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"THE HINDU" takes it Evangelical agenda again

Updated: August 27, 2015 03:29 IST

A mosque visit Modi finds hard to pull off

The Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur, Kerala, believed to be the first mosque in India built in 629 A.D., is now part of the Muziris Heritage Project launched by the State govt.
The Hindu
The Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur, Kerala, believed to be the first mosque in India built in 629 A.D., is now part of the Muziris Heritage Project launched by the State govt.

A proposed visit of the Prime Minister to India’s oldest mosque, the Cheraman Juma Masjid, is in limbo as Kerala Tourism’s Muziris Heritage Project brushes uncomfortably against the Sangh Parivar’s construct of history.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi — within weeks of speaking about India’s Islamic heritage during his tour of Central Asia — was widely interpreted as a recalibration of his approach towards Islam, but repeating that gesture within the borders of the country appears difficult for him.

A proposed visit of Mr. Modi to India’s oldest mosque, the Cheraman Juma Masjid in central Kerala’s Kodungallur, is in limbo as Kerala Tourism’s Muziris Heritage Project that he was to inaugurate during the visit, brushes uncomfortably against the Sangh Parivar’s construct of history. Mr. Modi had accepted Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s invitation to inaugurate the project, but Sangh Parivar leaders opposed to the project registered their protest with the PM who subsequently developed cold feet, a BJP source told The Hindu. “We are waiting for a date from the PMO,” a senior functionary of the Kerala government said.

Cultural overtones

At the heart of the debate is the ongoing excavation at Pattanam near Kodungallur, which historians increasingly believe is the remains of Muziri Patanam, the lost port on the south-western Kerala coast that fostered intense trade contacts between the subcontinent and regions in Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia, between third century BC and fifth century AD. Kerala tourism developed a heritage tourism project around it. Indian Ocean trade contacts are a subject close to Mr. Modi’s heart, but the cultural undertones that accompany them make for complicated politics, and in Kodungallur, it is striking.

It is here that Christianity and Islam possibly made their first contacts with the peninsula, alongside trade, much before they arrived in other parts of India through invasions and colonialism. The Syrian Christian tradition claims — though without much historical evidence — that St. Thomas reached Kodungallur in the first century AD along with Jewish traders. A synagogue still exists in the town, and is part of the proposed tourism circuit. The exact date of the founding of the mosque is also not an established historical fact though the local legend cites AD 629. “What is certainly clear is that cultural exchanges accompanied trade,” said P.J. Cherian, Director, Pattanam Excavations, and Director, Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR). Though the current excavation site suggests decline by the fifth century, contacts of the region with Arabia continued during the advent of Islam. “Excavation has no preconceived notions,” said K.N. Panikkar, Chairman, KCHR, on the possible impact that emerging finding may have on local legends.

RSS-affiliated bodies, particularly the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, have been opposed to the project and its interpretations. Organiser wrote in 2011: “The Left conspiracy, spearheaded by Panikkar and Cherian of KCHR, was to showcase Muziris as a centre of composite culture consisting of Jews, Dutch, Portuguese, Muslims and Babylonians; Hindus only represented by Vanvasis.” “BVK view on this project has been communal and is not based on any historical understanding,” said Prof. Panikkar.

BJP State president V. Muraleedharan said the PM had never agreed to come for the inauguration of the project. “He certainly must have said that he would consider, but to say that he agreed to come is misinformation.”Despite the silence from the PM, supporters of the project have not lost hope. Dr. Cherian pointed out that the permission for excavation was extended after Mr. Modi came to power. “We are eagerly waiting for the dates of the Prime Minister. But unfortunately, despite feverish follow-ups by the Chief Minister’s office with the PMO , we haven’t got any confirmation yet,” said T. N. Prathapan, senior Congress leader and local MLA. Mr. Prathapan said the State government’s proposal was for the Prime Minister to visit the masjid, the Bhagavathi Temple and the St Thomas Church.

“We will be very happy to welcome the Prime Minister,” said Dr. Mohammad Syed, president of the Masjid Managing Committee.



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ஹிந்து பத்திரிக்கையின் தொடரும் கிறிஸ்துவ ஊழியம்


ஹிந்து பத்திரிக்கையின் தொடரும் கிறிஸ்துவ ஊழியம்

ஆகஸ்ட் 28 அன்றைய ஹிந்துவில் ஒரு கட்டுரை, இந்தியாவின் மிகப் பழமையான சேரமான் ஜூமா மசூதிக்கு பாரதப் பிரதமர் மோடி வருவாரா? என.

துபாயின் பெறிய மசூதி சென்றவர் இம்மசூதி வருவதை கேரள பிஜேபி எதிர்க்கிறதாம் -  கேரளா சுற்றுலா வளர்க்க சங்க இலக்கியத்தின் முசுறித் துறைமுகம் என்பதாக கேசிஎச் ஆர் எனும் கேரளா வரலாற்று ஆய்வு கௌன்சில் பி.சி.செரியன் பரப்பும் கதைகளுக்கு வலு சேர்க்கும் என. கேரளா  முதல்வர் ஓமன் சண்டிக்கு திரு.மோடி வருவதாக வாக்கு தந்துள்ளாராம், மசூதி வருவதாக உறுதி செய்ததை மோடி செய்வாரா என கேள்வி.




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Professional Archaeologists were never involved in this project and church based KCHR wanted this for trying to Link it to so called St.Thomas.


"Professional Archaeologists were never involved in this project" - meaning the ones who can distort the facts and clam that people in ancient India had capacity for inter planetary mission.


Why is the 'Hindu' obsessed and worried if NaMo goes to a mosque or not? I'm sure he has more pressing matters to attend to. Being the PM of India is a very stressful and difficult job for even the best politicians.


Was this build in 629 AD as a mosque , or was it converted from temple to Mosque. The architecture resembles the Kerala temples





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Cheraman Juma Masjid the first mosque of India.This mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance and is located 2 km from Kodungalloor town.Built in 629 AD, this is the first mosque in India and the second in the world where Juma prayers were started. People from far and near irrespective of caste and creed visit this holy place and pay their homage. This mosque is unique. Mosques all over the world face the direction of Mecca, but this particular one faces east. It is situated in the Methala village of Kodungalloor Taluk, about 20 kilometres away from the Irinjalakuda railway station. This mosque was designed and constructed in accordance with the Hindu art and architecture. The building until recently was predominantly made of wood. The mosque eroded owing to adverse climatic conditions and had to be partly rebuilt, though the wooden interiors are still intact. 

Unlike any other mosques in India, the Cheraman mosque uses a traditional brass oil lamp, mostly found in Hindu temples. 

The architecture also resembles Hindu temple style.



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Cheraman mosque lies spread by Newspapers 

Inside the Cheraman Juma Masjid, the first mosque in India and probably one of the oldest shrines in the world, burns an oil lamp which is believed to be more...

According to legend, Cheraman Perumal, the king of Kodungallur, once had an unusual dream of the moon splitting into two. He shared this with traders from Arabia who interpreted the dream as a message from the Prophet. Cherman Perumal, it is said, travelled to Madina to meet the Prophet and embraced Islam. But he died on his way back and is now buried in Salalah, Oman. Before dying, he instructed his travel companions, led by a companion of the Prophet, Malik Bin Dinar, to spread the message of Islam in his homeland. 




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'World's second oldest mosque is in India'


The following article appeared in the Bahrain tribune in 2004. The original Kerala type of architecture was changed recently and this i think shows the ignorance of people who control the mosque.


'World's second oldest mosque is in India'

Browsing through the annals of the royal family of the Samudris (Zamorins to western historians) – the traditional rulers of north Kerala from 7th century A.D to British days, – I was intrigued by one paragraph, which stated "There is the practice of receiving pan (betel leaf) from a Muslim woman when the King Samudri ascends throne for the first time and telling her 'I shall guard the sword (kingship) until my uncle returns from Makkah.' This custom continued until 1890s." "Why a Muslim women be given that assurance?" I mused, and checking with historians found, that in India, in the 1375-year-old (built in Hijra 629 or 7 A.D.) Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungaloor-Kerala, we have India's oldest Islamic shrine. More important is the fact that it is the world's second oldest Juma mosque, where the Juma (Friday) prayers have been held for the last 1375 years, since the days of Prophet Mohammed (570-634 A.D.). The first Juma mosque in the world is the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, which is also his memorial tomb. Kodungaloor was the capital of the kings of Kerala, and in 622-628 A.D. (Hijra 1 to 7) the ruler was a great savant, by name Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma. In those days, the seniormost of the rulers of Kerala was called as Cheraman Perumal. It was here that he was visited by certain Mohammadan pilgrims, who according to tradition, succeeded in inducing the Perumal to turn Mohammadan and undertake the Haj. On the eve of his renunciation of religion, empire and embarkation for Makkah, he is reputed to have distributed Kerala among the many Hindu princes whose scions ruled it until 1947. The founder of the Samudri dynasty, a nephew of the departing monarch, was one of the beneficiaries. Hence it became obligatory for all his descendants to assert to the Muslim woman as representative of the religion to which the Perumal had converted himself, that the new ruler was only the agent of the Perumal. Why did the Perumal convert himself into a follower of Prophet Mohammed? M. Hamiddullah writes in Mohammad Rasoolullah, quoting some old manuscripts from India Office Library (ref no. Arabic, 2607, 152-173) Vol.16 (06): "There is a very old tradition in Malabar, southwest Coast of India that Chakrawati Farmas (perhaps another name for denoting Cheraman Perumal) one of their kings, had observed splitting of the moon, the celebrated miracle of the Holy Prophet at Makkah, and learning on inquiry that this was a symbol of the coming of a Messenger of God from Arabia, he appointed his nephew regent and set out to meet him. The love for Holy Prophet grew in his heart and he became the earliest Muslim convert of present day India." This 'Moon Splitting' is also mentioned in the hadith. As per narrations of Abdullah bin Masud: "During the lifetime of the Prophet, the moon was split into two parts and on that the Prophet said, 'Bear witness (to thus).'" (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Virtues and Merits of the Prophet and his Companions, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 830) To continue with the words of Hamidullah, Cheraman Perumal embraced Islam at the hand of Prophet. A tradition of the Holy Prophet has also been reported from one of the companions, Abu Saeed Al Khudri, regarding the arrival of Cheraman Perumal "a king from India presented the Messenger of God with a bottle of pickle that had ginger in it. The Holy Prophet distributed it among his companions. I also received a piece to eat." It is said that, after conversion, the Perumal took the name of Tajuddin, while other chroniclers say that he called himself as Abdullah Samudri, in remembrance of his past. He married the sister of the then king of Jeddah and settled down there. He handed over to the king of Jeddah several letters addressed to the ruler of Kodungaloor (then known as Muzuris), seeking his help to propagate the tenets of Islam. Later, unfortunately, when returning to Kerala, on directives of the Prophet, Tajuddin died at the port of Zafar, Yemen, where the tomb of the 'Indian king' was piously visited for many centuries. But he had asked his companions, among whom there were a number of senior disciples of Prophet Mohammad, to continue their journey to Kerala. One Islamic scholar has written that Perumal's followers built the mosque after reaching Kerala. "The Cheraman Juma Masjid was built by Malik bin Dinar, (one of the 13 followers of Prophet Mohammad), who reached the ancient port of Musuris on the spice route in Malabar in 629 A.D. Cheraman Perumal had given a letter to the Rajah of Kodungaloor, who helped Malik bin Dinar to convert the Arathali temple into a Juma Masjid. As such this mosque was one, designed and constructed based on Hindu art and architecture. It has a unique speciality. Mosques all over the world face the direction of Makkah, but this particular one faces east, as it was built originally as a Hindu shrine, all of which face the east. This is the second Juma Mosque in the world, where Friday prayers have been offered since 1365 A.D./Hijra 7. It is situated in the Mrthala village of Kodungaloor, hardly 20km from the Irinjalakuda railway station in Kerala. Unlike any other mosques in India, the Cheraman mosque uses a traditional brass oil lamp, mostly found in Hindu temples. The pulpit from where the chief priest gives Friday sermons is made of rosewood with carvings similar to those in temples. There are two tombs, that of Bin Dinar and his sister inside the mosque, where preachers light incense sticks, yet another Hindu practice. Until 1984, for 1355 years, the Cherman Perumal Mosque retained its facade as a typical Kerala structure. In 1984, the local Muslim Jamaat, which repaired the building, decided, that the new structure should be more like a Islamic shrine with minarets. While retaining the inner configuration of the edifice, the exterior was changed completely. As one member of the Indian National Trust for Art " Cultural Heritage told me that in 1984 the trust was formed to protect the Indian heritage, from such radical alterations. But by 1984, the mosque had been given a new exterior. Otherwise the trust would have appealed and ensured that the 1355 old facade of the structure (although repaired many times) was kept in its old grandeur. photo: The original Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungaloor, Kerala, where Friday prayers have been held for the last 1375 years. Below: The mosque after local Muslims carried out renovations.



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 Updated: April 21, 2014 10:10 IST


‘Pattanam and Dorchester shared similar links with Rome’

  • Archaeologists of theOxford University at the Pattanam excavation site. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
    The Hindu
    Archaeologists of theOxford University at the Pattanam excavation site. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
  • Wendy Morrison of the Oxford University. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
    The Hindu
    Wendy Morrison of the Oxford University. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Archaeological excavations by an Oxford research team at Dorchester Village in England have thrown up interesting finds

Southern India’s trade links with Rome in the early Iron Age is reminiscent of the Roman invasion of England around the same period, Dr. Wendy Morrison of the Oxford University has said.

Speaking with the Pattanam excavation team of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) at the archaeological site on Friday, Dr. Morrison said the archaeological excavations carried out by an Oxford research team at Dorchester Village had thrown up some interesting finds on the country’s cultural and trade links with Rome.

“We’ve stumbled upon some interesting finds, which point to the fact that early Iron Age people settled by the Thames River would have engaged in trade with the Romans,” she said, during a telephone conversation with The Hindu. Artefacts unearthed at the excavation site had been carbon-dated to conclusively prove their age, she said.

Dr. Morrison said it was heartening to see that Pattanam, near North Paravur, also had similar ties with Romans during the same period. It would be good if the Pattanam excavation team came to Dorchester to partake in the excavations there, as it would help them gain a better perspective on the nature of relationships that existed between both regions and Rome. It would also result in an understanding of the cultural dimensions of the relationship. She said Oxford’s memorandum of understanding with the KCHR would pave the way for the Pattanam team to conduct excavations at Dorchester next year.

While the Romans faced opposition from the British elsewhere, the archaeological finds indicated the existence of a peaceful trade relation between Dorchester and Rome, said Dr. Morrison.

P.J. Cherian, KCHR director who heads the Pattanam research team, said the history of Kerala’s trade links with Rome dated back to first century BC. It was around the same time that the Romans invaded Britain. The nature of the relationship was similar vis-à-vis the yesteryear town of Pattanam, which first saw human habitation in BC 1000 and the arrival of the Romans in BC 100, he said. While Dorchester was a few hundred kilometres away, the Romans had travelled about 9,000 kilometres to establish a commercial network with coastal Kerala.




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Tamil-Brahmi script found at Pattanam in Kerala

Establishes the prevalence of Jainism on the west coast at least from 2nd century CE 

The Tamil-Brahmi script with the letters
The Tamil-Brahmi script with the letters "a ma na," meaning Jaina, found at Pattanam in Kerala. The letters are followed by two megalithic graffiti symbols which could not be identified. — Photo: P.J. Cherian

A Tamil-Brahmi script on a pot rim, reading “a ma na”, meaning a Jaina, has been found at Pattanam in Ernakulam district, Kerala, establishing that Jainism was prevalent on the west coast at least from second century CE (Common Era). The script can be dated to circa second century CE. The three Tamil-Brahmi letters are followed by two symbols generally called Megalithic graffiti and these two symbols could not be identified. This is the third Tamil-Brahmi script to be found in the Pattanam excavations.

The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) has been conducting excavations at Pattanam since 2007, with the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India. The pot-rim was found during the sixth season of the excavation currently under way. Pattanam is now identified as the thriving port called Muziris by the Romans. Tamil Sangam literature celebrates it as Muciri.

P.J. Cherian, Director of the Pattanam excavations, said: “The discovery, in the Kerala context, has a great significance because of the dearth of evidence so far of the pre-Brahminical past of Kerala, especially in relation to the socio-cultural and religious life of the people. We have direct evidence from Pattanam now with the Brahmi script which mentions “a ma na” [Jaina] and so we have evidence that Jainism and Buddhism were extensively practised in Kerala.”

Iravatham Mahadevan, a scholar in Indus and Tamil-Brahmi scripts, said the discovery showed that “there was Jainism on the west coast at least from second century CE. The importance of the finding is that it stratigraphically corroborates the earlier datings given to the Tamil-Brahmi cave inscriptions in Tamil Nadu on palaeographic evidence. I will date this sherd, on palaeographic evidence, to circa second century CE.”

The Tamil word “a ma na” meaning a Jaina was derived from Sanskrit Sramana via Prakrit Samana and Tamil Camana, said Mr. Mahadevan. The two megalithic graffiti, following the three Tamil-Brahmi letters, could not be identified. “But we know from similar finds in Tamil Nadu, especially at Kodumanal, that Tamil-Brahmi letters and megalithic graffiti symbols occur side by side,” he said. Mr. Mahadevan was sure that “many more exciting finds will be made at Muciri [Pattanam] which was a flourishing port on the west coast during the Sangam age in Tamil Nadu, which coincided with the classical period in the West.”

Mr. Cherian, who is also Director of KCHR, said the discovery “excites me as an excavator because it was for the first time we are getting direct evidence relating to a religious system or faith in Kerala.” The pot might have belonged to a Jaina monk. The broken rim with the script was found at a depth of two metres in trench 29 in the early historical layer which “by our stratigraphic understanding could belong to third-second CE period,” he said. The associated finds included amphora sherds, iron nails, and beads among others.

In a trial trench laid earlier at Pattanam by Professor V. Selvakumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology and Epigraphy, Tamil University, Thanjavur and K.P. Shajan of KCHR, a pot-sherd with the Tamil-Brahmi letters reading “ur pa ve o” was found. Later, another Tamil-Brahmi script with the letters “ca ta [n]” was found. Mr. Mahadevan praised the Pattanam excavations as “the best conducted excavations in south India.” He said it was “a potentially important site and excavations are being done in a competent way by Mr. Cherian and his team from the KCHR and they have involved experts from around the world.”



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Surprise find at Pattanam digs - May-2, 2010

Centuries ago:A wooden peg found at the excavation site at Pattanam, Kerala.
Centuries ago:A wooden peg found at the excavation site at Pattanam, Kerala.

Special Correspondent

18 wooden pegs were found at a depth of four metres

KOCHI:Archaeological excavators looking for remains of Muziris, an ancient port city of Pattanam in Kerala, found 18 wooden pegs that might throw light on the life and times of people who lived there several centuries ago.

The sharpened wooden pegs, ranging from 15 cm to 20 cm in length, were found at a depth of four metres, said P.J. Cherian, head of the Pattanam excavations that are conducted by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR).

“This was a surprise find as the excavation has almost reached the natural layer, that is where no human interventions are identifiable.”

To determine the age of the pegs, the samples will be sent to science laboratories, including to that of Oxford University, for radiocarbon dating.

On Friday, Kerala Forest Research Institute scientists examined the wood samples and botanical sediments.

He said two excavation trenches produced evidence of formation of peat, a spongy layer of botanical remains deposited over a long period time. The peat formation could date back to about 25 centuries, he said.

Dig attracts attention

The excavations in Pattanam, located at Vadakkekara panchayat in Ernakulam district, have attracted historians, and archaeologists, and research institutions are collaborating with the KCHR in its digs.




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The site for archaeological research at Pattanam (10°09.434’N; 76°12.587’E) covers about 45 hectares. Due to habitation activities it is a “disturbed” site; some parts are partially destroyed due to sand quarrying. The site seems to have been first occupied by indigenous population around 1000 BC and continued to be active till the 10th century AD. The AMS 14C analysis of the charcoal and wood samples from the Iron Age layer and wharf contexts have determined their antiquity as first millennium BC.[3]

The multi-disciplinary and multi-seasonal archaeological research at Pattanam from 2007 undertaken by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) is a pioneering initiative in the history of Kerala Archaeology. British Academy (BASAS) recently accorded recognition for the formation of an international research group based on Pattanam.[4]

Square copper coins (on one side an elephant and on the other bows and arrows) had been found at the site. These types of coins were issued in the beginning of Christian era. At the same time there is lack of evidence to show that the artifacts unearthed at Pattanam came specifically from Rome. It is necessary to get information that these are connected directly to Italy.[5]

Excavated antiquities include Chera coins, Amphora, Terra Sigillatta, Cameo Blanks made of semi-precious stones and stone and glass beads in large quantity. Remains of brick structures made of burned bricks were also found there. A wharf context with a six m dugout canoe made of anjili wood and bollards made of teak wood and a large quantity of botanical remains were found.


Excavations 2010[edit]

Findings: Antiquities of small size - beads of both semi-precious stones and glass, pendants or lockets [6] cameo blanks, coins, (predominantly early Chera coins, with symbols of elephant, bow and arrow) objects or fragments of objects made of iron, copper, lead and rarely gold, and sherds of Indian and foreign pottery. A broken rim with Brahmi script. This is the first pre-firing pottery inscription finding at Pattanam. Enormous quantity of local pottery of the early Historic Period, which is dated between first century BC and fourth century AD, showing that this was the peak activity stage of Pattanam.

Excavations 2011[edit]

The excavations at Pattanam sheds new light on the life and times of the ancient Kerala. The finds this year include iron and copper nails, Roman glass, Chola coins, terracotta and semi precious stone beads.[7]

Archaeology and criticism[edit]

Former Director of the Tamil Nadu State Archaeology Department R. Nagaswamy is of opinion that it is not yet time to identify Pattanam as Muziris. [paravur ] also is to be excavated before coming to a conclusion. Archaeology requires a lot of evidence before arriving at any conclusion.[5] Romila Thapar has expressed her reservations on the use of ancient DNA sampling techniques, raising doubts whether there was the danger of bacterial contaminations or mutations in samples taken from skeletons that were buried for over 2,000 years. She however describes Pattanam as "a turning point for studies into India’s maritime relations."[8]



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Archaeological excavations[edit]

A series of excavations conducted at Kodungallur starting from 1945, yielded nothing that went back to before the 13th century. Another excavation was carried out in 1969 by the Archaeological Survey of India at Ceraman Parambu, 2 km north of Kodungallur. Only antiquities of the 13th and 16th century were recovered.[27]

In 1983, a large hoard of Roman coins was found at a site around six miles from Pattanam. A series of pioneering excavations carried out by Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR, an autonomous institution) at Pattanam from 2007 uncovered a large number of artefacts.[28][29][30][31][32] So far, seven seasons of excavations (2007–14) are completed by KCHR at Pattanam.[33]

The identification of Pattanam as Muziris is a divisive subject among some of the historians of south India. When KCHR announced the possible finding of Muziris based on Pattanam finds, it invited criticism from some historians and archaeologists. Historians such as R NagaswamyKN Panikkar and MGS Narayanan disagreed with the identification and called for further analysis.[13][26][32] "Whether Pattanam was Muziris is not of immediate concern to us," the chief of the Kerala Council for Historical Research recently stated to the media.[34] Even the last field report on the excavations (2013) explicitly shows Pattanam as Muziris.[35]

While historian and academic Rajan Gurukkal throws his weight behind the ‘salvage of historic relics at Pattanam’ by KCHR given the sites disturbance due to continual human habitation and activity, he thinks it [ancient Muziris] was no more than a colony of merchants from the Mediterranean. “The abundance of material from the Mediterranean suggests that traders arrived here using favourable monsoon winds and returned using the next after short sojourns,” he says. Feeder vessels transported them between their ships and the wharf, but it would be incorrect to say that it was a sophisticated port in an urban setting. The place did not have any evolved administration nor any sophistication. I believe it [Pattanam] was Muziris. Had it been elsewhere, Pattanam wharf and colony would’ve found a mention in available records, he says.[36]

Discoveries from Pattanam[edit]

Archaeological research has shown that Pattanam was a port frequented by Romans and it has a long history of habitation dating back to 10th century BC. Its trade links with Rome peaked between 1st century BC and 4th century AD.[37]

A large quantity of artifacts represents the maritime contacts of the site with Mediterranean, Red Sea and Indian Ocean rims. The major finds include ceramics, lapidary-related objects, metal objects, coins, architectural ruins, geological, zoological and botanical remains.[35]

  • Mediterranean: (100 BCE to CE 400) Amphora, terra sigillata sherds, Roman glass fragments and gaming counters.
  • West Asian, South Arabian & Mesopotamian: (300 BCE - CE1000 ) Turquoise glazed pottery, torpedo jar fragments and frankincense crumbs.
  • Chinese: (CE 1600 – CE 1900) Blue on white porcelain sherds.
  • Regional/Local: (1000 BCE to CE 2000) Black and red ware sherds, Indian rouletted ware, gemstones, glass beads, semi precious stone beads/inlays/intaglio, cameo–blanks, coins, spices, pottery and terracotta objects.
  • Urban life: (100 BCE to CE 400) burnt bricks, rooftiles, ring-wells, storage jars, toilet features, lamps, coins, stylus, personal adornment items and scripts on pottery.
  • Industrial character: (100 BCE to CE 400) Metallurgy reflected in iron, copper, gold and lead objects, crucibles, slag, furnace installations, lapidary remains of semi-precious stones and spindle whorls indicating weaving.
  • Maritime features: (100 BCE to CE 400) Wharf, warehouse, canoe, bollards.

The major discoveries from Pattanam include thousands of beads (made of semi-precious stone), sherds of Roman amphora, Chera-era coins made of copper alloys and lead, fragments of Roman glass pillar bowls, terra sigillata, remains of a long wooden boat and associated bollards made of teak and a wharf made of fired brick.[6][38]

The most remarkable find at Pattanam excavations in 2007 was a brick structural wharf complex, with nine bollards to harbour boats and in the midst of this, a highly decayed canoe, all perfectly mummified in mud. The canoe (6 meters long) was made of Artocarpus hirsutus, a tree common in Malabar Coast, out of which boats are made off.[39] The bollards some of which are still in satisfactory condition was made of teak.[40]

Three Tamil-Brahmi scripts were also found in the Pattanam excavations. The last Tamil-Brahmi script (dated to c. 2nd century AD, probably reading "a-ma-na", meaning "a Jaina" in Tamil) was found on a pot-rim at Pattanam. If the rendering and the meaning is not mistaken, it establishes that Jainism was prevalent on the Malabar Coast at least from the 2nd century. This is for the first time the excavators are getting direct evidence relating to a religious system in ancient Kerala.[41]

Muziris Heritage Project[edit]

Muziris Heritage Project is a tourism venture by Tourism Department of Kerala to "reinstate the historical and cultural significance Muziris". The idea of the project came after the extensive excavations and discoveries at Pattanam by Kerala Council for Historical Research.[42] The project also covers various other historically significant sites and monuments in central Kerala.

The nearby site of Kottapuram, a 16th-century fort, was also excavated (from May 2010) as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.[43]




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Muziris, at last?


in Kodungalloor and Pattanam



Archaeologists believe they have found at least a part of the ancient port city of Muziris.





A storage jar unearthed from the Pattanam excavation site on display at an exhibition organised by the Kerala Council for Historical Research in Thiruvananthapuram in May 2007.


Here lies the thriving town of Muchiri, where the beautiful large ships of the Yavana come, bringing gold, splashing the white foam on the waters of the Periyar and then return, laden with pepper.

– Akananuru (149.7-11), an anthology of early Tamil poems in the Sangam collection Ettuttokai.

An incredible blend of myths, legends, local lore and history startles you at every turn down the narrow, winding roads in Kodungalloor, a region near the delta of the Periyar, the longest river in Kerala, about an hour’s drive from the port city of Kochi.

This quarter in central Kerala figures prominently in the ancient history of southern India as a vibrant urban hub of the Chera empire (with a confusing chronology of kings extending from B.C. 300 to A.D. 1200) and is believed to have served as the gateway to India for three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and later Islam.

Arguably, it was a place to which Jews sailed, as some say, during the time of King Solomon, or, as others claim, in the first century A.D. after the destruction of the Second Temple. Christians believe it was here, at a place called Azhikode at the mouth of the Periyar, that St Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, landed in A.D. 52, bringing Christianity to the subcontinent.


Highly Brittle and decayed bones found at Pattanam - an unusual find in Kerala where such evidence is usually lost because of mortuary practices or poor preserving conditions of the moist acidic soil.


Local Muslim tradition asserts that it was from Kodungalloor, at some point between the ninth and the 12th century A.D., that Chera ruler Cheraman Perumal distributed his suzerainty among local chieftains, set sail to Mecca, met the Prophet Muhammad and converted to Islam.

Later, from his deathbed (while on his return journey) on the Arabian coast, Cheraman Perumal is believed to have sent instructions to his countrymen through a missionary group headed by Malik Ibn Dinar, who “travelled throughout the area explaining the faith and established nine mosques”, including the first one at Kodungalloor, marking the introduction of Islam on the Malabar coast.

The Kodungalloor region, named after one of the towns with an ancient temple, was thus a religious and cultural melting pot throughout, no doubt also of Dravidian, Jain, Buddhist, Brahminical and Hindu revivalist influences which arrived through the Palakkad Gap in the Western Ghats – a key land route linking the Indian Ocean trade from the Malabar coast with the rest of India.


(Above right)Pot with 7.5kg of Malabar black pepper at Berenike. (Below left) Shard with Tamil Brahmi script & Indian pottery from Berenike.


Thus, as a culturally and commercially thriving centre of sea and land trade, it was a region coveted by rulers at all times, a place of disarming natural beauty but a bone of contention, especially in later centuries, for the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the Sultans of Mysore, the Zamorin of Kozhikode and the Rajas of Cochin and Travancore.

They fought intermittently for control of its strategic location, with its forts overlooking the expanse of the Periyar and with a criss-crossing network of lakes, island deltas and waterways opening out through a grand western estuary to the Arabian Sea – and thence to the trade routes of the Indian Ocean.


A large number of glass beads and semi-precious stones were found at Pattanam.


Naturally, Kodungalloor was long presumed to be the location of Muziris, the Indo-Roman port known to have been frequented by the large ships of the ancient ocean traders, including Arabs, Egyptians and Romans, as far back as the first century B.C., or even before it. But Muziris subsequently disappeared from every known map of antiquity, and without a trace, presumably because of a cataclysmic event in 1341, a “cyclone and floods” in the Periyar that altered the geography of the region.

The historians Rajan Gurukkal (Vice-Chancellor of the Kottayam-based Mahatma Gandhi University) and Dick Whittakker (of Churchill College, Cambridge) say in a study titled “In Search of Muziris” that the event, which opened up the present harbour at Kochi and the Vembanad backwater system (in southern Kerala) to the sea and formed a new deposit of land now known as the Vypeen Island near Kochi, “doubtless changed access to the Periyar river, but geologically it was only the most spectacular of the physical changes and land formation that have been going on [there] from time immemorial”.

According to them, for example, a geophysical survey of the region has shown that 200-300 years ago the shoreline lay about three kilometres east of the present coast and that some 2,000 years earlier it lay even further east, about 6.5 km inland. “If Muziris had been situated somewhere here in Roman times, the coast at that time would have run some 4-5 km east of its present line. The regular silting up of the river mouth finally forced it to cease activity as a port.”

A geo-archaeological study conducted by Shajan K. Paul recently has shown that “the Periyar had shifted its course from the Paravur area towards north-west to its present position”.


An amphora jar, this one from the Catalan region in Spain, shown here as an illustration. Excavations at Pattanam have yielded amphora sherds from the Mediterranean littoral including the Catalan area. Significantly, the largest collection of fragments of such Mediterranean amphorae excavated outside the boundaries of the ancient Roman Empire is now from Pattanam.


So that was probably how that pre-historic gateway to India was lost track of. But descriptions of Muziris abound in early Tamil Sangam literature (in Akananuru and Purananuru, anthologies of poems considered to have been derived from the proto-historic Iron Age and Early Historic period between the third century B.C. and the third century A.D.) and in classical Graeco-Roman accounts.

The latter include, among others, Periplus Maris Erythraei (Periplus of the Erythraen Sea of the first century, an unknown Greek merchant-mariner’s handbook on travel and trade in the Indian Ocean); Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, which describes Muziris as “the first emporium of India”, “not to be sought because of pirates nearby” and where “the shipping station is a long way from the land, and cargoes are brought in and carried out by light boats”; the Vindob papyrus, a celebrated mid-second century papyrus now in the Vienna collection, which is a written contract dating to A.D. 150 that refers to “the repayment of the loan in the agreement(s) referring to Muziris”; and the Tabula Peutingeriana (or the Peutinger Map), an odd-sized medieval copy of an ancient Roman road map, “with information which could date back to 2 A.D.”, in which both Muziris and Tondis (Tyndis) are well marked, “with a large lake indicated behind Muziris, and beside which is an icon marked Templ(um) Augusti, widely taken to mean a “Temple of Augustus”.


Terra Sigillata, yet another imported Roman ceramic, a piece of high-quality, stamped tableware discovered at Pattanam. Ceramics like this were earlier discovered at Arikamedu.


But paradoxically, though Kodungalloor and its surrounding areas have a number of religious monuments that keep alive myths and legends and remnants of forts and palaces that stand testimony to a more recent history, archaeological evidence, which ought to have been there for this supposedly ancient port city or the phenomenal trade between the Malabar coast and the Roman empire, had been elusive. The remains of the “rich Muchiri” of Sangam poetry where “the ships of the Yavanas came with gold and returned with pepper” was never found – either in Kodungalloor or elsewhere on the entire western coast.

“We were so immersed in repeating our myths and legends, of how Parasurama created Kerala by throwing his axe, and so on, that we failed to do any work on this coast. The west coast failed to produce any significant archaeological evidence because there were no serious excavations in this part,” the former Chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research, Prof. M.G.S. Narayanan, said. Strangely, however, this lack of archaeological effort on the western coast of India (but for very few exceptions) was often blamed on the steep geography and the monsoons that washed away all evidence down from the mountains to the oceans.


Cameo Blank, A kind of locally made jewellery known to have been popular in ancient Rome.


More than a decade ago, three young archaeologists, K.P. Shajan, P.J. Cherian and V. Selvakumar, chanced upon a profusion of pottery sherds in the yards of small houses in a nondescript village, Pattanam, about 8 km from Kodungalloor across the Periyar and 4 km from the mouth of the river on its southern side. They were involved in the surface surveys (at Pattanam) as faculty members of the first archaeology course in Kerala conducted by the Union Christian College Aluva. An experimental excavation that Selvakumar and Shajan undertook later unearthed interesting material evidence for Indo-Roman trade in Kerala and for the first time indicated a location other than Kodungalloor for Muziris.

The excavations at Pattanam since 2007 by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), with the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), have entered their fourth season this summer and have been bringing forth evidence of a “multi-cultural, urban and maritime society that existed there for 3,000 years”, significantly, perhaps, even before it became an Indo-Roman trade port. Surely, Pattanam has now yielded the first and only extensive real evidence of the Indian Ocean trade contacts during the Early Historic (B.C. 300 – A.D. 500) and Early Medieval (A.D. 500-1000) periods from the Malabar coast, P.J. Cherian, Director of the KCHR and of the excavations at Pattanam, said.

Major findings from Pattanam have regularly been published in detail by the KCHR. The excavations revealed brick architectural remains, Roman amphora (large storage jars used to transport wine, olive oil, fish products, and so on throughout the Roman empire), terra sigillata (tableware, mostly plates and cups, distinguished by their red surface), Indian roulette ware (which were made in the northern parts of India and which indicated ancient trade links with the rest of the country), West Asian and Arabian pottery (turquoise glazed ware and torpedo storage jars lined with bitumen, from the time of the last pre-Islamic Persian, or Sassanian, empire (A.D. 224 to A.D. 651) to the early Islamic period, and cameo blanks (a kind of locally made jewellery known to have been very popular in ancient Rome and presumably meant for export).

A huge collection of beads made of glass and semi-precious stones, waste material from bead manufacturing, fragments of Roman glass bowls (first century B.C./A.D.), terracotta lamps (tentatively dated from B.C. 100 to A.D. 100), iron objects including knives and nails, and hooks and slags (with those made locally having a higher carbon content than the Roman ones), copper objects, including square or circular Chera coins (obtained for the first time in Kerala, from a stratographic context), gold ornaments (right from the Early Historic Period), sherds of coarse ware with Tamil Brahmi letters and graffiti on them (some found this season have pre-firing marks) and modern-day blue-and-white Chinese ceramics have also been found.

By the end of the second excavation season in 2008 itself, Roberta Tomber of the British Museum in London, a specialist in Indian Ocean commerce through the study of Roman-period ceramics, particularly from the Red Sea ports and India, had declared in a paper presented at an international symposium: “By its durable nature pottery provides some of the best evidence for the importation of foreign goods and the pottery from Pattanam is particularly rich both in quality and diversity, including imports from the Roman world, from Saudi Arabia and others that travelled to Pattanam from the Persian Gulf.”


