22nd March 2009, 07:32 PM
Author : Virarajendra
(Copyright reserved to Author)
The great Significance of Kodungallur of Kerala in the history of Kerala & Tamil Nadu
Part - 1
A Prelude to the Research Article on Kodungallur
"Kodungallur" is a region in the southern tip of the present Thrissur district of Kerala State, South India - adjoining the Arabian sea. Today it remains a city of less commercial and industrial activities and modern buildings. However it has centres of religious worship, namely the Temples, Churches and Mosques.
Kodungallur was also known as "Cranganore" during the English occupation of the region. Kodungallur could be placed as the first region of Kerala "of much historical importance", while Thiruvananthapuram the present capital of Kerala could only take the third place, while Kollam takes the second place.
However due to less developments in this region, it has not attracted the attention of many Keralites who are still not aware of "the great historical significance of this region in Kerala history". This could be the possible reason why the Kerala Map Printers too show the name of Kodungallur in tiny letters in their Kerala Maps, and in some Maps it is not shown at all.
The objective of this Article is do give a deep insight into the actual history of Kodungallur hitherto not known to many, and to highlight the great significance of this region supported by evidences.
Note to Readers:
The following is a Research Article complete with evidences meant for Scholars in "Early Kerala History".
However a General Reader who is not keen in the study of relative evidences but only in the subject matter, could read the contents of this Article "less" the evidences and it's sources - shown in 'darkblue' under "References" in each sub-section.
(1) The two eras of Kerala History
The history of the present Kerala State - South India could be divided into two eras, one ranging from ancient times to the end of the twelveth century (A.D.1200) and classified as the Tamil Period of it's History, and the other ranging from the beginning of the thirteenth century (A.D.1201) to this date and classified as the Malayalam Period of it's History.
The above are confirmed by the following Reference:
After (nearly) hundred years of war between the (Tamil) Chola and (Tamil) Chera - kings of the medieval period the Chera kings became very weak, and during this period the beginning of the thirteenth century (A.D.1201) there had been a heavy migration of Tulu Brahmins known as "Namboodiris" into Chera country from the Tuluva country north of Kerala - the present Mangalore region. They were able to have much control over the Tamil society of then (Chera Nadu) Kerala, and also married among the native Chera (Kerala) - Tamil and other population of that period.
In Tuluva country people spoke "Tulu" language which had it's own Script. With the migration of the Namboodiris Brahmins into Kerala they used their Tulu language heavily in their daily life. The Tulu Language with the ad-mixture of many Tamil words and Sanskrit words lead to the birth of the present "Malayalam language". This is the very reason the present Malayalam Language has almost the similer Script as the Tulu Language. Thus with the Namboodiri Brahmins having much influence over the higher rungs of the people of Kerala after thirteenth century gradually the "Malayalam language" became the dominant language of Kerala over "Tamil language".
With the Namboodiri's domination of Kerala society from the thirteenth century, they also introduced the mythological story of "Kerala being the God's country and was created by Parasurama" as against the "true historical origin of Kerala (Chera country)" being entirely Tamil origin with "Tamil Chera Kings" ruling this region from time immemorial. This mythological story relating to "Parasurama Sheththiram" was the traditional story of the Tulu country (present Mangalore) brought in to Kerala by the Namboodiri Brahmins, which eventually formed a mis-conception among the Kerala people that Kerala was the "Parasurama Sheththiram".
The Mangalore city on western coast of India adjoining the Arabian Sea and north of present Kerala is almost an island between the converging Netravati and Gurpur rivers. This is why the Tamil "Meikeerththi" (the True Glory) of the medieval period Chola Emperor Rajendra Chola - 1 of Tamil Nadu, has referred to the Mangalore region as an Island named "Saanthima Thivu", and that the "Parasurama's fortress" was there in this island much earlier. The reference to same in his Tamil Meikeerththi is as follows:
"......செருவில் சினவி இருபத்துஒரு கால்
அரைசுகளை கட்ட பரசுராமன் (Parasuraman)
மேவரும் சாந்திமத் தீவரண் (Fortress of the Saanthima Island) கருதி (resided)
இருத்திய செம்பொன் திருத்தகு முடியும்......"
