Kovalan (Tamil: கோவலன்) is a central character in one of the ancient Tamil epics, Silappatikaram.

Kovalan (right) with his wife Kannagi


Father : Machakattuvan
Wife : Kannagi
Lover : Madhavi
Daughter : Mani-Mekalai (Mother : Madhavi)

His JourneyEdit


Kovalan, the son of a wealthy merchant, Machattuvan, married Kannagi, the lovely daughter of another merchant, Manayakan. At the time of his marriage, he was sixteen years old. They lived together happily in the city of Kaveripattinam, until Kovalan met the courtesan Madhavi and fell in love with her. In his infatuation, he completely forgot his wife and spent his time with Madhavi. Meanwhile, Kovalan spent all his wealth, bestowed upon by his parents, on his new lover. During the annual festival in the honour of Indra, there was a misunderstanding between the young lovers. As a result, Kovalan returned to his chaste wife, Kannagi, who welcomed him whole-heartedly, despite him being penniless. Realising his mistake, he decided to start a new life by migrating to the Madura (Madurai) city along with his wife.


Kovalan along with his wife Kannagi, started their journey towards Madura city at the stroke of first light. A Buddhist nun also accompanied them in the journey. After walking for many days, they reached the city of Madura. In the middle of the journey, Kovalan sent word to his parents about his intentions of starting a new life in a new city. Upon arrival, impressed by the grandeur of Madurai city, Kovalan set out to sell one of Kannagi's anklets (Tamil: Silambu), the only left-over asset they owned, with which he intended to start a business. Kovalan entrusted the anklet to be sold to the Palace's Chief jeweller, who promises to fetch him good money from the king. The king, who is tricked by the Chief Jeweller, orders to behead Kovalan without a trial, on account of stealing the Queen's anklet. Thereby, Kovalan dies in the city of Madurai.[1]

In popular cultureEdit

A Sinhala film called Paththini was released on 5 May 2016 in Sri Lanka. Goddess Paththni or Kovalan was live acted by Uddika Premarathna.[2]


  1. ^ Bhanu, Sharada (1997). Myths and Legends from India - Great Women. Chennai: Macmillan India Limited. pp. 7–9. ISBN 0-333-93076-2.
  2. ^ "Pathini Sinhala Film by Sunil Ariyaratne". Sandeshaya. Retrieved 2 May 2016.

Further readingEdit