The most striking structural feature found at Pattanam is the wharf complex resembling a port.


About two years later, in early March this year, at the unique archaeological site right in the middle of a residential backyard, adjoining a green temple pond and with modest houses, lines of washing and packets full of pottery pieces all around, Cherian and his teammates told Frontline proudly that the largest number of Mediterranean amphora fragments excavated outside the boundaries of the Roman empire came now from that very vicinity at Pattanam. The Italian sigillata finds there were also the first to be obtained from the western coast of India.

Another season of excavations has just begun at Pattanam. The trenches in the neighbouring compounds that were dug up in earlier years, including the one that had the most important structural feature revealed at Pattanam – a huge wharf complex with a canoe, bollards and an adjacent commercial or warehouse area – have been relaid with earth. Scientific analysis showed that the canoe belonged to at least the first century B.C., if not earlier, thus making it “the earliest watercraft excavated from an archaeological context in India”, as reported by a team of researchers in Current Science in July 2009.

A KCHR statement indicates that the “cultural deposits” in the 2007 trenches represented artefacts from four periods in history, the Iron Age (10th century to the fifth century B.C.); a Transition Layer (fourth century B.C. to the second century B.C.); the Early Historic Period (first century B.C. to the fourth century A.D.); and the Modern Period (16th century A.D. onwards). There is lack of evidence for the Late Medieval Period (11th century A.D. to 15th century A.D.).

According to Cherian, the AMS carbon dating of the charcoal samples suggests that human life and habitation began around 1000 B.C. at Pattanam; there were pre-Roman commercial contacts with West Asian and North Indian regions from the fourth century B.C. to the second century B.C.; there was peak activity and substantial evidence for urban commercial life at the site during the first century B.C. right up to the fourth century A.D., the time of trade with Egyptians and Romans; and then the place remained deserted from the 11th century A.D. to the 15th century A.D. “for reasons yet to be discerned”.


At the Pattanam excavation site.


The team could not dig further (from where they found the canoe-wharf structure) onto nearby areas because of local apprehensions of the government taking over the land. The KCHR is now distributing pamphlets denying any takeover and explaining why the village is today a centre of international importance and clarifying that the team of researchers, including those from several international universities, only needs to have the land on rent for a few weeks and is offering compensation for valuables obtained from there and the trees cut. After a visit to the site, M.G.S. Narayanan told Frontline that initially he had indeed been worried because a project of such importance ought to have been taken up by the ASI, one of the largest archaeological organisations in the world.

“But it began as an initiative of a few individuals and now is being organised by the KCHR, which had no prior archaeological expertise. But I found that the excavations are being done professionally and the objects being recovered match very well with classical accounts of the Indian Ocean trade [in the Malabar coast].”

“We know that South Asians, probably especially from the Malabar and Coromandel coasts, traded with and likely dwelt at both Berenike and Myos Hormos, two Roman-era ports on the Red Sea coast of Egypt,” Steven E. Sidebotham, Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Delaware (see interview), told Frontline.

For archaeologists at Pattanam it was important, therefore, to see whether the finds there matched the extensive archaeological research data already available from Berenike and Myos Hormos (through 10 seasons of excavations done by Prof. Sidebotham and his colleagues) on the one hand, and Arikamedu (near Pondicherry) on the eastern coast of India, a contemporary Indo-Roman port, on the other.


Excavators at a sieving yard.


Sure enough, Roberta Tomber said in an article: “The pottery assemblage from Pattanam can be clearly related to other sites within the Indian Ocean: sites on the Red Sea, the embarkation point for Roman trade, as well as stopping off sites on the journey, in Yemen and Oman, and other sites in India. Of particular interest is the relationship between Pattanam and Arikamedu (near Pondicherry) on the Coromandal Coast. Until the discovery of Pattanam, Arikamedu provided the richest artefactual evidence for Indo-Roman contact, but comparison of the pottery from Pattanam and Arikamedu may suggest that foreign goods first reached Pattanam before travelling, whether by land or sea, to Arikamedu. Thus the pottery from Pattanam is significant not only for constructing a site narrative, but contributes to our broader understanding of Indian Ocean trade.”

Already, the enormous number of artefacts recovered, the evidence and comparisons that they offer, and the significance of the location in relation to the paleo-coastline (a mere 1 km to the west of the excavation site) and other waterbodies, have dealt a blow to the fictional character of that ancient port of classical accounts – so far kept under wraps by lack of archaeological efforts and a bewildering variety of myths and legends of Kodungalloor.

In the coming days, as archaeologists grapple with the evidence and try to rework theories on the nature of the participation of the ancient local community in the Indian Ocean trade and how it incorporated the Yavana trade with the local systems, the Government of Kerala would, however, be trying to do business on the very myths and legends (among other mundane things) that the researchers are trying to discard.

A grand tourism venture with a predictable title “The Muziris Heritage Project” is all set to be launched and will include the “democratic archaeology” site at Pattanam, the forts and waterways of Kodungalloor, its ancient temples and synagogues, church and mosques that commemorate the arrival of major religions, along with international commerce, on the banks of the eternal Periyar.


The region where Muziris is thought to have been located is believed to have served as the gateway to India for three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and later Islam. Here, the Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine at Azhikode near Kodungalloor, where St Thomas is believed to have landed in A.D. 52.


“Commercial tourism ventures have an uncanny knack of destroying the old and derailing history,” Narayanan said, cryptically.

But have we at last found that Muziris, the one with “the drum of the sea” which lay by the “great river with its false mouth” where the “shipping station was a long way from the land”, “cargoes were brought in and carried out by light boats made of hollowed tree trunks”, and “huge quantities of pepper” changed hands for gold and exotic goods from the West?

Scholars at the modest excavation site at Pattanam are reluctant to cry out “Muziris Ahoy!” at present and believe there may be a large number of satellite sites in the region from Chettuva to Kochi that could provide further evidence of the diverse activities relating to that ancient port and the Indian Ocean trade.


The Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungalloor, believed to be the first mosque in India.


K.N. Panikkar, former Professor of History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Chairman of the KCHR, explains it (see interview): “‘Pattanam is Muziris’ will be considered a hazardous conclusion. It can be decided only if a fairly larger area is excavated.”



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 Radiocarbon dating puts Pattanam antiquity to 500 BC

Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008, 13:37 [IST]

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 7 (UNI) The antiquity of Pattanam, the first habitation site of the Iron Age ever unearthed in Kerala, extends back to as far as the first millennium BC, as determined by the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon analyses.

According to the Kerala Council for Historical Research(KCHR) sources, the analyses conducted at the Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Physics suggested that Pattanam, located seven km north of Kodungallur in Ernakulam district, had witnessed the Iron Age occupation during the first half of the first millennium BC.

Pattanam Excavations/Explorations Project Director Prof P J Cherian, in a statement here today, said the mean calendar dates determined from the AMS test of five charcoal samples from the trenches and part of wooden canoe had placed the antiquity of ancient maritime activity of Pattanam at about 500 BC, with an uncertainty of less than a century.

He said the artefacts recovered reveal that the site had links with the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and South China sea rims since the early-historic period of South India.


Prob Cherian said the organic samples from the site were also being analysed at the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) employing conventional or radiometric method of carbon dating. He said the AMS analyses suggested that the Pattanam canoe, dating back to 1300 BC to 100 BC, could be the earliest known canoe in India.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had granted licence to him for the second consecutive season for excavation activities in Pattanam and the work was scheduled to begin next month, he said.

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A Note on Muziris


A Note on Muziris


1. Muziris, as the ancient Greeks called it, was an important port on the Malabar Coast in Southern India . It was frequented by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans.  Eudoxus of Cyzicus sailed into Muziris during his two voyages undertaken between 118 and 116 BC. Muzris,  is mentioned in the Periplous of the Erythraean Sea and in Ptolemy’s Geography and is prominent on the Peutinger Table. Pliny referred to it several times in his Naturalis Historia. Pliny called this port primum emporium Indiae.

There is no doubt Muziris was a major port in its time and was an Emporium, as Pliny called it.


Image taken from De Tabula Peutingeriana de kaart, Museumstukken II (edited by A.M. Gerhartl-Witteveen and P. Stuart) 1993 Museum Kam, Nijmegan, the Netherlands

2. In what is called a third century map(perhaps a copy of an earlier map) Muziris is shown  prominently by drawing a circle round it. (Taprobane , indicated at the bottom of the map refers to Sri Lanka ). Pliny in his Natural History(6.26) mentioned that if one followed the wind Hippalus , one would reach Muziris in about forty days ( he was referring to the South West monsoon) . He also mentioned that the roadstead for shipping was at a considerable distance from the shore and that the cargoes are to be conveyed in boats, for either loading or discharging. He was indicating that Muziris was not along the coast but situated inland , reachable by a creek or a river. This was confirmed by the later Roman sources according to which “Muziris is located on a river, distant from Tindis – by river and sea, 500 stadia; and by river from the shore, 20 stadia”. Incidentally , Pliny did not recommended alighting at Muziris, as it was infested by pirates .

3. Since the days of Eudoxus, the Greeks and Egyptians established a flourishing trade with Southern India by taking advantage of what they called the Hippalus wind , meaning the South West monsoon winds. (Please see my post” Other Ancient Greeks in India ” for further details).The commodities the Greeks/Egyptians and Romans imported from India were precious gems, aromatics , spices – specially the pepper , besides cotton.

4. As regards the Gemstones , Muzris acted as the collecting and clearing point . The garnets and quartz came from Arikamedu region (on the East coast of south India), the pearls were from Gulf of Mannar , while lapis lazuli beads were from Kodumanal in the neighboring region. The other stones included diamonds, agate, beryls, citrines etc. Please check the following links that carry abundant details on the Gem trade:


5. An indication of the importance of Muziris as a place for finalizing business deals by Roman traders was brought to light by L. Casson , a scholar, in his paper” New light on marine loans” .He mentioned about a papyrus (called P. Vindob. G 40822 -for identification purposes ), discovered during the year 1985 in  Vienna , which sets out the details of a maritime loan agreement between a ship owner – possibly of the Hermapollon mentioned on the verso of the papyrus – and a merchant using the ship as security. The document  suggests that the loan arrangement was agreed to while the parties were in Muziris (though possibly signed on arrival at the Red Sea), indicating a rather active Roman merchant colony on the Kerala coast (

6. The heightened trade between Greece/Egypt and India came as a culmination of the trade relations that existed between India and the West even centuries earlier to Christian era.

7. Historians say Muziris, might be of significance in another way too. They say Christianity may have been introduced to the sub-continent through Muziris.

8. The successful run of the Greek/Egyptian trade with India suffered a  temporary setback due to the rise of a new Parthian Empire that formed a sort of barrier between the Greeks and the Indians. However, when Rome  started to absorb the remnants of the Empire of Alexander , Egypt came under the control of Romans. Egypt became a Roman province in 30 B.C. Thereafter, Augustus settled down and took charge of Egypt , as his personal property.

Interestingly , According to Pliny , writing in about 51AD , the use of monsoon winds to shorten the passage to /from India was made known to the Romans only in the days of Claudius .( Pliny, N. H., 8, 101, 86). This development, therefore, must have come around 51 AD.  There was, therefore, a long period of lull in the Egypt-India trade after 34BC.

9. The Roman trade with India, through Egypt, began in earnestness in the first century AD. Muziris then became an important Romans’ trading centre. The Rome/Egypt/India trade lasted famously until about sixth century.

10. Then suddenly and mysteriously, Muziris went off the radar. It was not mentioned again for a very long time. Dr  Roberta Tomber of British Museum said.

“What is interesting is that in the 6th Century, a Greek writer, writing about the Indian Ocean , wrote that the Malabar coast was still a thriving centre for the export of pepper – but he doesn’t mention Muziris”.

No one has  a clue how Muziris disappeared so completely.


1.BBC News in its edition of 11 June 2006 , reported an archaeological investigation by two archaeologists – KP Shajan and V Selvakumar – has placed the ancient port as having existed where the small town of Pattanam now stands, on India’s south-west Malabar coast. The team believes Pattanam as the place where Muziris once stood. Until recently, the best guesses for the location of Muziris centred on the mouth of the Periyar  River , at a place called Kodungallor – but now the evidence suggests that Pattanam is the real location of Muziris.

2. Pattanam is a small town some 12 km south of the Periyar river mouth (present day Kodungallur) , in Kerala state. The artefacts recovered from the excavation site include amphora (holding vessels) of Roman make and Yemenis, Mesopotamian, and West Asian ones too, indicating that Pattanam had trade not only with Rome but also with places in the Persian Gulf . The other artefacts recovered include pottery shards, beads, Roman copper coins and ancient wine bottles.

3.There is no doubt that Pattanam was a major port and was important to the Indo-Roman trade But more collaborative evidence is needed to support the view that Pattanam was indeed Muziris.

4. The remote sensing data revealed that a river close to Pattanam had changed its course .The port may have been buried due to earthquakes or floods. This may perhaps explain the disappearance of the Muziris port. However, there are no definite answers yet.

5. Interestingly, while the excavations at Muziris are on, another set of archaeologists from UCLA and University of Delaware have excavated Berenike, a long-abandoned Egyptian port on the Red Sea near the border with Sudan . The team has uncovered the largest array of ancient Indian goods ever found along the Red Sea , including the largest single cache of black pepper from antiquity – 16 pounds – ever excavated in the former Roman Empire .

Dr. Willeke Wendrich, an archaeologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, said the research showed that themaritime trade route between India and Egypt in antiquity appeared to be even more productive and lasted longer than scholars had thought.

In addition, it was not an overwhelmingly Roman enterprise, as had been generally assumed. The researchers said artefacts at the site indicated that the ships might have been built in India and were probably crewed by Indians.

These again confirm the trade relations that existed between ancient Egypt and India



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Introducing the Muziris Papyrus

Posted by Maddy Labels: Muziris and Roman trade

I have deliberately been staying away from the topic of Muziris. There is such a lot out there for public consumption and there are many experts working on this subject. So with many contributors on a regular basis covering the history, geography & anthropology of that ancient port, I decided to instead work my way through other confusing chapters of Malabar history. Nevertheless, when a friend Nikhil asked me an interesting question, I dredged a bit into my treasure chest of Indian Ocean trade which has a large collection of books including the Goitein collection and the India book, to get to the appropriate answer.

The question was - Why did the people of the Chera kingdom import Olive oil from Rome? The gist of the answer I gave him was - that the presence of Amphorae actually signified the import of three liquids from broad studies of the ports in the West & East coastal ports, namely Olive oil, Wine and Garum. The consumption of fragrant Italian wine is something we see mentioned in ancient scripts like the ones from the Sangam era – e.g. Manimekhalai& Silapadhikaram. It was imported for local but possibly upper class consumption. It is also concluded that olive oil was never staple in South Indian diet and is an acquired taste which was never acquired into S Indian cooking to date. Garum is a smelly fish sauce predominantly found in ancient Roman cooking. Thus olive oil & Garum signify consumption by foreigners resident in Muziris and Kaveri Poompattanam. This as you can figure out implies the presence of Yavana colonies in these two locations.

So now having answered the question in a somewhat satisfactory fashion, I thought I would share a bit more of a complex discovery at Muziris and introduce you to a fascinating document called the Muziris Papyrus. Even though fairly recent (1985) in terms of discovery, it added a strong base to ancient international and trade laws in particular and has been studied at length by economists, lawyers as well as historians. The outcomes from the former is pretty dense, to say the least. But first let us start with a very quick summary on Muziris and the various discoveries over the last decade.

Muchiri pattanam, a location close to today’s Kodungallur, was not really a sea port as some believed. It was a city on the banks of the Periyar somewhat inland and accessed through the maze of canals. Roman Ships anchored out in the sea and transported their goods in small boats guided by local pilots through the canals to Pattanam. From centuries in the past until the 14th, the city was well known to the Arab and especially the Roman sailors who conducted trade with Malabar. Sometimes the ships went to Barygaza or Baruch, sometimes to Nelycinda (will be covered in a separate blog) other times, they landed up in Muziris. They came in with Western luxury goods and gold and took away spices and Eastern goods. Sometimes the ships went around the Cape Comorin and docked at Kaveri Poompattinam close to Pondicherry. The Romans had expatriate settlements or colonies in both places as I mentioned before and much information about them can be found in Sangam Era writings like the Silappadhikaram and Manimekhalai. The Peutinger table shows Muziris on the Roman map and even alludes to an Agustus temple (later studies assume it was an Agasthya temple) in Muziris. Writers like Ptolemy, Pliny and so on had written much about the trade, so also the Tamil poets. So let us conclude that robust trade took place, until the floods of the Periyar wherein the riverbed got silted in the 13th Century. Since that event and due to other issues at the Roman and Arab areas, the trade petered off and veered off to other places like the Cochin and Calicut. But by then the Arab traders had a stronghold on the route and they staved off any competition until the next aggressive bunch – the Portuguese came in – followed by the Dutch and finally the English who eventually settled down and colonized the lands they came to trade with. But we will not talk about all the events that took place in the process, we will instead focus on the Muziris papyrus, something that you do not see often mentioned in mainstream media. And so we go to the rather active Roman Colony or river port called Pattanam well before the advent of Christ. But then you have to say ‘hello’ to Rajappan.

Rajappan. I do not know him, nor does anybody else I know. I do know however that he consented to have his land in the Paravur area dug up. And when that happened, around his house Krishna Nivas, they unearthed confirmation and sufficient archeological information finally enabling the announcement by Dr Shajan of the rediscovery of Muziris at Pattanam. There are still plenty of places to dig, but Kerala as you may know is densely populated, so the idea of relocating people for the purpose of archeology needs real hard sell and lots of monetary infusions. And so, thus far only about two hectares have been dug up.

More details can be found on this attached article and this.

When the trade with Muziris started is not known, however a document discovered recently, the Muziris Papyrus in 1985, takes us back to the 2nd century, by which time it seems to have been well established. During the Ptolemaic Roman period (third century B.C. to sixth century A.D), Berenike for example served as a key transit port between ancient Egypt and Rome on one side and the Red Sea-Indian Ocean regions on the other. Exotic goods from Rome and Egypt flowed into Berenike along the same desert road before being loaded into large ships bound for the Indian Ocean as I have explained in the past. According to most accounts, one of the major centers in India that ships from Berenike travelled to, along with the monsoon winds, was the emporium of Muziris, on the Malabar Coast. The presence of much teak in the finds at the red sea coasts also suggested that many of the ships were built in India, one of the indications of a major Indian role in the trade. But Dr. Casson, a specialist in ancient maritime history, says it was also possible that the teak timber was shipped to Berenike and turned into vessels there. Written records refer to ships in the India trade being among the largest of the time. That means, Dr. Casson says, that they could have been as long as 180 feet and capable of carrying upto 1,000 tons of cargo. Such ships had stout hulls and caught the wind with a huge square sail on a stubby mainmast.

The Roman ships with their square sail was not quite appropriate for sea travel with the winds, but it is more likely that the ships used were of Arabic Indian design as concluded by scholars. Even though the Muziris area was infested by pirates according to Pliny, and the need for transshipment to smaller boats, it figures to have recived more prominence than other like Nelcynda. One major spice the Romans sought via Muziris was Gangetic nard, spikenard or Jatamansi, after the popular Pepper. What the people in Malabar & Tamil regions needed was ( after the wine) the gold, which they never used as currency (the coins were mostly partly split making them non legal tender in S India) but possibly melted the coins and made ornaments.

What then brings us back to the Muziris papyrus ( also known as the Vienna Papyrus as it is kept in Vienna) ? It is the mention of a loan agreement made in Muziris. Now did Muziris therefore have a Roman settlement? Evidence points to that in two ways, one by a statement in the Periplus “enough grain for those concerned with shipping, because merchants do not have use for it’. The merchants are thus rice eaters, the Indians. Those concerned with shipping are the Yavana trader’s resident at Muziris. To this, one must also connect up the evidence of wine, olive oil and garum jars found at Arikumedu which date to the 3rd Century AD.

Of inestimable value for a study of the organization of trade are the Muziris papyrus and the archives of Nicanor. The Nicanor archives provide detailed information on the taxes levied on a variety of items transported along the desert roads from Myos Hormos and Berenice to Egypt. The papyrus confirms the distinction between those engaged in travel to the orient and local merchants. 

The creditor lived in Alexandria in the 2nd century, the papyrus was sold by a collector in Egypt in 1980, and the loan agreement was drawn in Muziris and the papyrus is now housed in a Museum in Vienna. Two merchants documented their contract in the said document, listing the items, the costs and the people who owe and are owed money. Customs duties are listed, so also all the links in the chain such as the camel driver and how much he should be paid. I t mentions many people, signifying that this was not a financiers copy but by the trader himself. Interestingly the creditor had the first right of purchase which may possibly have been the first intention. The text also estimate steh value of the goods after a 25% tax has been deducted, but this amount itself is staggering, one shipload worth some 7 million Drachmas or sestertia (A solider was paid 100 drachmas maximum a month or around 800 per annum). The tax due at Alexandria was paid as goods, so the state itself did not get the money immediately. Possibly the trader had only to pass on a credit of the 25% tetarte (tax) and not the goods itself as moving the sates portion of the goods across the Coptos desert was not the traders responsibility. Considering the immense value it was carefully tracked from point to point. The Nard, the cloth and the ivory were the most valuable items in the holds. Camels and donkey owners handling these valuable items minted money from this trade billing the Roman government and were possibly escorted by military compared to the usual caravans. Towns along the Coptos desert charged tolls, and it is seen that the toll was dependent on the financial strength of the payer, thus variable.

No considering that Strabo talked of an average 120 ships going to Muziris every year, and multiplying the figure of 7million drachmas with the ships, you can imagine how much money flowed into Muziris and Malabar. This was how much goods of luxury were worth in those times. The question of if individuals had these kinds of fortunes or if a group worked together is not clear. However it is clear that the cost of failure meant death, so big were the amounts. Imagine a ship wreck or piracy, not thoughts meant for the faint hearted as eminent writer Sidebottom mentions in his book.

The first and second pages of this contract letter are lost so we are unable to know the name of the merchants who were engaged in business and the exact transactions at Muziris. In 1985 H. Harrauer and P. Sijpesteijn published the contents of this papyrus

It reads as follows (for complete paper check this link)

... of your other agents and managers. And I will weigh and give to your cameleer another twenty talents for loading up for the road inland to Koptos, and I will convey [sc. the goods] inland through the desert under guard and under security to the public warehouse for receiving revenues at Koptos, and I will place [them] under your ownership and seal, or of your agents or whoever of them is present, until loading [them] aboard at the river, and I will load [them] aboard at the required time on the river on a boat that is sound, and I will convey [them] downstream to the warehouse that receives the duty of one-fourth at Alexandria and I will similarly place [them] under your ownership and seal or of your agents, assuming all expenditures for the future from now to the payment of one-fourth-the charges for the conveyance through the desert and the charges of the boatmen and for my part of the other expenses.

With regard to there being- if, on the occurrence of the date for repayment specified in the loan agreements at Muziris, I do not then rightfully pay off the aforementioned loan in my name-there then being to you or your agents or managers the choice and full power, at your discretion, to carry out an execution without due notification or summons, you will possess and own the aforementioned security and pay the duty of one-fourth, and the remaining three-fourths you will transfer to where you wish and sell, re-hypothecate, cede to another party, as you may wish, and you will take measures for the items pledged as security in whatever way you wish, sell them for your own account at the then prevailing market price, and deduct and include in the reckoning whatever expenses occur on account of the aforementioned loan, with complete faith for such expenditures being extended to you and your agents or managers and there being no legal action against us [in this regard] in any way. With respect to [your] investment, any shortfall or overage [se. as a result of the disposal of the security] is for my account, the debtor and mortgager...

According to the Historian Thur, the contract between ego and tu was drawn up in Alexandria in two separate documents; one that spelled out the maritime loan and another that spelled out the security involved what the papyrus contains is a portion of the latter, the document that dealt with the security.

As Casson concludes - One of the great contributions of the papyrus is the concrete evidence it furnishes of the huge amounts of money that the trade with India required. The six parcels of the shipment recorded on the verso had a value of just short of 1155 talents almost as much as it cost to build the aqueduct at Alexandria The parcel of ivory and the parcel of fabric together weighed 92 talents and were worth 528,775 drachmas. A Roman merchantman of just ordinary size had a capacity of 340 tons; it was capable of carrying over 11,000 talents of such merchandise. And the weather conditions on the route to India were such as to require the use of vessels of at least this size. Loaded with cargoes of the likes of that recorded in this papyrus, they were veritable treasure ships.

With the listed part of that ships goods (only a part load) pegged at 131 talents, one could buy 2500 acres of finest farmland in Egypt and if there were 150 such ships every year, what would have that trade been worth? Immense, to say the least. The historian Pliny, who died in 79 A.D., has left us a contemporary account of these early voyages. "It will not be amiss," he says in his Natural History, "to set forth the whole of the route from Egypt, which has been stated to us of late, upon information on which reliance may be placed and is here published for the first time. The subject is one well worthy of our notice, seeing that in no year does India drain our empire of less than five hundred and fifty millions of sesterces [many many million dollars], giving back her own wares in exchange, which are sold among us at fully one hundred times their cost price.

Strangely the Malayali’s acquired taste of fancy Italian wine seems to have been eroded from the genetic code, to be replaced by the stuff from Scotland. 

Note: this is only a brief introduction. I have deliberately not got into the depths of the analysis of the complex subject of trade for fear that this would then turn out into a long & boring paper.

New Light on Maritime Loans: P. Vindob G 40822 – L casson
Ships and the development of maritime technology on the Indian Ocean- Ruth Barnes, David Parkin
Periplus Maris Erythraei
The Natural history of Pliny
Rome's eastern trade: international commerce and imperial policy, 31 BC-AD 305 -Gary Keith Young
The monetary systems of the Greeks and Romans -William Vernon Harris
The Red Land: The Illustrated Archaeology of Egypt's Eastern Desert - Steven E. Sidebotham, Martin Hense, Hendrikje M. Nouwens
At empire's edge: exploring Rome's Egyptian frontier - By Robert B. Jackson

Pic courtesy - Trade map pic – Archeology news



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 September 13, 2013 12:26 IST

Pattanam throws open many questions: Romila Thapar

Romila Thapar, historian, releases the Seventh Season report of the Pattanam excavations by handing over a copy to K.N. Panikkar, KCHR Chairman, in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. P.J. Cherian, KCHR Director, looks on. Photo: S. Gopakumar
Romila Thapar, historian, releases the Seventh Season report of the Pattanam excavations by handing over a copy to K.N. Panikkar, KCHR Chairman, in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. P.J. Cherian, KCHR Director, looks on. Photo: S. Gopakumar

The Pattanam excavation, apart from being bigger and wider than similar projects here, was significant in that it offered evidence that stressed the need to go deeper and closely into the trade connections the site had with the Eastern Mediterranean region, said historian Romila Thapar.

Releasing the seventh season report of the Pattanam excavation by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) by handing over a copy to KCHR chairman K.N. Panikar here on Thursday, Dr. Thapar said the involvement of the Roman economy in the trade here, the nature of commercial exchanges and so on, for which the findings at Pattanam were evidence, had to be studied more closely.

Pointing out that Pattanam’s significance was that it suggested direct maritime connections with the ports of the Red Sea, Dr. Thapar said historians still had a great deal to do with Pattanam. The nature of the settlement there, for instance, was one to be explored. Whether it was just a warehouse, or where goods were produced for trade, or whether it was a port or a site that had sequential historical development – were all matters of intrigue. The innumerable shards of amphorae (wine jars), for instance, threw open questions whether a liking for wine was deliberately cultivated in the local people, or whether these shards were just remnants of wine jars that were used for ballast in ships. The percentage of Indian pottery at the site, in contrast to imported pottery too was important, she said, adding that Pattanam, indeed, was a turning point for studies into India’s maritime relations.

Dr. Thapar, however, expressed her reservations on the use of ancient DNA sampling techniques, raising doubts whether there was the danger of bacterial contaminations or mutations in samples taken from skeletons that were buried for over 2,000 years. Stating that the excavation of Pattanam would not be sufficient and that historians would have go further to find more roots, and details such as what was the language spoken in Pattanam, how their social life was, whether they had their own shrines, whether the traders mixed socially, or did they convert the locals, and since the chances were that Pattanam was a port, what were the connections with the hinterland and more importantly, what were the region’s contacts with the outer world, particularly with regions like Alexandria and Sri Lanka.

KCHR director P.J. Cherian, who made a presentation on the report and the present status, said the Council proposed international fellowships to widen the scope of the excavation, apart from initiating participatory site conservation efforts too.



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P.J. Cherian Sahapedia: Could you share the story of the...

First century Spanish pottery found in Pattanam

Here lies the thriving town of Muchiri, where the beautiful large ships of the Yavana come, bringing gold, splashing the white foam on the waters of the Periyar and then return, laden with pepper.

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A great informative and educational site about Islam, Allah, Muhammad,Quran and Muslim,an Islamic perspective of Scientific issues and information about Muslim Scholarships, and many other Islam and Science related resources.



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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 7 (UNI) The antiquity of Pattanam, the first habitation site of the Iron Age ever unearthed in

The excavations and findings of Kottapuram fort and Pattanam. The main objective of the excavation at Pattanam was to search for archaeological evidence that would help to locate/identify an early historic urban settlement and the ancient Indo-Roman port of Muziris or Musiri on the Malabar Coast.





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Expert nails false propaganda on Muziris

Posted on: 10:13 AM IST Aug 07, 2011

The effort made by some interested quarters  to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey of India, R Nagaswamy."When looking at the literature on the life of St Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungalloor, the former visiting professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Express.In fact, the ancient Muzirs port must have  been  located in Kodungalloor and not in Pattanam because all major ports in ancient times were situated at river mouths. And so it is safe  to assume that Muziris was at Kodungalloor, where the river joins the sea.He felt there was a hidden agenda by certain sections to propagate the idea that Muziris was connected to Pattanam, where St Thomas is believed to have landed, and not with Kodungalloor.Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history, he said. There is no substantial  evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western costs of the country, said Nagaswamy.



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 Christian Organisations Uphold Archaeological Excavations at Pattanam as Evidence of ST' Thomas Tradition

Muziris ( Kodungallur ) and Indian Ocean Exchanges:
Trade links and maritime contacts between the sea-faring peoples like Phoenicians, Jews and Arabs and the resource-rich Indian subcontinent existed in the centuries, before Christ. Some historians, believe that it can be traced back to the days of KingSolomon, on the basis of evidences in comparative philology ( Kings,9.28 & 10.11 ) ( Biblical reference to a port called ‘Ophir’ ,situated some where on the west coast of India, too is cited as evidence for the maritime relations ).
As per the extensive references from the following historical and literary sources, for at least three centuries, Muziris (Kodungallur) was a prime center, for Mediterranean, North African, West Asian and Chinese Maritime contacts and one of the four important Indian ports:
Sources of information:
  1. Strabo’s Geography 1C BC Geographical encyclopedia. (Greek historian)
  2. Periplus Maris(unknown author) 40-70AD About 40 Ports, incuding Muziris.
  3. Pliny, the Elder 1st C, AD Natural History
  4. Ptolomy’s Geographia 150 AD
  5. Muziris Papyrus 2nd C AD Trade contract between a Merchant from Muziris and a Banker / agent, Alexandria.
  6. Carition (escape of 2 lovers) 2nd C AD Comedy play/mime with Indian characters & reference from Indian Trade.
  7. Cosmos Indicoplatus Has references about Syrian Christians, ( Dealing 5 Ports; Muzris not mentioned)
  8. Puti table (TabulaPeutingeriana) 4th C AD, Among the Ports , Muziris shown with a Temple of Augustus, in the vicinity.
Indian sources:
  1. Classical Tamil sources like Sangam (2nd BC-4th AD );clear description of Muziris, is seen in the Akanaanooru, in the Sangam Literature.
  2. Epic poems-----Chilappathikaram. ,,
  3. Legends on cultural transmissions like St.Thomas& Knayi Thoma traditions.(Early Christian Era..)
  4. Very limited Archaeological evidences from Western coast.—only Iron Age burials & few Roman coin hoards. No evidence for habitation.
  1. Indian Pottery from Berenike—Shred with Tamil Brahmi Script.
  2. Arikkamedu: Roman coins -1st, 2nd & 3rd c AD.
  3. Archeological evidence from Pattanam ( Muziris )
Path breaking discoveries from Pattanam ( Muziris )Excavations.
It is, in this back ground, that, Kerala Council for Historical Research (K C H R) undertook a challenging, ‘multi-disciplinary’ archaeological research, in 2007, atPattanam, a small village at North Parur, an integral part of ancient Kodungallur (Muziris ) port.
The artifacts and materials unearthed from the area have shown the maritime activity there to be as old as 500 B C. ‘The artifacts recovered from the excavation site suggest that Pattanam, with a hinterland port and multicultural settlement, may have had links with the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the South China Sea rime, since the Early Historic Period of South India’, according to P.J.Cherian, Director of K C H R .
The five samples including charcoal samples from the Iron Age Layer, parts of wooden canoe, and bollards (stakes used to secure canoes ), recovered from the site. Samples subjected to Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS), radiocarbon dating. Their mean calendar dates fall around 500 B C. The wood ( of the Canoe ), was identified as Anjily ( Artocarpus hirsutus ) and Teak ( Tectona grandis.). The 14 C date range of the canoe is 1300 BC to 100 BC. Other finds include pottery,metals,objects of personal adornment, botanical samples, and a broken rim with Tamil Brahmi script( 1stcentury BC) , one expert described as ‘exiting discovery’, providing sufficient archeological evidence to the enquirers.( Iravatham Mahadevan,a specialist in Tamil epigraphy, confirmed the inscription, of 1st century BC. )
Unearthed from PATTANAM :
  1. Amphorae---Wine container ( Big storage jar, made of stony type of clay)
  2. Indian Pottery ( Non Roman 2nd grade.)
Other items
  • Eurocentric perspective – Indo-Roman perspective.
  • Nationalist historiography – Later studies & New perspectives.
  • Need for searching for West Asian evidence in Indian sites (Gogte VD,1991)
  • Pattanam site-Location is a hamlet in Vadakkekara revenue village-Area 45 hectare—Life started here 1000 BC—Iron age.---Early Medieval—Late Medieval.
According to Bishop Francis Roz, there is a place called PATTANAM, inhabited by Syrian Christians.
1) T.G.P.(Turquoise Glazed Pottery, indicating Mesopotamian links ( Parthian/Sassanian),2 Nos. )(Pattanam Excavation 2007 ) confirmed by Durban University, UK
2) Shreds of West Asian Torpedo Jars
3) Amphora Shreds (South Italy ) ( Excavation 2008):largest assemblage of Roman pottery in India, showing Roman role in Indian Ocean trade.
Other items ( Multicultural ).:
Roulette Ware –1 ;Indian Pottery—Large quantity; Semi-precious Stone/Glass Beads numbering 10,000 unearthed in 2008; Beryl Beads(2009) Pachaswarnam, local name; Cameo Blanks( Raw material from Kerala coast); Fragments of Roman Glass Terracotta lamp ( Roman ? );Ferrous Artifacts ;Early Chera copper coin (40Nos)— a clue for monetization; Gold ornament (Claiming Italian origin); Gold string; Gold bar,Bender; A huge Indian Pottery; Pottery with Post firing ( Ex.2007 ) Brahnmi script with a Cross(10mm) ;Chinese Ceramics(Broken) — showing East connection.; Maritime (VANCHI )boat -6meter length; Wharf with Canoe ( Jesus vessel-nick name);Botanical remains (including Frankincense) (Kunthirikkam) Items, such as BRW shreds, an exquisite ornament, 1.89 gm golden felling axe, show, metallurgy begun here, in the Iron Age phase itself.
These exiting discoveries, provided abundant material evidence, to what was described by the Western authors and Tamil Sangam poets about the flourishing trade betweenMuziris port in the Malabar coast and Rome ( via the Red Sea ports ),centuries before the beginning of Christian era.
The huge quantity of artifacts unearthed and the radio-carbon analysis, they are subjected to, put the antiquity of Pattanam, to first millennium B C. It provided valuable collateral archeological proof to Malabar mission of St. Thomas.
Pattanam ( Muziris ) Findings : Vindication to St. Thomas Tradition
The ancient Syrian Christian community, inhabited, mostly in the Malabar coast (Kerala State ) of Indian Subcontinent, inherited a concrete, constant and consistent tradition , for over 2000 years . As per this tradition, they became Christians, by the evangelization work of no less a person than, St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, in the year AD, 52, at Kodungallur ( Muziris ) port. Apart from oral tradition, there are some ancient folklores, ‘ cultural remnants with Christian Symbolisms and some structures in the specific spots, where seven communities ( churches, Pallikal, in local language ) believed to have been established by the Apostle, and his traditional tomb at Mylapore, no direct, contemporary evidence from Kerala, available, to substantiate this belief. Though there are clear literary references can be seen, in various ancient languages, they are not contemporary as per the norms of the secular historians.
It is in this back ground that Kerala Council for Historical Research, a State Government body of secular historians, in collaboration with Archaeological Survey of India ( A S I ), conducted an Archeological Excavation using all modern techniques at Kadungallur ( Muziris / Pattanam ) , the Port of St.Thomas. The excavation results, proved beyond doubts that there were hectic trade between this port and Mediterranean ( and other ) countries , right from 500 B C.--- providing authority to St. Thomas tradition.
How this vindicates the tradition of St.Thomas Christians?
According to eminent historian and J N U Professor, Dr.Pius Malekandathil, two important happenings, in the recent past, in the field of history, viz. the Discovery of Vienna Papyrus ( 1985 ) and Archaeological excavation at PATTANAM / MUZIRIS,revolutionized the historical research and disproved the antic-arguments against theSt.Thomas Tradition, branding it as a myth. Also, a blow to the prejudicial and dogmatic approach of some historians of eminence, from Kerala. In his own words:
Recent researches ( by implication, Pattanam excavation ), have high lighted the historical probability of the arrival of St.Thomas, in India, particularly against the background of intensified maritime trade happening between coastal Western India and Red Sea ports on the one hand and coastal Western India as well as the ports of Persian Gulf on the other. The physical presence of about 6 million St.Thomas Christians, claiming their origin to one or another place of the 7 initial Christian settlements, set up by St.Thomas , as per their tradition, often serves as ethno-historical evidence, adding significantly to the historical claim of their oral tradition. From 3rd century onwards, the written sources from West Asia and the Mediterranean world started mentioning about the Christians of India and the Apostle, who had preached among Indians….
At a time when 120 vessels were playing between coastal Western India and ports of Roman Egypt every year, there is no reason whatsoever, to doubt about the veracity of their accounts. ( From his Seminar paper ‘ A commonwealth of Christians in Indian Ocean’. )
Referring to the next, discovery ‘Vienna Papyrus’, ( an voluminous trade agreement entered between a seller in Muziris and the buyer in Alexandria, for regular supply of merchandise ), Dr. Pius says, this together with Muziris findings, provided historical status to the coming of Pantaenus to India, as reported by Eusebius and Jerome. Also, without any ambiguity we can conclude that the part of the world, he visited , is our India., the scholarly conclusion reached by eminent historian William Logan, 100 years back.( See the detailed discussion of the topic, in Article No. 3 ) These archaeological and epigraphic evidences give sanctity and historical status to the descriptions of Eusebius and Jerome not only about the visit of Pantanus but also to the Apostolate of St.Thomas and the first converts of the Apostle.


