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Ilango Adigal (c. 2nd century CE) is the author of Silappatikaram, one of the Five Great Epics of Tamil literature. He identifies himself as a Chera prince from the 2nd century CE, but Kamil Zvelebil suggests that, "this may be a bit of poetic fantasy, practised perhaps by a later member of the Chera Dynasty recalling earlier events".[1]

Ilango Adigal
Ilango Adigal
Ilango Adigal
Born2nd century CE
FatherNedum Cheralathan[citation needed]
Statue of Ilango Adigal at Marina Beach, Chennai, India.


Ilango Adigal was a Jain prince of the second century CE.[2]

Ilango was the younger son of Chera king Nedum Cheralatan and Sonai/Nalchonai of the Chola dynasty. He was the younger brother of Senguttuvan, the reputed warrior-king.[3]

An astrologer predicted that he would become the ruler of the land. To obviate such a happening, especially when his elder brother, the rightful heir was alive, the prince became a jain[4] monk taking the name of Ilango Adigal.[5][6] Astrologers predicted that he would be famous and would remain in the hearts of people for a long time. But to make the predictions null and void, the prince chose to become a monk instead. In spite of his chosen path of humility, his work Silapthikaram became an enduring classic and his name still lives on. There are also claims that Ilango Adigal was a contemporary of Sattanar, the author of Manimekalai.[citation needed]


The novel written by Prince Iango Adigal, Silappatikaram has inspired another poetic epic called Manimekalai. This poetic epic acts as a sequel to Silappatikaram. It revolves around the daughter of Kovalan (The protagonist of Silappatikaram) and Madhavi (Who had an affair with Kovalan in Silappatikaram), named Manimekalai.

Although Manimekalai's mother was Madhavi, she worshipped Kannagi (Kovalan's wife).


  1. ^ Rosen, Elizabeth S. (1975). "Prince ILango Adigal, Shilappadikaram (The anklet Bracelet), translated by Alain Damelou. Review". Artibus Asiae. 37 (1/2): 148–150. doi:10.2307/3250226. JSTOR 3250226.
  2. ^ Adigal 1965, p. VIII.
  3. ^ Shulman, David (2016). Tamil.
  4. ^ Lal, Mohan (1992). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay to Zorgot. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788126012213.
  5. ^ Mohan Lal (2006) The Encyclopedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot), Volume 5 Sahitya Akademi. 8126012218 p. 4098
  6. ^ K. A. Nilakanta Sastry, A history of South India, pp 397


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