The move of the state government to create a Greater Chennai Corporation, bringing into its fold several areas of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, has virtually revived the ancient province of Tondaimandalam that is believed to have existed in the last Sangam period. The move of the state government to create a Greater Chennai Corporation, bringing into its fold several areas of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, has virtually revived the ancient province of Tondaimandalam that is believed to have existed in the last Sangam period. With the first references to the region going back to tribal Kurumbars and the reign of King Karikala Chola in the 1st century AD, Tondaimandalam had been under the rule of the Kurumbars, Cholas, Kalabhars, Pallavas, Pandyas and the Vijayanagara dynasties for over 2,000 years.
The region during the said period came under two divisions — Aruvanadu and Aruvavadatalainadu.
Later under the rule of Chola and Vijayanagar kings, the function of village assemblies was extended to many other places of the region.
The region had an equally significant contribution towards the fields of literature and learning.
Greco-Egyptian writer Ptolemy observed that the region was named Aruvarnoi and that the territory roughly extended between South Pennar and North Pennar, which together came to be called as Tondaimandalam or Tondainadu, after the conquest by Tondaiman Ilam Tiraiyan, who took over the Chola empire from Karikala Chola and Nedumudikilli.
The Mackenzie Manuscript, a study of the region by Colonel Colin Mackenzie, the first surveyor general of India, says Tondaimandalam was first inhabited by Kurumbas, a fierce tribe — early references to whom are found in the Ashokan edicts — until their defeat by Ilan Tiraiyan.
Inscriptions belonging to the Pallavas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas, Pandyas, Cheras and the Vijayanagara kings that have been found in places like Pallavaram, Triplicane, Thiruvanmiyur, Thirunirmalai, Padi etc.
bear witness to the political changes through which the region passed.
Epigraphs of the region also reveal the existence of a sound administrative system — both central and local — including active functioning of village assemblies (sabhas) in Manali, Adambakkam and Tiruvottriyur.The system was functional during the Pallava rule in the 9th century AD.