 Syro Malabar Church  Liturgical Research Centre 39 nth SeminarReport highlights P.J.Cherian's Paper Supporting StThomas Christian Tradition Using Archaeological Evidence From Pattanam





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உலகின் இரண்டாவது மசூதிக்கு பிரதமர் மோடி வருகை!

பிரதமர் நரேந்திர மோடி ஜூலை இறுதியில் இந்தியாவில் முதன் முதலாக ஸ்தாபிக்கப்பட்ட மசூதிக்கு வருகை தர உள்ளார் என்கிற செய்தி கேரளத்து மக்களை வியப்பில் ஆழ்த்தியிருக்கிறது.

பிரதமர் நரேந்திர மோடி ஜூலை இறுதியில் இந்தியாவில் முதன் முதலாக ஸ்தாபிக்கப்பட்ட மசூதிக்கு வருகை தர உள்ளார் என்கிற செய்தி கேரளத்து மக்களை வியப்பில் ஆழ்த்தியிருக்கிறது.

அந்த மசூதியின் சிறப்பு அம்சம் என்ன என்று தெரிந்துவிட்டால், மோடியின் வருகை குறித்தும் புரியவரும்.

கேரளத்தில் கொடுங்கல்லூர் நகரத்தில் இருப்பதுதான் சேரமான் மசூதி. கி.பி.621-இல் ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்டதாகச் சொல்லப்படும் இந்த மசூதி, உலகிலேயே இரண்டாவதாக ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்டது என்றும், இந்தியாவில் முதல் மசூதி என்றும் பெயர் பெறுகிறது.

இஸ்லாம் மதத்தின் தூதுவர் முகம்மது நபி அவர்கள், உலகின் முதல் மசூதியை மதீனா நகரில் கட்டினார்கள்.

உலகின் இரண்டாவது மசூதி, இஸ்லாம் பிறந்த சவூதி அரேபியாவின் மக்கா, மதீனாவிலிருந்து பல்லாயிரம் கி.மீ. தூரத்தில் இந்தியாவில் அதுவும் கேரளத்தில் இருக்கும் கொடுங்கல்லூரில் ஏன் ஸ்தாபிக்கப்பட வேண்டும்?

கொடுங்கல்லூர் மசூதியின் பெயரில் இருக்கும் சேரமான் என்கிற அடைச் சொல்லில் ஒரு சரித்திரமே அடங்கியுள்ளது.

கி. மு. 400 கால கட்டத்திலேயே கேரளத்தில் குறிப்பாக கொடுங்கல்லூரில், ரோமர், கிரேக்கர், அராபியர், வளைகுடா நாட்டவர்கள், சீனர், யூதர் ஆகியோர் வியாபாரம் செய்து வந்தார்கள். அதன் காரணமாக பன்னாட்டு கலாசாரத்தின் தொட்டிலாக, கொடுங்கல்லூர் மாறியிருந்தது.

கி.பி. ஆறாம் நூற்றாண்டில் கொடுங்கல்லூரைத் தலைநகராக்கி சேரமான் பெருமாள் என்ற மன்னன் ஆண்டு கொண்டிருந்தான். ஒருநாள், மன்னனின் கனவில், வானத்து பூரணச் சந்திரன் இரண்டாகப் பிளந்து விழுவதாகக் காட்சி வந்தது. சேரமான் மனதுக்குள் பலவிதக் குழப்பங்கள் ஏற்பட்டன. சந்திரன் இரண்டாகப் பிளந்து விழுவதாகக் கனவு எனக்கு ஏன் வரவேண்டும்? கனவின் பொருள் என்ன? எதை உணர்த்த இந்தக் கனவு வந்தது? இதைப் பற்றி அமைச்சர்களிடம், பல ஜோதிடப் பண்டிதர்களிடம் அரசன் விளக்கம் கேட்க, அவர்கள் தந்த விளக்கம், மன்னனின் சந்தேகங்களைப் போக்குவதாக இல்லை.

உலகின் முதல் மனிதன் என்று சொல்லப்படும் ஆதமின் கால் பாதங்கள் பதிந்த இடம் இலங்கையில் இருக்கிறது. அதைத் தரிசிக்க வந்த அராபியர்கள், கொடுங்கல்லூரில் ஓய்விற்காக இறங்க .... அவர்களுக்கு மன்னனின் சந்தேகம் தெரிய வர ... விளக்கம் தருவதற்காக மன்னனைச் சந்தித்தார்கள்.

""அரபு நாட்டில் இறைத் தூதர் முகம்மது நபி அவர்கள் இஸ்லாம் என்னும் புதிய மதத்தைப் பரப்பி வருகிறார்கள். சந்திரனை வைத்துத்தான் அவர்கள் மாதங்களைக் கணக்கிடுகிறார்கள். புதிய மதம் தோன்றியிருப்பதை சூசகமாக உங்களுக்கு உணர்த்தவே சந்திரன் இரண்டாகப் பிளந்து விழுவதாகக் கனவு உங்களுக்கு வந்திருக்கிறது'' என்று விளக்கம் சொல்ல, மன்னனுக்கு அந்த விளக்கம் ஏற்புடையதாக இருந்தது.

""நீங்கள் தந்த விளக்கம் பொருத்தமாக எனக்குத் தெரிகிறது. நான் முகம்மது நபி அவர்களைச் சந்திக்க வேண்டும்... என்னை அரேபியாவுக்கு அழைத்துச் செல்லுங்கள்...'' என்று மன்னர் அந்த அராபிய வணிகர்களிடம் வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்தார்.

""மன்னா... நாங்கள் இலங்கை சென்று, ஆதம் கால் பாத தரிசனம் நடத்தி மீண்டும் கொடுங்கல்லூர் வருவோம். நீங்கள் அதற்குள் பயணத்திற்கான ஏற்பாடுகள் செய்து தயாராக இருங்கள்... உங்களை அராபியாவிற்கு அழைத்துச் செல்கிறோம்'' என்றார்கள்.

""அதுவும் சரிதான்...'' என்று ஒப்புக்கொண்ட மன்னன், தனது ராஜ்ஜியத்தைப் பிரித்து, தனது சந்ததியர் மன்னர்களாக ஆட்சி செய்ய கொடுத்துவிட்டு, பயணத்திற்குத் தயாரானார்.

இலங்கையிலிருந்து திரும்ப வந்த அராபியர்களுடன், மன்னர் அராபிய பயணம் செய்தார். மதீனா சென்று முகம்மது நபி அவர்களைச் சந்தித்து, இஸ்லாமியராகி அங்கு கொஞ்ச நாள் தங்கி, மீண்டும் தாயகம் வரும்போது, பயணத்தில் பெருங்காய்ச்சல் தாக்க ஓமானில் ஓய்வு எடுக்க வேண்டி வருகிறது. தான் பிழைக்க மாட்டோம் என்று தெரிந்ததும், தன்னுடன் துணையாக வந்த மாலிக் பின் தினார் என்பவரிடம் தனது சந்ததிகளுக்கு கடிதங்களைக் கொடுத்து அனுப்பி வைக்கிறார். கடிதங்களில், "தான் இஸ்லாம் மதத்தைத் தழுவிவிட்டதாகவும், கேரளத்தில் இஸ்லாம் மதத்தவர்கள் இறை வழிபாடு நடத்த மசூதிகள் கட்டிக் கொள்ள அனுமதியும், உதவிகளையும் செய்ய வேண்டும்' என்று எழுதியிருந்தார். சேரமான் பெருமாள் ஓமானின் துபார் என்ற இடத்தில் இறக்க அங்கேயே மன்னனின் பூத உடலை இஸ்லாமிய முறையில் அடக்கம் செய்கின்றனர்.

மன்னனின் கடிதங்களுடன், மாலிக் பின் தினார் தனது குழுவினருடன் கடல் மார்க்கமாக கொடுங்கல்லூர் வந்திறங்கி, ஆட்சி செய்யும் சேரமான் பெருமாளின் வாரிசைச் சந்தித்து, மன்னனின் கடிதங்களைச் சேர்ப்பிக்க ....மன்னனின் விருப்பத்தை நிறைவேற்றச் சம்மதித்தார்கள்.

கொடுங்கல்லூரில், கவனிக்க, வழிபட யாருமில்லாமல் கிடந்த பழைய புத்த கோயிலை மசூதியாக மாற்றிக் கொள்ள அனுமதி கிடைக்கிறது. இந்த புத்த விகாரம், கேரள கலாசாரத்துடன் இணைந்து நிற்கும் நாலு கெட்டு வடிவமைப்புள்ள கட்டடமாக இருந்தது. அதைப் புதுப்பித்து, மசூதியாக மாற்றி ஐந்து வேலை தொழுகைகள் நடத்தப்பட்டு வந்தன. இது நடந்தது கி.பி. 621இல். இந்த மசூதி ஸ்தாபிக்கப்பட்ட பிறகே, ஈராக், எகிப்து, சிரியா, துனிசியா போன்ற மற்ற நாடுகளில் இதர மசூதிகள் உருவாக்கப்பட்டன. கொடுங்கல்லூரைத் தொடர்ந்து, கேரளத்தின் இதர பாகங்களிலும், கர்நாடகத்தின் மங்களூரிலும் மசூதிகள் தோன்றின.

இந்த சேரமான் மசூதி பலமுறை புனரமைப்பு செய்யப்பட்டு, அதேசமயம் மசூதியின் உள் பகுதியில் எந்த மாற்றமும் செய்யப்படாமல் பழமை அப்படியே பாதுகாக்கப்பட்டு வருகிறது. வெளிப்பகுதி மட்டுமே விரிவாக்கம் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது.

மசூதியின் உள்ளே சமயச் சொற்பொழிவு நடத்தும் மிம்பர் எனப்படும் மேடை கலை நுணுக்கத்துடன் மரத்தில் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. அந்தக் காலத்தில் இரவு நேர வழிபாட்டிற்கு (தொழுகைக்கு) வெளிச்சம் வேண்டும் என்பதற்காக பெரிய விளக்கு ஒன்றைத் தொங்கவிட்டு திரியில் எண்ணெய் ஊற்றி எரியச் செய்தார்கள். அந்த தீப விளக்கு, அன்று எந்த இடத்தில் இருந்ததோ, அதே இடத்தில் இன்றைக்கும் இருக்கிறது. அந்த விளக்கில், கொடுங்கல்லூர் ஜுமா பள்ளி என்று எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது.

இந்தப் பள்ளிவாசலின் கூரை தேக்கு மரத்தால் ஆனது. கலை நுணுக்கத்துடன் செய்யப்பட்டிருக்கும் கொத்து வேலை அபாரம். அதனையும் நல்ல முறையில் பராமரித்து வருகிறார்கள்.

இந்த மசூதியிலிருந்து 2 கி.மீ. தூரத்தில்தான் புகழ்பெற்ற கொடுங்கல்லூர் பகவதி என்று அழைக்கப்படும் கண்ணகி கோயிலும் திருவஞ்சைக்களம் என்று அழைக்கப்படும் சிவத்தலமும் இருக்கிறது. சுந்தரமூர்த்தி நாயனார் திருவஞ்சைக்களம் சிவாலயத்தில்தான் ஈசனுடன் கலந்தார் என்பதும், திருக்கயிலாய ஞான உலா எழுதிய சேரமான் பெருமாள்தான் சுந்தரமூர்த்தி நாயனாரின் நண்பராகவும், வஞ்சி மாநகரை ஆண்ட சேரமன்னராகவும் இருந்தார் என்றும் சிலரால் கூறப்படுகிறது. சுந்தரர் நண்பரான சேரமான் பெருமாள் மிகச்சிறந்த சிவபக்தர். பன்னிரு திருமுறையில் பதினோராம் திருமுறையில் இவர் பாடல்கள் உள்ளன. 63 நாயன்மார்களுள் இவரும் ஒருவர் என்பதால் இவர் வேறு; அவர் வேறு என்றும் கூறுவர்.

கேரள அரசின் சுற்றுலாத் துறை, இந்த சேரமான் மசூதியை ஒரு சுற்றுலாத்தளமாக (ற்ர்ன்ழ்ண்ள்ற் ஹற்ற்ழ்ஹஸ்ரீற்ண்ர்ய்) பல ஆண்டுகளாக விளம்பரம் செய்து வருவதை இங்கே குறிப்பிட்டாக வேண்டும்.

2015 ஜூலை கடைசியில், பிரதமர் மோடியின் வருகையையொட்டி, பாதுகாப்பு கருதி காவலர் குழு ஒன்று மசூதிக்கு வந்து பார்வையிட்டு, வெளியே போக வர எத்தனை வாசல்கள், எத்தனை வழிகள் உள்ளன என்று கண்காணித்து சென்றுள்ளது.

சரித்திர, கலாசார, மத நல்லிணக்கத்தின் அடையாளமாக, பதிவாக நிற்கும் சேரமான் ஜுமா மசூதிக்கு மோடியின் வருகை பெரிய எதிர்பார்ப்பை ஏற்படுத்தியிருக்கிறது.



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இந்தியாவிலே பழமையான மஸ்ஜித் சேரமான் ஜும்மா மசூதி!(படங்கள் இணைப்பு)

By adminMarch 10, 2015 04:00

சேரமான் ஜும்மா மசூதி (Cheraman Juma Masjid) இந்திய மாநிலமான கேரளாவில் எர்ணாகுளம் மாவட்டத்தில் உள்ள கொடுங்கல்லூர் என்ற ஊரில் உள்ளது. இது கி.பி 612-ம் ஆண்டு மாலிக் பின் தீனார் என்பவரால் கட்டப்பட்டது. இது இந்தியாவின் முதல் பள்ளிவாசல் மற்றும் உலகின் இரண்டாவது ஜும்மா பள்ளிவாசல் ஆகும். இதன் பழைய தோற்றம் மற்ற உலக பள்ளிவாசல்கள் போல் அல்லாமல் கிழக்கு நோக்கி அமைந்து உள்ளது.

பெயர் காரணமும் வரலாறும்:
சேரமான் பெருமாள் பாஸ்கர ரவி வர்மா என்ற சேர மன்னர் கி.பி எட்டாம் நூற்றாண்டில் சேர நாட்டை ஆண்டு வந்தார். அவர் ஒரு நாள் இரவு வானில் நிலவு இரண்டாக பிளந்து மறுபடியும் ஒன்று சேர்வதை கண்டார். இதை பற்றி விசாரிக்கும் பொழுது அங்கு வியாபார நோக்கமாக வந்த அராபியர் கூட்டம் மூலம் முகம்மது நபியைப் பற்றியும், இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை பற்றியும் கேள்விப்பட்டனர். மேலும் அவர்கள் கூறிய செய்திகளிலால் ஈர்க்கப்பட்ட சேரமான் பெருமாள் அந்த அரபியார் கூட்டத்துடனேயே மெக்காவிற்கு சென்று முகம்மது நபியைச் சந்தித்தார். அதன் பிறகு இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை ஏற்ற சேரமான் பெருமாள் தாஜுதீன் எனவும் பெயர் மாற்றம் பெற்றார்.

பின் இந்தியாவில் இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை பரப்பும் பொருட்டு மாலிக் பின் தீனார் என்பவரின் தலைமையில் பல போதகர்களை அழைத்துக் கொண்டு நாடு திரும்பினார். ஆனால் திரும்பும் வழியிலேயே ஏமன் நாட்டில் உள்ள ஜாபர் துறைமுகத்தில் (Port of Zabar, Yeman) நோய் வாயப்பட்டு இறந்தார்.அவருடைய உடல் அங்கேயே அடக்கம் செய்யப்பட்டது.

ஆனாலும் அதன் பிறகும் தங்கள் பயணத்தை தொடர்ந்த மாலிக் பின் தீனாரின் குழு சேர நாட்டை அடைந்தது. அங்கு மன்னர் குடும்பத்தை சந்தித்து, சேரமான் பெருமாள் இறப்பதற்கு முன்பு எழுதி இருந்த கடிதத்தைக் கொடுத்தனர். அதில் சேரமான் பெருமாள் தங்கள் குடும்பத்தாருக்கு இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை பரப்புவதற்கு மாலிக் பின் தீனாருக்கு உதவுமாறும் அதற்காக பல மசூதிகளைக் கட்டுமாறும் பனித்திருந்தனர். அதை ஏற்று மன்னர் குடும்பமும் இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை பரப்புவதற்கும் மசூதிகளைக் கட்டுவதற்கும் மாலிக் பின் தீனாருக்கு உதவியது. அதன் பேரில் மாலிக் பின் தீனார் கி.பி 612-ல் கொடுங்களூரில் முதல் மசூதியைக் கட்டினார்.

இவ்வாறு சேரமான் பெருமாள் அவர்களின் உதவியினால் கட்டப்பட்ட இந்தியாவின் முதல் மசூதி, சேரமான் அவர்களை நினைவு கூறும் பொருட்டு சேரமான் ஜும்மா பள்ளிவாசல் என்றே இன்றும் அழைக்கப்படுகின்றது.

கட்டுமான அமைப்பு:
இந்த மசூதி இந்தியாவின் முதல் மசூதி என்பதற்கு இதன் அமைப்பே ஒரு உதாரணமாக உள்ளது. இந்து கட்டிடக்கலையை ஆதாரமாகக் கொண்டு கட்டப்பட்ட இந்த மசூதி, மற்ற உலக மசூதிகளில் இருந்து வேறுபட்டு கிழக்கு நோக்கிக் கட்டப்பட்டு இருந்தது. (ஆனால் தற்போது இந்த மசூதி திருத்தி மேற்கு நோக்கிக் கட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது). இதில் மனரா (கோபுரம்), அறைக்கோள மேற்புறங்கள் (Dome) போன்ற அமைப்புகள் எதுவும் இல்லை. மிகவும் சாதாரணமான கட்டிடமாகவே இது கட்டப்பட்டது. பின்பு இந்த மசூதி பழைய பகுதிகளுக்கு எந்த சேதாரமும் வராத வகையில் புதிய முறையில் மாற்றி கட்டப்பட்டது.

இந்த மசூதி முகம்மது நபியின் காலத்திலேயே கட்டப்பட்டது. இது இன்றும் எல்லா மதத்தினரும் வந்து வழிபாடு செய்யும் ஒரு திருத்தலமாக உள்ளது. இன்றும் இந்த மசூதி சேரமான் பெருமாளின் வம்சத்தினராண கொச்சின் அரச குடும்பத்தினருக்கு முதல் மரியாதை கொடுக்கிறது. இங்கு மிகவும் பழமையான ஒரு தாமிர விளக்கு உள்ளது. இதற்கு எல்லா மதத்தினரும் என்னை கொண்டு வந்து விடுகின்றனர். மேலும் இங்குள்ள ரோஸ்‌வுட் சொற்பொழிவு மேடையும் (மிம்பர் படி) கரும்பளிங்குக் கற்களும் மிகவும் பழமையானதாகும். இதில் கரும்பளிங்குக் கற்கள், மெக்காவில் இருந்து எடுத்து வரப்பட்டதாக நம்பப்படுகிறது.





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Village : Methala
Taluk : Kodungalloor
District : Thrissur
Location : On the Paravur - Kodungalloor Road, NH-17

The significance of Cheraman Juma Majsid in the Muziris Heritage Project lies in the fact that it is the first mosque in India. It stands in the district of Thrissur in Kerala, on the Parur-Kodungalloor road.

It was built in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar. Kunjikuttan Thampuran who is known as Kerala Vyasa has expressed the view that this was an ancient Buddhavihar that was gifted to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque. 

The oral tradition is that Cheraman Perumal, the Chera king, went to Arabia where he met the Prophet and embraced Islam. From there he had sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar to his relatives in Kerala, asking them to be courteous to the latter. 

The masjid is believed to have been renovated in the 11th century and also 300 years ago. The front portion was expanded in 1974 and further expanded in 1984. The older part of the mosque including the Sanctum Sanctorum is left untouched and is still preserved. Its grandeur is still kept alive by the wooden steps and ceiling.

People of all religions come to this mosque and many non-Muslims conduct vidhyarambham (initiation ceremony to the world of letters) of their children here.



Muziris Heritage Site is an outstanding example of buildings and archaeological sites and landscape, which illustrates a significant stage in the human history of Kerala. This historic region bears an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition; of which monumental structures also occupy a significant place.

The built heritage of Muziris is extensive and there are few notable buildings from the 18th and the 19th centuries scattered around this heritage site; but mostly in Chennamangalam and Kodungalloor. The surviving elements of Muziris comprise not only buildings but also the markets, streets and footways, bridges, and cemeteries.

The natural environment is of great importance to the status of Muziris Heritage Site. The networks of waterways have influenced and inspired the architecture and growth of the built heritage.


Marthoma Smruthi Tharangam

The Marthoma Pontifical shrine is a major pilgrim centre that comes under the Muziris Heritage Project. The church on the banks of the River Periyar is located about 6 km from Kodungalloor, in the village of Azhikode in Kerala.

The 'Marthoma Smruthi Tharangam' derived from Sanskrit language which means 'the creation of waves of memories regarding St. Thomas' offers a memorial presentation of the mission of the Apostle. A 3500 square feet mansion built in the Indo-Persian style presents the major episodes in the life of St. Thomas. This programme of 30 minutes duration uses the aid of modern computer technologies and audio visual theatrical effects.

History says that St. Thomas, the apostle landed at Kodungalloor adjacent to Azhikode and the St. Thomas church being one of the seven churches formed by him. It came as a befitting gift to the believers when the bone of the right arm of the apostle was brought from Italy and enthroned at the Pontifical shrine, built in the model of St. Peter's Basilica Rome. Thousands of believers from around the world visit the sacred shrine to receive the blessings.

Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : About 100 meters from Paravur-Kodungalloor Road, NH-17

The building is located in the former Jewish Street of the Paravur region. It served as the place of worship for the Jewish community that settled very close to the Paravur Market. 

The complex comprises of two buildings - the double storied entrance building and the main synagogue separated by an open space. The entrance building or the Padipura features two rooms on either side which was used for storage on the ground floor and Hebrew classes were conducted on the first floor. Beyond this is a small courtyard which leads to the main entry to the synagogue.

The synagogue is attractive; there's a pillared entryway that leads from the two rooms at the main entrance to the prayer place .The prayer hall consists of two rooms; a rectangular room generally used for meetings and the other main prayer room with the Bimah and the Ark. There is a balcony above the eastern entry, on the first floor, which was used by the reader on certain special occasions. The ceiling and the brackets supporting the balcony is decorated with gilded carved wooden rosettes, typical to most synagogues. Behind this balcony is the women's gallery, which can be approached by a staircase that was situated near the entry to the synagogue. The wooden doors that existed (now missing) were gracefully curved at the upper side of the closure point. The original Bimah and Ark were taken to Israel in 1992 and reconstructions of the original have been installed in their place.

Situated about 100 m from Parur on the Kodungalloor road of Kerala, the synagogue is one of the two Jewish synagogues placed in the Muziris heritage project region.

At Muziris, trade and religion grew together. This synagogue must have been the place of worship for the Jews that settled very close to the Parur market. Though the users of the synagogue have all but faded away, both the market and the synagogue still exist. The Parur market opening to the river Periyar still functions twice a week, a boat jetty has been constructed there, and the Jew street still goes by that name, though one of its two pillars at the entrance has been knocked down.


The balcony of the synagogue is supported on decorated pillars and gilded beams. The decorations on the ceiling and the door carvings are similar to those of the Chendamangalam synagogue.


With the opening of the Parur visitor centre, the synagogue will be within walking distance from there.

Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

The remains of the Vypeekotta Seminary built by the Portuguese are preserved as a historic monument and site. A Seminary is the college to teach Christian priests. This Seminary was established to teach the priests of Malabar, the ceremonies and language to be used in Roman Catholic Churches founded here by the Portuguese.
There were many buildings in the premises, which were destroyed during the wars in later period. There is a church still functioning in the compound, probably built during the same period, but renovated later.

Many stone inscriptions were encountered from the church compound during the exploration done here in 1935. The inscriptions are fixed on a half wall in front of the church. The remains of the Seminary were declared as a protected monument in 1935.

Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

The Jewish Synagogue at Chennamangalam, constructed around the 17th century is of a traditional style, with a separate entrance for women. The land for it was provided by the family of Paliam, the traditional ministers of Kochi, who owned the village of Chennamangalam during that period.

The Department of Archeology had scientifically conserved the Synagogue using traditional materials, which was otherwise in a dilapidated state. A tomb inscription believed to belong to one of the early members of the Synagogue is found in front of it. Many other tomb inscriptions have also been collected from the same site. On the East side of the Synagogue, there is a cemetery of about 400 meters long belonging to this Synagogue. The Department, in collaboration with the Jews abroad, has arranged a display inside the Synagogue, which is titled - The Jewish Synagogues in Kerala.

Architectural features- Chendamangalam synagogue

Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : At Chennamangalam

The Paliam Palace was once used as the residence of the Paliath Achans, who were the prime ministers to the former Maharajas of the State of Kochi. During the 16th century, when the security of the Raja was under threat by the Portuguese, the then Paliath Achan ensured the safety of the Raja by escorting him to Chendamangalam. ). The Raja is believed to have stayed incognito in the place near the Kalari, hence the name Paliam Kovilakom (Palace). The Dutch in appreciation of the Paliath Achan's services renovated this building in Chendamangalam and presented it to him.

The two storey (G+2) building can be termed as a highly efficient functional building of its times. In spite of minimum ornamentation it reflects the Dutch influence in the architecture. The building features, elaborately carved wooden staircases and balustrades and thick walls with splayed openings. A circulation space runs along the private area of the building, facilitating air movement, resulting in insulating the interior, making it cooler compared to the peripheral. In earlier times, women were not allowed inside. Only the elder members of the family could stay there. The Paliath Achans used to address the people of Chendamangalam from the Prasanga Peedum, which is on the top of the entrance passage of the Palace.


Village : Chennamangalam
Taluk : North Paravur
District : Ernakulam
Location : Accessible from both the Chennamangalam and Moothakunnam Village

Gothuruthu was cattle grazing land, owned by Paliathachan in those early days. This area is famous for the art form "Chavittunadakam". Portraying Christian history, it is a blend of traditional Portuguese art form brought by Portuguese missionaries to this coastal area and local art forms. In this new hybrid art form, the performers stamp their feet hard into the wooden stage to make a loud noise, which gave the form its name: 'chavittu nadakam', literally 'stamping drama'. In a typical show, there would be 150-200 people on stage. Now the performers are down to 75 and the duration of a show is shortened to 2-3 hours. The Chavittunadakam performers now perform on Gothuruthu Island, where the Kerala Chavittunadakam Academy has been established. Chavittunadakam is performed annually in January, at the church in Cheria Pallamthuruthu, in connection with St.Stephen's festival.

Gothuruthu is also popular for its boat races or Vallamkali, generally performed in September. "Chundan Vallom" or snake boat and Iruttukuthy Vallom participate in the annual boat race. Both the valloms are with the church under St. Sebastin Club. Gothuruthu Church is at the centre of the village and the priests' office is nearby. A school, approximately 100 years old is close to the church.

The Manjumatha church  

The Manjumatha church brings importance to Pallippuram as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.

At Pallippuram near Cherai in Kerala, you see this rare church, which faith gave a twist in history. You cannot separate legend from history here, as the two are intertwined. The Pallippuram church became a target during Tipu's invasion of the Kochi region in the 18th century. The terrified people shut themselves up inside the church and started praying. Legend has it that the church and its surroundings got shrouded in a fog which misled Tipu's army to turn away.

The church, which was in the name of Mother Mary or matha, thus came to be called 'Manjumatha church' which means ' The mother's church shrouded in snow.' The ancient kadalattu grotto stands as a silent witness to the wonder that has become part of history here

Kottakkavu church - place of religious importance

This church situated in the heart of Parur town in Kerala is a place of religious importance in the Muziris heritage project , mainly because it is one of the seven churches or Christian settlements established by St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ.

It is believed that the Persian Cross, which is preserved in the chapel in front of the church, might have been engraved in rock in 880 AD. A wooden cross which the saint had planted was kept in the church till the 18th century. But during the siege of Tipu Sultan, various churches were demolished, and this cross too was destroyed. The church ransacked at that time was the third one built after the saint’s time. The church of 1308 was rebuilt and blessed on 15th August 2002.

Still the old church, the elephantine wall on the adjacent western side and the pilgrim pond where the Apostle baptised the devotees are all preserved. It is known that about 2 acres of land were provisionally allocated by the church for the construction of the Parur market. It was the Cross that stood in this place from age old days that was converted into the market chapel.




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ஹிந்து பத்திரிக்கையின் கிறிஸ்துவ ஊழியம் தொடர்கிறது.-மத சண்டை மூட்ட முயற்சி

கொடுங்கல்லுரில் உள்ள முஸ்லீம்களின் மசூதியை அவர்கள் சேரமான் ஜூம்மா மசூதி, இந்தியாவின் பழமையானது எனச் சொல்லிக் கொள்கின்றனர். 

24.jpg?w=300&h=225  12.jpg?w=300&h=225  cheraman-mosque-at-kerala.jpg?w=300&h=225 

1-DSC00067_zps93f3905e.jpg 250px-Cheraman_juma_masjid_Old.jpg  

மாலிக் பின் தீணார் (ரலி)என்பவரால் கட்டப்பட்ட பழைய மசூதியின் தோற்றம். 1905இல் எடுக்கப்பட்டது

It is older then Palaiya jumma palli located Tamil Nadu built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar,[6] an Arab propagator of Islam and a follower and contemporary of Islamic Prophet Muhammad.[7][8][9][10] It is believed that this mosque was first renovated and reconstructed in the 11th century AD. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies to the world of letters of their children here.[3]

The mosque has an ancient oil lamp which always burns and which is believed to be more than a thousand years old. People of all religions bring oil for the lamp as offering.

A series of excavations conducted at Kodungallur starting from 1945, yielded nothing that went back to before the 13th century. Another excavation was carried out in 1969 by the Archaeological Survey of India at Ceraman Parambu, 2 km north of Kodungallur. Only antiquities of the 13th and 16th century were recovered.

இந்து கட்டிடக்கலையை ஆதாரமாக கொண்டு கட்டப்பட்ட இந்த மசூதி, மற்ற உலக மசுதிகளில் இருந்து வேறுபட்டு கிழக்கு நோக்கி கட்டப்பட்டு இருந்தது. (ஆனால் தற்போது இந்த மசூதி திருத்தி மேற்கு நோக்கி கட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது).


இதில் மனரா (கோபுரம்), அறைக்கோள மேற்புறங்கள் (Dome) போன்ற அமைப்புகள் எதுவும் இல்லை. மிகவும் சாதாரணமான கட்டிடமாகவே இது கட்டப்பட்டது. பின்பு இந்த மசூதி பழைய பகுதிகளுக்கு எந்த சேதாரமும் வராத வகையில் புதிய முறையில் மாற்றி கட்டப்பட்டது.
சேரநாடுசேரமான் பெருமாள் பாஸ்கர ரவிவர்மா கி.பி எட்டாம் நூற்றாண்டில் தொன்மையானசேரவம்சத்தை ஆண்டு வந்த தமிழ் மன்னன் ஆவார். இவரது ஆட்சியின் கீழ் இன்றைய கேரளமாநிலமும்தமிழகத்தின் தென் பகுதியும் இருந்தது.


நிலவை பிரிக்கும் அதிசயம்மெகாவில் முகம்மது நபி(ஸல்) அவர்கள் இஸ்லாம் மதத்தை மக்களிடையே அறிமுகம் செய்திருந்தனர். இந்த நிலையில் ஒரு நாள் இரவு தனது மாளிகையில் நிலவை ரசித்துக்கொண்டு இருந்த சேரமான் பெருமாள் அவர்கள், திடீரென்று நிலவு இரண்டாக பிரிந்து மறுபடியும் ஒன்று சேர்வதை கண்டார்கள். இந்த அதிசய நிகழ்வை பற்றி அவர்கள் பலரிடமும் விசாரித்தார்கள்.
அப்போது சேர துறைமுகத்துக்கு வந்த ஒரு அரபியார் கூட்டம் ஒன்று அது பற்றி தங்களுக்கு தெரியும் என கூறியதை கேட்டு, அவர்களை தங்கள் அரண்மனைக்கு வரவழைத்து விசாரித்தார்கள். அப்போது அவர்கள் தங்கள் நாட்டில் இறைதூதர் ஒருவர் தோன்றி இருப்பதாகவும். அவர் பெயர் முகம்மது (ஸல்) எனவும், அவரே இறைமறுப்பாளர்களை நம்பவைப்பதற்காக இந்த 'நிலவை பிரிக்கும் அதிசயத்தை' நடத்தியதாகவும் கூறக்கேட்டனர்.
இதில் மிகவும் ஆர்வம் ஏற்பட்ட சேரமான் பெருமாள் அவர்கள் அந்த அரபியார்களிடம் தான் முகம்மது நபி (ஸல்) அவர்களை பார்ப்பதற்கு மிகவும் ஆர்வமாக இருப்பதாகவும், அதனால் தன்னையும் மெக்காவுக்கு அழைத்து செல்லுமாறும் கேட்டார்கள். ஆனால் அப்போது ஈழத்துக்குபயணப்படுவதற்கு ஆயத்தமாயிருந்த அந்த அரபியார் கூட்டம் தங்கள் திரும்பி வரும்பொழுது சேரமான் பெருமாள் அவர்களை மெக்காவுக்கு அழைத்து செல்வதாக வாக்களித்தனர்.



கொடுங்கல்லூர் சுற்றியுள்ள பகுதிகளின் தொல்பொருள் அகழ்வாய்வுகள், அது கடலுக்கு அடியில் இருந்த பகுதி, அதில் மக்கள் குடியேற்றம் 9 - 10 ம் நூற்றாண்டிற்குப் பின் தான் என்கிறது.

 சங்க கால முசுறி தான் பெரியாறு ஓரமுள்ள பட்டணம் எனும் இடத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ள சில பொருட்கள் கொண்டு கேரள வரலாற்று நிறுவனம் கதை பரப்பி வருகிறது. இதை பல வரலாறு, தொல்பொருள் அகழ்வாய்வு அறிஞர்கள் ஆதாரமின்றி கூறுவது எனக் கண்டித்து வருகின்றனர்.  கேரளாவின் சுற்றுலா வளர்க்க  தொன்மை முசுறி திட்டம் என விழா எடுக்கையில் பிரதமர் திரு. மோடி வரவேண்டும் என கேரளா முதலமைச்சர் ஓமன் சாண்டியிடம் வருவதாக சொன்னதாகவும், ஆனால் கேரளா பிஜேபியினர் எதிர்ப்பில் இப்போது இந்தியாவின் பழமையான மசூதிக்கு வருவாரா என கேள்வி எழுப்பியுள்ளது.



