Mudhaliyars are the most important group of Chieftain's of Kongu during the Nayak period. The Salem district, which constituted, the most dangerously exposed province of the Nayak Kingdom was the seat of their power. The centre of their power, however, seems to have been Taramangalam, where they built a costly temple. In Salem district, they held the important strategic fort of Omalur and Attur.. These forts guarded against invasion from Mysore.

   Thurstan derives the origin of 'Mudaliars' from the root 'muthal' literally meaning 'the first', the first in Society. It may also refer to money or capital in business.

   An inscription from the Taramangalam records that during the reign of Sadasiva (1542-1552 A.D) a village was given as a gift to the temple of 'Ramakudal' by one of the Mudaliyars of the place. This was apparently the period of the growth of the Mudaliyars of Taramangalam. First heard of as early as the region of Tatavarmen Sundara Pandya II, they now come to fill a large and important place in the history of Kongu. From this time onwards the names of these Mudaliars occur every frequently in inscriptional records of Amarakundi, Sankaridurg. Triuchengodu, Micheri, Idangasalai and Pallampatti places in and around the Taramangalam region. On inscription from Yelacampatti records a grant by a mudaliar, while another from Taramangalam mentions several mudaliyars each one making the grant of a village temple. These records dated in the region of the same Sadasivaraya, whose period of active rulership was between the years 1542 A.D and 1552 A.D., indicate clearly that the rise of this Mudaliyar power was quickly and connected in some way with the ruler Sadasiva himself.

   The progress was so quick that by the time this sovereign closed his reign the very term, 'Mudaliyar' in the Kongu region came to refer only to these grandees of worth and power.

   In Sangam poems, however, there is reference to the 'Gattiyar' as a fighting race.

Mr.Ezra jeba Samuel
Research Assistant,
24(11) Ranjitha Nivas, Hindu Colony, II Main Road,
Ullagaram, chennai - 600091

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