(2) The traditional geographical boundries of Kerala
Kerala is the Sanskritised version of the Tamil "Chera", and the region of the Chera country had as it's boundries the "Kolikkodu" in the west, "Palani" in the north, "South Kaasi"(Ten Kasi) in the east, and the seafront in the south covering eighty Kavatham of land (Kavatham - a land measure).
The above is better understood, if taken as the Chera country encompassed within the outer boundries Kolikkodu, Palani, Ten Kasi and Sea (south beyond Kovalam).
The above are confirmed by the following Reference:
".....Vadakku thisai Palani vaan Keel Then Kaasi Kudakku thisai Kolikkodaam - Kadatkaraiyil
oramo Thetkkahum ulla En Pathi Kavatham
Chera Naatu ellai ena seppu....."
Perunthohai by M.Ragavaiyangar, Verse - 2091, Madurai Thamil Sangam Publication 1935 - 1936
(3) The Kings of early Kerala
From the earliest known times up to the end of the twelveth century the Kerala (Chera Nadu) situated on the western part of the South India was ruled by Tamil Hindu kings, and many Tamil Literary works of the early and medieval periods of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu refer to them as the Chera kings.
The region of the former Chera country was encompassed within the present Kerala state, while the regions of the former Chola and Paandiya (Pandiya) Countries were encompassed within the present Tamil Nadu State, and were known in the early days as the “Muth Thamil Nadu” (three Tamil Countries).
These three Tamil countries from their early days had as their royal emblems the Bow (Chera), Fish (Paandiya), and Tiger (Chola) respectively in their flags.
The above are confirmed by the following References:
"........vada thisai marungin mannarkku ellaam then Thamil Naattu chelu Vil, Kayal, Puli manthalai aetra varaiha eengu......."
Silappathikaaram - by Ilango Adihal, Vanji Kaandam, Kaatchi Kaathai U.V.Swaminatha Iyer edition
".......mudi udai venthar moovarullum
kudathisai aalum kotram kuntraa
aaram maarpit Chera kulathu uthiththor....."
Silappathikaaram - by Ilango Adihal, Vanji Kaandam - Katturai. U.V.Swaminatha Iyer edition
(4) The references to Kerala in the early Indian Literature
The earliest known references to Kerala (Chera Nadu) in the Indian Literature are found in the original Sanskrit epics - namely the Raamaayana of poet Vaalmihi, and the Mahaabhaaratha of poet Viyaasar.
In Raamaayana it is noted Sukkrivan requesting Anuman to go in search of Sita in the countries in the southern region of India - among Kerala, Pundhara, Chola and Paandiya countries.
In Mahaabhaaratha we find Sanjayan while mentioning the countries in the south of India to king Thirutharastra, refers to Kerala along with Andhra, Karnataka and Chola. Mahaabhaaratha further states the Keralas along with the Paandiyas and Cholas fought on the side of the Paandavas in the Mahaabhaaratha war.
There are ‘many’ other references to Keralas in the Viyasa’s Mahaabhaaratha. (Refer to my thread titled "The references to Tamil dynasties and countries in the Mahaabhaaratha" in this same Website)
The above are confirmed by the following References:
"...sarvam eve anupashyata tathaiva Aandhraan ca Pundran ca Colaan, Paandyaan, Keralaan....."
Raamaayana - by Valmiki, Kishkinda Kanda,Volume 4, Chapter 41, Lines 12
"……Sanjaya said, listen to me O king (Thiratharastra).......to the names of the provinces as I mention them. They are.......the Keralas......the Andhras......"
".....There are other kingdoms O bull of Bharatha's race, in the south. They are the Dravidas, the Keralas......the Karanatakas......the Cholas......"
Mahaabhaaratha – by Viyasa, Bhisma Parva, Page 21& 22
"........When that host was being thus struck and slain by heroic warriors, the Parthas headed by Vrikodara advance against us. They consisted of Dhrishtayumna and Sikhandin, and the five sons of Draupadi, and the Prabhadrakes, and Satyaki, and Chekitana with the Dravida forces, and the Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Keralas, surrounded by a mighty array,......".
Mahaabhaaratha – by Viyasa, Karna Parva, Page 25.