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தோமோ வந்து இறங்கியதான கொடுங்கல்லூர் அகழ்வாய்வுகள் முடிவுகள்
கொடுங்கல்லூர் நகருக்குத் தெற்கில் பல இடங்களில், வடக்கில் பழமையானவை என்று கருத்ப்ப்ட்ட சில இடங்களிலும் அகழ்வாய்வுகள் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது….
கேரளாவில் நடைபெற்ற இந்த அகழ்வாய்வுகளை நடுநிலை நின்று பார்த்தால் கீழ்கண்ட, தற்காலிகமான முடிவிற்கு வரலாம்.

கொடுங்கல்லூருக்கு உள்ளும் புறமுமாக, பல முக்கிய இடங்களிலும் நடத்தப்பட்ட அகழ்வாய்வுஅள் எல்லாவற்றிலும் கிடைத்த மிகப் பழைமையான படிவுகள் கி.பி.8 அல்லது 9-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டைச் செர்ந்த்ததாகத்தான் உள்ளன. ஆக, ஓரே சீரான பண்பாட்டுக் கூறுகள் எல்லா இடங்களிலும் வெளிப்பட்டுள்ளன என்பது தெளிவாகிறது.
கொடுங்கல்லூர் பகுதியில், மனித சமுதாயத்தில் முதல் குடியிருப்புகள் 8,9-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டுகளில் தான் ஏற்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும். குலசேகர மரபினர், கண்ணனூர்ப் பகுதியில் குடியேறி, அதைத் தங்களுடைய தலைநகராக கொண்ட பொழுது இந்தப் பகுதி முழுவதும் முக்கியத்துவம் பெற்றிருக்க வேண்டும். குலசேகர மரபினர்களைப் பற்றிய நல்ல காலக் கணிப்புகள் நமக்குக் கிடைத்திருக்கின்றன. ஆனால் அதற்கு முற்பட்ட காலத்தைச் சேர்ந்த எந்த விதமான ஆதாரமும் கிடைக்கவில்லை.. ..

திருவஞ்சிக்களம் இங்கே ந்டந்த அகழ்வாய்வு கலவையான(M) பல ஆதாரங்களை வெளிப்படுத்தியது. அவை மிகவும் பழைமையானவை10 அல்லது 9ம் நுற்றாண்டுக்கு முற்பட்டதாக இல்லை.

திருவஞ்சிக்களம், கருப்பதானா அல்லது மதிலகம் போன்றவற்றின் பெயர்களை மட்டும் கொண்டு, அவைகள் பழைய வஞ்சியாகவோ கருராகவோ இருக்கலாம் என்று கருதப்பட்டது. ஆனால் இங்கு நடந்த அகழ்வாய்வுகள் கி.பி 8-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டைச் சேர்ந்த இரண்டாம் சேரப் பேரரசுக் காலத்து ஆதாரங்களைத் தான் வெளிப்படுத்தி உள்ளனவே அல்லாமல் பழங்காலச் சேரர்களை பற்றிய எந்தவிதமமன ஆதாரத்தையும் வில்லை. ஆகவே, இந்த இடங்களில் தான், பழைய வங்சியோ, கருரோ இருந்தது என்று சொல்ல முடிய வெளிப்படுத்தவில்லை.

பழைய முசிறித் துறைமுகம் இருந்த இடத்தைக் கண்டுபிடிக்க வேண்டிய அவசியம் ஏற்பட்டிருக்கின்றது. அது நிச்சயமாக கொடுங்கல்லூராக இருக்க முடியாது. பக்-68-70 கே.வி..ராமன், தொல்லியல் ஆய்வுகள் and this article was earlier published in Araichi, 170, under the Heading “Archaeological Investigations in Kerala”

From the Book-
திருமயிலைத் திருத்தலம்- இலக்கிய, வரலாற்றுப் பார்வை,
பேராசிரியர். Dr.சு.ராஜசேகரன்.,1989,
Doctral Thesis done in 1986, on the Same name at Madras University, the Author was then working as Tamil Professor at Nandanam Govt. Arts College, Chennai.

The Author Analyses various Stone Inscriptions and Archeological findings from Kapalishwarar Temple and Santhome and gives his views.

இப்போதுள்ள கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில், நாயன்மார்களால் பாடப் பெற்ற பழைய கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில் என்ற பொதுவான நம்பிக்கை மக்களிடையே நிலவி வருகிறது. ஆனால், தொல்பொருள் ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள் சாந்தோமில் கண்டெடுத்த புதைபொருள்களிலிருந்து பழைய கோயில் வேறு இடத்தில் இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும் என்றும், பெரும்பாலும் சாந்தோம் கடற்கரையாக இருக்கலாம் என்றும் எண்ண வேண்டியிருக்கிறது.. .. பழைய கபாலிசுவரர் கோயிலலின் இடிபாடுகள் இப்போதுள்ள கோயிலுக்குச் சிறிது தொலைவில் கிழக்கு திசையில் சாந்தோம் கடற்கரையருகே கண்டு எடுக்கப்பட்டதே இதற்குக் காரணமாகும்.

1923இல் தொல்பொருள் ஆய்வுத் துறையினர் சாந்தோம் கதிட்ரலில் நிகழ்த்திய அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகளால் கல்வெட்டுகளும், தூண்களும், சிலைகளும் கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்டன. கல்வெட்டுகள் சிவன் கோயிலைக் குறிக்கின்றன. கற்றூண்களிலும் கல்வெட்டுகள் காணப்பெறுகின்றன. மயிலோடு கூடிய முருகர் சிலையும் கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்டது. 1921இல் மறைத்திரு ஹோஸ்டன், சாந்தோம் கதிட்ரலில் கண்டெடுத்த வடமொழிக் கல்வெட்டு “கருவறை உட்பட எல்லாக் கட்டிடங்களும் மயிலாப்பூரிலுள்ள புகழ்பெற்ற சிவனுக்கும் பார்வதிக்கும் உரியவையாகும்” என்று குறிப்பிடுபகிறது. மற்றொரு தானக் கல்வெட்டில், “திருமயிலாப்பில் பூம்பாவை” என்று குறிப்பிடுப்படுவதாலும், பழைய கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில் கடற்கரையருகே இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும் என்பது புலனாகிறது.

அருணகிரிநாதர் திருப்புகளில் கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில் கடற்கரை அருகே இருந்தது என்று குறிப்பிடுப்படுவதால், பழைய கோயில் கடற்கரையருகே இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும் என்று கே.வி..இராமன் கருதிகிறார். பக்கம்287,288

இந்திய மக்கள் தொகைக் கணக்கெடுப்புத்துறை வெளியிட்ட சென்னை மாநிலக் கோயில்கள் (Temples of Madas State) என்னும் நூலில் காணப்படும் கருத்துக்கள் :
கி.பி. 16ஆம் நூற்றாண்டின் தொடக்கத்தில் சாந்தோம் கடற்கரையிலிருந்த கோயில் போர்த்துக்கீசியர்களால் அழிக்கப் பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும் என்று கூறுகிறது. இந்நூல் கூறும் புதிய செய்தி, இப்போத்ள்ள கபாலிசுவரர் கோயிலும் குளமும் முந்நூறு ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன், மயிலை நாட்டு முத்தையப்ப முதலியாராலும் அவருடைய வாரிசுகளிலாலும் கட்டப்பட்டது என்பதேயாகும். (பக்-289 – Quotes Census of India-1961; Temples of Madras State, 1 Chingleput District and Madras City, P.204)

The Present Temple very clearly shows for Schoalrs that it was constructed only in 17th Cen. CE, few Tamil Schloars maintained that the Old Temple was in same place, and the Present Temple was constructed above it. Another Set of Scholars maintained that the Older Temple was in Sea Shore(Mostly the Present Santhome Cathedral) and the Author analyses various books on Mylapur Temple and comes to the Conclusion as below, and he before concluding quotes the Historic fact-
போர்த்துக்கீசியர்கள் இந்துக் கோயில்களை அழித்த செய்தியைக் கேள்விப்பட்டு இராமராயர் கி.பி. 1558இல், சாந்தோம் மீது படை எடுத்துப் போர்த்துக்கீசியரைப் பணிய வைத்துப் பின்னர்ப் பழுதுபட்ட கோயில்களைப் பழுதுபார்க்க ஆணையில்ட்ட செய்தியாலும் பழைய கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில் போர்த்துக்கீசியர்களால் .(Quotes from S.Kalyanasundaram-A Short History of Mylapore page-8) அழிக்கப் பட்டது என்ற முடிவுக்கு வரலாம்.
ஆகவே, முடிபாக, பழைய கபாலிசுவரர் கோயில், கடற்கரையருகே இருந்ததென்பதையும், கி.பி. பதினைந்தாம் நூற்றாண்டின் இறுதியில் போர்த்துக்கீசியரால் அழிக்கப் பட்டதென்பதையும், கி.பி. பதினாறாம் நுற்றாண்டில் இப்போதுள்ள இடத்தில் புதிய கோயில், மயிலை நாட்டு நயினியப்ப முத்தையப்ப முதலியார் மகன் முதலியாரால் கட்டப் பெற்றது என்பதையும் தெற்றென உணரலாம். -பக்கம் 291 திருமயிலைத் திருத்தலம்- இலக்கிய, வரலாற்றுப் பார்வை, பேராசிரியர்.

தோமோ நடபடிகள் என்னும் 3ம் நூற்றாண்டு நூல் தோமோ கொண்டோபரஸ் என்னும் மன்னன் நாட்டுக்கும் பின் மச்டய் என்னும் மன்னன் நாட்டில் ராணியையும் இளவரசனையும் சூன்யம் செய்து மதமாற்றம் செய்ததால் மரணதண்டனையில் கொன்றான் என வருகிறது.
மச்டய் நாடு பற்றி தோமோ நடபடிகள் கூறுவது: மச்டய் நாடு ஒரு பாலைவன நாடு, பாலைவனப் பகுதி.
The Ninth Act: of the Wife of Charisius.
87 And when the apostle had said these things in the hearing of all the multitude, they trode and pressed upon one another: and the wife of Charisius the king’s kinsman Ieapt out of her chair and cast herself on the earth before the apostle, and caught his feet and besought and said: O disciple of the living God, Thou Art Come Into A Desert Country, For We Live In The Desert;

Dr. Deivanayagam’s work being analysed by Christian Tamil Scholars
திருக்குறளில் கிறித்தவம்-மெய்த்திரு (டாக்டர்) எஸ். இராச மாணிக்கம், S.J.
Rev. S.J.Rajamanikam was the H.O.D of Loyala College Tamil Dept, and he was asked to present a Paper on –Presence of Christianity in ThiruKural, at Venkateshwara University – Thirupathi in Tamil; here Learned Scholar explains the ideals of Valluvar and how it varies with the important ideals of Christianity- and finally comes to Deivanayagam and I quote-
“ நிற்க. தற்போது ‘தெய்வநாயகம்’ என்ற புலவர் ‘திருவள்ளுவர் கிறித்தவர்’ என்று கூறி, கிறித்தவத்துக்கு முரணாகத் தென்படும் பல குறளுக்குப் புதிய விளக்கம் கூறி வருகிறார். மேலும், 1. ‘திருவள்ளுவர் கிறித்தவரா? 2. ஐந்தவித்தான் யார்? 3. வான் 4. நீத்தார் யார்? 5. சான்றோர் யார்? 6. எழு பிறப்பு 7. மூவர் யார்? 8. அருட்செல்வம் யாது? என்ற பல நூல்களை வெளியிட்டிருக்கிறார். அவற்றுள் சிலவற்றை ஊன்றிப் படித்தும், அவர் வலியுறுத்தும் கருத்தை நம்மால் ஒப்புக் கொள்ள முடியவில்லை. ‘திருவள்ளுவர் மறுபிறப்பை ஏற்கவில்லை’ என்றும், ‘ஐந்தவித்தான் என்பான் கிறித்து’ என்றும், ‘வான் என்பது பரிசுத்த ஆவி’ என்றும், நித்தார் என்பவர் கிறித்து பெடுமானார்’ என்றும், ‘சான்றோர் என்பது கிறித்தவர்களைச் சுட்டுகின்றது’ என்றும் பல சான்றுகளால் அவர் எடுத்துரைக்கின்றார்.

இக்கருத்துக்களோ, அவற்றை மெய்ப்பிக்க அவர் கையாளும் பலச் சான்றுகளோ, நமக்கு மனநிறைவு அளிக்கவில்லை. கிறித்துவ மதத்துக்குரிய தனிச்சிறப்பான கொள்கை ஒன்றும் திருக்குறளில் காணப்படவில்லை. கிறித்துபெருமானின், பெயர் கூட வரவில்லை. ஆனால் இந்திரன்(25), திருமால்(அடியளந்தான்-610;அறவாழி-8; தாமரைக் கண்ணான்-103), திருமகள் (செய்யவள்-167; செய்யாள்-84; தாமரையினாள்-617), மூதேவி(தவ்வை-167, மாமுகடி-617), அணங்கு(1081). பேய்(565), அலகை(850), கூற்று(375,765,1050,1083; கூற்றம்-269,1085), காமன் (1197), புத்தேள் (58,234,213,290,966,1322), இமையார்(906), தேவர்(1073), வானோர்(18, 346) முதலிய இந்து மதத் தெய்வங்கள் சுட்டப்படுகின்றன. பக்கம்-92-93- from திருக்குறள் கருத்தரங்கு மலர்-1974,(Thirukural Karuththarangu Malar-1974) Edited by Dr.N.Subbu Reddiyar.

எபிரேயர்கள் அந்த சிறிய பாலைவன நாட்டை தங்கள் புராணக் கதையில் புனையப்பட்ட தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்ட நாடு, மக்கள் என்பதை அப்படியே ஏற்று அந்த சிறு பகுதியில் வாழ்ந்தனர்.

கடல் வாணிகம் செய்யவில்லை.

ஜெருசலேம் என்பது ஒரு கால்பந்து மைதான அளவு தான்.

சாலைகள் தெருக்கள் என்பதெல்லாம் ஜெருசசேமில் கிடையாது.
Bible As Literature, Oxford University Press,
written by 3 Professors John.A.Gabel, Charles B.Wheelr and Antony.D.York.
How was Hebrews living during OT times.
The small Corner of the Eastern Mediterranean, we have to keep reminding ourselves that it take up only Lower Third of that coast- particularly speaking was the Whole World to them.
With Just a Few Exceptions, No Canaanite Or Israelite City before the Roman Period occupied more area than that of an American University Football Stadium, most Villages were hardly bigger than the Playing Field itself. King’ David’s Jerusalem is estimated to have measured about 300 x 1300 foot. Inside the City-walls houses would be crammed together according to no particular pattern, leaving room for Passages bu not for Streets. Before the Greek Period there were no Public Building of the Kind that we take for granted, provided by the Municipal Government.
Pages- 87,88
Foreign Countries appear in the OT only as Military Allies or Enemies of the Israelites or as the Habitat of Alien Gods; otherwise, not a Slightest interest is shown in them.
The Best Opportunity for Economic Development, it might seem was One they never took; Commerce by Sea with Mediterranean always at their door, the Israelites stubbornly remained a Land Locked People. They were effectively Shut off from the Coast at first by the Philistines, but the warfare between the two, more had to do with the Philistines attempt to expand toward the east than with any desire of the Israelite to gain access to Sea. Although the Palestinian Coast has no natural Harbors south of Carmel, this need not have been a Permanent Obstacle.
The Israelites were Content to Let others – Phoenicians and Egyptians conduct their Merchant Shipping for them, almost as though they Believed the Covenant Language in its Narrowest Sense as a Promise of Land and Nothing Further.
It is clear from their writings in the OT THAT THE SEA WAS ALWAYS to them, had no significant part to Play in their Thought.
Pages 86-87.

BCE3ம் நூற்றாண்டில் கிரேக்க ஆளுமைக்குப் பின் தான் கட்டடங்கள் என எழுந்தன, என்பது பழைய ஏற்பாடு -கொண்டு வரலாற்று ஆசிரியர்கள் தரும் உணமை.

பழைய ஏற்பாடு பல கடவுல் வழிபாடு கொண்டது. யகொவா என்பவர் இஸ்ரேலுக்கு ஆன சிறு எல்லை தெய்வமே.

பழைய ஏற்பாடு முழு முதல் கடவுல் பெயர் எல்சடை- இது தமிழ் ஆகும்.

இந்தியர்கள் உலகிற்கு நாகரிகம் தந்தவர்கள்.
தோமோ தந்தார் என்பது பேரன் பாட்டியைப் பெற்றவன் என்று கூறுவது போல ஆகும்.



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கொடுங்கல்லூர் அகழ்வாய்வுகள் முடிவுகள்


கொடுங்கல்லூர் நகருக்குத் தெற்கில் பல இடங்களில், வடக்கில் பழமையானவை என்று கருத்ப்ப்ட்ட சில இடங்களிலும் அகழ்வாய்வுகள் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது….கேரளாவில் நடைபெற்ற இந்த அகழ்வாய்வுகளை நடுநிலை நின்று பார்த்தால் கீழ்கண்ட, தற்காலிகமான முடிவிற்கு வரலாம்.

கொடுங்கல்லூருக்கு உள்ளும் புறமுமாக, பல முக்கிய இடங்களிலும் நடத்தப்பட்ட அகழ்வாய்வுஅள் எல்லாவற்றிலும் கிடைத்த மிகப் பழைமையான படிவுகள் கி.பி.8 அல்லது 9-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டைச் செர்ந்த்ததாகத்தான் உள்ளன. ஆக, ஓரே சீரான பண்பாட்டுக் கூறுகள் எல்லா இடங்களிலும் வெளிப்பட்டுள்ளன என்பது தெளிவாகிறது.

கொடுங்கல்லூர் பகுதியில், மனித சமுதாயத்தில் முதல் குடியிருப்புகள் 8,9-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டுகளில் தான் ஏற்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும். குலசேகர மரபினர், கண்ணனூர்ப் பகுதியில் குடியேறி, அதைத் தங்களுடைய தலைநகராக கொண்ட பொழுது இந்தப் பகுதி முழுவதும் முக்கியத்துவம் பெற்றிருக்க வேண்டும். குலசேகர மரபினர்களைப் பற்றிய நல்ல காலக் கணிப்புகள் நமக்குக் கிடைத்திருக்கின்றன. ஆனால் அதற்கு முற்பட்ட காலத்தைச் சேர்ந்த எந்த விதமான ஆதாரமும் கிடைக்கவில்லை.. ..

திருவஞ்சிக்களம் இங்கே ந்டந்த அகழ்வாய்வு கலவையான(M) பல ஆதாரங்களை வெளிப்படுத்தியது. அவை மிகவும் பழைமையானவை10 அல்லது 9ம் நுற்றாண்டுக்கு முற்பட்டதாக இல்லை.

திருவஞ்சிக்களம், கருப்பதானா அல்லது மதிலகம் போன்றவற்றின் பெயர்களை மட்டும் கொண்டு, அவைகள் பழைய வஞ்சியாகவோ கருராகவோ இருக்கலாம் என்று கருதப்பட்டது. ஆனால் இங்கு நடந்த அகழ்வாய்வுகள் கி.பி 8-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டைச் சேர்ந்த இரண்டாம் சேரப் பேரரசுக் காலத்து ஆதாரங்களைத் தான் வெளிப்படுத்தி உள்ளனவே அல்லாமல் பழங்காலச் சேரர்களை பற்றிய எந்தவிதமமன ஆதாரத்தையும் வில்லை. ஆகவே, இந்த இடங்களில் தான், பழைய வங்சியோ, கருரோ இருந்தது என்று சொல்ல முடிய வெளிப்படுத்தவில்லை.

பழைய முசிறித் துறைமுகம் இருந்த இடத்தைக் கண்டுபிடிக்க வேண்டிய அவசியம் ஏற்பட்டிருக்கின்றது. அது நிச்சயமாக கொடுங்கல்லூராக இருக்க முடியாது. பக்௬8௭0 கே.வி..ராமன், தொல்லியல் ஆய்வுகள் and this article was earlier published in Araichi, 170, under the Heading “Archaeological Investigations in Kerala”



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Expert nails false propaganda on Muziris

KOCHI: The effort made by some interested quarters to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the T

KOCHI: The effort made by some interested quarters to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey of India R Nagaswamy.


"When looking at the literature on the life of St Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungalloor, " the former visiting professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Express.


In fact, the ancient Muzirs port must have been located in Kodungalloor and not in Pattanam because all major ports in ancient times were situated at river mouths. And so it is safe to assume that Muziris was at Kodungalloor, where the river joins the sea.


He felt there was a hidden agenda by certain sections to propagate the idea thatw Muziris was connected to Pattanam, where St Thomas is believed to have landed, and not with Kodungalloor. Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history, he said.


"There is no substantial evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western costs of the country," said Nagaswamy, who was here to participate in a seminar in connection with Muziris Heritage Protection.


Stating that it was too early to conclude that Pattanam is Muziris, he said that there was need for more excavations and concrete evidence.


The materials dug out from Pattanam have to be examined properly and scholars should have easy access to all the materials excavated, which are not now accessible.


Moreover, he asked what was the strongest evidence obtained till now to establish that Pattanam was Muziris. "If more acceptable evidence comes to light, the scholars would be happy to welcome what has been propagated now. But as far as excavation in Pattanam is concerned, we are not happy," he said.


The institutes of marine archaeology and oceanography have been kept aside in the course of Pattanam excavations. There is a need for more excavations in Kodungallur and let the findings of both Kodungallur and Pattanam be compared, he said.




Meanwhile, Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council spokesperson Stephen Alathara said the visit of St Thomas to Kerala is the belief and tradition of the Church. One cannot negate the belief for want of proof. May be in those days, proper documentation was not made, he said. As history is a relative science, no definite conclusion can be reached, father Alatahra said. Some historians have concluded that St Thomas had come to Kerala and some others have denied it, he said.



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 September 11, 2011

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Home > 2011 Issues > September 11, 2011 

Kerala Newsletter 
A ploy to rewrite Kerala History 
Left-Church conspiracy to link Muziris with St.Thomas

By S Chandrasekhar

St.Thomas never came to India—Dr R Nagaswamy 

IN a bid to erase the Hindu heritage of Kerala, the erstwhile CPM regime, with the help of some left historians, tried to re-write Kerala history. The excavation at the Muziris site in Kodungallur in the Thrissur-Kochi district of Kerala is at the centre of the new controversy. 

Muziripatanam or Patanam in Kodungallur was a flourishing port, which finds mention in the Sangam Age literature of Manimekalai and Silapadigaram. It was the seat of Chera Kings and linked to the Thiruvanchikulam Shiva Temple. 

The left conspiracy, spear-headed by KN Panikker and PJ Cherian of Kerala Council of Historic Research, was to show-case, Muziris, as a centre of composite culture consisting of Jews, Dutch, Portughese, Muslims and Babylonians, Hindus only represented by Vanvasis. Although a huge quantity of excavations, richly show-casing the Hindu life were found, the left is conspiring to shift the project from Kodungallur to Paravaur. Also Rs 220 crore are being spent on the heritage project at Paravur by state and Centre, projecting it falsely as Patanam, whereas Kodungallur is the real Patanam/Muziris. 

The Muziris Heritage Preservation Forum organised a meet in Kochi, recently on this issue, to educate the nation of the dangerous consequences. 

Speaking at the Seminar ‘Muziris heritage and Pattanam excavations—a critical review’, Dr R Nagaswamy, former Director of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu and Ex Vice-Chancellor of Kanchipuram University, said it is very safe to assume that Muziri Pattanam or Muziris was is Kodungallur, since the river joins the sea there. Also many scholars have written that a part of Kodungallur was Muziris. 

“Kodungallur should be deeply excavated. Excavations at Paravur and Kodungallur should be compared before arriving at conclusions” 

Dr Nagaswamy criticised the efforts made by the church-left gang up to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St. Thomas. “While looking at the literature on the life of St. Thomas, it is nowhere mentioned that he visited India. It is only a myth propounded by vested interests, who now want to link Muziris with St. Thomas”. “The Muziris must have been located at Kodungallur and not Paravur, since in ancient times, major ports were situated at river mouths. Kodungallur is a place where river opens into sea, unlike Paravur.” 

“The church-left lobby wants to shift the Muziris from Kodungallur to Pattanam Paravur, since there is a myth that St. Thomas landed at Pattanam”. 

“Myths create confusion and distort history. There is no proof of St. Thomas having come to India. There is no proof that Pattanam Paravur is connected to Muziris. The Archaeological materials found at Pattanam cannot be linked to Muziris, since the same materials were found in eastern and western coasts of India,” he concluded. 

Former Archaeology Director of Kerala, Shri T Sathyamoorthy presided. A book Gameplan of Muziris Conspiracy was also released on the occasion. 

With this seminar, the left-church conspiracy to shift Muziris from Kodungallur to Paravur, with the evil intention of legitimising the myth of St Thomas’s visit to Paravur, has been barely exposed!



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மூவேந்தர்களின் தலைநகரங்களாக இருந்த பகுதிகளில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் நடத்த வேண்டும்

ஈரோடு, ஜூலை 21:  மூவேந்தர்களின் தலைநகரங்களாக இருந்த பகுதிகளில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் நடத்த வேண்டும் என்று தமிழக தொல்லியல் துறை முன்னாள் இயக்குநர் நடனகாசிநாதன் கூறினார்.  இந்திய புராதன அறிவியல், தொல்பொருள்

ஈரோடு, ஜூலை 21:  மூவேந்தர்களின் தலைநகரங்களாக இருந்த பகுதிகளில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் நடத்த வேண்டும் என்று தமிழக தொல்லியல் துறை முன்னாள் இயக்குநர் நடனகாசிநாதன் கூறினார்.

 இந்திய புராதன அறிவியல், தொல்பொருள் அமைப்பு மற்றும் கொங்கு கலை, அறிவியல் கல்லூரியின் கணிதத்துறை சார்பில் ஈரோடு நஞ்சனாபுரம் கொங்கு கலை, அறிவியல் கல்லூரியில், தேசிய அளவிலான புராதன அறிவியல் மற்றும் தொல்பொருள் கருத்தரங்கம் மற்றும் கண்காட்சி புதன்கிழமை துவங்கியது.

 கொங்கு வேளாளர் தொழில்நுட்பக் கல்வி அறக்கட்டளைப் பொருளாளர் எம்.என்.ராமசாமி குத்து விளக்கேற்றி வைத்தார். உதவிப் பேராசிரியர் டி.சாந்தி வரவேற்றார். புராதன அறிவியல் மற்றும் தொல்பொருள் அமைப்புச் செயலர் எம்.டி.சம்பத் முன்னிலை வகித்தார்.

 தொல்லியல் துறையில் ஆற்றிய பணிகளுக்காக முனைவர் ஜி.எஸ்.விஜயலட்சுமி, டாக்டர் சாமுவேல் சாலமன், புலவர் செ.இராசு ஆகியோரை, கொங்கு வேளாளர் தொழில்நுட்பக் கல்வி அறக்கட்டளைத் தலைவர் கே.பழனிசாமி, கல்லூரித் தாளாளர் ஈ.ஆர்.கார்த்திகேயன், கொங்கு பொறியியல் கல்லூரி டீன் பி.தங்கராஜ் ஆகியோர் கெüரவித்தனர். இதில் பங்கேற்ற தமிழக தொல்லியல் துறை முன்னாள் இயக்குநர் நடனகாசிநாதன் பேசியது:

 தொன்மையான சான்றுகள் மூலமும், இலக்கியங்களில் இருந்தும் நமது கலாசாரம், பண்பாடு, ஆடை, அணிகலன்கள், வாழ்க்கை முறை, தொழில், பாலம், மதகுகள் உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு விஷயங்களைத் தெரிந்து கொண்டிருக்கிறோம். மேலும் ஆகம நூல்கள், சாஸ்திர நூல்களில் இருந்தும் பல தகவல்கள் கிடைத்துள்ளன. எனினும் கூடுதல் தகவல்களைத் தெரிந்து கொள்ள தமிழகத்தில் மேலும் பல்வேறு இடங்களில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் மேற்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.

 குறிப்பாக மூவேந்தர்களின் தலைநகரங்களாகத் திகழ்ந்த உறையூர், காவிரிப்பூம்பட்டிணம், மதுரை, கொற்கை, முசிறி, பட்டணம் மற்றும் ஈரோடு கொடுமணல், நெல்லை ஆதிச்சநல்லூர், கரூர் உள்ளிட்ட இடங்களில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் மேற்கொள்ள வேண்டும். ஹரப்பா நாகரிகத்திற்கும், திராவிட நாகரிகத்திற்கும் உள்ள தொடர்புகளை இது போன்ற அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் மூலம் தெரிந்து கொள்ளலாம். இதேபோல் கடையெழு வள்ளல்கள் வாழ்ந்த பகுதிகளிலும் ஆராய்ச்சிகள் மேற்கொள்ளலாம்.

 கல்வெட்டுகள் மூலம் கிமு 500-ம் ஆண்டு வரையிலான தகவல்களைத் தெரிந்து கொள்ளலாம். அதே சமயத்தில் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகள் மூலம் 10 ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முந்தைய தகவல்களைக் கூட தெரிந்து கொள்ள வாய்ப்புண்டு.

  தற்போது கடல் அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகளை மேற்கொள்ள அரசு முயற்சித்து வருகிறது. உலகத் தமிழ்ச் செம்மொழி ஆராய்ச்சி மையம் மூலமும் நில அகழ்வாராய்ச்சிகளை மேற்கொள்ளலாம்.

வரலாற்றுத்துறை மாணவர்கள் மட்டுமல்லாது, அனைத்துத்துறை மாணவர்களும் பண்டைய வரலாற்றைத் தெரிந்து கொள்ள வேண்டும். அவை நவீனமயமாக்கலுக்கு உதவியாக இருக்கும் என்றார்.

  இந்திய புராதன அறிவியல், தொல்பொருள் அமைப்பு தலைவர் டி.சத்யமூர்த்தி பேசியது:

 அறிவியல் மற்றும் தொல்பொருள் துறையில் முன்னேற்றத்தை ஏற்படுத்தி, அறிவை மேம்படுத்திக் கொள்ளுதல் இன்றைய அவசரத் தேவையாகும். தொல்லியல், கல்வெட்டியல், வரலாறு, பண்பாடு, கலை, சிற்பம்,  கட்டடக்கலை, நாணயவியல், பழங்கணிதம், இயற்பியல், உயிரியல், உலோகவியல், பழங்கால வாணிபம், பொருளாதாரம், பழைய கணக்கீட்டு முறைகள், இந்திய மொழிகளில் காணப்படும் அறிவியல் கருத்துகள், இலக்கியம், அறிவியல் தத்துவங்கள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆய்வுகளையும், புதிய கண்டுபிடிப்புகளையும் முன்னிலைப்படுத்த தேசிய அளவிலான கருத்தரங்குகள் நடத்தப்படுகின்றன. வேதங்களும், புனித நூல்களும் பல்வேறுபட்ட அறிவியல் அமைப்புகளின் கருவூலங்களாகத் திகழ்கின்றன. புராணங்கள், இதிகாசங்கள், ஸ்மிருதிகள், சூத்திரங்கள், ஸம்கிதைகள், தர்ம சாஸ்திரங்கள் போன்றவற்றில் புதைந்துள்ள அறிவியல் தொழில்நுடப் செய்திகளையும், பாரம்பரியத்தையும் கொணர்வதற்கான காலம் தற்போது கனிந்து வருகிறது. அறிவியலுக்கும், வேதங்களுக்கும் இடையேயுள்ள தொடர்புகளை நிறுவுவதே இக்கருத்தரங்கின் நோக்கமாகும் என்றார்.

 கணிதத் துறைத் தலைவர் எஸ்.கார்த்திகேயன் நன்றி கூறினார். இக்கருத்தரங்கு வியாழக்கிழமையும் நடைபெறுகிறது.



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பட்டணம்  முசிறித்துறைமுகம்

                                                                            து.சுந்தரம், கோவை.



      2013-ஆம் ஆண்டு மே மாதம் முதல் நாள், கோவை பூ.சா.கோ. கலை அறிவியல் கல்லூரி கல்வெட்டியல் பட்டயப்படிப்பு மாணவர்கள் பேராசிரியர் இரவி அவர்களுடன் தொல்லியல் பயணமாக, கேரளத்தின் பட்டணம் அகழாய்வுக்களம் நோக்கிப்புறப்பட்டோம். ஏறத்தாழ, நாலரை மணி நேரப்பயணத்திற்குப்பின் எர்ணாகுளத்தைக்கடந்து, பரவூர் என்னும் ஊருக்கருகில் உள்ள பட்டணம் சென்றடைந்தோம்.


      தற்போது அங்கே அகழாய்வு மேற்கொண்டிருப்பவர் முனைவர்  பி.ஜே.செரியன் அவர்கள். இதற்கு முன்னரே 2007-ஆம் ஆண்டிலும், 2008-ஆம் ஆண்டிலும் அகழாய்வுகள் நடந்துள்ளன. 2007-ஆம் ஆண்டு நடத்தப்பட்ட அகழாய்வு குறித்து அதில் கலந்துகொண்ட (?) வீ.செல்வகுமார், ஆவணம்,2008 இதழில் ஒரு கட்டுரை அளித்துள்ளார். அதில் காணப்படும் செய்திகளின் முக்கியக்கூறுகள் வருமாறு:


  • சங்க இலக்கியம், மற்றும் கிரேக்க,ரோமானிய இலக்கிய்ங்களில் குறிப்பிடப்படும் முசிறி என்னும் சங்ககாலத்துறைமுகம் இந்தப்பட்டணம் ஊரே.
  • அகழாய்வில்  ஐந்து காலகட்டப் பண்பாட்டு நிலைகள் காணப்பட்டன.

                    கி.மு. 500  கி.மு. 2  நூ.ஆ. : முதல் கட்டம் (இரும்புக்காலம்)

கி.மு. 2  -  கி.பி.  4  நூ.ஆ. : 2-ஆம் கட்டம் (வரலாற்று. கா)

கி.பி.  5  -  கி.பி 10   நூ.ஆ. : 3-ஆம் கட்டம் (இடைக்காலம்)

கி.பி. 10  -  கி.பி. 15   நூ.ஆ. : 4 ( தடயங்கள் இல்லை )

கி.பி.  15 -  கி.பி. 19  நூ.ஆ. : 5-ஆம் கட்டம் (நவீன காலம்)

  • படகுத்துறையும், படகு கட்டப்பயன்படும் மரத்தூண்களும் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.
  • ஒற்றை மரத்தில் குடைந்து உருவாக்கப்பட்ட படகின் அடிப்பகுதி கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
  • ஆம்போரா வகை மதுச்சாடி, சங்ககாலச்சேரர் காசுகள், உறைகிணறு மற்றும், கல்மணிகள், இரும்புப்பொருள்கள், இன்ன பிற.
  • அரிக்கமேடு, அழகன் குளம் ஆகியவற்றை ஒத்த ஒரு சங்ககாலத்துறைமுகம் பட்டணம் பகுதியில் இருந்தது.

      இனி, மீண்டும் பட்டணம் அகழாய்வுக்களம். பட்டணம் சிற்றூரில் ஒரு சிறிய தெருவின் முனையிலேயே, அகழாய்வு நடக்கும் மனையிடம் (Site) போகும் வழி குறித்த பலகை வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது. உள்ளே நுழைந்து சற்றுத் தொலைவு சென்றதும் அலுவலகக் கட்டிடமும், அதைக்கடந்து ஒரு தோப்புபகுதியில் ஆய்வுப்பகுதி புலப்பட்டது. தென்னை,கமுகு,சாதிக்காய் மரங்கள் நிறைந்த தோப்பு. கமுக மரத்தில் மிளகுக்கொடிகள் படர்ந்த அழ்கான சூழ் நிலையில் நடுவே அகழாய்வுக்குழி. ஏறத்தாழ 20  25 அடி நீளமும், 12 அடி அகலமும், 6 அடி ஆழமும் கொண்ட ஆய்வுக்குழியை முற்றிலும் மூடியிருக்குமாறு வெள்ளைத்துணியால் கட்டப்பட்ட கூடாரம். அதை மையப்படுத்தி மேலும் சில துணிக்கூடாரங்கள். அவற்றின் கீழ், மேசைகளும்  நாற்காலிகளும். மேசைகளின் மேல், ஆய்வுக்குழியில் கிடைத்த பானை ஓடுகள் போன்ற பொருள்கள். அவை வகைப்படுத்திய பொருள்கள். வகைப்படுத்தாத பொருள்கள் தனியே ஓரிடத்தில் குவிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தன. ஓரிரு மேசையில் ஆய்வு உதவியாளர்கள் பொருள்களை வகைப்படுத்தும் பணியில் ஈடுபட்டிருந்தனர். மற்றுமொரு மேசையில் வகைப்படுத்தி, அடையாளம் கண்டு, முறையான ஆய்வுப்பெயர் எழுதி பாலிதீன் உறைகளில் இட்டு பிளாஸ்டிக் பெட்டிகளில் வைக்கப்பட்ட பொருள்கள். ஆய்வுக்குழிக்குப்பக்கவாட்டிலேயே குழியிலிருந்து வெளியிலெடுத்த மண்ணைக்கொட்டியதால் ஏற்பட்ட மேடு. மேட்டின் சரிவில் நாற்காலியிட்டு அமர்ந்தவாறு அகழ்ந்த மண்ணைச்சலித்துக்கொண்டிருந்த பணியாளர்கள்.


