We have to remember that though the geographical region is called Kongunadu in Tamil, the name is a derivent of Kangu (கங்கு) (Komaralingam copperplates) and ultimately Kanganadu (கங்கநாடு) (Sanskrit: Ganganadu, or the land of the Ganga people). The region streched throughout the Kaveri catchment basin. As even a 17th century poet, Valasundara Kavirayar in his Kongumandalasatakam versifies the borders of Kongunadu.
From this we ascertain that the borders of 17th century Kongu were:
Northern: Nandigiri (Nandi hills in Kolar and Tumkur dists. of Karnataka located seventy kilometers to the north of today's Bengaluru).
Southern: Varahagiri (Panrimalai mountain in the Palani-Kodaikkanal ranges, Panrimalai is referred in it's Sanskrit name).
Eastern: Kudagu and Vellikundru (Kodagu in the Madikeri dist. of Karnataka and Vellingiri hills near Coimbatore which form the border with Kerala).
Western: Kulithalai (Karur dist. located on the Karur- Tiruchirappalli highway).
Further he adds that the region is like a basin (Kavirisoozh) and surprises us with his geographical knowledge through expressing Kongu as the entire Kaveri catchment basin, the Kaveri valley.
This region comprises of the following modern districts of the following states.
In Tamilnadu: Coimbatore, Erode, Udagamandalam, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Namakkal, Karur, Dindigul (excluding the Nattam, Nilakkottai and southward slopes of Kodaikkanal taluk), Vellore (Tiruppattur taluk only), Villuppuram (Kalrayan hills only), Perambalur (Pachamalai hills only) and Tiruchirappalli (Pachamalai hills, Turaiyur taluk's western parts and Musiri panchayat union).
In Karnataka: Madikeri, Chickmagalur, Hassan, Tumkur, Kolar, Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Mandya, Mysore and Chamrajnagar.
In Kerala: Wayanad, Palakkad (villages with a majority Tamil speaking population only), Malappuram (Bhavani river valley only) and Idukki (Amaravati river valley only) .
One thing which got clear beyond doubt after my research which is also commonplace knowledge is that the Kongu region, from the dawn of history is always connected to the southern part of the Karnataka state which is given, which is also called in Karnataka as Mysore Karnataka or Hoysala Karnataka. The Kongu region has always been along with this region as a Geo-historical unit from the dawn of history to the collapse of the Mysore Kingdom and the arrival of the British.
In this era, most of the land becomes cultivated and there is surplus wealth generated for Vellalars. The famous people of this age like Cheran, Kari, etc.., This leads to seperate castes of artisans to emerge. The excavations dating to the Sangam period show great works of art like coins, anklets and other objects of household and luxury necessities emerge. Kongunadu perhaps has yielded the most in metal and embedding industry than any other region of earth at that time. It was the only exclusive source of gold and quality iron to the whole world. The famous sites are:
Kodumanal: (world's only gold jewellery embedding centre of those days), Kundadam: (metal works), Karur: (Chera Vanji) (coin mints, anklets, Greco-Roman trade posts, etc.,), Salem: (first steel workshops whose products were found in the Egyptian pyramids),
Cheras (their descendents are the Cheran kootam of today) ruled through various feudatories like Kari (another kootam), Pari, Kumanan, Began, Erumai (another kootam), Killi and Gangan (of the Kannan kootam).
The Adiyans (Adi kootam) or the Sathiyaputras mentioned in Asokan inscriptions alongwith the Oris of Rasipuram (Kollimalai) were the major rivals of the Cheras for predominance in this region.
Most of the Kongu Vellalar kootams have Sangam period names, named after a famous Sangam cheiftain, king or a dynasty.
Chera country, wrongly thought at first to be Kerala is ascertained to be Kongu with their capital at Karur Vanji. The Cheras extended thier power to the west coast and then moved their capital permanently there. The Velir or Vellala chieftains of the age did not have absolute powers as also the king. Were just nominal heads who oversaw local administration. The decline of the Cheras resulted in the rise of the Gangas also belonging to the Vellala caste of the Kannuva (Sans: Kanna + va) gotram.
