Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil:பொன்னியின் செல்வன், English: The Son of Ponni) is a historical fiction novel by Kalki Krishnamurthy, written in Tamil. The novel was first serialised in the weekly editions of Kalki from 29 October 1950 to 16 May 1954, and released in book form of five parts in 1955. In five volumes, or about 2,210 pages, it tells the story of early days of Arulmozhivarman (அருள்மொழிவர்மன்), who later became the great Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I. Kalki visited Sri Lanka three times to gather information for it.
Ponniyin Selvan is widely considered by many to be the greatest novel ever written in Tamil literature. It was first published as a series in the Kalki, a Tamil language magazine, during the 1950s and was later integrated into a novel. The craze for the series which was published weekly was such that it elevated the magazine circulation to reach a staggering figure of 71,366 copies – no mean achievement in a newly independent India.
Even today, the novel has a cult following and fan base among people of all generations. The book continues to be admired and garner critical acclaim for its tightly woven plot, vivid narration, the wit of the dialogue, and the way in which the power struggle and intrigues of the Chola empire were depicted.