(5) The Confederacy of the Kerala (Chera), Chola and Pandiya
In South India there has been a confederacy of the Tamil kingdoms (Tamira Countries) of Chera, Chola, and Pandiya (Muth Tamil Nadu) to jointly prevent the kings of the north and central India from invading their countries. This confederacy that existed for 113 years from B.C.283 was broken by king Karavela of Kalinga in the year B.C.170, which was a potential threat to his own kingdom.
The Tamil kingdoms of Chera, Chola and Pandiya of that period, ensured the unity of the southern Tamil Nadu of that period even at times of their individual invasions of the northern Ariyan kings. The Ariyan kings too recognised the unity and the strength of the Tamil kings and have referred to them 'as the kings of Tamil Nadu in the south' who have carved their royal emblems the Bow, Tiger and Fish individually on the mountain range of the Himalayas at different times.
The Kerala kings too in their North Indian expeditions, considered it as a great pride to have carved their emblem the Bow on the Himalayas, and having seen the Thamilakam (Chera, Chola & Pandiya) of that period bound by seas all round - were in unity.
This confederacy of the three southern Tamil kingdoms the Kerala (Chera), Chola and Pandiya, prevented the Maurya Emperor Asoka too from conquereing their countries in Southern India. This could have been the reason why when his domains extended as far as Mysore, he has referred in his Second Rock Edict that the Kerala (Chera), Chola, and Pandiya countries as being beyond his domains. However Emperor Asoka were successful in penetrating the three Tamil countries as far as Tamiraparni river in south Pandiya Nadu, with his Buddhist Dhamma religious mission.
In the above edict the Keralas are mentioned as the Keralaputras, that is the Putras of Kerala, meaning the sons of the soil of Kerala. From the above it is very clear that the Keralas were known to the people of North India also during the period of the Maurya Emperor Asoka, who ruled the Maghada kingdom from B.C.273 - 236.
The Fourteenth Edict of Asokan period has only mentioned of the Cholas and Pandyas, but it is already clear that they knew of the kingdom of Kerala in the South India as seen from the Second Edict.
The above are confirmed by the following references:
"............vada Aariyar padai kadanththu
then Thamil Naadu orungu kaana........"
Silappathikaaram - by Ilango Adihal, Mathurai Kaandam, Katturai kaathai
U.V.Swaminatha Iyer edition
"…….then Thamil Nadu aalum venthar seruveatu puhantru elunthu min thavalum ImayaNetriyil vilangu vil, puli, kayal poriththa naal empolum mudi mannar eengu illlai polum
Silappathikaaram - by Ilango Adihal, Mathurai Kaandam, Katturai kaathai
U.V.Swaminatha Iyer edition
"…..Imayam vitporith imil kadal velith thamilakam vilanga…."
Pathirtrupaththu - 2nd Patthu - by Kumatoor Kannanaar, U.V.Saminatha Iyer edition
"....Every where within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi's domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni, and where the Greek king Antiochos rules,....."
"......Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest. And it has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni. Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dhamma......"
Edicts of Asoka - an English rendering by Ven Dhammika, publised by Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka - 1994 (Net Edition)
(L.11) ".......and (he) thoroughly breaks up the confederacy of the T[r]amira (Dramira) countries of one hundred and thirteen years, which has been a source of danger to (his) Country (Janapada)....."
Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharavela of Kalinga (B.C.170)
Epigraphia Indica - Vol. XX, 86-89.
(6) The Rivers flowing in the close vicinity of Kodungallur of Kerala (Chera)
Among all the rivers flowing across Kerala, the longest river is the present Periyar river, flowing in to the Kodungallur Lagoon (Lagoon - a lake fed by sea water). The present Periyar of Kerala was originally known as the Periyaaru meaning the big river (in Tamil). However it's original name was not merely Periyaaru, but was known as the "Chulliyam Periyaaru" of Cheras.
We see many references to different rivers in India with such name combinations namely as Gangai Periyaaru, Kaviri Periyaaru, Pennai Periyaaru, Vaikai Periyaaru etc. Hence from the foregoing it is clear the Periyaaru has been used in the sense of "Periya Aaru" (in Tamil) meaning the big River, with their actual names prefixed to the term Periyaaru. Hence it is clear that "Chulliyam" was the original name of the Periyaaru of Kerala, which the poet states belonged to the Chera kings (Cheralar).
