At the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. the Kalappirars started ruling over Pandya Kingdom after defeating them. Due to this the Pandya kings who were ruling Madurai for several generations were reduced to mere chieftons of small areas. The reign of Kalappirars in Madurai were spread from 250 A.D. to 575 A.D. Several details are not available such as the ancestry of Kalappinars, the reason for their coming over of Tamil Nadu etc.
Some details of Kalappirars are available in several copper leaflets of Kasakkudi, Kooram, Kotramangalam, Dalavaipuram, Veloor Palayam, Velhvikudi etc. In some of the stone inscriptions at Thirupugaloor, Kanchi Vaikunta Perumal Koil and also in the books Tamil Navalar Sarithai, VINAYAVI NICHIAM by BUDHA DHATTAR, and ABIDHAMMA VADARAM, the Kalappirars are being mentioned. But from all these full detailed history could not be found.
There are several guess works as to who these Kalappirars were. It is said that the Kalappirar class is the same as Kalhavar class, Kangar class, Mutharier class, Kalapaetar class, Karnataka's Kali class etc. etc. But from all these we can surely say that the Kalapirars are not the Tamil people.
The language of the Kalippirar is Pali Prakritham. Since the religion of these people were Jainism, the language of the Tamils and their religion were not cared for. Hence the Tamil culture, Tamil civilizaion, TamilHistory etc during this period declined and nothing is known about these. This period is therefore called the Dark period of Tamil History.
The Kalappirars were practising the religions Jainism and Buddhism. Due to these reasons the worshippings in all the Tamil temples ceased. The Jainism which was in top gear during the Kalappirar period existed in Madurai till the time of Koon Pandyan (640 A.D.). Then Thirugnana Sambandar won the challenges of fire and water and 8000 Jains were sentenced to death. The languages Sanskrit, Pali and Prakritham were are encourged during that period and Tamil language and literature were in decline. Also the Tamil Sangams which were being patronised by the Pandya kings came to a stand still and Tamil Research efforts were destroyed is full.
During the 6th century A.D. the Kalappirars were loosing the ground against the raising ofPallavas. At this time, the Pandya descendant called Kadunkon won the Kalappirars and restablished the Pandya rule. These details are available clearly in the writing of copper leaflets of Velhvikudi. Therefore we can conclude that the Kalappirars were ruling the Tamil area from 250 A.D. to 575 A.D. for three centuries.