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Parthiban Kanavu

Parthiban Kanavu
Author Kalki Krishnamurthy
Original title பார்த்திபன் கனவு
Country  India
Language Tamil
Genre Historical novel
Publisher MacMillan India
1942 (English translation published in January 2003)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
OCLC 52846173
LC Class MLCM 2003/00425 (P) PL4758.9.K68

Parthiban Kanavu (Tamil: பார்த்திபன் கனவு, pārttipaṉ kaṉavu, lit. Parthiban's dream) is a famous Tamil novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.


Later adopted as film in 1960 with same name. The story is the sequel of Sivagamiyin Sapatham and the incidents mentioned in the book are referred very often in Ponniyin Selvan, one of the greatest novels in Tamil language.

Plot summary

This novel deals with the attempts of the son of (fictional) Chola king Parthiban, Vikraman, to attain independence from the Pallava ruler, Narasimhavarman.

The Cholas remain vassals of the Pallavas. Parthiban conveys his dream of the Chola dynasty regaining its glory – which he believes is lost since they are no longer the independent rulers of their land – to his young son Vikraman. Parthiban refuses to pay the taxes to the Pallavas and this triggers the Pallavas to wage war against the Cholas. In the resulting war Parthiban is killed. But before he dies, in the battlefield, an enigmatic monk promises to Parthiban that he will make sure that Vikraman fulfills Parthiban's dream. Vikraman grows up and plans his retaliation against Narasimhavarman. But his uncle, Marappa Bhupathi, betrays him and Vikraman is arrested and deported to a far off island by Narasimhavarman.

The narrative moves on to describe how Vikraman comes back longing to meet his mother and the mysterious beauty whom he saw before being deported. To his woe he later discovers that his mother has disappeared and has in fact been kidnapped by members of a savage cult who are known as Kapalikas – a group which believes in human sacrifice. He also comes to know that the beauty he has fallen for, Kundhavi, is none other than the daughter of his sworn enemy, Narasimhavarman.

The novel climaxes with the identity of the monk finally being revealed as Pallava King, Narasimhavarman and establishment of the independent Chola kingdom under Vikraman in Uraiyur. Vikraman marries kundhavi in the final chapter.

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

As is his wont Kalki mixes many historical events/personalities along with fictional characters to weave an interesting novel that moves at a brisk pace. The historical characters/events include :

Above details are a part of different novel 'sivakamiyin sabatham' by the same writer

Audio Books - Sri has created audio books for Kalki's historical fiction works ( Ponniyin Selvan and Parthiban Kanavu). Sri has used voice modulations, intonations to differentiate the various characters, and bring out the emotions, and has used controlled dramatisation in his reading. Short coverage on "The Hindu - Tamil Novels in Audio Form" More information on such digitization works on Kalki's Novel ( i.e. Tamil Audio books) - Ponniyin Selvan, Sivagamiyin Sabatham can be found at

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