Also there is another river named Pullut Phuza (Pullut River) which flows from the north of Kerala passing adjacent to the present Kodungallur region - the former Vanchi nagar, and then turns around this region to the west and falls into the same Kodungallur Lagoon. The Pullut Phuza (Phuza in Malayalam = River) was the former Aan Porunai River(in Tamil) mentioned in many Tamil Literary works of the early period, and positively confirmed by Silappathikaaram as surrounding the Vanji Nagar of Cheras, and is of much importance in the study of Kerala (Chera) history.
There is the third river named Chalakkudi which joins with Periyar near present Chowkakadavu and then falls into the Kodungallur Lagoon. From the Kodungallur Lagoon the confluence of these three rivers falls into the nearby sea at the present Alikode (Aalikkodu), the former region of the famed seaport city of Musiri.
The above are confirmed by the following References:
In Ahananooru the rivers Chulliyam, Kaviri, Pennai of South India, and Ganga of North India are referred to as Periyaaru.
"....Cheralar Chulliam Periyaartru vennurai kalanga........................................... ............valam elu Musiri"
Ahananooru - chapter 7, verse 149
“…..Kadatkarai melikkum Kaviri Periyaaru….:”
Ahananooru - verse 126
“……kadum punal malintha Kaviri Periyaatru……”
Ahanaanooru – verse 62
“…..Pennai am Periyaartru……”
Ahanaanooru – verse 35
In Silappathikaaram the rivers Vaihai of south India, and Ganga of north India are referred to as Periyaaru
“…..Vaihai Periyaaru valamsuranthu ootalum….”
Silappathikaaram, Katturai Kaathai, line 208
“……kadun punal Gangai Periyaatru ventroi……”
Silappathikaaram, Nadukal Kaathai, line 121
".......vaali varu punal neer Aan Porunai sool
tharum Vanjiyar komaan than thol kulame...."
Silappathikaarem – Vaalthukaathai – 14
(7) The Musiri the earliest known Seaport city of Kerala near Kodungallur
The Musiri is the earliest known seaport city of the Kerala (Chera-Kothai) kings at the estuary of the confluence of three rivers, at the present Alikode in west Kerala adjacent to the sea.
The scenic description of the Musiri port is described in the contemporary period Tamil Literary work Puranaanooru as follows: :
"…..With the fish piled up and the paddy heaped within the elevated house of boats (ambi) with the pepper bags (too) within this house (outer) fortification, brought the load to the shore of the sea where the seaport Musiri was situated possibly along the rivers (undoubtedly along Aan Porunai, Chulliam Periyaru, and Chalakkudi), (where) the ships with gifts of gold (too) brought to shore by small ships (thoni) – (thus) the products of hills and the seas unloaded and distributed to those who came there (for trading) was the Kuttuvan's Musiri (port) with noise of the roaring sea…..".
The Greeks and the Romans with the discovery of the favourable wind named "Hippalus" (in A.D.47), travelled to the nearest seaport of India namely the Musiri in much quicker time of forty days from the Ocelis port of Arabia.
The first known reference to Musiri from the external sources comes from the Roman Historian named Pliny in A.D.77, who refers to Musiri as a seat of goverment under the rule of Chera kings was a seaport city at the height of prosperity frequented by ships and was of leading importance. Muziris of the Cheras abounds in ships sent there with cargoes from Arabia(pre-Islamic) and of Greeks. From the Tamil historical sources we note this king was the Imayavaramban Neduncheralathan (A.D.74 - 132).
Further reference to Muziris is made in A.D.100 by a Greek historian named Periplus who states "….Musiri was not a desirable place of call, with pirates being in the neighbourhood who occupied a place called Nitrias (the Naruvu as known to Tamils north of Musiri occupied by Kadambar) and besides it is not well supplied with wares for traffic. Ships besides anchor at a great distance from the shore and cargoes have to be landed and shipped by employing boats. During this time the Caelobothras (Keralaputhra) was the sovereign of that country….."
The Musiri being the seaport city of the Chera kingdom is also confirmed by Ptolemy in the year A.D.150. He refers to ".....Musiri Emporium as a sea port city that was ruled at that time by Kerobothras....." which is a corruption of Cheraputhras or Keralaputhras, as found in the Asokan Inscriptions, meaning the people of Kerala (Chera) country.
