Dec 26, 2016

Sivagamiyin Sapatham–Book Review

Sivagamiyin Sapatham is historical novel written by Kalki based on the backdrop of 7th Century Pallava period. The book is 1200 plus pages. Unlike “Ponniyin Selvan” which has dozens of characters, this story has couple of characters, the author has beautifully used the historical backdrop, figures with fictional characters to produce a greatest novel in Tamil language.

The historical figures:

1. Mahendravarman I – King of Kanchi

2. Narasimhavarman I – Prince of Kanchi and later King of Kanchi

3. Pulikesi (Pulakesin II) – Chalukya King

4. Paranjothi – Pallava Army commander and later became a Saiva saint “Siruthondar”

5. Thirunaavukkarasar – Famous Saiva Saint

6. Hiuen Tsang – Chinese Traveller

7. Vanamadevi – Pandya Princess and later Queen of Kanchi

8. Manavarman – Prince from Sri Lanka

The Fictional characters:

1. Sivagami – the heroine and a Bharatha natyam performer

2. Ayanar – father of Sivagami and master sculptor who made rock cut temples and obsessed with Ajanta cave paintings

3. Naganandhi – a Buddhist monk who falls in love with Sivagami’s art and also fictional twin brother of Pulikesi

4. Satrugnan & Gundodharan – The former is head of spies and later his assistant

5. Kannapiran – the royal charioteer

6. Kamali – wife of Kannapiran, she is the twist for the story

The story has four parts, Paranjothi’s journey, Siege of Kanchi, The Monk’s Love and The Shattered Dreams.

The story begins with Paranjothi who comes to Kanchi to became a student under the tutelage of Thirunaavukkarasar. But by fate he saves Sivagami and Ayanar from an elephant attack. Paranjothi was held in custody was saved by the Buddhist monk, the monk takes him to Ayanar to learn the art. Narasimhavarman and Sivagami are childhood friends now they became lovers. Sivagami is a talented dancer like her father she is well known and respected artist over the kingdom. Paranjothi was given a task of getting the secret information about the dyes used in Ajanta paintings. He travels with the note given by Naganandhi which he believes is the note to another Buddhist monk but the note is to the King Pulikesi to invade Kanchi immediately. While travelling he befriends one stranger, he steals the note from Paranjothi and he plants another note with message to provide the ingredients of Ajanta dye. Paranjothi gets arrested by Pulikesi army and the King reads the note and orders to kill Paranjothi. The stranger now enters as a Chalukya spy uses his wits with Pulikesi saves Paranjothi and takes him to South, later he understands that the stranger is none other than Kanchi King Mahendravarman.

End of Paranjothi’s journey

Paranjothi fights along with Mahendravarman and stalls the progression of Pulikesi army for more than 7 months. Paranjothi was elevated to Fort commander post and was sent to Kanchi and to assist his son Narasimhavarman who was fortifying for the upcoming siege. Pallava spy Satrugnan informs that Narasimhavarman should launch an attack on Durvineehan a subordinate king who tries to use this situation for his goal. As Kanchi is preparing for the siege, Thirunaavukkarasar is asked to stay in Chola kingdom for his safety and also Ayanar and Sivagami to stay inside Kanchi fort or somewhere safely. But Naganandhi tempts Sivagami to tour south and exhibit her talents, they travel with Naganandhi. After the Pullalur Battle Narasimhavarman chases Durvineedhan while on his way in Ashokapuram Buddha temple he sees Sivagami but he did not stop and chatted with Sivagami which was annoyed Sivagami. Heavy rain was lashing the place and Naganandhi breaches the embankment of Thiruparkadal lake. On account of that, the whole area becomes flooded. Sivagami and Ayanar were stranded in the Buddha temple. With use of a boat Narasimhavarman and Gundodharan saves them. The boat reaches Mandapapattu village they stayed shortly. In Mandapapattu village Narasimhavarman and Sivagami misunderstandings comes to an end and their love blossoms and he promises to marry her. Naganandhi tries to kill Narasimhavarman with his poisoned dagger but time saved him. Gundodharan outwits Naganandhi and puts him behind a temple closed doors. The Kanchi King Mahendravarman comes to Mandapapattu village and asks Ayanar to use the stones to carve temples and to stay there until war is over. He further speaks with Sivagami to forget the love of Narasimhavarman. The king gives royal seal for their use, but Naganandhi steals the royal seal. While returning to Kanchi Naganandhi gets arrested.

End of Siege of Kanchi.

The other two parts will continue in another post.

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