Thus 'kadayezhu vallalkal' or the last seven benevalent rulers hail from this age. References to the community have been found in the Purananooru of the Sangam age, "koduval kongar" and "karungaik kongar," meaning kongars with battle sickles, kongars with their physical feature of massive arms respectively) and Silappadhikaram "kongilam kosar" and "kudagak kongar," meaning kongars of the kosar clan of the kosala region and kongars of the kudagu region respectively.
The rise of the Gangas can be said as the socio-political cementing of the Vellala chiefs of the Gangakulam as the sole lords of the Ganga (Kongu) country. The Cheras also had a few feudatories from other castes. The Gangas, earlier the feudatories of the Cheras themselves filled the powervaccum left by the declining Chera empire. The Cheras became one of the feudatories of the Gangas ultimately fighting against the common enemy of all Kongu people, the Cholas.
There are various themes of origin of the caste. The common undercurrent in all of them is, that the original name of the caste is Gangakulam (Tam: கங்காகுலம்) which is descended from the king Gangadatta (Sans., meaning one given by the Ganga) (Tam: கங்கதத்தன்) (the name Kongu Vellala Gounder is a relatively new, post-independence classification necessiated nomenclature).
ORIGIN OF THE VELLALAS OF THE GANGA CLAN
The Vellalapuranam and Kambar's Mangalavazthu:
The Velalapuranam, a 19th century construction, is not completely reliable due to the ideological implications of the age and the writer. Yet it maintains the original story of the man who originated from the river Ganga called here as Marapalan who started the Gangakulam.
This is a construction based probably on Kambar's Mangalavazhthu ( மங்கல வாழ்த்து) which is even today sung during one of the Gounder marriage rites. Kambar himself describes the various rites associated with the Gounder marriage. One is the Kaikorvai (கங்கா குலம் விளங்க கம்பர் சொன்ன...) in which he blesses the Gangakulam couple.
These Vellalas are descendant from the ancient Kshatiriya Suriyavamsam (Solar dynasty) through the Gangakulam (preserved in names like Suriya Kangeyan and titles having Kangeyan).
The Ganga copper plates and inscriptions (ex: Korni and Komaralingam plates) have maintained that the kings of the Gangas always called themselves Kongunis (Sans: of the Kongu). For example Kongunivarma Madhavarayan is the first mentioned ruler who establishes his capital at Kangeyam (Sans: Gangeyam or the seat of the Gangas). Durvinita calls himself as not Gangeya but Durvinita Konguni in his Kannada treatise Kiratararjuniya. Infact, the language spoken by the Gounders itself is called Gangee Tamizh, a language which is very close to original non-sanskritised Kannada. Wilkins, a British historiographer writes an account immediately before the conquering of Mysore (Dheeran Chinnamalai):
"In the southern part of Mysore the Tamil language is at this day named the Gangee from being best known to them as the language of the people of Kankayam".
Gounder is the name of the headman in a system of decentralised panchayat administration used with various regional variations by distinct castes groups. The root word is derived from Gavunda (கவுண்ட). This system of village administration gained political approval during the rule of the indegenous Ganga dynasty. The posts of the village headmen or the county headman (Ur Gavundar and Nattu Gavundar respectively) were usually assumed by the warrior-agrarian Vellalar clans of the Kongu Nadu region belonging to the ruling house Gangakulam itself. In the earlier similair Velan, Kizhan system during the Sangam period.
The Gangas are said to have originated in Ayodhya, belonging to the same Suriyavamsa, Ikshvakukulam as Raman but of the Gangakulam as Ramar belongs to the Raghukulam.
