Irunkōvēl also Irungkōvēl, Irukkuvēl, Ilangōvēlar was a title of the Irunkōvēl line of Tamil Velir kings. The Irunkovel line of kings ruled over Kō nādu identified with the Kodumbalur and surrounding areas in ancient Tamilakkam. They trace their lineage to the clan of Lord Krishna; one of the inscriptions at Kodumbalur belonging to one of the Kings in the Irunkovel line, namely Tennavan Irunkōvēl, declares that he belonged to the race of Krishna. The Sangam Literature, Pattinappalai (Line 281) mentions Irunkōvēl as the Chief from the Pothuvar (Ayar) Community.
The contemporary of Karikala
The most famous among them was a contemporary of Karikala Chola as well as poet Kapilar and lived during the Sangam era. In addition, this particular Irunkōvēl also bore the title Pulikadimal, literally meaning the hero who destroyed the tiger or tiger slayer in reference to a hunting expedition when he breaks away from the party while being pursued by a tiger but in the end kills it. He proudly traces his lineage back by 49 preceding generations without a break to one of the kings of ancient Dvārakā. He is later defeated by Karikala and becomes a subordinate to the Chola sovereign.
It has been recorded that one Irunkōvēl was present at the coronation of a Karikala Chola after giving him some earth for the ceremony.
Encounter with Kapilar
After death of Vēl Pāri, another Velir King, Kapilar, a Sangam Tamil poet and the former's friend would approach Irunkovel and plead with him requesting him to marry the two daughters of his friend and patron (excerpt from Purananuru; Tinai:paadantinai, Turai:paricil turai);
But Irunkovel does not pay heed to the poet's words and instead sides with the 3 crowned kings and rather throws an insult back at him alluding to the sorry state of his friend's family. The enraged poet flares up and fires back a curse that his kingdom would fall just like his ancestor's;
Here is an inscription belonging to one of the kings of the Irunkōvēl line from the Adhipuriswara temple in Tiruvorriyur district: