The Maduraikkanji refers to Nediyon or Vadimbalamba Ninravan as the first Pandya king who was almost certainly a mythical figure. He is credited with bringing the Pahruli River into existence and organizing the worship of the Sea.
The same text mentions Palsalai Mudukudumi as the second ruler who is mention.d as the first king in the Velvikkudi Grant. Palsalai Mudukudumi or Mudukudumi Peruvaludi is praised by three poets in five short poems.
One of them refers to his foreign conquests as the basis of his liberality and another contains a description of the way he treated conquered territory, ploughing it with white- mouthed ass and refers to the many big sacrifices he performed, hence the title Palsalai meaning ‘of the many (sacrificial) halls’.
The third ruler mentioned in Maduraikkanji was one Nedunjelian, distinguished by the title Ariyappadaikadanda meaning “he who won a victory against an Aryan army”. A short poem (Puram 183) ascribed to him, puts learning above birth and caste. He is said to have died of a broken heart when the innocence of Kovalan was proved to him by Kannagi.
This story is the main theme of the epic Silappadikaram. His viceroy at Korkai and perhaps his son and successor was Seliyan, called Verri Verceliyan or Ilanjelian, who wreaked terrible vengeance on the goldsmiths by sacrificing a thousand of them in one day to appease the great goddess who had been Kannaki.
Probably, the only other figure that stands out from the rest, the victor of Talaiyalanganam, was later than the rulers mentioned in the Silappadikaram and is known as Nedunjelian (different from Nedunjelian Ariyappadaikadanda). He came to the throne as a youth and at the very beginning of his reign he had to face a hostile combination of his two neighbouring monarchs aided by five minor chiefs at a place called Palaiyalanganam.
In this campaign, Mandaram Cheral Irumporai, the son of the Chera king of the elephant look was captured. He is said to have performed a Vedic sacrifice. Many later Pandyan rulers are mentioned in the Sangam literature, gam Age but it is not possible to either establish their chronology or verify their exploits.
Some of them may have been only members of the royal family who never ruled as kings. But some of them must have been ruling kings. Ilavandikaippallittunjiya Nanmaran have pilloried in song for his liberality. Another king Ugrapperuvaludi subdued the Chieftain of Kanapper. Himself a poet, he is said to have caused the Ahananuru to be made. Bhutappandiyan took Ollaiyur and his queen is well known by her song on the occasion of her Sati.
Under the Pandyas their capital Madurai and the Pandyan port Korkai were great centres of trade and commerce. The Pandyan dominion was very wealthy and prosperous on account of the brisk Indo-Roman trade. To further promote this trade, the Pandyan kings sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augustus and Trojan.