The Tirumala-Tirupati region is situated in what was familiarly known as Tondamandalam for a long time and as the Carnatic in later times. The early history of this region is lost in obscurity and only a few glimpses can be obtained.
Tamilaham or the Tamil country stretched over a wide area in the early days. Its northern border lay between the Mysore plateau and the Bay of Bengal. In the south it extended up to Kanyakumari or cape Comorin. Tirumala in the interior and Pulicat on the coast
were two prominent outposts on the northern border. The country north of this border was known as Vadugu and included both the Kannada speaking area and the Telugu speaking area to today. The people to the north were called the Vadugar and the road leading to their country was known as the Vadugavali. Tamilaham was divided into thirteen Nadus of which the Aruvanadu was in the basin of the Sot it It Pennar and the A ruvavadadalaiuadu lay further north in the basin of the Palar. These two divisions were together known as Ma\’ilankai and had Kanchi for their capital. Vengadam or Tirumalai lay further north. This region was inhabited by the Aruvalar, a nomadic tribe and the Tiraiyar, who migrated here from Lower Itm mu. In the first century A.D. it was divided into twenty four Kottams and seventy five Nadus. Of these, the hruvengadakkottam which included the Kadukurainadu, I’ottapinadu and Tondamannadu, was very important being on the frontier.
Vengadam was inhabited by an uncivilized tribe of hunters known as the Kalvar. Their chieftain was Pulli, who was a fierce and powerful master. He and his people spoke a language which was di fferent from the language of Tamilaham. The Vengadam hill was known to many poets of the Sangam age as famous for its I (n ests, for its elephants, for its streams and for its drunken bouts.
The Tiraiyar seem to have migrated here very early and settled down among the Aruvalar, the original inhabitants. One of their chieftains, known as Tiraiyan, ruled over a wide territory with
I ’avittiri, identified with the village of Reddipalem in the Gudurtaluk i >1 the modem Nellore district, as his headquaters.
About the middle of the first century, another chieftain, named llatn-Tiraiyan, occupied the Chola country to the south for some
II me but had to give it up on account to the rise of the Cholas under k .11 ikala. This Chola monarch is said to have subjugated the Aruvalar
and extended his territory. Ilam-Tiraiyan ruled over Todamandalam from Kanchi as the contemporacy of Karikala.
The Periplus, a work assigned to about this time, mentions along the east coast the Pandyan kingdom in the south, the Chola country to its north, with Aragaura or Uragapura or Orayur for its chief place, and Maisolia or the district round Masulipatam, farther north.
To the north of Tondamandalam there flourished the great Andra-Satavahana empire. Gautamiputra Satakami, the greatest king of this family, ruled between 78-102 A.D. He was a great conqueror and governed a vast empire which included the entire Deccan, parts of Eastern Rajputana in the north and the whole of the modern Mysore State and the Rayalasima districts in the south. The steeds of this monarch are said to have drunk the waters of the three seas and this implies that he must have lead some expeditions across Tondamandalam into the Tamil country. This is corroborated by the find of a large number of Ship Type coins of his son and immediate successor, Pulumavi, on the Coromandel Coast between Madras and Cuddalore. The death of the great Chola king, Karikala, and the chaos the engulfed the Tamil country thereafter, render the southern campaigns of this Satavahana king probable and possible. It may, therefore, be taken that Tondamandalam was included in the Satavahana empire towards the end of the first century A.D.
The Geography of Ptolemy, which is ascribed to the middle of the second century A.D., throws interesting light on the condition of Tondamandalam during this time. Among the principalities on the east coast, mention is made of the country of the Pandiones or the Pandyas with its capital at Madoura or Madura. North of it was the district of the Batoi, with its capital at Nissama. To its north was the territory of the Soringoi or Cholas, with its capital at Orthoura or Uraiyur. Further north was the area known as Arouarnoi or
Amvanadu, with its capital at Malanga ruled by Basoranagas.
Higher up was Maisoloi with its capital at Pityndra. It is evident
From this that Tondamandalam was at this time known as the country of the Aruvalar, that Kanchi lost its importance as the capital of this region and that the Nagas were the rulers of this area.
During the last days of the Satavahana empire, i.e. in the second decade of the third century A.D., while the last Satavahana king, Pulumavi III, was ruling, aMahasenapati Skandanaga was the governor of a vast Mahajanapada in the south. It is likely that thesourthern and south-eastern provinces of the empire were included in this Mahajanapada. To the west of this area was the viceroyalty of the Chutu-Nagas who governed it from Vanavasi. Further north on the east coast, the territory was constituted into another viceroyalty governed by the Ikshvakus from Vijayapuri, in the modem Nagarjunakonda valley. Thus by the beginning of the third century A I). Tondamandalam and its neighbourhood were under the domination of the Nagas.