KARIKALAN or the KARIKAR PERUVALATTHAN, who raised the bunds of the ever-overflowingriverKaviri, and constructed the Kallanai, the so-called Grand Anicut across the river Kaviri.
It is known that four Chola Kings by the same name KARIKALAN had ruled over the Chola Kingdom, of whom, the King, who was panegyrized as the hero of the Sangam works, Porunarattruppadai and PattinapPalai is termed as KARIKALAN – I. He is also referred to as ThiruMaValavan.*
it is to be noted that the “Karikalan” has the verbal meaning of referring to a person having his legs charred (kari = charred; kalan = one having that charred leg), and no royal child would be named as “Karikalan” or no royal person would like him to be called by that name as it sounds a degrading meaning and tone. Though the literary meaning of the term ‘Karikalan’ may be interpreted as “one who is Yaman” ( God of death – Kalan ) to the elephant ( Kari = elephant ) that meaning would not sound so on its first hearing, and hence, no royal prince of the Chola dynasty before Karikalan, the Karikar PeruValatthan who got his leg charred in a fire accident, could have been named as ‘Karikalan’. there could not have been any other ‘Karikalan’ before ‘Karikar PeruValatthan’ who got his leg charred and who got fame by extending his Kingdom to a very large area and who had done a great service to the Thamil country by constructing the so called Grand Anicut, ‘Kallanai’ across the river Kaviri, and founded a systematic irrigation system in the Thanjavoor delta region, making it as the ‘Granary of Tamil Nadu’.
However, there are possibilities of the later Chola Kings to assume their names as ‘KariKalan’, as it was the name of a brave and pre-eminent King, who ruled over a large Kingdom of the whole of South India, and who had established his name and fame up to the Himalayas, and also beyond sea, and who made his land so fertile as to be tenderly called by his people as ‘Karikar PeruValatthan’., it seems that there is no conflict in the fact that the ‘Karikalan’, who was the son of UruvapPahrer Ilamchet Chenni, and who is the hero of the poems Porunarattruppadai and PattinapPalai was the ‘KarikarPeruValatthan’ or ‘Karikalan, the Great’, who raised the bunds of Kaviri and built the Kallanai. Whatever it may be, whether there were two Karikalans in the Sangam age, or whether there was any other Karikalan before Karikalan, the Great, this work is intended to bring out the magnificent activities of Karikalan, the Great and his superb construction of the Kallanai across Kaviri, surprising the great engineering experts of the present century, and proclaiming the greatness of Karikalan, the Great for his eminent and colossal service initiated in the field of irrigation.