Gangavamsa has spread all over India and the historians are completely silent about it. The kings of the Ganga dynasty had got their pedigree inscribed by their brahmin eulogists as well as the courtiers. In this regard, Dr. S.N. Rajaguru has given the following opinion:“Different royal dynasties, while narrating their genealogy, were eager to identity themselveswith the famous solar or lunar dynasties of the Puranas”. Dr. H. K. Mahatab and other historians have given similar opinions and have said that for this reason the genealogy available from these inscriptions do not tally with the historical facts. For all these reasons, we have to trace out the common men of the Ganga dynasty or Ganga community spread all over India and try to know their ancestry in order to unravel the mystery surrounding the origin of the Ganga dynasty. It can be asserted that the historical Ganga dynasty has evolved from among the common men of the Ganga dynasty or Ganga community. Hence this writer has made an humble attempt to discuss the family history of Ganga dynasty or Ganga community, while trying to establish the origin of the Ganga dynasty. A brief account of the Ganga dynasty available from the inscriptions engraved by the royal dynasties of Ganga community may be discussed. It is known from the inscription of Jainaguru Simhanandi, compiled by B. Lewis Rice that the forefathers of Ganga dynasty coming from Ayodhyapur under the leadership of Vishnugupta had initially settled at Ahichhatra located in the basin of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Later on they proceeded to Southern India in quest of new territory. Being advised by Jainaguru Simhanandi, Vishnugupta along with others came to Karnataka and established a new kingdom. According to this inscription the Ganga dynasties of Karnataka and Kalinga had come from Northern India. In the opinion of Dr. N. K. Sahu, both the western and eastern Ganga dynasty belong to one and the same dynasty and they came from North India in 5th century A.D. and established new kingdoms in Kalinga and Karnataka respectively. We cite here the views of B.Lewis. Rice on the above mentioned inscription of Jainaguru Simhanandi: “The origin of the Gangas is derived from Iksvaku and trace back to Ayodhyapura. Under Visnugupta the seat of government was moved to Ahichhatra, which, it is hinted, as Vijayapura. With the arrival of Dadiga and Madhava in the South, at Ganga-perur and the establishment of the Gangavadi kingdom in Mysore aided by Simhanandi, we seem to come to historical events.
It is known from the Vizagapattanam & Korni copperplate inscriptions 16 of Chodaganga Deva that by 5th century A.D., eighty kings of the Ganga dynasty had ruled over Gangavadi (Kongunadu) of Kuvalalapuram (Kolar). If one king had ruled at least for a period of twenty years, then these eighty kings would have ruled for about 1600 years. If we consider from this angle the Ganga dynasty had appeared 1600 years before 5th century A.D., which means their origin dates back to 11th century B.C. In this context we may mention that historians have agreed that the Mahabharata war was fought in 9th century B.C. This means the Ganga dynasty had appeared and achieved renown much before the events described in the epic Mahabharata. It has been noted above that Sevananda Bharati has established ancient Tamralipta or Modern Tamluk as the primary abode of the Ganga dynasty.
It is clear from the facts stated in the Madalapanji and Korni copperplate inscription of Chodaganga Dev that the Gangas are the descendants of a king or an individual named Gangeya who belonged to the solar dynasty. While claiming his descent from some Gangeya in his Korni copperplate inscription, he has identified both the ancestors and descendants of Gangeya. But all these have been rejected by historians. However, Dr. Rajaguru, basing on the facts stated by Chodaganga Dev, has accepted Gangeya and the Gangas as belonging to solar dynasty.
The Ganga dynasty came into existence in 2nd century AD after the name of its founder Gangeya or Gangadutt. Jain Acharya Simhanandi inspired his two disciples Daddigh and Madhav to establish their rule, which they did by constituting the territory of Gangawadi with Kolar as their capital. But actually Madhav Kongunivarma I was the first crowned king of this dynasty, who ruled for a long period during 189-250 AD Jainism was the national religion during his rule. King Durvinita Konguni of this dynasty was the disciple of famous grammarian Acharya Devanandi Pujyapad. Marasingh got victory over several powerful rulers and ruled gloriously. During his last days he became an ascetic. He died with Sallekhana in 974 AD at Bankapur in the feet of his Jain preceptor Ajitsena. The Ganga rulers built several Jain temples and established Jain institutions. (including five at Vijayamangalam, Jinapuram (Seenapuram), Vellode, Poondurai and Perundurai all in Erode dist.)