       அகழாய்வுக்குழி, தற்போது 2 மீட்டர் ஆழம் தோண்டப்பட்டுள்ளது. இன்னும் 2 மீட்டர் ஆழம் தோண்டப்படும் என்பது செரியன் அவர்கள் சொன்ன தகவல். அகழாய்வுக்குழியில் செங்கற்களின் அடுக்கு ஒன்று காணப்பட்டது.


     பி.ஜே. செரியன், மற்றும் அவருடன் இணைந்து பணியாற்றும் முனைவர் பிரீத்தா நாயர் ஆகிய இருவரையும் எங்கள் குழு சந்தித்து அறிமுகம் செய்து கொண்டபிறகு அகழாய்வின் விவரங்கள் குறித்துக்கேட்டோம். செரியன் அவர்கள் ஆய்வின் பின்னணி, நோக்கம், முன்னர் நடந்த ஆய்வுகள், ஆய்வு வெளிப்படுத்திய செய்திகள் எனப்பல்வேறு விளக்கங்கள் அளித்தார். கி.பி. 8-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டுவரை மலையாளம், தெலுங்கு, கன்னடம் ஆகிய மொழிகள் உருவாகாத காலகட்டத்தில் ஒரே தமிழினமாய் இருந்தோம் என்பதைச்சுட்டிக்காட்டினார். முசிறி என்னும் துறைமுகம் தமிழகத்தின் முற்காலச்சேரர் காலத்தில் சிறப்பான வணிகச்செயல்பாடுகளோடு இயங்கிய ஒரு நகரமாக இருந்தமை, உரோமானியர் தமிழகத்தோடு கொண்ட வணிகத்தொடர்பு ஆகியவை பற்றிச்சொன்னார். 


பட்டணம் என்னும் இந்தப்பகுதிதான் பண்டைய முசிறி என்பது உறுதிப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளதையும், முசிறி பற்றி பிளினி தம் பயணக்குறிப்பில் Muziris”  எனக்குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளதையும் சுட்டினார்.

         மாணவர்கள் தங்கள் ஐயங்கள் பற்றிய பல கேள்விகளை எழுப்பி விளக்கங்கள் பெற்றனர். பின்னர், செரியன் அவர்களுக்குச்சிறப்பு செய்யும் முகத்தான், அவருக்கு எங்கள் குழு சார்பாக நினைவுப்பரிசு ஒன்றை அளித்து, அவ்ருடன் இணைந்து நாங்கள் குழுவாக ஒளிப்படம் எடுத்துக்கொண்டோம்.


        பின்னர், பிரீத்தா நாயர், அகழாய்வில் கிடைத்த பொருள்களை ஒவ்வொன்றாக எடுத்துக்காட்டினார். கண்ணாடி மணிகள், மட்கலக்கிண்ணம், இரும்புக்கத்தி, பலவண்ணக்கல்மணிகள், பானை மண் கொண்டு செய்த மூடி ஆகிய பல்வேறு பொருள்களைப்பார்த்தோம். அடுத்து, அலுவலகக்கட்டிடத்தில் சுவரில் பொருத்தப்பட்ட பல்வேறு படங்களைப்பார்த்து ஒளிப்படம் எடுத்துக்கொண்டோம். அவை, முன்னர் நடந்த அகழாய்வுகளின்போது கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்ட பொருள்களின் விளக்கத்துடன் கூடிய படங்களாகும்.  இப்படங்களில் சிலவற்றில் மலையாள மொழியில் விளக்கங்களும், சிலவற்றில் ஆங்கில மொழியில் விளக்கங்களும் இருந்தன. இப்படங்களில் இருந்த குறிப்புகளின் அடிப்படையில் கிடைத்த பல்வேறு செய்திகளை இங்கு தொகுத்துத்தந்துள்ளேன்.


அகழாய்வு அலுவலகத்தில் இருக்கும் விளக்கக்குறிப்புகள்


கேரளத்தின் எர்ணாகுளம் மாவட்டம் வடக்குப்பரூர் அருகில், பெரியாற்றின் டெல்டாப்பகுதியில் அமைந்துள்ள ஊர் பட்டணம். நிலத்தொல்லியல் அறிஞர் (Geo Archaeologist)  கே.பி. ஷாஜன்  (K.P. Shajan) என்பவரால் இப்பகுதி அடையாளம் காணப்பட்டு, தொல்லியல் அற்ஞர்களின் கவனத்தை ஈர்த்தது. 1990-ஆம் ஆண்டின் பிற்பகுதியிலிருந்து,  தொல்லியல் ஆய்வாளர்களும்,வரலாற்று அறிஞர்களும் இப்பகுதியை ஆய்வு செய்யத்தொடங்கினர். பாரம்பரியக்கல்வி மையம் (Centre for Heritage Studies)  என்ற அமைப்பினர் 2004-இல் சோதனை அகழாய்வினை நடத்தி, மேற்பரப்பு ஆய்வில் கிடைத்த பொருள்களைக்கொண்டு “ முசிறி “ பற்றிய கருத்துத்தெளிவை வெளிப்படுத்தினர். கேரள வரலாற்று ஆய்வுக்கழகம் (Kerala Council of Historical Research)  அமைப்பினர் 2007-இல் பன்னாட்டு அமைப்பினரோடு இணைந்து அகழாய்வினைத்தொடங்கினர். முதன்முதலாகப் பன்னாட்டு அமைப்பினர் இணைந்து நடத்தும் அகழாய்வு இதுவேயாகும்.


   மலபார் கடற்கரைப்பிரதேசத்தில் இந்தோ-ரோமன் வணிகம் நடை

பெற்ற காலம் கி.மு. 100  கி.பி. 400 ஆகும்.  கேரளத்தோடு ரோமானியர், வட ஆப்பிரிக்காவினர், மேற்கு ஆசியாவினர் ஆகியோர் கொண்ட தொடர்பினை வெளிப்படுத்திய முதல் வாழ்விடப்பகுதி பட்டணமாகும். கேரளத்தின் முதல் பெருங்கற்கால வாழ்விடம் பட்டணம் என்று கருதப்படுகிறது. முதன் முதலாக முற்காலச்சேரரின் நாணயம் கிடைத்துள்ளது பட்டணத்தின் இன்னொரு சிறப்பாகும். பட்டணம் பண்டைய துறைமுக நகரம் என்பதற்குச்சான்றாக இங்கு கிடைத்துள்ள படகுத்துறை மற்றும் படகுகளின் பகுதிகள் திகழ்கின்றன.




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     2011-ஆம் ஆண்டு நடத்தப்பட்ட அகழாய்வின் நோக்கங்களாகக் கீழ் கண்டவை குறிப்பிடப்படுகின்றன:


பட்டணத்தின் வடகிழக்குப்பகுதி நீங்கலாகவுள்ள மற்ற பகுதிகள் ஆய்வு செய்யப்படுதல். பட்டணத்தைச்சுற்றியுள்ள 50 கி.மீ. பரப்பில் மேற்பரப்பு ஆய்வு செய்தல். வரலாற்றுக்கு முற்பட்ட காலத்து வாழ்விடங்கள்,புதைவிடங்கள், மற்றும் தொல்லியல் தொடர்பான எச்சங்கள் ஆகியனவற்றை அடையாளம் காணல். இதற்கு முன்னர் நான்கு கட்டங்களில் சிறு பகுதியாக வெளிக்கொணர்ந்த படகுத்துறை செங்கற்கட்டுமானங்களை மீண்டும் கொணர்ந்து கடல் வாணிகத்தின் கூறுகளை அறிதல். துறைமுகம் மற்றும் அதனைச்சார்ந்திருந்த நகரத்தின் வாழ்க்கை நிலை, ஐரோப்பியர், மேற்காசியாவினர் ஆகியோர் வருகை, அவர்களோடு இங்கிருந்தவர் கொண்ட இருவழித்தொடர்புகள் ஆகியனவற்றை அறிதல். பண்டைய முசிறிக்கும் இப்போதைய பட்டணத்திற்கும் இடையே உள்ள தொடர்பினைக்காணல். இப்பகுதியைப்பாரம்பரியச்சின்னமாக ஆக்குதல். அகழாய்வுக்களத்தின் அருகிலேயே ஒரு அருங்காட்சியகம் அமைத்தல்.


      மேலே குறிப்பிட்ட நோக்கத்தில், 2011-இல் முசிறி பாரம்பரியத் திட்டம் (Muziris Heritage Project) என்னும் திட்டத்தின் கீழ் கேரள வரலாற்று ஆய்வுக்கழகம் வரலாற்று ஆய்வினைத்தொடங்கியது. ஆக்ஸ்போர்டு பல்கலைக்கழகம், ரோம் பல்கலைக்கழகம், பர்ஹாம் பல்கலைக்கழகம், பிரிட்டிஷ் அருங்காட்சியகம் போன்ற அயல் நாட்டு அமைப்புகளும் மற்றும் இந்தியத்தொல்லியல் ஆய்வுக்கழகமும் (Archaeological Society of India) இவ்வாய்வில் பங்குபெற்றன.

முசிறி பற்றிய சில குறிப்புகள்


பெரிபுளுஸ் (The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea)  குறிப்பில்:   முசிறி ஒரு செல்வச்செழிப்புள்ள நகரம். அரியாகே (ariake), எகிப்து (Egypt) ஆகிய இடங்களிலிருந்து கப்பல்கள் இங்கு (முசிறிக்கு) வந்துபோயின. எகிப்திலிருந்து வந்தவை கிரேக்கக்கப்பல்களாகும். உயர்வகை முத்துகள், மணிக்கற்கள், மிளகு ஆகியன ஏற்றுமதி ஆயின. பவழம்  (Coral), காரீயம் (Lead), வெள்ளீயம் (Tin) மற்றும் Stibium  ஆகியவை இறக்குமதி ஆயின.


பிளினி (Pliny)  (Pliny’s Natural History) நூலில் உள்ள குறிப்பில்: 

இந்தியத்துணைக்கண்டத்தை நோக்கி நிகழ்ந்த கடல் பயணங்கள் எகிப்திலிருந்தும், ஓசலிஸ் (Ocelis) என்னும் இடத்திலிருந்தும் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டன.  எகிப்திலிருந்து இந்தியாவின் இப்பகுதிக்கு (முசிறிக்கு)க் கடல் பயணம் மேற்கொள்ளத்தகுந்த பருவ காலம் ஜூலை மாதமாகும். ஓசலிஸிலிருந்து பயணப்படுவோர்க்கு ஒரு வசதி உண்டு. இங்கிருந்து புறப்படுகின்றவர்கள் ஹிப்பலாஸ் (Hippalos) என்னும் பருவக்காற்றின் துணை கொண்டு நாற்பது நாட்களில் இந்தியாவின் முதல் வணிக நகரமான முசிரிஸ் அடையமுடியும். ஆனால், இப்பயணத்தில் ஓர் ஆபத்தும் உள்ளது. வழியில்  நித்ரியாஸ் (Nitriyas) என்னும் இடத்தில் தங்கியிருக்கும் கடற்கொள்ளையர்கள் தாக்குவார்கள். முசிரிஸில் பெரிய அளவில் வாணிகம் நடைபெறவில்லை. வணிகப்பரிமாற்றங்கள் நடைபெறும் நகரங்கள் நிலப்பகுதியில் வெகு தொலைவில் உள்ளன. வணிகப்பொருள்களை ஏற்றி உள்நாடு செல்லவும், உள்நாட்டிலிருந்து பொருள்களைக்கொணர்ந்து இறக்கவும் படகுகளையே பயன்படுத்த வேண்டியுள்ளது.  ஒரே மரத்தைக்குடைந்து செய்யப்பட்ட இப்படகுகள் (dug out canoe)  “ கட்டனர “ (cottonara) எனப்பட்டன. இங்குள்ள அரசன் கலபத்ராஸ்  (Caelobothros) என அழைக்கபடுகிறான். பகாரே  (Bacare)  என்னும் இடத்துக்கு மிளகுப்பொதிகள் படகுகள் மூலம் கொண்டுவரப்படுகின்றன. இந்தத்துறைமுகத்தின் பெயரோ, இங்கு குறிப்பிட்ட நகரங்களின் பெயரோ, இதற்கு முன்னர் எழுதிய நூல்களில் காணப்படவில்லை. இதிலிருந்து, இப்பகுதியில் மாற்றங்கள் நிகழ்ந்துள்ளன என்பது தெளிவாகிறது.


     பியூட்டிஞ்சர் வரைபடக்குறிப்பில் (Peutinger Table - Tabula Peutingeriana):  பியூட்டிஞ்சர் வரைபடம் என்னும் பெயரமைந்த இந்த வரைபடம் தற்போது வியன்னாவின் தேசிய நூலகத்தில் வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. 16-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டைச்சேர்ந்த கான்ராடு பியூட்டிஞ்சர் (Konrad Peutinger) என்பவர் இதை வைத்திருந்ததால் இப்பெயர் ஏற்பட்டது.

இதனுடைய மூலம் 4-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டில் இருந்தது. கடல்பயணத்தில் இவ்வரைபடம் பயன்பட்டதால், இந்தியாவை நோக்கிப்பயணம் செய்தவர்களின் காலம் கி.பி. 2 வரை முன்னால் கொண்டு செல்ல வாய்ப்புள்ளது. இந்த வரைபடத்தில், “ முசிரிஸ் “ என்னும் பெயர் காணப்படுகிறது. இப்பெயர் தவிர, “லேகஸ் முசிரிஸ்“ (Lakus Muziris) என்னும் பெயருடைய ஏரியும், “அகஸ்டை“ (templ Augusti) என்னும் கோவிலும் வரைபடத்தில் குறிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.


           முசிறிப்பேப்பர் (Muziris Papyrus)  என்றொரு ஆவணம் கிடைத்துள்ளது. இந்த ஆவணம் தற்போது ஆஸ்திரிய நாட்டு வியன்னாவில் தேசிய  நூலகத்தில் வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதன் காலம் கி.பி. 2-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டு ஆகும். இது ஒரு வணிக ஒப்பந்தமாகும். முசிறியில் மேற்கொள்வதற்கான வணிகத்துக்குத்தேவைப்படும் நிதியைக்கடன் பெறுகிறார் ஒரு வணிகர். அவரும் கடன் வழங்கும் ஒருவரும் இடையே செய்துகொண்ட ஒப்பந்தமே இந்த ஆவணம்.


           தாலமியின் ஜியாகரபி”  (Geography)  நூலில் (கி.பி. 2-ஆம்  நூற்றாண்டு) சேர அரசரின் பெயர் கேரபத்ராஸ்”  (kerobotros)  எனக்குறிப்பிடப்பெறுகிறது. சேர நாட்டுத் தலை நகர் “கரூரா”  (karoura)  எனக்குறிப்பிடப்பெறுகிறது. (கட்டுரை ஆசிரியரின் குறிப்பு : தாலமியின் குறிப்பில் உள்ள கேரபத்ராஸ் என்பதும், பிளினியின் குறிப்பில் வரும் கலபத்ராஸ் என்பதும் சேர புத்ர”  என்பதன் திரிந்த வடிவமே எனக்கருதலாம்.)


     சங்க இலக்கியமான  அகநானூற்றில் (பாடல்-149) முசிறி பற்றிய குறிப்பு காணப்படுகிறது.



           “...................................................................... சேரலர்

            சுள்ளிஅம் பேரியாற்று வெண்நுரை கலங்க

            யவனர்  தந்த   வினைமாண்    நன்கலம்

            பொன்னொடு  வந்து  கறியொடு  பெயரும்

            வளங்கெழு முசிறி...............................................



என வரும் பாடல் வரிகள், முசிறித்துறைமுகத்துக்கு யவனர் மரக்கலங்கள் வந்ததையும், அங்கு பொன்னை இறக்குமதி செய்து மிளகை வாங்கிச்சென்றதையும் எடுத்துக்கூறும். பேரியாற்று நீர் கலங்கும்படி கப்பல்கள் வந்த இடம் முசிறி என்னும் செய்தி, தற்போது பெரியாற்றின் டெல்டாப்பகுதியில் அமைந்துள்ள பட்டணம் பண்டைய முசிறியாக இருக்கலாம் என்பதைச்சொல்லும் இலக்கியச்சான்றாகும்.


அகழாய்வுகளின்போது கிடைத்த பொருள்கள்  விளக்கம்


(அகழாய்வு அலுவலகத்தில் இருக்கும் காட்சிப்படங்களில் காணப்படும் மலையாளம் மற்றும் ஆங்கிலக்குறிப்புகளின் அடிப்படையில்)


ஆண்டு 2007 


1.        பானை ஓடுகளில் குறியீடுகளும், தமிழி பிராமி எழுத்துகளும்.

2.        முற்காலச்சேர அரசர் செப்பு நாணயம். நாணயத்தின் ஒரு புறம் யானை உருவமும், மறுபுறம் அம்பு,வில், யானையைக்கட்டுப்படுத்தும் அங்குசம், (அங்குசம், தோட்டி என மலையாளத்தில் குறிப்பிடப்படுகிறது) அம்பும் வில்லும் சேர நாட்டின் சின்னங்களாகும்.

3.        மணிகள் (Beads).  (மலையாளத்தில் முத்துகள் என்று குறிப்பிடப்படுகிறது.) பழங்காலச்சமூகத்தில் மணிகளுக்கு மிக முக்கியத்துவம் கொடுக்கப்பட்டது. ஆபரணங்களாகப்பயன்படுத்தினார்கள். பண்டமாற்றத்துக்காகவும் (exchange) மணிகள் பயன்பட்டன. (பண்டமாற்றம் என்னும் சொல்லுக்கு மலையாளத்தில் “கைமாற்றம்”  என்னும் சொல் வழங்குகிறது.) இவைகளின் தரம், நிறம் ஆகியவை கொண்டு காலத்தைக்கணிக்க இயலும். கல் மணிகள் போலவே, கண்ணாடியில் செய்யப்பட்ட மணிகளும் கிடைத்துள்ளன.

4.        இரும்புப்பொருள்கள் (Iron objects).  இரும்பினால் செய்யப்பட்ட  ஆணிகள், கொளுத்துகள்(?), உளிகள்,ஆயுதங்கள், இரும்பு அயிருகள்(?) ஆகியன. (கொளுத்துகள்,அயிருகள் ஆகிய மலையாளச்சொற்கள் எவற்றைக்குறிக்கின்றன எனத்தெரியவில்லை). பட்டணம் பகுதியில், மக்கள் வாழ்க்கை (ஜனவாசம்) தொடங்கியது இரும்புக்காலத்தில்தான் என்க்கருதப்படுகிறது. Radio carbon dating போன்ற ஆய்வுகளுக்குப்பின்பே காலத்தைத்தெரிந்துகொள்ள இயலும்.

5.        Terra Sigillata (Arretine) Deluxe Tableware of Meditteranean origin, Arretine/Samian ware.  கிறித்துவ சகாப்தத்தின் தொடக்ககால நூற்றாண்டுகளில் அழகிய வேலைப்பாடமைந்த பாண்டங்கள் (மேசையில் பயன்படுத்தும் கலன்கள்) பயன்படுத்தப்பட்டன. இவ்வகைக்கலன்கள் தமிழகத்தின் அரிக்கமேடு, அழகன்குளம் ஆகிய பகுதிகளில் மட்டுமே கிடைத்துள்ளன. தற்போது, பட்டணத்திலும் இவ்வகை மட்கலம் ஒன்றின் விளிம்புத்துண்டு கிடைத்துள்ளது. கிண்ணத்தின் ஒரு பகுதியாக இருக்கலாம். ஆங்கில ஆராய்ச்சி அறிஞர் வீலர்(Wheeler) இந்த மட்கலனை, அரிக்கமேடு காலத்தை நிறுவப்பயன்படுத்தினார்.  காலம் கி.மு. 25  கி.பி. 25.              


 West Asian (Yemenite and Mesopottanean) pottery.

 7 ஆம்போரா ஜாடிகள் (Amphora). மத்திய தரைப்பகுதியைச்சேர்ந்த     களிமண் கொண்டு செய்யப்பட்டவை. நூற்றுக்கணக்கில் இதன் துண்டுகள் கிடைத்துள்ளன.!msg/mintamil/agrv1Pf2TnA/y76Jn5XhV9cJ


8         Rouletted ware. 



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இது தமிழர் வரலாறு என்பதைனும் கேரளவரலாறு என்றால் செரியன்/குரியன் இன்னும் ஆர்வமுடன் செயலாற்றுவார்.

17 ஆகஸ்ட், 2015 ’அன்று’ 11:05 பிற்பகல் அன்று, Seshadri Sridharan <> எழுதியது:
மலயாளம் தோன்றாத போது மலையாள சொற்களா என எண்ணினேன் பின்பு தான் அது மலையாள கட்டுரையின் தமிழாக்கம்  உணர்ந்து கொண்டேன். சிந்து முத்திரைகள் என்ற தலைப்பில் மின்தமிழில் நான் படித்த பட்டணம்  பொறிப்பு எழுத்துகள்!topic/mintamil/m3FqXBxQsr0
கேரளத்தின் பட்டணம் அகழாய்வின் போது கண்டு எடுக்கப்பட்டது. இதில் உள்ள எழுத்துகள் பிராமி என இந்து நாளேடு  செய்தி வெளியிட்டிருந்தது. ஆனால் ஒரு எழுத்தைக் கூட ஒரு அறிஞரும் இதுகாறும் படித்துக் காட்டியதில்லை. ஏன்?  தெரியாது. பின் எதற்கு தெரியாதவற்றை பிராமி எனல் வேண்டும்.  இதில் உள்ள எழுத்துகள் தொடக்ககால சிந்து எழுத்துகள். கீழே ஒரு மீன் அதன் மேல் ஒரு பறவை அல்லது விலங்கு தெரிகினறது.  சிந்து எழுத்தில்  ஒரு எழுத்தின் மேல் இன்னொரு எழுத்தை எழுதினால் கீழ் உள்ள எழுத்தையே முதலில் படிக்க வேண்டும். அதன்படி செதில் இல்லாத மீன் - ச் ஒலி, ஆங்கில Z  எழுத்து ஓல்  உள்ள பறவை - ஒ ஒலி, தூக்கிய  காலுடைய கரடி - ள் ஒலி, இன்னொரு கரடி -- ள  ஒலி, '/ -  ஒலி, மதில் மேல் பூனை - ன் ஒலி. இதில் உள்ள ஒலிகள் ச்ஒள்ளஅன் என்பது. இதை சொள்ளன் என செப்பமாகப் படிக்கலாம். இம்முத்திரையில் உள்ளவாறு எழுதப்பட்ட எழுத்துகள் பின்பு கோட்டு  எழுத்தாக எழுதப்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும். இவை தாம் நாம் முத்திரைகளில் பார்க்கும் சிந்து எழுத்துகள்.  இந்த சுடுமட்கலன் எக்காலத்தது என அறியப்படவில்லை.

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            சுள்ளிஅம் பேரியாற்று வெண்நுரை கலங்க

            யவனர்  தந்த   வினைமாண்    நன்கலம்

            பொன்னொடு  வந்து  கறியொடு  பெயரும்

            வளங்கெழு முசிறி...............................................



என வரும் பாடல் வரிகள், முசிறித்துறைமுகத்துக்கு யவனர் மரக்கலங்கள் வந்ததையும், அங்கு பொன்னை இறக்குமதி செய்து மிளகை வாங்கிச்சென்றதையும் எடுத்துக்கூறும். பேரியாற்று நீர் கலங்கும்படி கப்பல்கள் வந்த இடம் முசிறி என்னும் செய்தி, தற்போது பெரியாற்றின் டெல்டாப்பகுதியில் அமைந்துள்ள பட்டணம் பண்டைய முசிறியாக இருக்கலாம் என்பதைச்சொல்லும் இலக்கியச்சான்றாகும்.


அகழாய்வுகளின்போது கிடைத்த பொருள்கள்  விளக்கம்


(அகழாய்வு அலுவலகத்தில் இருக்கும் காட்சிப்படங்களில் காணப்படும் மலையாளம் மற்றும் ஆங்கிலக்குறிப்புகளின் அடிப்படையில்)


ஆண்டு 2007 


1.        பானை ஓடுகளில் குறியீடுகளும், தமிழி பிராமி எழுத்துகளும்.

2.        முற்காலச்சேர அரசர் செப்பு நாணயம். நாணயத்தின் ஒரு புறம் யானை உருவமும், மறுபுறம் அம்பு,வில், யானையைக்கட்டுப்படுத்தும் அங்குசம், (அங்குசம், தோட்டி என மலையாளத்தில் குறிப்பிடப்படுகிறது) அம்பும் வில்லும் சேர நாட்டின் சின்னங்களாகும்.

3.        மணிகள் (Beads).  (மலையாளத்தில் முத்துகள் என்று குறிப்பிடப்படுகிறது.) பழங்காலச்சமூகத்தில் மணிகளுக்கு மிக முக்கியத்துவம் கொடுக்கப்பட்டது. ஆபரணங்களாகப்பயன்படுத்தினார்கள். பண்டமாற்றத்துக்காகவும் (exchange) மணிகள் பயன்பட்டன. (பண்டமாற்றம் என்னும் சொல்லுக்கு மலையாளத்தில் “கைமாற்றம்”  என்னும் சொல் வழங்குகிறது.) இவைகளின் தரம், நிறம் ஆகியவை கொண்டு காலத்தைக்கணிக்க இயலும். கல் மணிகள் போலவே, கண்ணாடியில் செய்யப்பட்ட மணிகளும் கிடைத்துள்ளன.

4.        இரும்புப்பொருள்கள் (Iron objects).  இரும்பினால் செய்யப்பட்ட  ஆணிகள், கொளுத்துகள்(?), உளிகள்,ஆயுதங்கள், இரும்பு அயிருகள்(?) ஆகியன. (கொளுத்துகள்,அயிருகள் ஆகிய மலையாளச்சொற்கள் எவற்றைக்குறிக்கின்றன எனத்தெரியவில்லை). பட்டணம் பகுதியில், மக்கள் வாழ்க்கை (ஜனவாசம்) தொடங்கியது இரும்புக்காலத்தில்தான் என்க்கருதப்படுகிறது. Radi



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பட்டணம் அகழாய்வுகளும், சங்ககாலத் துறைமுகம் முசிறியும் 
{தஞ்சை தமிழ்ப்பல்கலைக்கழகத்தின் கல்வெட்டியல் மற்றும் தொல்லியல் துறையில் விரிவுரையாளராகப் பணியாற்றும் முனைவர் வீ. செல்வகுமார் தமிழகமெங்கிலும் விரிவான பல தொல்லியல் ஆய்வுகளை மேற்கொண்டுவரும் முன்னணி ஆய்வாளர். தமிழ்ப்பல்கலை வளாகத்திலேயே கற்காலக் கருவிகளைக் கண்டறிந்தவர். கேரளத்தின் கடற்கரையில் அமைந்துள்ள பட்டிணம்தான் பண்டைய சங்க காலத் துறைமுகமான முசிரி என்பதை நிறுவிய ஆய்வுக் குழுவில் இவரும் ஒருவர். நமது வேண்டுகோளை ஏற்று வரலாறு டாட் காம் நூறாவது இதழுக்காக தனது பட்டிணம் ஆய்வின் ஒட்டுமொத்தப் பிழிவையும் ஒரே கட்டுரையில் அளித்திருக்கும் திரு, செல்வகுமாருக்கு நமது நெஞ்சார்ந்த நன்றி. இவரது தொடர்பு முகவரி - முனைவர் வீ.செல்வகுமார், கல்வெட்டியல் மற்றும் தொல்லியல் துறை- தமிழ்ப் பல்கலைக்கழகம். தஞ்சாவூர் 613010.}

சங்ககாலச் சேரநாட்டுத் துறைமுகமான முசிறி இந்திய-ரோமானிய வணிகத்தில் சிறப்பான இடத்தைப் பெற்றுள்ள பழந்தமிழகத் துறைமுகங்களில் ஒன்றாகும். கேரளாவில், மேற்குக் கடற்கரையில் அமைந்திருந்த இந்தத் துறைமுகத்தைப் பற்றிய பல குறிப்புகள் சங்க இலக்கியப் பாடல்களிலும், கிரேக்க-ரோமானிய இலக்கியங்களிலும் காணப்படுகின்றன. இத் துறைமுகம் பெரியாறு கடலில் கலக்கும் இடத்தில் இருந்ததாகத் தமிழ் இலக்கியக் குறிப்புகள் கூறுகின்றன. ஆனால் பெரியாற்றுப் படுகையில் இத் துறைமுகம் குறிப்பாக எங்கிருந்தது என்று தெரியவில்லை. பொதுவாக முசிறி கொடுங்களூரில் இருந்ததாகக் கருதப்பட்டு வந்தது. ஆனால் அங்கு நடத்தப்பெற்ற அகழாய்வில் ரோமானிய வணிகத்திற்கான தொல்லியல் சான்றுகள் எதுவும் கண்டுபிடிக்கப் பெறவில்லை. இருபதாம் நூற்றாண்டின் இறுதிவரை இப்பகுதியில் ரோமானிய வணிகத்திற்கான, காசுகள் அல்லாத பிற தொல்லியல் சான்றுகள் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பெற்றிருக்கவில்லை. 

அண்மையில் கேரளாவில் எர்ணாகுளம் மாவட்டத்தில் அமைந்துள்ள பட்டணம் என்ற இடத்தில் நடத்தப்பெற்ற அகழாய்வுகளில் வெளிப்பட்டுள்ள சான்றுகளின் வழியாக பட்டணம் பழங்கால முசிறியாக இருக்கலாம் என்று கருதப்படுகின்றது. பட்டணம் அகழாய்வுகளில் கிடைத்த தொல்லியல் சான்றுகளின் சிறப்பை இக்கட்டுரை விளக்குகின்றது. 

கொடுங்களூர்-பரவூர் பகுதியின் வரலாற்றுச்சிறப்பு

கேரள மாநிலத்தின் மையப்பகுதியில் அமைந்துள்ள கொடுங்களூர்-பரவூர் பகுதி வரலாற்றுச் சிறப்பு மிக்கதாகும். சங்க கால முசிறி இப்பகுதியில் இருந்ததாக இலக்கியக் குறிப்புகள் கூறுகின்றன. இங்கு இடைக்காலத்தில் சேரர்களின் தலைநகரமான திருவஞ்சிக்களம் இருந்தது. இங்குள்ள சிவன் கோயிலில் பல கல்வெட்டுகள் உள்ளன. இங்கு பாடல்பெற்ற திருக்குலசேகரபுரம் என்ற வைணவத்தலம் உள்ளது. மேலும் இங்குள்ள மசூதி மிகப் பழையது என்று கருதப்படுகின்றது. இது சேரமான் நாயனருடன் தொடர்புபடுத்தப்படுகின்றது. 

மேலும் யூதர்கள் இப்பகுதியில் தங்கி வணிகம் செய்துள்ளனர். இங்குள்ள சேந்தமங்கலத்தில் யூதர்களின் வழிபாட்டிடம் (சினகாக்) உள்ளது. கொடுங்களூரை அடுத்துள்ள கோட்டப்புரத்தில் போரத்துக்கீசியர்களின் கோட்டை உள்ளது. இவ்வாறாகப் பல வரலாற்று இடங்களும் தொல்லியல் சின்னங்களும், நம்பிக்கை தொடர்புடைய இடங்களும் இப்பகுதியில் காணப்படுகின்றன. இதனடிப்படையில் கேரள அரசு முசிறி மரபியல் திட்டத்தை (Muziris Heritage Project) செயல்படுத்தியது. இதன் விளைவாகப் பல மரபியல் சின்னங்கள பாதுகாக்கப்பட்டு வருகின்றன.

முந்தைய ஆய்வுகள்

சங்க கால முசிறி எங்கு இருந்தது என்பது பற்றிய பல கருத்துக்களை அறிஞர்கள் முன்வைத்துள்ளனர். பொதுவாக முசிறி திருச்சூர் மாவட்டத்தின் தென் எல்லையில் அமைந்துள்ள பெரியாற்றின் தென்கரையில் உள்ள கொடுங்கோளூர் என்ற இடத்தில் இருந்திருக்கலாம் என அறிஞர்கள் கருதி வந்துள்ளனர். இப்பகுதியில் உள்ள சேரமான் பறம்பு என்ற இடத்தில் அனுஜன் அச்சன் அகழாய்வு நடத்தியுள்ளார் (Achan, 1946). மேலும் திருவஞ்சிக்களம் பகுதியில் கே.வி.இராமன் அகழாய்வு செய்துள்ளார். ஆனால் இங்கு குறிப்பிடத்தக்க தொல்லியல் சான்றுகள் கிடைக்கப் பெறவில்லை. குறிப்பாக அரிக்கமேட்டில் கிடைத்தது போன்ற ரோமானியத் தொடர்பிர்கான சான்றுகள் கிடைக்கவேயில்லை. எனவே முசிறி எங்கிருந்தது? அதற்கான தொல்லியல் சான்றுகள் எங்கே என்கிற வினாக்கள் தொல்லியல் அறிஞர்கள் மத்தியில் இருந்து வந்துள்ளன. இச்சூழலில்தான் பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ள சான்றுகள் சிறப்பிடம்பெறுகின்றன.

பட்டணம் அமைவிடம்

பட்டணம் கேரள மாநிலத்தில் உள்ள எர்ணாகுளம் மாவட்டத்தில் பரவூருக்கு அருகில், சுமார் 2 கிமீ வடக்கே கொடுங்களூர் செல்லும் தேசிய நெடுஞ்சாலை எண் 17 ல் உள்ளது. இந்த இடத்தை திருச்சூர் எர்ணாகுளம் இரயில் தடத்தில் அமைந்துள்ள ஆலுவா இரயில் நிலையத்தில் இறங்கி, பரவூர் வழியாகச் சென்றடையலாம். இவ்வூருக்கு அருகில் பரவூர் தோடு என்ற பெரியாற்றின் கிளையாறு பாய்கின்றது. இவ்வூருக்கு மேற்கே 2 கிமீ தொலைவில் தத்தப்பள்ளி காயல் எனப்படும் உப்பங்கழிப்பகுதி உள்ளது. இதற்கு அப்பால் வைப்பின் தீவுப்பகுதி அமைந்துள்ளது. இதன் மேற்கே அரபிக்கடல் காணப்படுகின்றது. இங்கு சேராய் எனப்படும் கடற்கரை சுற்றுலாப்பகுதி உள்ளது.


பட்டணம் பற்றிய முதல் குறிப்பு கே.பி.ஷாஜன் தனது முனைவர் பட்டத்திற்காக எழுதிய ஆய்வேட்டில் உள்ளது. அங்கு அவர் சேகரித்த சில பானை ஒடுகள் சிறப்பானவையாக இருந்தன (படம் எண் 1.). அவற்றை என்னிடம் அவர் 2003ல் காண்பித்தபோது என்னால் அவற்றை ஆம்போரா என்று தெளிவாக அடையாளம் காண முடிந்தது. பின்னர் பிரிட்டீஷ் அருங்காட்சியகத்தில் உள்ள ரொபர்ட்டா டாம்பர் இந்தியாவில் ரோமனியச் சான்றுகளை ஆராய்ந்து வரும்போது நான் அவரிடம், ஷாஜனிடம் உள்ள பானை ஓடுகளைப்பற்றிக் கூறினேன். அவர் அவற்றைக் கண்டு, அவை நிச்சயமாக ஆம்போரா என்பதை உறுதிப்படுத்தினார். அதன் விளைவாகப் பட்டணம் முசிறியாக இருக்கலாம் என்ற கருதுகோள் முன்வைக்கப்பட்டது. பிறகு திருப்பூணித்துறையில் உள்ள மரபியல் ஆய்வு நிறுவனம் 2004ல் அங்கு ஒரு சோதனை அகழாய்வை நடத்தியது. இந்த அகழாய்வில் சேரர் நாணயங்களும், கட்டடப் பகுதிகளும், ஆம்போரா சாடித்துண்டுகளும், ரௌலட்டட் பானை ஓடுகளும் கிடைத்தன.