Further from the Ptolemy's geographical cordinates it is clear that the Muziris emporium a seaport city was situated immediately north and at the mouth of the Pseudostomos river, identified as the "specific reference" to the "AanPorunai river" (present Pullut river), entering the sea as a confluence of three rivers the other two being the Periyar and the Chalakkudi rivers.
Hence the sea port city of the Chera Nadu of the first and second century A.D. known as Musiri could be very positively located at the river (mouth) estuary of the confluence of these three rivers the principal river among them being the Periyar river, where they meet the sea around the present Alikode region near the Kodungallur.
The above are confirmed by the following references
"….Kothai Musiriyar Koman....."
Muththolaayiram – section 3 (on Cheras), verse 116
"…..Meen noduththu nelkuvai yi
misai ambiyin manai marukkunthu
manaikkuvai iya kari moodaiyal
kali summaiya karai kalak kurunthu
kalam thantha pot parisam
malai thaaramum kadal thaaramum
thalai peithu, varunarkku eeyum
punal am kallin polanthaar Kuttuvan
mulanghu kadal mulavin Musiri anna....."
Puranaanooru – verse 343
"....the voyage from Syagrus a cape in Arabia reckoned at 1335 miles, can be performed by aid of the west wind which is there called "Hippalus".....To those who are bound for India, Ocelis is the best place for embarkation. If the wind called Hippalus be blowing Muziris the nearest mart of India can be reached in forty days. It is not a desirable place of call, pirates being in the neighbourhood who occupied a place called Nitrias, and besides it is not well supplied with wares for traffic. Ships besides anchor at a great distance from the shore and cargoes have to be landed and shipped by employing boats. At the time I was writing this Caelobothras was the sovereign of that country......"
Ancient India as described in Classical Literatue - translated by J.W. M'Crindle - page 111-112 (Natural History by Pliny (A.D.77), Vol 6, chapter on Geography of India
"....Then follow Naura and Tyndis the first marts of Limyrike, and after these Muziris and Nelcynda the seats of Goverment. To the kingdom under the sway of Ceprobotras, Tyndis is subject, a village of great note situate near the sea. Muziris which pertains to the same realm is a city at the height of prosperity, frequented as it is by ships. It lies near a river at a distance from Tyndis of 500 stadia whether measured from river to river or by the length of the sea voyage and it is 20 stadia distant from the mouth of its own river. The distance of Nelcynda from Muziris is also nearly 500 stadia whether measured from river to river or by sea voyage but it belongs to Pandion.
Periplus Maris Erythraei - translated from Greek by J.W M'Crindle (extracted from Classical Accounts of India by R.C, Majumdar, Page 305)
"..Then comes Naura and Tyndis, the first markets of Damirica, and then Muziris and Nelcynda which are now of leading importance. Tyndis is of the kingdom of Cerobothra, it is a village in plain sight by the sea. Muziris of the same kingdom abounds in ships sent there with cargoes from Arabia and by the Greeks. It is located on a river distant from Tyndis by river and sea five hundred stadia, and up the river from the shore 20 stadia. Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea five hundred stadia and is of another kingdom Pandian..."
Mouziris, an emporium ...................................117 deg 14 deg
Mouth of the river Pseudostomos.....................117 deg 20 min 14 deg
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea - translated from Greek by Wilfred H Schoff, page 44
(8) Subsequent invasion of Musiri by the Pandiyan king Cheliyan
From a poem in the Tamil Literary work "Ahanaanooru" we also come to know that the Pandiyan Cheliyan once raided the ancient estuary (of Periyar) at Musiri (seaport city), where the warlike Cheliyan (Pandiyan king) with tall strong elephant surrounded (the city) to the shock (of the inhabitants) raided in severe battle, and took (to himself) the statue.
Among two other poems from "Ahanaanooru", one confirms that the Pandiyan (king) Cheliyan raided the city of Musiri at the estuary (Musiri munthurai), while the other refers he having won the Cheral (possibly ruling Musiri), and in both the Cheliyan has been referred to as having "koi suvar puravi kodi ther" meaning the `Cheliyan with chariot having horses of trimmed mane and flag'. Hence the the Pandiyan king Cheliyan was no other than the "Thalai Alanganaththu seru ventra Cheliyan" as seen in one of the latter two poems of Ahanaanooru.
