Prince Ilango Adigal

The Shilpadikaram: The Anklet Bracelet by Prince Ilango Adigal (Penguin Classics)

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“The Shilappadikaram” is one of the great epics of ancient Tamil literature, believed to have been written by Prince Ilango Adigal. The epic is a masterpiece of Sangam literature, dating back to the early centuries CE. It consists of 5 volumes and tells the story of Kannagi, a virtuous woman, and her husband Kovalan.

The central plot revolves around the injustice faced by Kannagi and Kovalan, leading to Kovalan’s wrongful execution and Kannagi’s subsequent pursuit of justice. Kannagi’s character is depicted as the epitome of chastity, righteousness, and devotion to her husband.

The epic is renowned for its vivid portrayal of ancient Tamil society, its cultural norms, and its rich tapestry of characters. It delves into themes of love, betrayal, justice, and the consequences of human actions.

“The Shilappadikaram” is not only a literary treasure but also a significant cultural and historical document, providing insights into the life, customs, and beliefs of ancient Tamil society. It continues to be studied, revered, and celebrated in Tamil Nadu and beyond for its enduring relevance and timeless storytelling.


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