படம் எண் 1. கே.பி. ஷாஜன் 1990களில் பட்டணத்தில் கண்டுபிடித்த முதல் ஆம்போரா பானை ஓடு

இதனடிப்படையில் கேரள வரலாற்றாய்வுக்கழகத்தின் இயக்குனர் பி.ஜெ.செரியான் அவர்களுடன் இணைந்து நாங்கள் 2007 ல் பெரிய அளவிலான அகழாய்வை நடத்தினோம். இதற்கு முன்பு கேரள அரசு முசிறி மரபியல் திட்டம் என்ற மரபு வளங்களைப் பாதுகாக்கும் திட்டத்தைத் தொடங்கியது அப்போதைய கேரள நிதி அமைச்சர் தாமஸ் ஐசக் அவர்களின் முயற்சி இங்கு குறிப்பிடத்தக்கதாகும். இது பட்டணம் அகழாய்விற்குத் தேவையான நிதியை அளித்தது. பட்டணத்தில 2007 முதல் 2013 வரை 7 பருவங்கள் கேரள வரலாற்றாய்வுக் கழகத்தால் அகழாய்வுகள் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளன. இவற்றில் பல் வகையான தொல்லியல் சான்றுகள் கிடைத்துள்ளன (Cherianm P.J. et al. 2007).

இங்கு, தமிழகத்தின் சங்ககால வாழ்விடங்களில் கிடைக்கும் செங்கற்களின் அளவை ஒத்த செங்கற்கள், கூறை ஓடுகள், இரும்பு, ஆடி மணிகள் (பாசி), செம்புப் பொருட்கள், தங்கத்தினால் ஆன அணிகலன்கள், கார்னேலியன், படிகம் மற்றும் பெரைல் (பச்சைநிறக்கல்) ஆகிய உயர்வகைக் கற்களால் ஆன அணிகலன்கள் (படம் எண் 2 மற்றும்3 ) பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. பட்டணத்தில், பொ.ஆ.மு. 300 முதல் பொ.ஆ 1000 வரையும் பின்னர் பொ.ஆ 1500-லிருந்து தற்காலம் வரையும் மக்கள் வாழ்ந்துள்ளார்கள் என்பதை இந்த அகழாய்வுகள் புலப்படுத்துகின்றன.

படம் எண் 2. பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்த சிங்க உருவம் பொறித்த உயர்வகைக் கல்

படம் எண் 3. தங்க அணிகலனின் பகுதி


இங்கு பல செங்கற் கட்டிடப்பகுதிகள் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன (படம் எண் 4). குறிப்பாகப் படகுதுறைக்கு அருகில் சேமிப்புக் கிடங்கு என்று கருதப்படும் கட்டடப்பகுதி குறிப்பிடத்தக்கதாகும். இதன் மீது குச்சிகள் நடுவதற்காகத் தோண்டப்பட்ட குழிகள் காண்ப்படுகின்றன. மேலும் அகழாய்வுக் குழி இரண்டில் ஒரு கட்டடத்தின் பகுதி கிடைத்துள்ளது. இங்குள்ள சுவரின் கீழே இரண்டு மண்சாடிகள் புதைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. இங்குள்ள பெரும்பாலான கட்டடப் பகுதிகள் பெரிதும் சேதமடைந்து காணப்படுகின்றன. இவற்றைச் செங்கற்களுக்காக பிற்கால மக்கள் தோண்டிப் பயன்படுத்தியுள்ளனர்.

படம் எண் 4. ஒரு கட்டடத்தின் பகுதி

படகு துறை

இங்கு கிடைத்துள்ள செங்கற்கள் மற்றும் செம்புறாங்கற் துகள்களைக் கொண்டு உருவாக்கப்பட்ட படகு துறை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கதாகும் (படம் எண் 5). இப்படகு துறையினை அடுத்து ஒரு மரப்படகின் பகுதியும், படகைக் கட்டிவைக்கப் பயன்படுத்தப்பட்ட தேக்கு மரத்தூண்களின் அடிப்பகுதியும் கிடைத்துள்ளது சிறப்பானதாகும். இப்படகு காலக்கணிப்பின் வழியாக பொ.ஆ.மு முதல் நூற்றாண்டு (பொது ஆண்டு முதல் நூற்றாண்டு) என்று உறுதிப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது.

படம் எண் 5 படகு துறை

சேரர் காசுகள்

சேரர்களின் செப்பு மற்றும் ஈயக் காசுகள் பலவும் இங்கு கிடைத்துள்ளன. இவை சங்க காலத்தைச் சேர்ந்தவையாகும். இவற்றின் ஒரு பக்கம் யானையும் மங்கலச்சின்னங்களும் காணப்படுகின்றன. மறுபக்கம் வில் அம்பும், அங்குசமும் காணப்படுகின்றன. இக்காசுகள் சேரர் ஆட்சி இப்பகுதியில் நிலவியதைப் புலப்படுத்துகின்றன.

படம் எண் 6 சேரர் காசு

பட்டணத்தில் தமிழ் பிராமி எழுத்துப் பொறிப்புள்ள பானை ஓடுகள்

பட்டணத்தில் சுமார் 10 ஒடுகளில் பிராமி எழுத்துப் பொறிப்புகள் கிடைத்தள்ளன. ஆனால் தமிழகத்தில் உள்ள சங்ககால இடங்களில் கிடைத்தது போல இங்கு இவை அதிக அளவில் கிடைக்கவில்லை. இதற்குக் காரணம் இங்கு கிடைத்த பானை ஒடுகளின் மேற்பரப்பு மழை மற்றும் ஈரமான மண்ணில் நீண்ட காலம் புதைந்து இருந்ததன் விளைவாக சேதமடைந்ததாகலாம். 

ஒரு பானை ஓட்டில் ..ஊர் பா வே ஓ .. என்ற எழுத்துடன் காணப்படுகின்றது. இது 2004ல் திருப்பூணித்துறை மரபியல் ஆய்வு நிறுவனம் நடத்திய அகழாய்வில் வெளிப்பட்டது. இதை ஐராவதம் மகாதேவன் அவர்கள் வாசித்துள்ளார். ஒரு பானை ஓட்டில் ‘அமண’ என்ற எழுத்துப் பொறிப்பு காணப்படுகின்றது. இதையும் ஐராவதம் மகாதேவன் அவர்கள் படித்துள்ளார்.

படம் எண் 7. தமிழ் பிராமி ‘அமண’

ஆம்போரா சாடிகள்

ஆம்போரா என்பது மதுவைச் சேமித்து வைக்கவும், எடுத்துச் செல்லவும் பயன்படும் ஒரு சுடுமண் சாடியாகும். இது புதியகற்காலத்திலிருந்து மேலை நாடுகளில் பயன்பாட்டில் இருந்துவந்துள்ளது. 

'ஆம்போரா' என்ற சொல் கிரேக்க நாட்டில் வெண்கலக் காலத்திலிருந்து பயன்பாட்டில் உள்ளது. 'ஆம்போரா' என்பதற்கு 'இருபுறமும் கைப்பிடிகளைக் கொண்ட' கலம் என்பது பொருளாகும். ஆம்போரா சாடித்துண்டுகள் பல பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. இந்தச் சாடிகள் ரோமானிய மற்றும் கிரேக்க நாடுகளிலிருந்து கொண்டுவரப் பட்டவையாகும். இவை திராட்சைப் பழத்திலிருந்து உருவாக்கபட்ட மது (தேறல்), 'கரும்' எனப்படும் ஒருவகை மீன் ஊறுகாய், மற்றும் ஆலிவ் எண்ணை ஆகியவற்றை இறக்குமதி செய்யப் பயன்பட்டன. இந்த சாடிகள் பொதுவாக இரண்டு கைப்பிடிகளுடன் காணப்படுகின்றன. இந்த வகைச் சாடிகளின் துண்டுகள் அதிகமாக பட்டணத்தில் கிடைக்கின்றன. ஆம்போராவின் சாடித் துண்டுகள் தமிழகத்தில் அரிக்கமேடு, குடிக்காடு, வசவசமுத்திரம், கரூர், அழகன்குளம், கொற்கை ஆகிய இடங்களில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. இப்பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்த ஆம்போரா சாடிகளின் துண்டுகள் ரோமானியப் பகுதியில் உள்ள நேப்பில்ஸ் வளைகுடாவில் உருவாக்கப்பட்ட ஆம்போராக்களைச் சேர்ந்தவை (Tomber 2008). மேலும் எகிப்து மற்றும், கிரேக்க நாட்டுத் தீவுகள் ஆகிய இடங்களிலிருந்தும் இறக்குமதி செய்யப்பட்ட ஆம்போரா சாடிகளின் துண்டுகளும் இங்கு கிடைக்கின்றன.

அரிட்டைன்/டெர்ரா சிகிலாட்டா

டெர்ரா சிகிலாட்டா என்பது சிவப்பு நிறமுள்ள உயர் தரப் பானை வகையாகும். இது ஒரு ரோமானியப் பானை வகையாகும். இவற்றில் பல வகைகள் உள்ளன. இத்தாலியில் உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்டவை அரிட்டைன் என்று அழைக்கப்படுகின்றன்; ஸ்பெயினின் 'கால்' (Gaul) பகுதியில் உற்பத்தியான இவ்வகைப்பானைகள் சாமியன் பானை வகை என்று அழைக்கப்படுகின்றன. வடக்கு ஆப்பிரிக்கா மற்றும் ரோமானியப் பேரரசின் கிழக்குப் பகுதியில் உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்டவை 'ஆப்பிரிக்க சிவப்பு நிறக் கலவை பூசப்பட்டவை' என அழைக்கப்படுகின்றன. 

அழகன்குளத்தில் கிடைத்த சில சிவப்பு நிற ரூலட்டட் தட்டுக்களின் துண்டுகள் முதலில் தவறாக 'ஆப்பிரிக்க சிவப்பு நிறக் கலவை பூசப்பட்டவை' என அடையாளப்படுத்தப்பட்டன (Nagasamy 1991). இந்தப் பானை வகையை மார்ட்டிமர் வீலர் அரிக்கமேட்டில் கண்டுபிடித்து அடையாளப்படுத்தியுள்ளார் (Wheeler et al. 1946). இதில் கிண்ணங்கள் மற்றும் தட்டுகள் காணப்படுகின்றன. இதனடிப்படையில் அரிக்கமேட்டில் கிடைத்த, வரலாற்றுத் தொடக்க காலச் சான்றுகளின் காலம் மார்ட்டிமர் வீலரால் நிர்ணயிக்கப்பட்டது.

ரோமானியக் கண்ணாடி வகைக் கிண்ணங்கள்

ரோமானியர்களின் கண்ணாடி வகைக் கிண்ணங்களின் துண்டுகள் பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. இக் கிண்ணங்களின் வெளிப்புறத்தில் புடைத்த, நேரான நரம்புகள் போன்ற பகுதிகள் செங்குத்தாக விளிம்புக்கு சற்று கீழ்ப் பகுதி வரை அரைத் தூண்கள் போல அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. எனவே அவை ஆங்கலத்தில் "Pillared Bowl" எனப்படுகின்றன. இவை பச்சை, நீலம் மற்றும் பிற நிறங்களில் கிடைக்கின்றன. மேலும் பல கண்ணாடிக் குடுவைகளின் துண்டுகளும் பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ளன.

மேற்காசியப் பானைவகைகள்

பொதுவாகச் சங்க காலத்தைப் பற்றிப் பேசும் போது ரோமானியத் தொடர்புகளையே நாம் மையப்படுத்தகிறோம். ஆனால் மேற்காசியாவிற்கும் பழந்தமிழகத்திற்குமான தொடர்புகள் வரலாற்று முந்தைய காலத்திலிருந்தே தொடங்கியிருப்பதாகத் தெரிகின்றது. மேலும் யவனர் என்ற சொல் ரோமானியர் மற்றம் மேற்குத் திசையைச் சேர்ந்தவர்களைக் குறிக்கும் பொதுச் சொல்லாகப் பயன்படுத்தப்பட்டிருக்கலாம். சங்க காலத் தொல்லியல் இடங்களில் பல மேற்காசியப் பானை வகைகளும் கிடைக்கின்றன. மேலும் இப்பகுதியிலிருந்து வந்த கண்ணாடிக் குடுவைகளும் தமிழகத்திற்கு வந்திருக்கலாம் எனத் தெரிகின்றது.

நீலப்பச்சை வண்ணக் கண்ணாடிப் பூச்சுள்ள பானைவகைகள்

நீலப்பச்சை வண்ணக் கண்ணாடிப் பூச்சுள்ள பானைவகைகள் மேற்காசியாவில் அதிகம் பயன்படுத்தப்பட்டன. இவை பார்த்திய-சசானியப் பானை வகைகள் என்று அழைக்கப்படுகின்றன. இவை மென்மையான நுண்ணிய துகளைமைவைக் கொண்ட களிமண்ணால் செய்யப்பட்டவை. இவற்றின் கண்ணாடிப்பூச்சு இல்லாத பகுதியைத் தொடும் போது மண் துகள்கள் பொடிபோன்று கையில் ஒட்டும். இவற்றின் மேல் நீலம், பச்சை, நீலப்பச்சை, வெள்ளை நிறங்களில் கண்ணாடிப் பூச்சு பூசப்பட்டு காணப்படும். இவை இரான் மற்றும் இராக் பகுதிகளில் உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்டவை. இவற்றின் சில துண்டுகள் அரிக்கமேட்டில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. அதைவிட அதிகமான எண்ணிக்கையிலான துண்டுகள் பட்டணத்தில் காணப்படுகின்றன. மேற்காசியப்பானை ஒடுகள் பட்டணத்தில் அதிகமாகக் காணப்படுவது மேற்குக் கடற்கரைக்கும் மேற்காசியாவிற்கும் கிழக்குக் கடற்கரையை விட அதிகமான தொடர்புகள் இருந்தமையைப் புலப்படுத்துகின்றன. 

டர்காம் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தைச் சேர்ந்த டெரக் கென்னட் பட்டணத்தில் கிடைக்கும் இவ் வகைப் பானைகள் பொ.ஆமு. 3ம் நூற்றாண்டு முதல் பொ.ஆ 9ம் ஆம் நூற்றாண்டு வரையான காலத்தைச் சேர்ந்தவை என்று கருதுகின்றார். இங்கு கிடைத்த பார்த்திய மீன் தட்டுக்கள் பொ.ஆமு. 3ம் நூற்றாண்டைச் சேர்ந்தவை எனக் கருதுகிறார். 

மெசபடோமிய டர்பிடோ பானை வகைகள்

மெசபடோமியா எனப்படும் யூப்ரிஸ் மற்றும் டைக்கிரிஸ் ஆற்றிடைப் பகுதியில் உற்பத்தி செய்யப்பட்ட பானை வகைகள் 'டர்பிடோ' எனப்படும் பானை வகைகளின் துண்டுகள் பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. இவை மேற்கு ஈரான் மற்றும் ஈராக் பகுதியைச் சேர்ந்தவை. இந்த சாடிகளின் உருளை வடிவத்தால் இவை டர்பிடோ எனப்படுகின்றன. இவை டர்பிடோ எனப்படும் நீர் மூழ்கு ஏவுகணைகளின் அமைப்பை ஒத்துக்காணப்படுகின்றன. இவற்றின் உள்ளே கருப்பு நிறத் தார்க்கலவை பூசப்பட்டிருக்கும். இவை அழகன்குளத்திலும் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. இவற்றில் நல்லெண்ணை, பேரிச்சை சாறு மற்றும் இப்பகுதியல் உற்பத்தியான பொருட்களைச் சேமிக்கப் பயன்பட்டிருக்கலாம் என டெரக் கருதுகின்றார்.


பட்டணத்தில் கிடைத்துள்ள தொல்பொருள்கள், அரிக்கமேட்டில் கிடைக்கும் தொல்பொருள்களின் அளவை ஒத்தும், ஏன் அவற்றை விட அதிகமாகவும் காணப்படுகின்றன. இந்தச்சூழ்நிலையில் இவ்விடம் சங்ககாலத்தின் முசிறியின் ஒரு பகுதியாக இருக்கலாம் என்று கூற்றை உறுதிப்படுதிதுகின்றன. மேலும் இந்த இடம் கொடுங்களூரிலிருந்து அதிக தொலைவில் இல்லை (சுமார் 8 கீமீ). எனவே முசிறி என்ற பெயர் இப்பகுதி முழுவதிற்கும் பயன்படுத்தப் பெற்றிருக்கவேண்டும்

தற்போது அங்கு ஒரு தொல்லியல் அருங்காட்சியகம் அமைக்கப்படவிருக்கின்றது. அரிக்கமேடு ஒரு சிறப்பான தொல்லியல் இடமாக இருந்தபோதிலும், அங்கு இங்கிலாந்தில் உள்ள செயின்ட் ஆல்பன்ஸ் மற்றும் பாத் போன்ற இடங்களில் உள்ளது போன்ற ஒரு பெரிய அருங்காட்சியகம் அமைக்கப்படவில்லை என்பது வருந்தத்தக்கதாகும். நமது பண்பாடுசார் மற்றும் இயற்கைசார் மரபியல் வளங்களை நன்கு பாதுகாத்து காட்சிப்படுத்துவது மிகவும் அவசியமாகும். 

மேற்கோள்நூல் பட்டியல்

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* Begley, V. 2004. Critique of V.D. Gogte’s Interpretations of X-Ray Diffraction Analyses of Arikamedu Pottery, in The Ancient Port of Arikamedu: New Excavations and Researches 1989-1992. Vol 2. (Begley et al eds.), pp. 631-642. Paris: Ecole Francaize D’Extreme-Orient. 
* Begley, V. et al. 1996. Pottery from the Northern Sector, 1989-1992, in The Ancient port of Arikamedu: New Excavations and Researches 1989-1992. (Begley et al eds.), pp.115-286. Pondicherry: Ecole Francaize D’Extreme-Orient.
* Begley, V. et al. 2004. The Ancient Port of Arikamedu: New Excavations and Researches 1989-1992. Vol 2. (Begley et al eds.), pp. 631-642. Paris: Ecole Francaize D’Extreme-Orient.
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* Gogte, V.D. 1997. The Chandraketugarh-Tamluk region of Bengal: Source of the Early Historic Rouletted Ware from India and Southeast Asia. Man and Environment 22(1):69-85.
* Gogte, V.D. 2002. Ancient Maritime Trade in the Indian Ocean: Evaluation by Scientific Studies of Pottery. Man and Environment 27(1):57-67. 
* Mahadevan, I. 2003. Early Tamil Epigraphy- From the earliest times to the sixth century AD. Harvard Oriental Series, 62. Cre-A: Chennai.
* Nagaswamy, R. 1991. Azhakankulam: An Indo-Roman Trading Port, in Indian Archaeological Heritage, K. V. Soundara Rajan Felicitation Volume. (C. Margabandhu et al. eds.), pp 247-254. New Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan.
* Raman, K.V. 1976. “Archaeological Excavations in Kerala,” Souvenir of the Indian Historical Congress, held at Calicut University, Dec. 29-31. Calicut: Calicut University. pp.6-10.
* Shajan, K.P., R. Tomber, and P. J. Cherian 2004. Locating the Ancient Port of Muziris: Fresh Findings from Pattanam. Journal of Roman Archaeology 17: 312-320..
* Shajan, K.P., R. Tomber, P.J. Cherian, 2008. The external connections of Early Historic Pattanam, India: the ceramic evidence Antiquity Online 82(315) March 2008,
* Shanmugam, P 2010. Indian and Southeast Asian: South Indian Cultural Links with Indonesia, in Nagapattinam To Suvarnadwipa: Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia, (Kulke, Hermann, K. Kesavapany and Vijay Sakhuja (eds.). pp.208-226. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
* Sidebotham, S.E. and W. Wendrich eds. Berenike 2007. 1999/2000 Report on the Excavations at Berenike Including Excavations in Wadi Kalalat and Siket, and the Survey of the Mons Smaragdus Region. Los Angeles, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.
* Tomber, R. 2008. Indo-Roman trade: from pots to Pepper. London: Duckworth.
* Wheeler, R.E.M., A.Ghosh and Krishna Deva 1946. Arikamedu: An Indo-Roman Trading Station on the East Coast of India. Ancient India 2:17-124.
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Archaeological excavations[edit]

A series of excavations conducted at Kodungallur starting from 1945, yielded nothing that went back to before the 13th century. Another excavation was carried out in 1969 by the Archaeological Survey of India at Ceraman Parambu, 2 km north of Kodungallur. Only antiquities of the 13th and 16th century were recovered.[27]

In 1983, a large hoard of Roman coins was found at a site around six miles from Pattanam. A series of pioneering excavations carried out by Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR, an autonomous institution) at Pattanam from 2007 uncovered a large number of artefacts.[28][29][30][31][32] So far, seven seasons of excavations (2007–14) are completed by KCHR at Pattanam.[33]

The identification of Pattanam as Muziris is a divisive subject among some of the historians of south India. When KCHR announced the possible finding of Muziris based on Pattanam finds, it invited criticism from some historians and archaeologists. Historians such as R NagaswamyKN Panikkar and MGS Narayanan disagreed with the identification and called for further analysis.[13][26][32] "Whether Pattanam was Muziris is not of immediate concern to us," the chief of the Kerala Council for Historical Research recently stated to the media.[34] Even the last field report on the excavations (2013) explicitly shows Pattanam as Muziris.[35]

While historian and academic Rajan Gurukkal throws his weight behind the ‘salvage of historic relics at Pattanam’ by KCHR given the sites disturbance due to continual human habitation and activity, he thinks it [ancient Muziris] was no more than a colony of merchants from the Mediterranean. “The abundance of material from the Mediterranean suggests that traders arrived here using favourable monsoon winds and returned using the next after short sojourns,” he says. Feeder vessels transported them between their ships and the wharf, but it would be incorrect to say that it was a sophisticated port in an urban setting. The place did not have any evolved administration nor any sophistication. I believe it [Pattanam] was Muziris. Had it been elsewhere, Pattanam wharf and colony would’ve found a mention in available records, he says.[36]



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I.N.Seminar on KeralaSchool of Mathematics          Calicut, 29 August 2010 


                Medieval Kerala: What made it Different from the Rest of India?                                                                                  Professor M.G.S.Narayanan


       The answer to this question posed in the title above should enable us to understand why creative contributions to science, art, architecture, philosophy and literature continued to come out of Kerala in the 14th 15th and 16th centuries while originality had already been replaced by the tendency to imitate, elaborate and repeat in these fields in the rest of India. It may also help us to explore and find out whether the original innovative contributions of the Kerala School of astronomers in this period, like the calculus, theory of infinite series of numbers etc. were transmitted to Europe directly or indirectly within two centuries so that Newton, Lebnietz and others were influenced by them in their scientific formulations. An attempt is made here to analyze the political, social and cultural history of Kerala in order to highlight some of the special traits which are found in the evolution of the personality of Kerala.


                     As I have recorded elsewhere, Kerala has a dual personality. On the one hand it is an integral part of the Indian landmass or subcontinent, receptive to all the waves of migrations, invasions, political and commercial ventures etc. On the other hand, it is an important member of the Arabian Sea club of countries which shared through the impact of the monsoon all commercial and cultural streams and under currents of the Christian and Islamic cultures in South East Europe, North Africa and West Asia1


No Stone Ages, Late Start in History

      What surprised me at the outset when I started exploring the past of this region is the fact that while the neighboring regions of Karnataka and Tamilnad in the east and Andhra further north revealed the evidences of Old Stone Age and New Stone Age habitations in archaeological excavations, there was no sign of them in the Kerala state except a few stray tools in the eastern frontier hill territory like Wayanad, Idukki and Munnar which were geographically part of the Deccan tableland and thereby different from the plains below and the seashore where Kerala society and culture developed.2 At first I had imagined that it was the absence of good surveys and experimental digging, but after many years the condition has not changed. Wherever excavation has taken place, as at Porkkalam, Kodungallur and other sites, megalithic burials with iron tools are exposed just above the virgin soil, and large habitation sites with earlier pre-history (Old Stone Age and New Stone Age) are missing.3 There are no indications that they will turn up in future.


     This picture reminds one about Professor D.D. Kosambi’s observation in connection with Coastal Maharashtra: the conspiracy between the Arabian Sea on the one hand, with its regular annual monsoon which brings the rain-bearing clouds, and on the other hand the long, high, unbroken Sahya mountain ranges, created a large number of west-flowing rivers that fertilized the soil and filled the mid-land with wild forests before emptying into the ocean. Human habitation on any large scale was impossible before these forests were cleared in parts with the iron tools, and wild animals were subjugated.4 The same conditions existed in Kerala as a whole. Therefore we infer that there was a late start in civilization for this region also, which resulted in important consequences for the formation of society in future. While civil society and state under the Ceras, Colas and Pandyas developed in present Tamilnad on the Eastern side of the Sahya ranges by the early Christian centuries, the heavy forests prevented this phenomenon in Kerala territory. However, approximately from the 5th century BCE onwards we find clusters of megalithic remains with iron tools in forest clearings, most probably these were occupied by nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes.5


              There were some developments in Kerala also during the early Christian centuries. This was mainly in the form of the extension of the Cera kingdom with its capital at Karur, near Trichy (Tirucchiraippally) in present Tamilnad, across the twenty-mile wide Palghat gap – the biggest in the Sahya ranges – along the river Perar to the mouth of the river and occupied land between the river Perar and river Periyar, creating two harbor towns – Tondi (Tyndis) and Muciri (Muziris) – where the Roman trade settlements flourished. Pliny, Ptolemy and the anonymous author of Periplus of the Eritrean Sea, belonging to the first three centuries of the Common Era have accounts of this Roman trade.6 Muciri or Muziris has been described as the first emporium of India, probably in the sense of the first to be cited by the sailor or in the sense of the greatest in India.7 Tondi or Tyndis is stated to be not so desirable since it is infested with pirates. Both are mentioned as harbors belonging to the Cera chieftain who has his capital in the interior at Karoura, meaning Karuvur.8


                  The Tamil Sangam  works contain descriptions of Roman ships coming with gold and going back laden with Kari (pepper- it is called black gold in Roman accounts).9 (Ponnodu vannu kariyodu poka). Patittuppattu (Ten Tens), a collection of poems on ten Cera kings of the Sangam Age, mentions that a few Cera kings ruled from Muciri.10 These references mean that a trade route from Karuvur to Muciri harbor was opened, and that Muciri was controlled by the Cera, but they need not be interpreted as indicating, as scholars like Professor Elamkulam assumed, that the interior of Kerala territory had been opened up for habitation. Apart from these a few hill-chieftains like those of the Muvar of Ezhil Malai and the Ayar of Potiyil Malai had also come into existence.11There was no big kingdom in Kerala until the 9th century.


Southward Movement in India, Migrations

              Meanwhile the southward migration of Jains, Buddhists and Brahmins from the Gangetic plain across the Vindhya mountain ranges in central India in search of new lands for trade and cultivation (it was not an invasion or military conquest as imagined by many scholars) had started from the Mauryan Age.12 The Jains and Buddhists are found in different parts of present Tamilnad from the 2nd century before Christ.13 Aryan Brahmins were established by land grants from Tamil kings and chieftains at least from the 5th century of the Common Era.14 We find no trace of any of these groups in Kerala during this period except a single reference to a Brahmin center at Perum Cellur (c.2nd century AD) in the northern border area of the region.15 It is to be inferred that the 32 original Aryan Brahmin gramas were established in Kerala by about the close of the 8th century of CE without any charter from rulers. There were no royal charters for the simple reason that there was no royalty in Kerala at this time. This also must be the reason why the Kerala Brahmins alone maintain that their settlements were the gift of their patron saint, Parasu Rama.


                We start getting inscriptions from their temples from the beginning of the 9th century.16 These people might have migrated in large groups consisting of ten or twenty or twenty five families, cleared the forests with the help of local chieftains and tribal people, and founded the 32 settlements in selected river valleys one after the other, gradually moving southwards. This hypothesis agrees with several other facts derived from archaeology and epigraphy as well as tradition.


     It would corroborate the statement in the Keralolpatti Brahmin chronicle about the rise of the new Cera kingdom. It says that the group of 32 gramas acted jointly as an oligarchy and made a few abortive attempts to manage their affairs by themselves through selected representatives called Raksha Purushas (Protectors). This experiment failed because of ego conflict and greed among the Brahmin leaders. Being convinced that Brahmins were unfit to rule, they started requesting the Cera, Cola and Pandya dynasties beyond the Ghats to send a prince to send a competent prince to govern Kerala for fixed periods of 12 years after which they were to retire. This ruler was called Perumal, or the Great One, a term that was applied to the deity and the ruler in Kerala. Perhaps the idea was that no dynasty should acquire a monopoly of power in this region. The chronicle mentions a number of such Perumals, and the events of their time.


      According to the chronicle, the system continued for some time. Then the Brahmin leaders decided to ring a prince of the Cera dynasty and confer on him the title of Perumal for life. His sister was also brought with him, married to a Brahmin. It was ordained that her issues will inherit the kingdom according to the marumakkattayam fashion. They fixed the Perumal’s capital at Kodungallur (Makotai or Mahodayapura). They chose the leaders of the four Brahmin settlements around the capital -  Paravur, Muzhikkalam, Iranikkalam and Irinjalakkuda – as the council of ministers and appointed them as the managers of four temples there. Thus Nediya Tali (the big Siva temple of Tiruvancikkalam, the seat of the family deity of Ceras) was allotted to Paravur, Meltali Vishnu temple to Muzhikkalam,  Kizhtali Siva temple to Iranikkalam and Cingapuram Tali Vishnu temple to Irinjalakkuda. Residing in these temples, the Brahmin ministers were expected to guide and control the Perumal.17 This tradition is borne out by references to the meetings of the Perumal and ministers in several inscriptions.18 It is important to note that while the Perumal did not promulgate laws, regulations about landlord tenant relations and taxes and tolls related to Brahmanical temples were created by the Muzhikkalam temple trustees and adopted in all Kerala temples. While all the details mentioned in the chronicle cannot be checked, many points are substantiated by the archaeological and epigraphic evidence.19 The Muzhikkala kaccam (agreement) is standing testimony to the power of the Brahmin oligarchy. Such a system is not found anywhere else in South India.







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        They invoked the name of the mythical hero Parasu Rama, who is not mentioned as the creator of Kerala in any of the old Puranas, to give legitimacy to their economic and political authority.20 They came to be known as Kerala Brahmins and Nambudiris, (Nambi is a term of respect suggesting trust, and tiri is a suffix used with several titles, probably the short form of  Adhikari meaning master or official) gained full control over Kerala polity and society and never encountered serious rivalry from Jains and Buddhists as in the case of the Brahmins of the rest of Tamilakam.21 They claim to have received the proprietorship of all the land in Kerala as the gift of their patron deity Parasu Rama. This claim of special status was recognized by the Cola emperor Rajendra when the Colas were at the peak of their power in the 10th century. He proudly proclaims that he was able to conquer Kerala, the rashtra (state) created by Rama, dignified with noble inhabitants (sishtajana, indicating Brahmins?), unique, and inaccessible on account of mountains and the ocean.22 (Rameena yannirmmitam raashtram sishtajanaabhiraamam atulam durggam mahiidhraarnnavaih)


     The Marumakkattayam system of inheritance prevalent among the natives came in handy for the Brahmins who took advantage of it to have sambandham (a kind of concubinage) with the women of the ruling and aristocratic families, with the result that all the Perumals,  Naduvazhis and Janmis were their progeny. This is a peculiar practice widely found in Kerala only. The Brahmins are not usually permitted in their scriptures, Manusmriti for example, to marry outside their caste.23 In Kerala only the eldest male member of the family is permitted to marry within the community, and the younger brothers are forced to seek alliance outside. This practice might have developed in Kerala out of necessity and convenience. Normally in India the Brahmin families of a particular settlement had only a limited area of landed property for cultivation. When they multiplied in course of generations and the family property was partitioned among the male members, a situation would come when there was not enough for all of them, and the settlement would be overcrowded. By that time small groups would go out in search of land grants from neighboring chieftains in order to establish a new settlement. This was the mechanism that triggered the southward movement of Brahmin migrations in ancient India.24 It went on operating in different parts of India for centuries, and produced a kind of cultural unity throughout the land in spite of geographical and climatic variations and differences of faith, customs, food and costumes.


No More Migrations – Only Sambandham in Kerala  

  Having reached the southern end of the peninsula, these Brahmins, who were the ancestors of Kerala Brahmins or Nambudiris, had nowhere else to go in search of new settlements when they multiplied in course of time and the landed property in 32 gramas and their upagramas could not provide enough revenue for the growing numbers. They knew only the cultivation of food grains in the low-lying areas watered by the rivers or tanks, but much of Kerala, especially the eastern parts, were mountainous and unfriendly for them. If they needed more land they had to take to the sea and reach other shores, a program which was beyond their competence. They could not think of going across the Palakkad gap and other passes in the mountains to the eastern side. Those Brahmins who had parted company with them in central India and taken the eastern route had slowly moved along the river Godavari and other rivers. They had already reached Tirupati or Tiruvenkatam, considered to be the northern frontier of Tamilakam even during the 4th-5th centuries.25


   Then they had slowly spilt over into the Pallava, Cola, Pandya and Cera territories over the centuries. With the help of land grants from the kings they had founded several Agraharas and Brahmadeyas all over Tamilnad.26 They were known as Tamil Brahmins or Bhattar (Pattar) in Kerala. Though the Kerala Brahmins and Tamil Brahmins were followers of the same Vedic culture, there was a lot of difference between their customs, dress, rituals and language. There was no intermarriage between their families. Under the circumstances there was no scope for the Kerala Brahmins to seek the co-operation of their distant cousins to establish new settlements in the vast open plains of Tamilnad. On the other hand they had to be careful to see that their own lands and privileges were not encroached upon by the Tamil Brahmins by the tactics of influencing Kerala princes. Perhaps the strong propaganda about the gift of the whole of Kerala to certain groups of Brahmins was also aimed at forestalling such a move.  


    The Brahmin immigrants in Kerala had to think of other methods for keeping their family property (Brahmaswam) in tact and meeting the needs of the growing number of new members. Obviously a good method was to restrict proper community marriage and property inheritance to the eldest male member by activating the law of primo-geniture, and permitting younger members to cultivate alliance with non-Brahmin families. This was attractive to all sides. The ‘Kshatriya’ ruling families were not imported from the north, but some local native chieftains appear to have been ‘promoted’ to Kshatriyahood through rituals like hiranyagarbha as in the rest of South India since the Brahmins needed Kshatriyas to protect their yajna (sacrifice).27 The matrilineal native tribes must have been happy to accept this arrangement in return for the gift of legitimacy and promotion in caste order. These new Kshatriya groups which were the creation of the immigrants, must have been obliged to accept this arrangement in return for the gift of political authority and promotion in caste order and continued support from the ‘gods of the earth’(bhudeva).


       The Nayar community also must have been the creation of the new masters who needed a class of warriors to fight for them. There is no ethnic basis for this caste as in the case of Ezhava or Paraya who are found in the Sangam Age also. We may assume that the immigrant Brahmin landlords had recruited warriors and workers from the local matrilineal tribes and conferred on them the the title of Nayaka. The term ‘Nayar’ is derived from ‘Nayaka’ and means captain or commander. It is akin to ‘Nayak’ and ‘Nayyar’ and ‘Nayak’ and ‘Nayudu’ in other areas. Traditionally a Nayar had ten hereditary warriors and their families under his command.28 In return for their services they were allotted lands as tenants (Karalar)of the Brahmins in Devaswam and Brahmaswam lands. They must have welcomed the Brahmin matrimonial alliance, though one-sided, as a matter of prestige and influence. For the younger members of Brahmin houses it was a good bargain because they did not have to maintain the wife and children. All their expenses were taken care of by the matrilineal joint family or Tarawad, and the visiting husband was given separate accommodation in a madha near the house, and special vegetarian cooking arrangements were made.29


  Tribal matriliny which was becoming extinct everywhere with the advent of private property and state.30 In the case of Kerala it was retained and continued in the civil society for many centuries among certain communities long after private property and state came into existence.  The dominant community of Brahmins followed patriliny, but other communities like Kshatriyas, temple servants and Nayars, and some of the lower castes followed matriliny and other lower castes followed patriliny. Continuation of matriliny was acceptable to the tribal and semi-tribal groups since it solved the problems of Brahmins and non-Brahmins at the same time. Such a compromise, not found in other parts of India, had many serious implications for society and culture in the region. All the Perumals were the progeny of Brahmins, and the ministers and courtiers were Brahmins. It was a government of Brahmins, for Brahmins, by Brahmins in Kerala.