It is noted that there is no reference in these poems to him capturing the Karur or Vanji in the same raid, being the capital city of the Chera kings. This indicates the purpose of the raid by Pandiyan Cheliyan was to `secure to himself a Statue'("padimam vaviya") from the seaport city of Musiri, that has been of much value and importance to him.
At the time of this raid the Kadamba king (known for their pirate activities) named Erumaiyooran ruled from Naravu north of Musiri.
This above are confirmed by the following references
"........valam elu Musiri arrpu ela valaiyee
arum samam kadanthu padimam vaviya
nedu nal yanai adu por Cheliyan......"
Ahananooru - chapter 7, verse 148
"......koi suvat puravi kodit ther Cheliyan
muthu neer mun thurai Musiri muttri....
kaliru pada erukkiya kallen gnatpin
arumpunn urunarin varunthinal...."
Ahanaanooru - verse 57
"……ko isuvar puravi kodither Cheliyan
Alanganaththu ahan thalai sivappa,
Cheral, Sembiyan, …………………..
…….Naar ari Naravin Erumaiyooran
Eluvar nal valam adanga oru pakal
Murasai yodu venkudai ahappaduththu…….."
Ahanaanooru - verse 36
(9) The Karuvur the earliest known inland capital city of Kerala near Kodungallur
The inland capital of the earliest known Kerala (Chera) kings was the Karuvur also known as Karur. (The latter is also spelt as Karoor with the same pronounciation). This capital city was located at the present Karuvapadna, a little distance north from the Kodungallur Lagoon along the present Pullut river (former Aan Porunai river) and on the right side of it near the present Vallivattom bridge.
It is clearly evident that the present Karuvapadna and the region surrounding same were the former Karuvur Pattinam of the Cheras, which is confirmed by the very fact the regions in and around Karuvapadna are known even today as Karoor Paadam, Karoorpadna junction, Karoorpadna Kulam etc. This was undoubtedly the ancient Karur City, and is confirmed in the above reference that it was the royal seat meaning the capital city of the Kerobothras (the Keralas or Cheras).
It is also shown in the Ptolemy's map that it was located a little interior but not far from Musiri, and on the right side of the river Pseudostomos river. Further we are aware that all three rivers namely the Periyar, the Chalakudi, and the Pullut river that meets at the Kodungallur Lagoon and falling into the sea, are not shown in Ptolemy's map. Only one river is shown in same, and is also mentioned that the Karoura - the royal seat of Kerobothras was on its right side adjacent to it.
From the above geographical locations as shown in the Ptolemy's map, it is clear that the river shown in his map is no other than the "Aan Porunai river" the present Pulut Puzha (not the river Periyaru or the river Chalakudi), which flows adjacent to and on the right side of the present Kodungallur (the region of Vanji Nagar - the later capital of Cheras), and a little distance upstream in the northernly direction it is seen that the "Aan Porunai river" flows adjacent to and on the left side of the present Karuvapadna the region of Karuvur - the former capital of Cheras. The Ptolemy's map refers to it as "Carura Regia Cerobothri" - the Karur kingdom of Cheras. This reference of Ptolemy on Karuvur, is the first evidence available to us presently in any historical or literary documents of that period, as being the captal city of Cheras.
From a reference from the Tamil Literary work Ahanaanooru it is noted that Karuvur was adjacent to the Aan Porunai River. Karuvur served as the earlier interior capital of Cheras, while Musiri remained the seaport capital during this period.
The Ships coming to then Chera Nadu from foreign countries anchored at Musiri harbour the first known seaport city of Cheras which stretched from the seafront near present Alikode upto the of Kodungallur Lagoon. Just little beyond on the north-east of this lagoon along the Pullut River (Aan Porunai river) was the region known as the "Karuvur Munthurai" (Mun Thurai = Harbour Front : Harbour is a section of a river or sea opposite a landmass region used for parking or harbouring - small boats and Thonis or large ships, and Kalangal) which is referred to in the Ahanaanooru as "….more than the sand (crystals) on the high bunds of clear water Aan Porunai river at the Harbour front of the prosperous and wonderous large city of Karuvur of the Kothai (Chera) king, with the strong elephant and tall Chariot….."
