Kampar was a Tamil
poet who lived in the 12th century. He wrote a Ramayana that he named ‘Ramavataram’. It is this book of verses that came to be known as Kampa Ramayana. In six cantos and 10,500 verses of four lines each, he narrates the story of Rama up to his coronation. The author has acknowledged that he wrote his Ramayana
, borrowing the story and ideas from three other Ramayanas in Sanskrit
. Scholars conclude that he wrote it towards the close of the 12th century.
Though based on the traditional story of Rama, Kampar has taken a lot of liberties in his narration and its technique. He divides the six cantos further into 123 patalaas or layers. Once in every thousand lines the name of a rich man – Thiruvennai nallur Sadayappa Vallaal – is mentioned. It is said that the poem was composed because of the motivation and encouragement the poet received from this man.
Researchers are of the opinion that Kampar was born in the Therazhulloor village of Tanchavur in Tamil Nadu. He had deep erudition both in Sanskrit
. There is another significant book in his name – Er Ezhupathu, which hails the greatness of agriculture.