COIMBATORE, the headquarter of the district which goes by its name in the State of Madras, is well-known to-day as the "Manchester of South India." There is perhaps not another place in the whole of this region to equal it not only in the numerous spinning and weaving mills it possesses but also in the general standard of wealth, health civilisation and culture. But few are interested in studying the history of this district and particularly the development of culture in this area. Of the era preceding the period of British occupation of the district, which began in 1799, particularly little or nothing is known.
In this paper I propose to make an enquiry into a subject which forms part of a larger whole, viz., the cultural development of the Coimbatore region in early times and the particular subject for enquiry here is an estimate of the Jain contribution to this quota. So many vestiges of Jainism are to be found in this district that there is no doubt about the great influence this religion must have exerted over the people of this region in early times. That it must have been much more than any one would suspect is certain. Names of places like seenapuram clearly remained one of the early jain influent over the region; while old jain shrines found in places like. Vijayamangalam, Tirumurthimalai and Karur bear an equally strong evidence to the same. A figure of the Jain Thrithankara is found in Tirumurthimalai; and a number of Jain beds are found to this day in Arunattarmalai in Karur Taluk while in Arasannamalai near Vijayamangalam the Neminatha temple has been now converted into a Vinayaka temple. Not only this. The district of Coimbatore in early times seems to have been the home of several Jain scholars, not the least of whom was the great Bavanandi, the author of the celebrated Tamil grammar, Nannul, who seems to have lived in the region of Vijayamangalam in Erode Taluk.
It is impossible for us to explain these vestiges unless we postulate a period of Jain glory in the district at some time during its sojourn in South India. The Kongadesarajakkal, a XVII century Tamil Mss., which has been recently edited by Mr. C. M. Ramachandran Chettiar, Advocate, Coimbatore, (Madras Govt, Oriental Series, VI, 1950) brings to light a set of seven rulers called Rattas (Rashtrakutas?) in this region during the period between 250 A.D. and 400 A.D. Many if not all of them are represented in this work as professors and strong supporters of Jainism. (Ibid., pp. 1-2). In the reign of the fourth ruler, Govindaraya, a grant to the jain Arishtanna is mentioned and in that of the sixth ruler, Kannaradeva, the names of three great Jain theologians, of whom one Naganandi is mentioned by name, are referred to. (Ibid)
The history of the origin of the Ganga dynasty of Mysore indicates even more clearly how deep-rooted was jainism in the district of Coimbatore in early times. It would appear that in the closing years of the IV century A.D., King Padmanabha of the Gangas had to send his two sons, Dadiga and Madhava to the south by way of preparing himself to meet his enemy, King Mahipala of Ujjain. (Rice; Mysore and Coorg; p. 31). The rest of the narration as found in Rice's words is as follows:
"When they arrived at Perur, which is still distinguished from other Perurs as Ganga-Perur (in Cuddapah district), they met there the Jain Achariya Simhanandi. He was interested in the story of these Ganga princes and taking them by the hand, gave them instruction and training and eventually procured for them a kingdom."(Rice: Op., cit., loc., cit).