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 Ceraman Perumal – OnlyRitual Sovereignty                     

   Actually the Cera or Kerala kingdom of the Perumals was a Brahmin oligarchy with ritual sovereignty, as revealed in their inscriptions and literature. This is the reason why Maniprvala poets have described it as ‘Brahma Kshatram Janapadam’ i.e. polity where the Brahmanas function like Kshatriyas’.31 Though we have about one hundred and fifty inscriptions of the Cera period, many of them stating the regnal year of the Perumal to indicate the date, only half a dozen of them contain royal orders or land grants.32 While the majority of inscriptions in the other South Indian states are royal proclamations, or at least carry a historical introduction giving the dynastic history of the king and an account of his personal achievements, known as prasasti or meykirti, there is no such thing in Kerala. The genealogy of the ruler is never mentioned, probably because the usual succession from father to son is not there. We have to reconstruct the chronological sequence of the Perumals by other methods. The Perumal had no territory directly under him, no administrative machinery, and no army, but only the capital city, and overlord status over all Naduvazhis conferred by the Brahmin leaders of the 32 settlements. This prompts us to take seriously the Keralolpatti claim that there was no king in the beginning, and the 32 gramas tried to organize their own administration, made some experiments which failed, and finally brought a Cera prince to rule the country under their guidance.33


     Starting with Rama Rajasekhara (c.800- 844AD), whom we can identify as Ceraman Perumal Nayanar of the group of 63 Saiva Nayanars (Saivite saints), we have thirteen Ceraman Perumals who ruled in Kerala. Among them are Sthanu Ravi Kulasekhara,(844-c.870 AD),who may be identified as the Kulasekhara Perumal of the group of 13 Vaishnava Alvars, Bhaskara Ravi Manukuladitya (862- 1020 AD),who ruled for 58 years and left 26 inscriptions in different parts of the country, and Rama Kulasehara,(1089-1102 AD), the last Perumal who was converted to Islam, could be traced in contemporary records.34  


    The inscriptions of the Perumal era are mostly the resolutions of the Brahmin assembly of Uralar – literally meaning proprietors of the village – recording some unanimous decision about the appointment of temple servants, or conditions of tenancy with prescription of punishment in the form of fine or banishment with confiscation of property, or donation of gold or land for offerings or conduct of festivals.35 They met in the temple premises in the presence of the Perumal or Naduvazhi or Koyil Adhikari (Kshatriya Prince) and made all decisions unanimously. The political authority was present, but he did not preside over the assembly or veto any decision or even formally approve it to give it finality. It may be inferred that the local deity, often called Appan (father) as in the case of Guruvayur Appan today, was taken to be the President of the assembly, and that the Brahmin proprietors and political persons were jointly representing his authority. This gave a religious character to their secular decisions, and they were able to invoke the laws in Dharmasastra texts, not the orders of the ruler, as the sanction behind their action. Thus they were able to equate the crime of violating their decision with a sin mentioned in the Sastra texts.36 This again demonstrates that what we had was a theocratic oligarchy different from the monarchies of the times.


     The Perumal seems to have had revenue payable by the grama in gold annually as a lump sum fixed in advance as mentioned in some inscriptions.37 He also enjoyed the power to confer titles and trade concessions on the leaders of foreign trade guilds and to give them lands and hereditary servants for setting up their places of worship, as demonstrated by the Syrian Copper Plates and the Jewish Copper Plates.38 The latter may be called a war council as a number of samantar and the commander in chief - kizhpadai nayakam ceyyinra Moorkan Cattan – were present there.  The special laws regarding land tenure were made by the Brahmin Assembly as mentioned above. They prepared a model agreement called Kaccam, also known as Cavattai (Sapatham), or Canketam (Sanketam) in an important gramasabha, as at Muzhikkalam, one of the four gramas represented in the royal council at the capital, and others registered their allegiance to it in their documents. This is the case of Muzhikkala kaccam, obviously created at the assembly of Muzhikkalam grama.39  


     These Brahmins were the Uralar (proprietors) of their gramakshetra and many other temples in the upagramas or subsidiary villages. They controlled almost all arable land fit for paddy cultivation, and the rest were under Naduvazhis who were also sons of Brahmins living under Brahmin hegemony. The Naduvazhis  had their own Prakriti (councilors) and Adhikarar (executive officials) and KudiPatis (leaders of families), and had a hereditary office. In short Kerala was a Brahmin land par excellence, a Tamil country where the Aryan Brahmin culture prospered in such a way that in course of time, by about the 15th century, the people’s language of Tamil was transformed into a new mixed language of Tamil-Sanskrit (Manipravalam), and later on into the Malayalam language.


The native Dravidian script of Vattezhuttu was replaced by the Arya or Grantha script which was used in South India to write the Sanskrit language. About 70% of the vocabulary of Malayalam is also borrowed from Sanskrit. This made it easier for Keralites, especially Brahmins and temple-serving classes close to them like Varier, Poduval and Pisharodi, to acquire proficiency in Sanskrit language and literature. Kerala society was permeated with Aryan Brahmin spirit; it became a Dravidian society with Aryan blood in the upper classes and stamped with Aryan culture. There was a conscious effort on the part of leaders to dub all elements of native Dravidian expression as second grade.40 They were either suppressed or neglected. The high water mark of learning was to study Sanskrit language, literature and science. Places, ruling dynasties and institutions were sought to be connected with North Indian mythical heroes and episodes. This became a universal trend reflected in place names and personal names.


     As Naduvazhis who ruled the minor principalities in Kerala which were the successor states of the Perumal kingdom were also the sons of Brahmins, the Kerala Brahmins enjoyed all these privileges even after the age of the Perumals, (9th, 10th and 11th centuries), until modern times. This ensured complete Brahmin supremacy without the possibility of challenge from rival religious groups like Jainism or Buddhism and the ruling class which consisted of their own children. The Jews, Syrian Christians and Muslims came and settled in Kerala in the period of the Ceraman Perumals, evidently with patronage from the Ceraman Perumals and their Brahmin councilors.41 Not only did they lack any threat perception from these traders with different creed and culture, but they stood to gain much revenue from the sea trade.

Non-Brahmin, Non-Hindu Groups

      The Perumals and their feudatories (Samantas or Naduvazhis) granted charters for the construction and maintenance of places of worship and gave tax concessions and aristocratic privileges to Syrian Christians (Syrian Copper Plates of Kollam issued to Mar Sapir Iso in 849 AD) and Jews (Jewish Copper Plates of Muyirikkode, near Kodungallur issued to Joseph Rabban in 1000 AD), as mentioned above. Syrian, Jewish and Arab Muslim traders were witnesses in the Syrian Copper Plates, and Naduvazhis and the Commander in Chief were witnesses in the Jewish copper Plates.42 Both were composed in early Old Malayalam language. Thus it was mutually beneficial, a case of ‘cultural symbiosis’ as I characterized it after a detailed study of their early sources.43 The same spirit of promoting foreign trade groups like Ancuvannam, Manigramam and Nanadesikal continued in the post-Cera period also, as evidenced by the Syrian Copper Plates issued to Iravi Korttan at Kodungallur in 1225 AD.44 This kind of absolute Brahmin authority did not flourish anywhere in India outside Kerala.


                    Similarly the Jain and Buddhist groups of traders with their own religious centers also flourished under the patronage of the Brahmins and Brahmin-led Perumals.45 They are not found in Kerala before the Perumal era in Kerala though their records are found in Karnataka and Tamilnad from the early centuries of the Christian era.46 While the Jews, Christians and Muslims brought sea trade, the Jains and Buddhists came in the wake of land trade along with caravan groups. Jain temples of 9th, 10th and11th centuries were located on the trade route from Karnataka and Tamilnad (Kinalur, Tirumannur, Alathiyur, Kallil etc.) to Kodungallur through Wayanad and Palakkad passes.47 All these were constructed obviously with the support and patronage of Perumals under Brahmin tutelage. We also have epigraphic and literary reference about a single Buddhist vihara named Srimulavasa to which the Ay king Varaguna had donated several plots of land and placed them under the protection of the Perumal Vira Kota, most probably Kota Ravi Vijayaraga of the 9th century.48                 


                    There is an interesting passage in Atula’s Mushaka Vamsa Kavya, a historical poem in Sanskrit language (11th century) which says that Valabha, the king of Kolam established harbor towns at Marahi (Madayi) and Valabha Pattana. This must have happened in the 10th century.49 According to him, ships from different far off islands came there.50 Different creeds co-existed harmoniously like wild animals that forgot their natural enmity towards each other and remained in friendship in the asram premises of a holy sage.51



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                    The case of the Arab Muslim trade group was also not different from that of others.

Muslim traders had been regularly visiting Kerala ports at least from the 9th century, since we find a few of them signing as witnesses in Tarsappalli Copper Plates in 869 AD. However, they seem to have built settlements and mosques only by the beginning of the 12th century when, according to the Keralolpatti chronicle, Malik Ibn Dinar and friends came at the instance of the last Ceraman Perumal who got converted to Islam, settled down in Arabia, and sent messengers requesting his old feudatories to help the Arab traders. The date of these events had been wrongly assumed to be the 7th century, and Ceraman Palli at Kodungallur, the Cera capital, was accordingly considered to be the oldest mosque in India. Today when we have contemporary records of the Ceraman Perumals and other archaeological evidence, this long-standing mistake has to be corrected.52 The mosque at Madayi, another among the ten original mosques, was constructed in 518 of the Hijra, equal to 1124 AD, according to the inscription found there.53 The Muc****i mosque at Calicut was built in 13th century with a grant from Punthurakkon, i.e. the Zamorin of Calicut, according to a granite inscription found there.54


                      Thus not only is it clear that the immigrant Aryan Brahmin groups gained complete control of land, polity and society in Kerala with the support of the kings and lords who were their offspring through marumakkattayam and sambandham, as nowhere else in India, but also that the Jains and Buddhists and the Jews, Syrian Christians, and Muslims were the invited guests who were patronised by the Brahmin lords for the sake of land trade and sea trade. This was the situation that promoted cultural symbiosis, and continued it in a unique fashion, unprecedented in India. Again, Kerala had a special status in the sub-continent during the middle ages. The protection and relative isolation provided by the Sahya Mountain ranges (Western Ghats) – there were passes for trade routes, but they did not make the passage of large armies viable or profitable – blocked all invasions before the modern age.


       Even if a huge army reached Kerala, the land was full of ups and downs, low-lying paddy fields and thick forests. Elephants and horses were useless for fighting in a country with innumerable rivers and rivulets which could not be negotiated without bridges. The Cola invaders of the 10th-11th centuries and the Mysore invaders of the 18th century learnt it from hard experience.55 While Deccan and South India down to Kanya Kumari were over run and devastated by the Delhi Sultanat armies of Alauddin Khalji commanded by Malik Kafur, uprooting all the dynasties like the Kakatiyas and Hoysalas, Colas, Pandyas and Gangas, and traditional Hindu society was liquidated, Kerala alone escaped unhurt and continued to grow as before.56 These circumstances made Kerala capable of retaining and developing her social system well into the beginning of the modern age. Even the Portuguese atrocities at Kochi did not succeed in destroying the fabric of Kerala society and culture.

A Leisure Class with creativity

    The Nambudiri group developed in Kerala as a leisure class. They had no feeling of insecurity and no financial worries. They had free food in temples and palaces, and free accommodation and hospitality everywhere in Kerala whenever they traveled for study, festivals or pilgrimage. If one had a reputation for scholarship in astronomy or astrology, or literature or medicine, he received a royal treatment everywhere.57


     Since that door was practically closed, the younger male members took to sambandham in the matrilineal Nayar families. While they found an outlet for sexual instincts in this form of free association, this practice freed them from all domestic and social responsibilities. They received service and respect from the other side. Those among the Nambudiris who possessed learning and creative talents were received as husbands for the best Nayar women in the best Nayar families.58 There seems to have existed keen competition among Nayars to get the most scholarly Nambudiris as husbands in the family. Since the younger sons in Nambudiri houses were not engaged in religious or priestly activity, they turned their attention to secular literature, arts and sciences in order to earn recognition and positions in the royal courts and Nayar families. As they were unfettered by domestic obligations they were also free to travel to far off places in search of knowledge.59 Though this rigid and peculiar form of caste hierarchy meant social inequality and injustice, it prepared an ideal soil for intellectual pursuits for that minority which was endowed with the right aptitude by nature.


                  Natural conditions like large number of rivers, hills and dales and dispersed settlements with plenty of water without the need for collective labor etc. ruled out the rise of big kingdoms equipped with large armies. The protection afforded by the Western Ghats on the one side and the Arabian Sea on the other preserved Kerala society from invasions till modern times. The Cola invaders of the 10th and 11th centuries occupied part of Kerala after a mighty effort, and established their overlordship, but the Perumals regained their territory and freedom after a few years.60 When the whole of North India was ravaged by Afghan, Pathan and Turkish armies, and when the warriors of the Delhi Sultanat spilled over to the Deccan and Tamilnad in the 14th century during the period of Alauddin Khilji, Kerala remained unaffected.61 The Vijayanagar (16th century) invasions also left Kerala free, though they demanded tribute from the Zamorin of Calicut at some stage.62 The net result was that while continuity of culture and institutional set up was broken everywhere in India, Kerala alone escaped from damage. Whatever was achieved earlier could be preserved and developed in isolation.


                Though located in the tropical zone, Kerala enjoyed a moderate climate, thanks to the plentiful rains. The healthy vegetarian food and medicinal herbs of great variety guaranteed health and relative freedom from warlike aggressive instincts kept their intellect sharp and active. These circumstances promoted the growth of Ayurveda, and that in turn promoted longevity and good life.63 The educational system with its emphasis on the cultivation of memory compensated for the lack of great archives and libraries. The Sanskrit language gave access to all aspects of Hindu arts and sciences.


Continuous growth in Different Fields - Architecture

                These geographical, economic and historical circumstances ensured continuous growth and originality in all fields. Some of the outstanding examples apart from mathematics and astronomy may be mentioned here.


   Take the case of domestic and religious architecture. In the Perumal era, up to the beginning of 12th century, temple construction in Kerala followed the major schools of South India named after the regions where they appeared first or the regional dynasties which gave them conspicuous patronage – Calukya, Pallava, Cola, Pandya, Ganga, Hoysala etc. No Cera school has been named because no durable granite buildings have been identified among the surviving structures. However, by the 13th century, a typical Kerala style of architecture emerges in the case of Hindu temples and Mappila mosques. In temples the main building has a pagoda format with a bend in the middle of the roof and panjaras, big or small, breaking the monotony of the frontage. Normally they are only two or three stories high, but the tallest among them is the Miscal Palli (13th century) with five stories. It has a pyramidal shape, and is mostly built in bricks and timber, and its existence in 13th century is attested in travel literature.64 A significant difference with the Hindu counterpart is the use of arches in the open ground floor entrances.65 This is the result of the smooth blending between the Kerala tradition and that of West Asia. It shows that experimental and innovative ideas were being accepted.


            The typical Hindu temple of this period can be seen at Trichur in the Vadakkunnathan Siva temple and at Tiruvalla Vishnu temple. These were clearly new developments after the Cera period, with a Kerala style gateway, called gopura or padippura, several small buildings in a big campus defined by walls with a wide base and narrow neck built in laterite, the liberal use of panjaras on roof and stepped pagoda style.66 In the new buildings the wooden circular framework of beams descending from a single point, placed at the top of the building, required exact calculations. It was prepared on the ground, and lifted and placed on top of the walls. Some of these items like the pagoda format and the boat-like middle bend and upward curve at the ends are found in medieval buildings all over the coastline in South Asia and South East Asia. Therefore it may be attributed to an oceanic influence.67 The anappalla wall of laterite might have got its form as a result of technical requirements, since laterite needed a wide base for stability. Like the umbrella shape of the laterite megalithic memorial in the early historic period, this form of the wall is a Kerala speciality, dictated by the distinctive Kerala medium of laterite and produced by the innovative mind of the Keralite craftsman. The unique combination of the padippura gate, small nalukettu structures, and anappalla fortress wall is an original late medieval product of the architectural genius of the region. The Sarasenic arches in the wall of the mosque in Calicut, Ponnani etc. blended beautifully with all this in the new Kerala style of architecture.68                                                                       

     The theoretical study of sacred architecture was taken up by Cennas Narayanan Nambudiri, a courtier of the Zamorin of Calicut and participant of Revati Pattattanam at Tali in Calicut. As instructed by his patron, He produced in TantraSamuchaya, a comprehensive study of the principles of temple architecture, in the 15th century as instructed by his patron.69 This work replaced Manasara, Vishnudharmottara and other classical texts, and after that time, all temples in Kerala have followed it to this day. Such standard- setting works are not produced in this period outside Kerala.



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Sculpture, Painting, Theatre, Literature

                  Not only architecture, but sculpture and painting also received a new lease of life inKerala by the 14th-15th centuries. A new school of Kerala sculpture using the medium of granite and timber, took birth in the newly constructed or modified temples and palaces. Earlier sculpture following the concepts and techniques of classical forms gave way to something different from that of other parts of India. Post- Cera work displays typical Kerala physical features - broad and stocky bodies, fat rounded limbs, highly ornamented torso and prominent eyes and wide open nostrils, different from anything in the past and showing kinship with figures in Kathakali, KalamEzhuttu etc. and also mural paintings of the same age in this region. These developments display a new sensitivity and sense of Kerala identity and fresh dynamism not noticed earlier in Kerala. Rows of Ramayana and Mahabharata panels of woodwork, illustrating court scenes, battle scenes, processions and puranic deities, are squeezed into a small space on walls and roofs in temples and palaces.70 Exquisite mural paintings made of vegetable colors, reproducing the colors of Kerala landscape – dark green, red, yellow and black - decorate the temples like Trichur and Triprayar, and many other places.69 In fact the period from 14th to 18th centuries was the heyday of the Kerala School of Murals.71                                                                                                                                                                         


                  A path-breaking work in Sanskrit grammar came from Narayana Bhatta of  Melputhur, the famous author of Narayaneeyam, the popular devotional poem dedicated to Lord Krishna of Guruvayur temple. This new grammar named PrakriyaSarvaswam was composed in the 15th century, and it earned for him the respect of scholars all over the Sanskrit world.72 As far as performing arts are concerned, Kathakali which adopted its plots from Mahabharata, sign language from Natyasastra, and its colorful costumes from folk dances, took shape in the 16-17th centuries in temple premises. It has been hailed as a wonderful art form in the modern world.73 From the mixed Tamil-Sanskrit language known as Manipravalam, in which only mundane poems of sex message are found earlier, Tunchatt Ezhuttachan, of 16th century, created the modern Malayalam language, to become the vehicle of his free translations of Ramayana and other classical works in the Sanskrit language. He is also credited with popularizing the idea of using the Grantha or Arya script, employed so far only for writing Sanskrit language in Tamilnad and Kerala.74 In all these ways we see the continuing growth and innovative spirit of Kerala society in the post-Cera period, extending into the 16th century. It is the same spirit that was active in the scientific fields of mathematics and astronomy.   


      Thus the spring of creative activity in all these fields extended into the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries and beyond, until the Mysore invasions of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ravaged Kerala during the second half of the 18th century.75 Professor Pearson and others who studied the history of sea trade have recently observed that there was the rise of a new commercial class of agents and middlemen, as a result of the advent of European powers in the Arabian Sea in spite of the naval wars between the Mappilas and the Portuguese.76 The warrior class also benefited from the increased profits of trade, since a large number of them was engaged as Cangatam to protect the godowns and moving caravans of trade. That the Nambudiri and Nayar proprietors of land gained from the price-hike of commercial crops becomes clear from the records and literature.


Royal Patronage and Institutions

      Apart from Professor Pearson, we have the testimony of Poontanam, the distinguished philosopher poet of the 16th century, who observed the greed and arrogance of Nambudiri Brahmins and the opulence of riches.77 Professor Elamkulam has recently discussed the growth of feudal power and condemned the sexual anarchy of the rulers and priests, and christened the period as the orgiastic season of Nambudiris in Kerala.78 All this is true, but often we find that such immorality and development go hand in hand. By 16th century the Nayar nobility also started showing signs of love for literacy. The popularity of the Sudra poet Tunjath Ezhuttachan is an indication of this trend. The Zamorin employed a group of refugees from the east coast as instructors to impart primary education to children.79 The pallikkoodams of these Ezhuttachans – the term literally means ‘Master of Learning’ - came to be established in aristocratic houses.80


  Intellectual and cultural activity was promoted by the rulers of Calicut kingdom. In the capital city of Calicut there was the famous Revati Pattattanam at Tali Siva temple at which the best scholars in different fields from different parts of South India congregated. They were honored every year by the Zamorin before an assembly of scholars with the gift of a purse containing  one hundred panams and the bhatta title. Uddanda Sastri from Tamilnad was a regular candidate for the title.81 Again, the Zamorin had conquered Valluvanad and forcibly appropriated the right to preside over the traditional twelve-yearly MahaMagha (Mamaka) festival at Tirunavay Vishnu temple. This was basically a trade fair at which thousands congregated on the sand banks of river Perar, otherwise called Bharatappuzha. There were the shrines of all the deities in the neighborhood, and all kinds of scholarly contests and entertainments were organized. With the Zamorin’s assumption of responsibility as the Raksha Purusha sometime in the 15th century, the prestige of the festival increased. The ritual of Valluvanad Raja’s hereditary bodyguards offering to die fighting as Caver (suicide squads) in the name of vendetta for killing two princes in war became a regular spectacle. Like the Jupiter festivals in Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain, Gokarnam and Kumbhakonam the MahaMagha too was part of ancient tradition in India which continued in medieval times, and flourished until 1766 AD. in Kerala.82





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 Astronomical Foundations

      There is evidence to show that the Aryabhatiya tradition of astronomy (499AD) was very strong in Kerala at least by the 9th century. Sankara Narayana, the court astronomer of Sthanu Ravi Kulasekhara (844 – c.870 AD), composed an astronomical work named Vivarana which is actually a commentary on Laghu Bhaskariya (522AD). He mentions Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Bhaskara, Govinda and Haridatta as his predecessors in the field. He states that Bhaskara I was the commentator of  Aryabhata who elaborated the system of Pitamaha, derived from Brahma. According to him, Bhaskara I had composed Ganita Kalakriya and Golalakshana, and then wrote Brihadbhaskariya on Grihakarmanibandhana. Then followed Laghubhaskariya  “for the enlightenment of mandabuddhis, i.e. people who are backward in intelligence”. This contains eight chapters. The main object of Bhaskara was to deal systematically with the modusoperandi for determining the position of planets using the principles of calculations enunciated by Aryabhata.83


      The court astronomer’s object was to prepare a summary of this work of Bhaskara in simple language “for the instruction of children”. According to Dr. P.K.Narayana Pillai, Editor, it is almost an original work containing new material and application presented in the form of a commentary. It deals with grahakarman or grahaganita, one of the three main factors that constitute ganita. He quotes profusely from Aryabhata and occasionally from Govinda, and refers to the method followed at Kollapuri in Paithyarashtra (Kolhapur in Paithan district?)as the standard practice.84 This was composed in Saka year 791 which corresponds to 869 AD. and the same date is mentioned in Kali era also. Though the original work employs only the bhutasakhya system to suggest the date, this Kerala commentator uses that as well as the katapayadi system of letter-numerals popular in Kerala.85 The author’s name is given as Sankara Narayana in the colophon at the end of all the eight chapters. The invocation mentions Lord Sthanu, which can signify both Siva and king Sthanu or Sthanu Ravi.86 He refers to his royal patron as Ravi and Kulasekhara in different passages. The existence of a prasada (mansion), the construction of a Sabha by expert architects in the city of Mahodayapura, the capital, the installation of an observatory by Ravi Varma, and the announcement of time at Senamukha (cantonment) are mentioned in the text.87 The progress of astronomy in Kerala is highlighted by the reference to the rasicakra marked by a yantravalaya instituted by Ravi Varma Deva, most probably the author’s patron. This must be part of an observatory established there.88 In the course of digging in 1969, the Archaeologists of the ASI under the leadership of Dr. K.V. Raman found the remnants of a strange structure which they suspected to belong to this building. The present writer also had participated in the excavations. The full report of the excavation has not been published.


     From the close of the 9th century, inscriptions in temples from different parts of Kerala refer to solar month and date, week day and nakshatra besides the other details. These records were not royal edicts as in the neighboring regions, but were mostly the resolutions of village assemblies. Therefore we have to assume that in Kerala even the Brahmin villages possessed scholars who could Pachangam details correctly. This is found in other parts of South India also, but a specialty of Kerala is that several records contain the position of Jupiter (Brihaspati or Guru, Vyazham in Malayalam language).89 Special importance was attached to this planet in Kerala. The grand twelve-yearly festival Mamakam (Maha Magham) was based on the Jupiter cycle. Even some of the traditional Dravidian festivals like the Perumkaliyattam of Muchilottu Bhagavati followed the Jupiter cycle. The Perumals were initially allotted a twelve-year term of rule, according to legend mentioned above. Hamilton has recorded this tradition in the 18th century.90 Land contracts were renewed after every twelve years in traditional society.91 A person who completed five Jupiter cycles, i. e. sixty years could celebrate the shashtipoorthi in the belief that he had completed half the period allotted to human beings, because the full term was one hundred and twenty years, i.e. ten Jupiter cycles.


      The Panchanga details are found in other parts of South India also in royal charters, but in Kerala most of the inscriptions were the records of village assembly resolutions. Therefore we have to assume that all the Brahmin settlements of Kerala had expert astronomers to calculate these details by themselves. More over, we find that in late medieval Kerala, there were scholarly attempts to reform the calendar by means of ParaGanita and DrikGanita theories which they had formulated through observation with the naked eye. In fact, the term DrikGanita itself means ‘Ganita with the eye’.91 While the telescope made such corrections easy in Europe in recent times, the Kerala scholars did the job without machines. These developments demonstrate that though the work of the Madhava group came to end with the 16th century, other Kerala scholars carried on the creative activity in the field of astronomy also.


     The complete domination of Sanskritic Brahmin elements in the spheres of polity, society and culture, especially in the field of intellectual activities, and the continuity of that tradition without break in the middle ages are the two distinctive characteristics of Kerala that may be helpful in explaining the efflorescence of creative astronomical work during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries while such creativity had disappeared in other parts of India. The intellectual climate of the Cera period continued and prospered in an atmosphere of cultural symbiosis among different communities. It was destroyed in the 18th century when Mysore invasions caused anarchy and confusion for about half a century. All kings and chieftains fled to the south along with all the landlords and officials for fear of forced conversion to Islam. Traditional society and its culture perished.92


      Now we can turn for a moment to the possible ways in which the innovative astronomical concepts of the Kerala School could have been passed on to the Western centers of learning. Kerala had close contact with the Arab world through the Arabian Sea ports like Kodungallur and Kollam earlier, and Calicut, Ponnani and Kannur later. At least from the 9th century, Arab traders have been visiting Kollam and probably other Kerala ports regularly with the help of the Monsoon, and the Arab Muslims established ten mosques on the sea coast from the first half of the 12th century. Traders, religious scholars and travelers have been coming from Arabia, but there is no record of their interest in Sanskrit language or science of astronomy. It is true that Indian sciences of mathematics and astronomy, and philosophy and literature went from India to Europe – the so-called Arab numerals, concept of zero, Sufi mysticism, musical ragas, fables – after Alberuni’s Kitab ul-Hind (10th century) was published.93 However, much of that transaction had taken place through North India between the 10th and 16th centuries, and Kerala is nowhere in the picture. The Arabs were in the forefront of culture, in the fields of Science, History and Art, but their decline had started by the time of the rise of the Kerala School, and Europe seized the initiative with the dawn of Renaissance. This would explain the absence of Kerala astronomy and mathematics in later Arabic literature.


  This is not the case with the European writings between 16th and 18th centuries. The Jesuit missionaries who came with the Portuguese and Dutch traders and administrators exhibited much curiosity about this land and people. They experimented with agriculture, and brought good and bad things like cashew, papaya, tapioca, coffee, tea, rubber and tobacco from different countries to Kerala. They carried pepper to the Dutch settlements in Indonesia with disastrous consequences for gardens in Kerala.94 They studied Sanskrit mainly for understanding Hindu philosophy so that they can refute it more effectively in their campaign for Christianity. Some of them like Arnos Padiri concentrated on literature while others were interested in science. John Ernestus Hanxleden, popularly known in Kerala as Arnos Padiri, arrived on the Westcoast of South India in 1699 AD. and stayed mostly at the Jesuit monastery at Ampazhakkatt near Trichur in central Kerala. He constructed a church at Velur and lived there till his death on 20th Minam, 1732. Paulinos and others, better known in Europe through their work in European classical languages, continued the dialogue. The town of Trichur had a group of great Sanskrit scholars, and the Christian missionaries referred to them as a university. Arnos Padiri studied Sanskrit and kept in touch with these Nambudiri scholars. He had several friends among them, and was in the habit of discussing literature and astronomy with these.  They created huge volumes of correspondence, but only part of it is available in English translation today.95 It is up to researchers to search for clues regarding their contact with astronomers and mathematicians in this region, if any.


    There is a reasonable hope that by working simultaneously in European and Indian archives of the period from 1400 to 1800 AD., this question of a possible connection between the Kerala School of astronomers and the European scientists of the enlightenment in the 18th century like Isaac Newton and Lebnietz can be settled. It is true that general trends and thoughts may appear independently in different cultures at different times. However, the probability is that when a cluster of more than one inter-related specific concepts in a field appearing in a culture are duplicated in another culture after a lapse of about one or two centuries, there is a human link, especially where the two regions had close and continuous physical contacts at several points through warriors, missionaries, traders and travelers of all types. 








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 Paper presented by Prof. George Menachery 

( 0091-9846033713) 
at the Muziris International Seminar, 
Christ College, Irinjalakuda, 
Sept. 8 – 11, 2013:

  • “The Maritime Importance of Muziris
  • as Described by
  • Roman Historians and Poets,
  • & other writers. in the First Centuries BCE/CE “
  • As Inspiration for Undertaking a Modern Day Muziris - Red Sea Sail Ship Voyage.

Allow me to put my last para first by bringing to the attention of the learned scholars present an item from the Hindu dated January 21, 2012 which more or less summarises what I want to say here at the end of this paper. 

Re-enact Muziris voyages, KHA tells Navy

  • Defence Ministry told to take the lead in rebuilding such a vessel at Beypore


  • The Kerala History Association (KHA) headed by jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer has urged the Indian Navy to join hands with the Departments of Cultural Affairs and Tourism to re-enact the voyages of ancient trade vessels from the ancient port of Muziris to the Red Sea around 2000 years ago.

In a key resolution, passed early this month, the association asked the Union Defence Ministry to take the lead in rebuilding such a cargo vessel at Beypore,
a historical boatbuilding hub in northern Kerala renowned for its esoteric technology adept at building ‘urus' [cargo sail yachts] using locally available timber and coir.

  • The association felt that recreating a cargo vessel that plied the seas from Muziris to link ports in the Red Sea on the Egyptian and the Yemeni coasts would highlight the strong historical links between the two important regions of the world besides bringing to the world's attention their cultural exchanges.


  • Historian K.N. Panikkar endorsed the idea when he told The Hindu on Friday that it would be good if the Navy undertook such a mission.


  • He recalled that such efforts had been made in other parts of the world, including in the recreation of journeys along the old Silk Route.


  • It must have taken 40 days to reach Muziris from Egypt by sea in the olden times, said George Menacherry, a historian, who piloted the resolution at the association's meeting.


  • He, however, added that the ‘Jewel of Muscat,' (later, “The Jewel of Oman”) a replica of the late first-millennium trading vessel that sailed around the world, jointly created by the Sultanate of Oman and the Government of Singapore, had shown that the journey would take just 27 days now [according to Omani Navy Captain Jabri of the “Jewel” with whom this writer compared notes for hours].


  • Approached for its comments, the Navy said although it had not received the proposal yet, it would study the merits of the project before taking a call on that.


  • “While the Navy has always taken a keen interest in understanding, conserving, and contributing to build upon the rich maritime history that India boasts, collaboration in such ventures require decision at the highest-level,” said Navy sources.


  • In the State, the Navy has earlier assisted the archaeological excavation team at Pattanam (where vestiges of Kerala's trade with the Mediterranean countries were exhumed) by sending its deep-sea divers to conduct underwater surveys.


  • It sustains a chair on maritime history at Calicut University and the local chapter of the Maritime History Society is headed by the Southern Naval Command's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).

When the ‘Jewel of Muscat' (Jewel of Oman), currently installed as a maritime history museum in Singapore after a historical sail along the ancient Middle East
and the Far East, was constructed in Oman on the lines of a shipwrecked ninth-century cargo vessel, uru-builders of Beypore were called in to build it.

  • Built without nails or screws and with planks sewn together using coconut fibres, the sail yacht was made by over a dozen carpenters and rope-makers from Beypore.


  • “There was a time when the boatbuilding industry here (Beypore, Kerala) had its hands full, building about 60 urus simultaneously. Even now, they build about six to seven urus for foreign customers who use them for tourism promotion. They recently constructed one for a French customer. Exponents of the esoteric technology of uru-making are not many now. But still there are a few and scores of workers are employed by them to carry out the job. They can create mock-ups of ancient ships as well,” said M.P. Padmanabhan, INTUC national leader and an authority on the subject.


  • Recreating the vessel will highlight the links


  • ‘Such efforts made in other parts of the world'

Here’s a Replica of the 9th Century Craft “Jewel of Oman”that sailed the Indian Ocean arriving in Kochi and then sailing away to Singapore. The glorious example of Indian Navy’s Abilash can also be studied. 

Kerala Workmen from Beypore, using Coir Ropes and Teakwood on the Jewel of Oman,

The Jewel of Oman (Inside View) 

  • 1.00


  • In the title of this paper the term “Muziris–Red Sea Sail Ship Voyage” is used as if this writer is quite certain about the exact location of Muziris. When this writer wrote the chapter on Muziris in the work “Kodungallur…” (first published in 1987) there was to be found near- unanimity of opinion about the location of Muziris among the vast majority of 20th Century historians. This unanimity of opinion continued more or less until the book was reprinted in 2000 and its contents published on the net. Until quite recent times, most historians believed, with many generations of people down the centuries, that Muziris was Cranganore or Kodungallur.

Location of Muziris

  • Ptolemy has E. Long. 117.00 and N. Lat. 14.00 for Muciris Emporium and 117.20 and 14.00 for the Azhimukham (Pseudostomas). See K.V. K Ayyar, A Short History of Kerala, Ernakulam, 1966, Appendix II, pp. 193, 194, 195 for some two score and ten places in the area mentioned by Greek and Roman authors of the century between c. 50 and 150 A.D. Later calculations are also available today.

Here are a few other authors who have identified Muziris with Kodungallur:

  • P.Padbanabha Menon: “Pliny described Cranganore as primum emporium Indiae “ (actually Pliny says this about Muziris). And again, “ Situated on the western sea-board at a point where the river system that afforded untold facilities for communication with the interior opened its mouth into the sea, Cranganore formed a great emporium of trade from very early times” from where “The Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, each in turn, carried on commerce with the East." [History of Kerala, I, Ernakulam, 1924, p 297]

K.M. Panikkar : "The great hoards of Roman coins discovered in Kerala bear ample witness to the extensive character of this trade.” 
[Here this writer would emphasise the coins from Eyyal, near Kunnamkulam, and Valuvally, near Parur of 80 years from Agustus to Nero]. 

Under Nero, Rome annexes Aden to protect the maritime route between Alexandria and Asia.


1.Caesar Augustus’ Gold Coin 2. Eyyal Hoard punch-marked coins(cf. Gupta, pic Menachery ) 3. Nero Gold Coin 4.Parur Hoard Roman Gold Coins (cf. Satyamoorthy)

[During this writer’s first term on the Archaeology Advisory Board of the Kerala Govt. 1975-78, if I remember right, fellow members Dr. K. V. Raman, Dr. T. K. Ravindran, Dr. M. G. S. Narayanan subscribed to the view that Muziris was Kodungallur]

  • Panikkar continues:"The main port in Kerala which was the centre of this trade, as Pliny says, was Muziris or Cranganore. It was known in Kerala as Muyirikkodu - it is so mentioned in the so called Christian plates. The earlier Tamil poets allude to it as Mucciri. Periplus mentions that Muziris is a city at the height of prosperity frequented as it is by ships from Arriake and by Greek ships from Egypt. The exports of Kerala consisted mainly of ‘pearl in considerable quantity and of superior quality; pepper in larger quantities and gems of every variety’. " K.M. Panikkar, A History of Kerala, Annamalai Nagar, 1959, p.3.

Some others who equate Muziris with Kodungallur:

  • Galletti, The Dutch in Malabar, Madras 1911, p.9 (Introduction v)
  • V. Nagam Aiya, Tr.St.Manual (in 3 vols.), Vol. I, Trivandrum, 1906, pp. 231-232
  • T. K. Velu Pillai, TSM (in 4 vols.), Vol.II, 1940, p.10
  • Yule-Cordier, Cathay and the Way Thither, London.
  • Vincent Smith quoted in T.K. Velu Pillai, op-cit., vol.II. p.10
  • Bjorn Landstrom , The Quest for India , Stockholm, 1964, (Double day English Edition). p.48
  • K.V. Krishna Iyer, Kerala’s Relations with the Outside World, pp. 70, 71 in "The Cochin Synagogue Quatercentenary Celebrations Commemoration Volume", Kerala History Association, Cochin, 1971.

There are many more statements by a plethora of writers taking for granted that Muziris is Kodungallur.
  • But in recent years, especially after the excavations at Pazhnam or Pattanam by Shajan followed by others, there is a tendency among a group of scholars to doubt the location of Muziris, hence what is accepted more or less universally is that Muziris is on the west Coast of Malabar, possibly in the vicinity of Kodungallur in the Parur-Chetwa belt.
  • This divergence in the views of scholars does not however affect the position that large quantities of Kerala goods and goods that arrived in Kerala from various points were exported from Muziris.

