First Muslim invasion (1311 AD) to Tamil Nadu from Delhi Sultanate - Malik Kafur

Madurai Meenakshi temple, Tamil Nadu,

Pandyan Dynasty(Tamil nadu), S. India  mapsofindia

 In South India after the decline of the Chola kings (roughly 950 AD to 1200 AD), the rulers of Pandya kingdom gained prominence, and during their hey day, there were overall developments of the Pandya Nadu and the Pandya dynasty became a major force to reckon with. Their contribution to Hindu temples is vast. In those  days infighting over the throne  among the ruling members was common and somehow the royal members  managed to settle  the dispute amicably among themselves not allowing  them to become a serious matter. If there is third party intervention to settle the dispute over succession to throne or any other pressing issues, as  we all know, there will be room for  chaos and confusion and  that will spell doom to both parties involved in the dispute.  This is what had happened to the Pandya rulers of South India centuries ago, who, without using discretion, wanted  third part intervention that too  from a despicable character who belonged to the Delhi Sultanate.  

It was the enmity and dispute over the throne of Madurai Kingdom between the  two royal family members that brought to Pandya kingdom (now part of Tamil Nadu) the notorious looter and temple demolisher  Malik Kafur, an eunuch slave and Muslim 
convert (from Hindu) from Delhi. Apart from being an important military commander of Allauddin Khiliji, the most treacherous Muslim ruler India ever saw then,  as bad as later Mogul ruler Aurangzeb who killed his own brothers to get to the throne, he was a hardcore homosexual and close to Sultan Allauddin Khiliji.

Malik Kafur,  a homosexual & slave.
 Had the revengeful Sundara Pandyan not called Kafur for help,  Madurai kingdom would not have lost so much wealth and lives and the famous temple would have been saved from ravages of invading army of criminals. ''Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind and It has no room in the civilized society''.

The Royal family of Madurai kingdom was going through a hard time because Maharajah Maravarman Kulasekhara Pandyan (1268 - 1310) made Jatavarman Veera Pandyan, his son born out of wedlock the legal heir to the throne,  contrary to the tradition. It caused a bitter rivalry between sons of the King over the control of Madurai kingdom. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan,  son of Raja's  legal wife (Rani) killed his father king in a rage and declared war against Veera Pandyan. Outraged chieftains of the kingdom supported Veera Pandyan and in the ensuing civil war Sundra Pandyan, was defeated and driven out of the kingdom. Vowed to get the throne  back, Sundara Pandyan, unmindful of the consequences,  made the worst move that changed the entire history of Madurai kingdom. He sought the help of  none other than Delhi Sultan  Ala-ud-din Khilji who was expanding his sultanate killing heaps of Indian natives and destroying other places of worship.  Sultan's military general Malik Kafur   already plundered  Devagiri in Andhra.  The Yadava and Kakatiya kingdoms were also very wealthy.  Upon further instruction from the Delhi Sultanate,  in 1311, Malik Kafur reached Deccan with a large army. In February, he raided the Hoysala capital Dwarasamudra with 10,000 soldiers, and forced the Hoysala king Ballala to become a tributary of the Delhi Sultanate. He stayed at Dwara samudra for 12 days, waiting for the rest of his army to arrive at Dwarasamudra.


Realizing the internal turmoil going on in Madurai kingdom, Kaufer did not want to miss this opportunity.  Kafur's army marched into Tamil Nadu in  the same year (1311) and all  along the way went on a rampage, looting, killing, terrorizing people.   In Madurai, the army destroyed almost a vast  part of the now famous Meenakshi temple. At last, Kafur left for Delhi,  carrying an immense treasure on 312 elephants, 20,000 horses and 10 crore gold coins. Can you imagine the size of loot and its value on today's market?  It will give a spin in your head. Vira Pandyan was no match for the Delhi army which was a big one and most of the army men were  more ferocious killers  than fighters. With great difficulty he escaped to the western part and finally reached Kannanur (now in Kerala).
At Birdhul, the Delhi army  ran into  a  large contingent of  Muslim soldiers in the Pandya service. The sad story is these  soldiers deserted the Pandyas' army and joined the Delhi army.  They had no other choice because instead of facing death  for being apostates (converts), they sided with them to avoid chopping of their head.
Malik Kaufer destroyed parts of. Madurai Meenashi temple, TN.

Many historians are of the opinion that Malik Kafur had no intention of invading  further south of what is now Tamil Nadu and the internal dispute among the rulers of Madurai and the foolish request of help from a notorious Delhi ruler was directly responsible for the first invasion of Delhi Muslim rulers to Tamil country. He set the stage for the consequent establishment of the Madurai Sultanate.