Many Ganga records like the Udayendiram plates of Prithvipati II, the Kudlur grant of Marasimha and the Santara inscription on the Huncha stone* bear clear evidence to the fact that Simhanandi gave them a kingdom and that he was a reputed Jain teacher. The last mentioned record indeed refers to him as "the archariya who made the Ganga kingdom.":
"Ganga-rajyaman madida Simhanandy acharyya."(EC., VIII, Nr. 35)
Indrabhuti in his Samayabhushana names him as a great poet to be kept on par with Elacharya and Pujyapada. (IA., XII, 20). Still, no better description can be given of Simhanandi than what is found in the Jaina record near the Siddhesvara temple at Kallurgudda in Shimoga Taluk:
"The Vijaya or victory to the farthest shore of learning, the full moon to the ocean of the Jaina congregation, possessed of patience and all the ten excellent qualities, his good life, a secure wealth, rejoicing in the modest, his fame extending to the four oceans, keeping at a distance from the evil, a sun in the sky of the Kranurgana, devoted to the performance of the twelve kinds of penance, promoter of the Ganga kingdom-Sri Simhanandiacharyya."(EC., VII, Sh. 4)
On the other hand we owe to the evidence of inscriptional records like those of the Parsvanathi Basti at Sravana Belgola and others to be seen at Kallurgudda and Purale in Shimoga Taluk that Madhava definitely came under the influence of Simhanandi, who initiated him into jain doctrines and conferred on him a kingdom on condition that he always took care to uphold that Faith throughout its confines. (Ibid, also 64). The latter tow give a detailed account of this origin of the Ganga Kingdom, which deserves to be quoted at least in part, as it gives one an idea of the depth of Jain influence that ruled over the region where the Ganga kingdom was founded:
"On Madhava impressing him with his extraordinary energy... Simhanandi made a coronet of the petals of the Karnikara flowers bound it on Madhava's head, gave them (the two brothers) the dominion of all the earth, presented them with a flag made from his peacock fan and furnished them with attendants, elephants and horses. Along with these he gave them also the following advice: 'If you fail in what you have promised, if you do not approve the Jina sasana; if you seize the wives of others; if you indulge in wine and flesh; if you form relationship with the low; if you give not your wealth to the needy; if you flee from the field or battle-your race will go to ruin.
The question that has to be decided here is the identification of Perur mentioned in ganga records. Taken in conjusction with the history of the Rattas, the Kongadesarajakkal furnishes proof that it was on their fall that the Gangas rose to power and began ruling from Skandapura in Kongudesa (which is the ancient name for the territory comprising the modern disteicts of Coimbatore and Salem). The Chronicle would even inform us that the last Ratta ruler changed his religion from Jainism to Saivism and that was the cause of his downfall. Further, all the early activities of Konganivarman as the first historical ruler of the Ganga house becomes known in all the records of this dynasty-are confined to this Kongudesa. (Kongadesarajakkal). It is true that we lack definite epigraphic evidence in support of this, which we have mainly only from the Tamil chronicle above referred to. But it must be remembered that in the first place we have only a few records for the Ganga period here referred to; and even the few references that we have to the early grants of the Gangas seem to refer only to places in Coimbatore district. Such are places like "Kudluru" to the west of the Tatla and east of "Marukarevisaya", in which the names of Kudluru and Marukarevisaya are easily identifiable with the present Gudalur and Madukari in this area. (Kudaluru grant of Madhavavarman).
The conclusion naturally follows that Per here referred to as the spot on which Madhava was initiated into Jainism and conferred a kingdom on condition that he upheld it through all its confines must be the Perur within 3 miles from Coimbatore. We have numerous evidences to show that at the time referred to and for long afterwards this Perur was indeed an important place. The place referred to by this name cannot be the Perur in Cuddapah district, as Rice surmises, where no Jain remains are to be found. The tratdition is that Dadiga and Madhava were sent to the south of Mysore, as already indicated. Further, the very title assumed by the first ruler as Madhava Konganivarman seems to give an unmistakable proof of this conclusion, since as the Kongadesarajakkal aptly remarks:
As wealth, the Kongu country and great munificence were possessed by him he was styled srimalt Konganivarman Dharmamahadiraja. (Kongadesarajakkal)
While the mention of Simhanandi as a "person of the southern country' in the inscription at Parsvanatha Basti at Sravana Belgola already referred to, seems to set the seal upon this conclusion.
It is an agreed fact that the canarese country of which modern Mysore forms the crown and centre furnished a home for the religion of Mahavira in the days when it was not very much liked by his own countrymen of the north. The Brihatkatha of Harisena clearly refers to the migration of the Bhadrabahu mission from Mysore to Punnata in the years following the dealth of Chandragupta Maurya. (Rice; Mysore Inscriptions). Historians are not yet agreed as to what country is meant by the name, 'Punnata.' All available evidences seem to point to the region of S. Coorg and N. Coimbatore district as the region designated as 'Punnata' by Harisena, so that it would appear that a portion at least of the modern district of Coimbatore was the central hearth of Jainism even before the beginning of the Christian era.
Even the name 'Punnata' and be explainted. It seems to be just a corruption of the name, 'Pounnadu' the land of gold. That there was much gold to be had from the region of Coorg and Kongu is unexceptionalble. While the Mysore gold minies bear evidence to this in some indirect way, the XVII century Tamil work, Maduraikalambakam speaks of the "gold that is found in Kondu" (Konguraippon), thus bearing a direct testimony to the Kongu wealth of gold. (The term Ponnadu seems to have been analogous to the name of the Cola country watered by the cauvery, Viz., the 'Punalnadu'.
Thus we are able to posit that the region of modern Coimbatore was a central hearth of Jainism in the south at least three conturies before the Christian era and that it continued to be so for a long time afterwards certainly through-our the period of the Ganga rule. An inscription of the XII century which referring to the Hoysala conquest of Kongu under Vishnuvardhana (1120 AD), Speaks of his general in that region, Gangarajah of great fame as" :a devout Jain. We need not try to trace the later history of Jainism in Kongu. Probably it came on a period of steady decline from that date onwards. But what has been so far said is enough to explain the numerous Jain vestiges in this region, to be seen to this day.
The Chera kings are of Gounder origin as there is a kootam called Cheran kootam which lives near the seat of the Cheras, Karur. Nagasamy, ASI ex-chairman Tamilnadu writes about the Karur Cheras and Karur as Vanji, the capital of Cheras. He also details of Muziris as modern day [Musiri]. The decline of the Cheras brought in the Kannuva (Kannan) kootam as Ganga dynasty.[http://tamilartsacademy.com/articles/article25.xml].
The first Ganga king Kongunivarma mahadirayan crowned himself at Vijayaskandapuram (later called Gangeyam-Kangayam after the Gangas) (ref:Kongudesa rajakkal). The Ganga genealogy and chronology have presented many problems to the historians. The first ruler of the dynasty was Konganivarma Madhava (C.350-370 A. D) who worked to establish his power at the expense of the Banas and by expanding in Kongudesa or the Salem region. He thought it wise to be friendly with the Pallavas, a policy which was followed by the early Ganga rulers. He was succeeded by his nephew Madhava II or Kiriya Madhava (C.370-390 A. D.) who was the son of Dadiga who moved to Dalavanapura. His successor Harivarma (C.390-410 A. D.) is said to have been installed on the throne by the Pallava Simhavarma. During this period, two branches of the Ganga dynasty were established at Paruvi and Kaivara.
Harivarma's son Vishnugopa (C.410-430 A. D.) had a quiet, uneventful reign, and was succeeded by Tadangala Madhava (C.430-466 A. D.). He is said to have been anointed by the Pallava king Skandavarma. His friendly relations with the Pallavas did not prevent him from normalising his relations with the Kadambas. In fact, he married the daughter of [Kakusthavarma]. He strengthened the Pallava rule by incorporating the Paruvi and the Kaivara branches into the main line. His son and successor was Avinita (C.466-495 A. D.) who consolidated the Ganga position by marrying the daughter of the Raja of Punnata. He remained friendly with the Pallavas, but was reputed to be very stern in his dealings with the enemies.
DURVINITA (C.495-535 A. D.) Avinita's son and successor, Durvinita, was one of the most remarkable rulers of the Ganga family. His succession was a disputed one, as he had to overcome the challenge of his younger step-brother who seemed to have secured the assistance of the Pallavas and the Kadambas. The Nallala grant refers to this war of succession; so does the Kadagattur grant which gives a hint that his younger brother was supported by the Pallava King and that the " Goddess of sovereignty came to the rescue of Durvinita because of his excellent display of valour and determination".
The Pallava interference in the Ganga affairs resulted in a shift in the dynastic relations which hitherto had been cordial. Durvinita could not remain friendly with the Pallavas who had created problems for him by supporting his step-brother. The Ganga monarch swore vengeance on the Pallavas who were routed in the battle of Anderi in his fifth regal year. The Pallavas, however, continued their hostilities and it is likely that they secured the assistance of the Kadambas in their attempt to tame Durvinita. In the protracted war that ensued, several pitched encounters were fought, and the Gummareddipura record informs us that Durvinita overcame his enemies at Alattur, Porulare and Pernagra. It is possible that these victories enabled him to extend his power over Kongudesa and Tondaimandalam.