From further references in Silappathikaarem and Ahanaanooru too, we note the term "Munthurai" is used to mean the "harbour front". The harbour front of Kaviri river - refers to Poompuhar or Kaviripoompattinam the seaport city of Cholas, the "harbour front" at Kotkai - refers to the Kotkai seaport city of Pandiyas, harbour front at Musiri - refers to the Musiri seaport city of Cheras (Keralas).
Hence it is clear that there was also a "harbour front" opposite Karuvur near the present Vallivattom bridge just beyond the Kodungaloor lagoon along the Pullut River the former Aan Porunai river, up to which it was navigable for small boats and ships, with goods from Musiri port to the interior capital the Karuvur.
From the Tamil Literary work "Ahanaanooru" we note the earliest Chera king who rose on the throne of Karuvur and ruled Chera Nadu was Koperum Cheral Irumporai.
The present Karuvur region near Thirutchiraappalli in TamilNadu, was one of the earliest capital city of the Cholas long before Uraiyur same Karuvur the inland capital of the early Chera kings not much far away from their seaport capital the Musiri adjacent to the Musiri in the Kodungallur region. Some of the Chera kings who became powerfull during the early and medieval periods, also captured the second Karuvur city of Cholas at Thirutchiraapalli and ruled over same (leaving some inscriptions on their endowments made during that time to the temples in this region), but many times lost same back to Cholas. The Karuvur or Karur of Cheras, and the Karuvur of Cholas, are two different entities.
From the early Tamil Literary Work named "Palamoli Naanooru" we note that the Ministers after the death of the Chola king at Karuvur near Thirutchiraappalli met at a region known as Kalumalam and gave a (trained) Elephant with a garland and instigated it to select by garlanding the next successor to the Chola throne. Accordingly the Elephant went to the city of Karuvur near Thirutchiraappalli and garlanded on the very young Karikatcholan who was accepted and crowned as the next Chola king of the (Chola) Karuvur. This traditional story is referred to in "Palamoli Naanooru" as follows.
Further in the Periyapuraanam in the chapter on Puhal Chola Naayanaar a reference again confirms beyond doubt the [u]Karuvur near Thirutchiraappalli district was the [u]early traditional capital of the Cholas before Uraiyur and different to that of Cheras.
In the above `further evidence' is thrown to prove that Karuvur at present Thirutchiraappalli was the the ancient capital of Cholas and not that of Cheras by the mere fact the king of the "kuda pulam" the Cherar brought tributaries to the Chola king at Karuvur with a procession of tall elephants.
The above are confirmed by the following references
The Ptolemy's geography states that among the inland cities of Limryke was the :
Karoura the royal seat of Kerobothras.......... 119 deg 16 deg 20 min
Ancient India as described by Ptolemy - translated by John W McCrindle
".....Cheraman Karuvur eariya ol vaarl Koperung Cheral Irumporai......."
Puranaanooru - verse 5
"….kadum pahattu yanai nedunther Kothai
Thiru ma viyan nagar Karuvur mun thurai
then neer uyar karai kuvai iya
than Aan Porunai manalinum palave….."
Ahanaanooru - Verse 93
"…..Muthu neerk kaviri munthurai padutthal ….."
Silappathikaarem – Vanji Kaandam, kaatchikkaathai lines 23-24
"…..ivar thirai thantha eerngkathir muththam
kavar nadai puravikaal vaduththa pukkum
nal ther Valuthi Kotkai munthurai......"
Ahanaanooru – verse 130
"…..muthu neer munthurai Musiri…"
Ahanaanooru – verse 57
"…….venthirai parappin Thondi munthurai……"
Ahanaanooru – verse 290
"……Kalumalaththil yaaththa kalirum Karuvur
vilumiyon met sentru….."
Palamoli Naanooru – A Jain Poet, Verse 89
"……Senni Nee Anapaayan thirukkulaththu vali muthaloar Ponni nathi puravalanaar Puhal Cholar ena polivaar………kongarodu kudapulaththu komannar thirai konarath thangal kula muthat thani nagaram Karuvur-il……kudapula mannavar konarntha oli nedung kalitrin ani…."
Periyapuranam by Seikeelaar, chaper 41, verses 8,11,13
Last edited by virarajendra; 9th June 2014 at 07:52 AM.
22nd March 2009 07:32 PM
2nd October 2009, 08:06 PM
Very interesting info sir...thank u very much
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