Durvinita was able to cement his friendship with the newly emerging Chalukya power. He gave his daughter to Chalukya Vijayaditya; and when his son-in-law became a victim of the Pallava aggression, Durvinita championed the Chalukyas and installed his grandson Jayasimha on the Badami throne. The timely help of the Ganga monarch did much to save the Chalukyas, and on this sure foundation was built a tradition of a durable friendship between the two ruling families.
The Gummareddipura and the Uttanur plates describe Durvinita as the Lord of Punnata. In fact, his mother was Jyeshtadevi, the daughter of Skandavarma of Punnata. It is possible that there were no male heirs to the Punnata throne and naturally the sovereignty of that Kingdom devolved upon Durvinita.
The religious outlook of Durvinita was marked by tolerance. Though he was a worshipper of Vishnu and a performer of Vedic sacrifices like Hiranyagarbha, he was a pupil of the Jaina preceptor Pujyapada. His court was adorned by many Jaina scholars. His religious catholicity is reflected in the generous patronage he extended to all religious sects.
Himself an eminent scholar, Durvinita evinced keen interest in promoting literary cultivation. The renowned Sanskrit poet Bharavi is said to have visited the Ganga court during this period. Durvinita is supposed to have written a commentary on the fifteenth canto of Bharavi's Kiratarjuniya. He also translated into Sanskrit the Vaddakatha or Brihatkatha of Gunadya, which was originally written in the Paisachi language (translated by his vassal Konguvelir to Tamil). He is also credited with the authorship of 'Sabdavatara', a work on grammar. His Nallala grant hails him as an expert in the composition of various forms of poetry, stories and dramas. In fact, Nripatunga's Kavirajamarga hails him as one of the early writers in Kannada.
The many-sided accomplishments of Durvinita are recorded on the Nallala grant. He is compared to Kautilya in expounding the science of polity; to Narada, Tumburu or Bharatadeva in his knowledge of music and dance; to Charaka and Dhanvantri in the knowledge of medicine or to Parasurama in the use of arms. He is referred to as endowed with three constituents of royal power, namely, Prabhusakti (imperial power), Mantrasakti (the power of discretion) and Utsahasakti (the power of active will). His political achievements, military victories, diplomatic skill and many sterling qualities of head and heart prove that his claims were justified. Durvinita was indeed a great ruler of the Ganga family.
Some Gangakula Vellalas also migrated to Eezham see [Vellalar (Sri Lankan)].
The Gangas also were great patrons of Tamil.
Western Ganga administration and Hoysala invasion :
The Gavundas who appear most often in inscriptions were the backbone of medieval polity of the southern Karnataka and western Tamilnadu region. As landlords and local elite, the state utilized their services to collect taxes, maintain records of landownership, bear witness to grants and transactions and even raise militia when required. Owing strong personal allegiance to the king, they were vested with certain rights over villages. It appears the gavundas operated as corporations in the Kaveri valley but as individuals in the northern and eastern domains of the Gangas. They had rights to make grants that may have been occasionally exempt of local taxes. There were two types of Gavundas; the Ur-Gavundas who were lower in status and wielded control at the village level and the Nadu-gavunda who oversaw the Nadu and were directly appointed by the king.
During suceeding Hoysala empire, the system got a little modified. There were two types of landlords (Gavundas); Gavunda of people (praja Gavunda) was lower in status than the wealthy lord of gavundas (prabhu gavunda). Thus we can trace the presence of two distinct varieties of Gounders within the same marrige group. The Prabhu Gavundas of the Hoysala period are usually called the Ejamanans (Sans: Yajamana or the one who supports Yajnyas). The praja gavundans are the normal agriculturist landlords. The coming of the Hoysalas meant the loss of central power for the Gounders permanently.