3 aspects of Muziris Trade in Roman & Greek writers
  • 2.00 The writings of early writers both of the east and the west bring out mainly three aspects of the Muziris trade, one: the products exported from Muziris and the demand for Muziris exports at Rome and elsewhere in the Empire, two: the extend of the Muziris trade and its economic impact, and three: Muziris location, route and modus for the transportation and the duration of the trips by land and sea to and from Muziris.

Gk. & Roman writers we have examined speaking about India and/or Muziris include:

  • Arrian: 2nd Century A. D. Greek author; Anabasis-Famed Greek prose history by Xenophon of "Retreat of the Ten Thousand from Persia" (c. 399 B. C.).
  • Juvenal the poet. Author of the Periplus. Pliny the historian.Strabo : (Born around 63 B.C. and died after A. D. 21). The only extant work of this Greek geographer and historian, a geography in 17 books, is a rich source of ancient knowledge of the world.
  • Plutarch : Greek biographer and essayist (c. A. D. 46-120): "The Lives" have charm and historical value. There are 46 paired Greek and Roman biographies and 4 single biographies in it.
  • Herodotus : (484? - 425? B. C.) Greek historian, called ‘Father of history’. The rich diversity of his contemporary secular narrative history makes it an important source book on ancient Greece.
  • Diodorus Siculus : Died after 21 B. C., Sicilian historian. Author of world history in Greek, ending with Gallic Wars; of its 40 books I - IV and XI-XX are fully preserved.

Gk. & Roman writers we have examined speaking about India and/or Muziris include (Contd.):
  • Ptolemy : Greco-Egyptian astronomer, mathematician and geographer born around 100 A. D., fl. 127 to 147or 151- Geographike Hyfegesis.
  • Megasthenes : He was sent in 302 B. C. by Selukos, king of Syria as ambassador to Chandragupta and remained for some time with the Indian kings, and wrote a history of Indian affairs, that he might hand down to posterity a faithful account of all that he had witnessed.
  • Deimachos : Sent to Bindusara by Antiochus Soter, the successor of Selukos. He also wrote a book about India.
  • Dionysios : Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt sent him to Pataliputra as ambassador "to put the truth to the test by personal inspection". He also wrote a book on India.

Aspect One : the products exported from Muziris and the demand for Muziris exports at Rome and elsewhere in the Empire
  • 3.00 As the information available from the western sources is so large we shall mention only a few details of the Muziris export trade are mentioned. Pearl, diamonds, sapphire, ivory, silk, pepper, other spices and precious stones, possibly sandal and yarn were exported. As pepper and pearls have pride of place among Muziris exports we shall restrict ourselves to these two commodities here, for lack of time and space.

Lollia Paulina’s Pearls

3.01 Let me here introduce Lollia Paulina. It is Pliny the Elder, author of the 37 volumes of Natural History who speaks in detail about her.
1.Pliny 2.Lollia 3.“Natural History”

Pliny Describes Paulina’s Pearls
  • 3.02 "I once saw Lollia Paulina, the wife of the Emperor Gaius - it was not any solemn ceremonial, but only at an ordinary betrothal entertainment - covered with emeralds and pearls, which shone in alternate layers upon her head, in her hair, in her wreaths, in her ears, upon her neck, in her bracelets and on her fingers, and the value of which amounted in all to 40,000,000 sesterces; indeed she was prepared at once to prove the fact by showing the receipts and acquittances".


  • 3.03 "Our ladies glory in having pearls suspended from their fingers, one, two or three of them dangling from their ears, delighted even with the rattling of pearls as they knock against each other; and now, at the present day, the poorer classes are even affecting them as people are in the habit of saying that ‘ a pearl worn by a woman in public is as good as a lictor walking before her’: Nay even more than this, they put them on their feet, and that not only on the laces of their sandals, but all over the shoes; it is not enough to wear pearls, but they must tread upon them, and walk with them under foot as well".


  • 4.00 The chief commodity exported from Muziris was pepper and the fair reputation of Malabar pepper had already reached the four corners of the known world from the early centuries B.C. So much so it is called Yavana Priya (beloved of the Romans). In addition to what the Periplus has to say on the area where pepper is produced in Malabar (56), we also have there a list of ports (viz. Thundis, Muziris, Nelcynda and Barace) from which pepper was exported. Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century speaks of ‘Male where pepper
  • grows’ and of ‘Male which has fine marts
  • that export pepper’


Sangam Poet PARANAR on Roman Pepper Trade at Muziris
  • 4.01Puram 343: "Fish is bartered for paddy, which is brought in baskets to the houses; sacks of Pepper are brought from the houses to the market; the gold received from ships, in exchange for articles sold, is brought on shore in barges at Muchiri, where the music of the surging sea never ceases, and where Kudduvan (the Chera king) presents to visitors, the rare products of the seas and mountain". [It was truly an emporium or entrepot (like Dubai or Bahrein today) where products from all over South India were traded]


  • Note by GM on 343 in a paper at the First World Malayalam Conference, Trivandrum, 1977: " The passage in 343 (Paranar) which says that the gold (gold ornaments) brought by ships arrive on the shore in boats (thonis) corroborates what Pliny mentions in 6.23 (26): ‘besides, the road-stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging’. It also explains the term psudosthomos used by the Roman.

Erakkaddur Thyankannanar on the Pepper Exports to Rome
  • 4.02 Erakkaddur Thyankannanar : 
  • The early Tamil poet Erakkaddur Thyankannanar describes Muchiri (Muziris) situated near the mouth of the Periyar as follows:

"The thriving town of Muchir - where the beautiful large ships of the Yavanas, bringing gold, come splashing the white foam on the waters of the Periyar, which belongs to the Cherala (Chera or Kerala) and return laden with pepper.“ (Aham 148)
[It is surprising why some pundits are searching everywhere else except near the Periyar for a port specifically described as existing at the mouth of the Periyar. The absence of any passage from the Sangam period in Kerala Text Books also is a mystery.] 

And here’s Pliny on Pepper Imports
  • 4.03 Pepper was in great demand in Rome at the time of Pliny.
  • "It is quite surprising that the use of pepper has come so much into fashion, seeing that in other substances which we use, it is sometimes their sweetness, and sometimes their appearance that has attracted our notice; whereas, pepper has nothing in it that can plead as a recommendation to either fruit or berry, its only desirable quality being in certain pungency; and yet it is for this that we import it all the way from India. Who was the first to make trial of it as an article of food? And who, I wonder, was the man that was not content to prepare himself by hunger only for the satisfying of a greedy appetite?“ Pliny, 12.7 (14).
Aspect Two: extend of the Muziris trade and its economic impact: Muziris Vienna Papyrus

5.01 When did Egyptians start trading with Muziris is not known, but a document discovered in Egypt in 1980 and first published in 1985 confirms that by 2nd century AD it was well established. Known as the Muziris papyrus or the Vienna papyrus it is now preserved in a  Vienna Museum. This papyrus document mentions a loan agreement made by an Egyptian merchant and a merchant in Muziris, for exporting Gangetic Nard, Ivorys and textiles. It also estimates the value of goods and a 25% tax for the items. 
That Egyptian merchant gave this agreement to the Roman government as a guarantee for a loan and that is how this agreement survived through the ages. This discovery has opened a strong base to ancient international and trade laws in particular and has been studied at length by economists, lawyers as well as historians. Cf.f.i.Frederico de Romanis, various papers. 

TheVienna Muziris Papyrus

5.02 Vienna Muziris Papyrus (Latest 2nd-3rd century AD)Casson remarks: - One of the great contributions of the papyrus is the concrete evidence it furnishes of the huge amounts of money that the trade with India required. The six parcels of the shipment recorded on the verso had a value of just short of 1155 talents almost as much as it cost to build the aqueduct at Alexandria. The parcel of ivory and the parcel of fabric together weighed 92 talents and wereworth 528,775 drachmas. A Roman Merchantman of just ordinary size had a capacity of 340 tons; it was capable of carrying over 11,000 talents of such merchandise. And the weather conditions on the route to India were such as to require the use of vessels of at least this sizeLoaded with cargoes of the likes of that recorded in this papyrus, they were veritable treasure ships.


Pliny on Drainage of Roman Gold to India

in spite of Pliny’s complaints this demand for pepper continued in Roman circles. The continued use of it inCooking raised its price to 15 denarii a pound for long pepper, 7 for the white, and 4 for the black pepper. This vigorous trade in pepper and other spices of India began to drain the Roman Empire of its wealth. Pliny is stupefied at the thought of this drainage. He says; "The subject (of setting forth the whole route from Egypt to India) is one well worthy of our notice, seeing that in no year does India drain our empire of less than five hundred and fifty millions of sesterces, giving back her own wares in exchange, which are sold among us at fully one hundred times their prime cost". 

Some 300 years later pepper was still valued highly in Rome. Alaric the Goth King of the Visigoths we find, asking for 3000 pounds of pepper as an important part of the ransom to raise the siege against Rome. (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, XXXI) 

The Mammoth Jeronimos MonasteryA World Heritage Monument; Vasco da Gama's final resting place built from  just 5% (150 lbs. gold yearly) of Portugal’s East. Revenue


Jeronimos Monastery built from a small %age of  Portugal’s Oriental Revenue 

First Century ROMAN Gold COINS in Kerala

Large numbers of Roman coins have been discovered on the Malabar coast (e.g. from Eyyal between Cranganore and Palayur, and from Kottayam in North Kerala). In 1984 more than a thousand Roman gold coins were found buried in Parur, also not very distant from Parur - Cranganore. What is interesting is that the majority of these coins belong to a period of some 80 years from Augustus to Nero (B.C. 27 to A.D. 68).
The Periplus has this remark, "There are imported here (to Malabar Ports), in the first place a great quantity of coin,...." The Roman could, it is believed make a profit on the sale of gold coins in India, [as even today] perhaps because these were not only used as currency but also for ornament as is evidenced by the fact that many gold coins found in Kerala have been pierced through. 

“History of Modern Europe is the history of the quest for Indian goods.” “All of world’s Gold and Silver ends up in India”

About Europe in general and England in particular which was the last western power involved with India it has been said, "the history of Modern Europe and emphatically of England, is the history of the quest of the aromatic gum, resins and balsams, and condiments and spices, of India etc. "
"it should not escape notice that gold and silver, after circulating in every other quarter of the globe, come at length to be absorbed in Hindustan. " Edward Farley Oaten, European Travellers in India, 1909, introduction, p.14.
  When Persia and Egypt fell beneath the power of the Arabs one of the spoils of their victory was the Indian Trade. Herodotus tells us that India is the wealthiest and most populous country on earth. As Sir George Birdwood has remarked. "The entire record of the intercourse between countries of the west and India from the very earliest times to the present day may be said to be the story of the struggle for the Indian trade“Sir George Birdwood,  p. 101; E. F. Oaten, p.8. 

Aspect Three: the route and modus for the transportation and the duration of the trips by land and sea
  • Pliny : Pliny the Elder (Caius Plinius Secundus, A.D. 23-79), Roman naturalist has left us in his Encyclopedic Natural History, in 37 books, a prodigious collection of second hand information. In his description, given below, we have accurate accounts of the journey to India and to the Malabar coasts in the first century.
  • "To those who are bound for India, Ocelis is the best place for embarkation. If the wind, called Hippalus happens to be blowing it is possible to arrive, in forty days at the nearest mart in India, Muziris by name. This however, is not a very desirable place for disembarkation, on account of the pirates which frequent its vicinity, where they occupy a place called Nitrias, nor in fact, is it very rich in articles of merchandise.
All the details of a return trip from Red Sea to Muziris are given by Pliny
  • Besides, the road stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging. At the moment that I am writing these pages, the name of the king of this place is Caelobothras. Another port, and a much more convenient one, is that which lies in the territory of the people called Neacyndi, Barace (Porakkadu) by name. Here king Pandion used to reign, dwelling at a considerable distance from the mart in the interior, at a city known as Modiera (Madura). The district from which pepper is carried down to Barace in boats hollowed out of a single tree, is known as Cottonara."


  • Concerning the return journey, Pliny thus continues; "Travellers set sail from India on their return to Europe, at the beginning of the Egyptian month of Tybia, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian month Mechir, the same as our Ides of January; if they do this they can go and return in the same year. They set sail from India with a south-east wind, and upon entering the Red Sea, catch the south-west or south."

2000 yr. old statue of Ostia Antica. Os. Ant. can shed much light on the arrangements at and fate of Muziris.


Only Geology and Archaeology can explain how Muziris vanished in ca.5thC.

  • This writer’s close personal study and investigation of Mukkalla, Socotra, the Red Sea coast, and Ostia Antica has given some ideas concerning the Muziris port’s final disappearance. Only Geology and Archaeology combined with Ocean Studies and the political history of Rome can explain how Muziris vanished in ca.5thC.

Ostia Antica Amphitheatre : The Ghost of Hamlet’s Father


Let this congregation of scholars Pass a Resolution to arrange a Muziris-Red Sea Sail-Ship Voyage
  • For lack of time and space let me conclude. Let us work for re-enacting a Muziris Red Sea Sail Ship voyage as described at the outset of this paper, with assistance from the Navy, the Tourism Dept., and the Cultural Ministry at Delhi and at Trivandrum. Cf. the Hindu story supra.



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Synagogues of Kerala - I


Still standing Synagogues of Kerala.
Gods own country, it is apt for Kerala and she has many reason to be called so. The nature and her greenery is the one universal reason but as we just go through the bygone eras, it is seen the first synagogue, church, and mosque of India was established in Kerala. She warmly received all the Semitic religion along with those existing Dravidian and Aryan religions. Talking about the Jewry hardly a few are aware about the Jewish population of Kerala as they were a micro-minority community here. Even being a minority group they had established many settlements around the vicinity of Kerala, known as Malabar to outsiders.
Most of the Jewish settlements were established near Maritime city, or near any rivers like any other foreign community. But the main two reasons for establishing new- new settlements would be either because of Trade or persecution. Whatever the reason be the Jews built their synagogue or so called prayer house in their settlement.
Currently there is only one functioning synagogue but 7 still standing synagogues and many lost synagogues in Kerala. Existances of some lost synagogues are clear with some literary evidence but some are without evidence but existence those synagogues can be elucidated without an evidence. More clearly the existence of some synagogues can be proved, but geographically the locations are not known or it is hard to identify. Similarly some are believed as part of tradition that where ever they establish their settlement the will built a small prayer house or a synagogue.
Almost all of the existing synagogue structures were re-built after its demolition. That is, history says the story of each synagogue that had faced the phase of destruction during Moorish and Portuguese attack. And most of the existing synagogue had a Dutch influence in the architecture of the main building i.e. unlike following the traditional Kerala architecture the synagogues are a two - three storey building height, a Beith Midrash (Jewish study hall) in the same structure or in another building interconnected with a skyway.  The entrance to the women’s gallery and the entrance to the Beith Midrash are same as seen in most of the synagogue of Kerala. Existence of Asara or the ante room, which resembles the ancient temple mentioned in Bible, is another feature. The wooden Ark, (where Torah is placed) in the western wall will be a center of attraction with Theba (The Pulpit – made of Brass). The other feature is the Grand Pulpit situated in first floor level, used for the High festivals. The Yakim and Boaz two (brass) pillars below the Grand Pulpit is a replica of the Pillars of the Solomon’s temple.
The lists of existing synagogues are as below:
     1.     Parur Synagogue, Parur
     2.     Kadavumbagom Synagogue, Ernakulam
     3.     Thekkumbagom synagogue, Ernakulam
     4.     Kadavumbagom synagogue, Mattancherry
     5.     Pardesi synagogue, Mattancherry
     6.     Mala synagogue, Mala
     7.     Chennamangalam synagogue, near Parur.
1.    Parur Synagogue, Parur.
Parur synagogue, Before restoration (Original  Heckal and Theba can be seen)
It is located in North Paravur, largest of its kind, built in 1616 AD by David Yakov Castiel, but it is widely believed that an early structure existed there which was build in 1164 AD. The original Heckal (Ark of covenant) and the Theba (Pulpit) of the synagogue has been dismantled and restored in Israel museum, Jerusalem along with the interiors of Kadavumbagom synagogue, Mattancherry.
The Heckal and Theba of Parur synagogue. a view from The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Parur Synagogue under restoration
A foundation of old synagogue was found in the compound where half portion of the foundation is under the present synagogue. The synagogue is restoring under the Kerala government’s tourism project, Muziris Heritage Project. 
2.    Kadavumbagom Synagogue, Ernakulam.
Kadavumbagom synagogue, Ernakulam
Its located in Jew street, Broadway in Ernakulam. It exists in the vinicity of one of the major and busiest market. But these synagogues have a small difference apart from other synagogues with its single structure and absence of the Skyways. And it was built in 1200 AD, but present building’s date is not exactly known but it is assumed as 16th or 17th century. Currently it serves as a "Cochin Blossom" a aquarium shop.
3.    Thekkumbagom synagogue, Ernakulam.
Thekkumbagom synagogue, Ernakulam
This synagogue is located near the Kadavumbagom synagogue in Jew street, Broadway in Ernakulam. It is also believed to have built in 1200 AD, but another source says this was built in 1580 AD in the land granted by Rajah of Cochin as a token of appreciation.but in 1930 AD existed small synagogue was replaced and present building was built so considered to be the last and most recent synagogue rebuilt by Kerala Jews.
4.    Kadavumbagom synagogue, Mattancherry.
A rare colour picture of Kadavumbagaom synagogue, Mattancherry
A main tall building resembling Dutch colonial architecture style exists still. But Beith Midrash, and the Skywalk of this synagogue has been removed when the street was straighten in 1960 AD, or later. A rare colour photo of the synagogue took in 1956 AD, is the proof for that. The date of the synagogue is said to be 1400 AD but it was restored by Baruch Joseph Levi or his son Joseph David Halevi in 1539 AD and that was completed by Yacov David Castiel in 1549 AD.
Interior of Kadavumbagom synagogue installed in Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Later interiors of this Kadavumbagom synagogue was dismantled and restored in Israel Museum. The original Ark and the Theba were taken by the community to Israel and installed in other synagogue in Moshav Nehalim, Israel. so the Heckal (Ark of Covenant) and the Theba (pulpit) installed in the museum is of Parur synagogue. Building was used as a warehouse thereafter.
5.    Paradesi Synagogue, Mattancherry
Paradesi synagogue, interior.
Paradesi synagogue decorated for Simah Torah festival, 2009
In early or mid 16th century, The Jews from Cranganore who had took their refuge in Cochin, again saw the influx of the Jews from further far points like Spain and Portugal (Probably would have arrived in Senhore Saudi near Fortkochi). And in 1567 AD Rajah of Cochin donated them the land for building their own town and prayer house near to his Palace. Thus the Jew Town was established in the year 1567 AD and in 1568AD the Paradesi synagogue was built. There is a traditional believed that four wealthy men, Samuel Castiel, David Belila, Joseph Levi and Ephraim Salem donated the money for building the synagogue and the Castiel Family played a significant part in reconstructing many synagogues of Kerala. Later this synagogue was put on fire by Portuguese in 1662 AD and it was rebuilt in 1665 AD.
There are some outstanding features owned only by Paradesi synagogue, they are
A.   The Clock Tower
B.   Chinese handmade porcelain tile
6.    Mala Synagogue, Mala.
Mala synagogue under restoration.
The name ‘Mala’ might have originated from the Hebrew word “Mal-Aha” which means “Center of Refugee”. Mala still has a Synagogue and a Jewish Cemetery maintained by the Israeli descendents of those buried here. Mala is in Trichur district, Kerala, used to be an important trading  centre,  even before birth of Christ .The spices of the Western Ghats of India,   attracted the Jews,  who established a settlement here and had a synagogue too here. In the early times, Mala was a colony of Jews. Mala is more or less identified as Anjuvannam, granted by Cheraman Perumal to Joseph Ramban but there are many reasons to accept or deny this view. Advocate Prem Doss Yehudi Swami, a converted Dravidian Jew and historian, identified that in a Malayalam jewish song mentions about the incident of Cheraman Perumal donating wood to Joseph Ramban in 1000 AD. He also claims that this former synagogue was pulled down of an unknown reason and a new synagogue was erected in 1400 AD. Later it was renovated in 1792 AD after Tippu’s attack in 1780 AD. But from Tomas Dawson’s account it was ruined in 1817 AD. There is currently no Jewish community.  They all left from Mala.  Their synagogue and cemetery were handed over to the Mala Panchayat on April 1, 1955. It is restored under the Muziris Heritage Project.
Mala Jewish cemetery
7.    Chennamangalam synagogue, Chennamangalam.
Chennamangalam Synagogue after restoration
A tomb from Chennamangalam jewish cemetery
It is built that it was built in 1614 AD, The Chennamangalam earlier known as Chenotta or Chennota, is believed to be one of the oldest settlements, a tomb stone dating 1269 AD found within the vicinity is a complimenting to this belief. Much data regarding the synagogues are not available. But historians had identified this settlement with the “Kunja-Kari” mentioned by Ibn Battuta, (1304-1368 or 1369 AD)
 “which is on top of a hill it is inhabited by Jews, who have one of their own number as their governor, and pay a poll tax to the sultan of Kawlam.”
P.M. Jussay also analyzed Cochin Jewish folksongs in Malayalam, and  identified Kunja Kari with Chennamangalam, on the basis of the location of the summit and the Jewish self rule.
In the Cochin Jewish Malayalam song, "The Song of Everayi", Jussay traces the migration of the Jews from Jerusalem through Egypt, Yemen and Persia to Palur, north of Cranganore, whence they moved to Chennamangalam.
In "The Song of the Bird", which recounts the transmigration of a bird to India in search of a guava fruit, the bird flies "to a green mansion…in an elevated spot", which Jussay identifies with the hill at KunjaKari in Chennamangalam. This interpretation would tally with the conclusion drawn by P. Anujan Achan, the Kerala State Archaeologist of Cochin, in 1930. In his discussion of the Hebrew inscription on the abovementioned tombstone of Sara, the daughter of Israel, he concluded that the Jews must have migrated to Chennamangalam from Cranganore around the date of the inscription in the midthirteenth century. At the entrance to the synagogue which has been renovated by the Kerala Government, stands this tombstone with inscription dating to 1269 A.D , the oldest Hebrew text in India.
Their palace is situated on a hill overlooking the places of worship of four major world religions: the Hindu temple, the Muslim mosque, the Christian church and the Jewish synagogue.
The Jews of Chennamangalam lived side by side with their neighbours in harmony and tolerance for years.
Social life was built around the community (yogam) and the extended family. All the Jewish children in Chennamangalam, boys and girls alike, attended the Talmud Torah (school for reading, writing and Torah), located on the upper floor of the synagogue.
Chennamangalam; in 1950, there were only 46 families in the village. In 1948, the State of Israel was declared. The Cochin Jews, who had always recited prayers for the return to Zion, decided en masse to immigrate to the new state. In 1949, when the first group of 17 Jews left the Malabar coast for Israel, it included members of the Chennamangalam community.  By the end of the twentieth century, all the Jews of Chennamangalam had departed. This synagogue was restored and opened for public in 2005.

Most of the details regarding the dates of synagogues were quoted from
courtesy to 
Mr. Jay A Waronker, 
Architectural Historian
Dr. Shalva Weil.
Senior researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.



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Ongoing Pattanam excavations and missionary fabrications -  S. Kalyanaraman

What happens at Pattanam?



 The historical Chera capital Muziris at Kodungallur in Thrissur district of Kerala has aroused much curiosity among archaeologists and historians. It is not just the status of Chera monarchy which escalates the position of Muziris in history. As a premier port in west coast involved in maritime trade with Mediterranean region, Muziris gained importance along with Arikamedu in east coast of Tamilnadu. Sites in and around Kodungallur where early Muziris is supposed to have been located was excavated by veteran archaeologists such as P.Anujan Achan (1947), K.V.Raman and K.V.Saundararajan (1969-70). Archaeological sites such as Cheraman Parambu, Thiruvanchikulam, Karuppadanna, Mathilakam, Kilatali and Thrikkulasekharapuram provided cultural remains of iron and copper tools, glass beads, semi precious stones, ceramics of dull red ware, celadon ware roof tiles, earthen lamps and coins. They are all dated between 900-1100 A.D.


 Currently the Kerala Council of Historical Research backed by the dept of culture, Govt. of Kerala launched a mammoth cultural project – Muziris Heritage project. It excavated Pattanam a site in Eranakulam district of Kerala. As admitted by Dr,P.J.Cheriyan, director of the excavations, the site of Pattanam was identified from documents of a Portuguese Priest –Bishop Francisco Ros S. J.  Dr. P.J.Cheriyan is neither an archaeologist nor a faculty in Ancient Indian history. The theme of his Ph.D research was “Communist movement in Vayalar-Punnpra region of south Kerala”. The consultants involved in Pattanam excavation are modern historians such as Prof: K.N.Panikar, K.N.Ganesh, Michal Tharakan and K.K.N.Kurup who have been pivotal in fabricating and interpreting the 1921 Muslim rioting and spine chilling Hindu Carnage in Malabar as peasant uprising and freedom struggle.


With these cultural remains the chronology of Pattanam has been taken back to 1000 B.C and declared ‘Alexandria of the East’. Further P.J.Cheriyan director of the excavations has proclaimed that the Pattanam excavations hints to a ‘Pre-Brahmanic (Read pre-Hindu) south India’, with Mediterranean cultural links. The Minister for cultural M.A.Baby has made an official declaration holding ‘Benale’ festival- an Italian festival from Kodungallur to Kochi. Extravagant publicity has been given in print and visual media, especially controlled by left groups and Christian denominations. Rupees 200 crores has been announced for setting up 25 museums in the region and applying for World Heritage site status from UNESCO. The left and the Christian religious groups also intend to construct a Roman Christian heritage colony commemorating apostle Thomas. Unaccounted money has been pouring in for this project, from out side India.

“South India has a Pre-Brahminic  past which links it with west Asia and the Mediterranean” This whimsical yet premeditated statement was made by Dr.P.J.Cherian , Director of  Pattanam excavations, while addressing students at Newman’s collage , Muvattupuzha in Eranakulam distict. Dr.Cherian did not give just a conventional statement at a gathering . It was well orchestrated with divisive and communal objectives reminiscent of Bishop Robert Caldwell and such Christian missionaries who launched racial and ethnic theories of Aryan and Dravidian, north and south to undermine India’s cultural integrity.


Metropolitan Mar Aprem Mookan of church of east and also head of St: Eprem Ecumenical Research Institute in Kerala issued a statement in 2011 that attempts to trace the Syrian Christian link with St:Thomas has received a stimulus when 180 rare documents were digitized. .Dr.P.J.Cheriyan applauded the Metropolitan and stated that such an edition of religious texts of St:Thomas Christians is a turning point in history. Dr.Cheriyan further stated that recent excavations in Kerala have found evidence of a 2000 year old port city at a site-pattanam-where St:Thomas is believed to have landed in 52 A.D.


At this juncture in April 2011 Bishop of Kottappuram Dr. Joseph Karikkasserry addressed a congregation of the faithful at St:Thomas church of Kodungallur constructed as a monument to Apostle Thomas. The Bishop urged that the St:Thomas church should be included in the Muziris Heritage Project which is part of Pattanam  archeological excavations.


 Except a small brick wall described as a wharf, the Pattanam excavations have neither unearthed structures nor settlement remains, or such rich antiquities. Few Mediterranean ceramics such as Terra siggilatta (8 sherds)  Turquoise glazed patlery (161 sherds)  twelve fragments of Roman glass bowls, megalithic beads  as well as Rouletted ware, human bone fragments and 8 sherds with Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions have been unearthed from Pattanam and  has been interpreted as one of the biggest urban sites in south India. The vacant trenches at the site provides no evidence rather no construction of any settlement in the past to resemble urban morphology. What they described as a wharf was nothing but a recent construction using burnt red bricks and cement. It has been demolished and dumped at a corner. The trenches are being filled with soil and closed by them to prevent further enquiries.


 There are strong doubts whether certain antiquities have been really excavated or implanted at the site.


 This is a part of well orchestrated religio-political strategy to identify Pattanam as ancient Muziris and corroborate it as the mythical arrival place of St:Thomas to India, his conversion of native Hindus and his martyrdom at the hands of Shaivaite Brahmins .The left intends to prove theoretically with fabricated archeological data that urbanization in south India was the out come of bustling trade with Mediterranean. With the decline of Roman Empire the trade received a set back which led to urban decay in south India. The out come was a dark period followed by growth of temples, caste system, slavery and dominance of Brahmanical feudalism.


 The excavations at Pattanam intend to provide an ideological mileage to left. Simultaneously it juxtaposes the cultural chronology with the arrival of St: Thomas. The political left in Kerala intends to hijack the traditional Christian vote bank of the Congress party. As a gesture the left has promised providing historical validity to the St:Thomas tradition of converting Hindus. The left historians and cultural intelligentsia terms this process as multi cultural synthesis. The Christian denominations in Kerala has already demanded making of St: Thomas tradition part of Muziris Heritage project, and declare his assassination by Shaivate Brahmins as history.


The hand bone of apostle Thomas is currently exhibited as ‘sacred remains’ at the St: Thomas Church of Kodungallur which is heading to get the status of heritage museum and pilgrimage centre.


 Such is the eagerness to fabricate facts and prove that Christianity was established in Kerala nearly 900 years before the growth of Hindu society. It intends to substantiate that the socio-cultural development of Hindus is based on a strong ideological and cultural foundation provided by the Christian church.


 Conclusions have already been drawn before the pattanam excavations were launched. It is intends to prove that Kerala as a geo-cultural zone had little interaction beyond Vindhyas. The cultural growth of kerala was stimulated by its interaction with Mediterranean culture. If any evidence of Kerala interactions with greater India exits it has been develop in the last one millennium through Brahmanical migrations and cast ideology.


To disprove such fabrications which will transform into political movements and bifurcation issues as in Nagaland and Kashmir,we have launched the Muzuris Heritage protection council as the first step of ideological encounter. Historians and archaeologists have contributed articles on various aspects of Muzuris. We request a valuable article from you on a topic untouched by others. The excavations are intended to demolish the cultural status of Kodungallur, the richest cultural site in Kerala and invent a new site to suit the joint interests of left and the church. The Christian church intends to take its antiquity 800 years before Sri.Shankaracharya using archeology and make a claim that Advaita is a gift of the Christian church to the Indian cultural foundations. Further the church aims to legitimize its claim to proselytization.   



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The name Paravur is derived from Parayur. This is one of the 64 villages created by Parashurama. This town had been an old trading post, has a Jewish synagogue and had a thriving Jewish community before their conversion to Syrian Christians in the first century and their resettlement in Israel after its establishment. Cochin Jews lived in the towns of Kochi and North Paravur.

The various denominations of modern Saint Thomas Christians ascribe their unwritten tradition to the end of the 2nd century and believe that Thomas landed at Maliankara village in Paravur Taluk in AD 52. In AD 52 (St. Thomas) founded the churches popularly known as 'Ezharappallikal'(seven and half churches). Two of such churches are at Parur (Kottakkaavu) and Kodungallur.


To prove Saint Thomas fables Pattanam is planted without involving ASI



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Kerala Tourism gets PATA Award for Muziris Heritage Project

Press Trust of India  |  <news:geo_locations style="box-sizing: border-box;">Thiruvananthapuram July 18, 2015 Last Updated at 12:57 IST

The Kerala Tourism has bagged this year's Pacific AsiaTravel Association award for its Muziris Heritage Project in the 'Heritage & Culture' category. 

The award, sponsored by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), went to the Muziris Heritage Project for its conservational efforts, uniqueness and impact on local community, a press release said. 

"This award is in recognition of the Muziris project aimed at restoring the historical and cultural significance of the ancient town that stretches across North Paravur in Ernakulam to Kodungalloor in Thrissur," State Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar said. 

"The flagship project of the government of Kerala is one of the biggest heritage conservation projects of modern India." 

Supported and sponsored by MGTO for the past 20 years, this year's PATA Grand and Gold Awards recognise the achievements of 25 separate organisations and individuals. 

"Being part of the Spice Route Project, which is supported by UNESCO, the Muziris project already has a key status on the cultural tourism map," Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao said. 

The award further highlights its stature in international heritage tourism, he added. 

There were 269 entries from 83 organisations and individuals worldwide for this year's award, the highest tally since 2007. The awards will be presented on September 8 at PATA Travel Mart in Bengaluru, the release said. 

"The list of PATA Gold Awards 2015 winners unveils once again the very best of Pacific-Asia tourism practices," said MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes. 

Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth said the PATA award acknowledges Kerala Tourism's excellence in heritage conservation. 

PATA had honoured Kerala Tourism for the Responsible Tourism initiative at Kumarakom and its popular e-Newsletter in 2014.




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The Cat is out here 


Kottakavu Church: Kottakavu Church is said to be one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas during 52 AD. It is also known as Valiyapally or Big Church, indicating that it was a mother church. In the 19th century, due to the lack of space in the old church for conducting Holy Mass and community functions, the new church was built. The parishioners have preserved the old church, which is behind the new one, the elephantine wall, called Anamathil, on the adjacent western side and the Pilgrim Pond where the Apostle baptized the devotees and they continue to maintain them.

St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church: St.Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church was founded in AD 1566. It is said to have been constructed by the Big Bazaar Tharakan families in North Paravur on the land given free of tax by the Ruler of Paravur. It is named after St.Thomas, the apostle and is also known as Kizhakke Pally or Cheriapally. Records show that famous historians, the Whitehouse Priest, Dr. Buchanan and others visited it. The tomb of St. Gregorios being here has made it a major pilgrim centre of the Malankara Syrian Christians.


Churches, Synagogues and Mosques

Old churches, synagogues and mosques, including St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church, Paravur Synagogue, Kottakavu Church, St. Marys Jacobite Syrian Church, Pallippuram Mosque, Azhikode Marthoma Church, Cheraman Juma Masjid and Holy Cross Church come under this circuit.

St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church: St.Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church was founded in AD 1566. It is said to have been constructed by the Big Bazaar Tharakan families in North Paravur on the land given free of tax by the Ruler of Paravur. It is named after St.Thomas, the apostle and is also known as Kizhakke Pally or Cheriapally. Records show that famous historians, the Whitehouse Priest, Dr. Buchanan and others visited it . The tomb of St. Gregorios being here has made it a major pilgrim centre of the Malankara Syrian Christians.

Paravur Synagogue: This was the place of worship for the Jewish community that settled close to the Paravur Market. There are two rooms at the entrance and the synagogue is beyond the small courtyard. The balcony is supported on decorated pillars and gilded beams. The entrance to Jew Street, from the main road to Paravur is guarded on either side by two tall pillars.

Kottakavu Church: Kottakavu Church is said to be one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas during 52 AD. It is also known as Valiyapally or Big Church, indicating that it was a mother church. In the 19th century, due to the lack of space in the old church for conducting Holy Mass and community functions, the new church was built. The parishioners have preserved the old church, which is behind the new one, the elephantine wall, called Anamathil, on the adjacent western side and the Pilgrim Pond where the Apostle baptized the devotees and they continue to maintain them.

St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Church: St. Marys Jacobite Syrian church was established in April 1802 with the permission of Sakthan Thampuran. The founder parishioners of this church were members of the ancient St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian church at North Paravur. Cherai St. Mary's church is one of the prominent parishes in the Kochi diocese. The church is popularly known as Cherai Valiyapally and its main festival is celebrated on January 15th.

Pallippuram Mosque: This mosque which is located at Pallippuram is a few centuries old. The plinth level of the Mosque is four feet higher than the road level.

Azhikode Marthoma Church: The Marthoma Church is located on the bank of River Periyar. A holy relic of St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus is enshrined here in the Sannidhi, for public worship. The Sannidhi is opened for the pilgrims every day on request, so that they can come close to pay their tribute and worship. Azhikode derived its name from Azhimugham meaning 'opening to the sea', as River Periyar joins with the Arabian Sea here at Azhikode. Boating facilities for pilgrims are available at a moderate rate at the Marthoma Gate on the river. Other facilities for pilgrims are as follows: a light & sound show, a dining hall, a mini auditorium, stalls for mementos, research books, scenery posters and so on.

Cheraman Juma Masjid: The Cheraman Juma Masjid is said to be the first mosque in India, built by Malik lbn Dinar. It is located 4km south of Kurumbakavu Bhagavathi Temple.Kerala Vyasan Kunhikuttan Thampuran is of the opinion that an old Buddha Temple was gifted to the Muslims to establish a mosque. This mosque was perhaps first renovated and then reconstructed in the 11th century AD and again 300 years ago. When it became difficult to accommodate the large congregations, the front portion of the mosque was demolished and extended in 1974. Again in 1994, further extension was done. People of all religions come to this Mosque and many non Muslims conduct "Vidhyarambham" of their children here. A Museum, adjacent to the Mosque, has been opened recently.

Holy Cross Church: This church, which is in the compound as the ruins of Vypeekotta Seminary, still functions. It was probably also built during the same period, but renovated later. Many stone inscriptions were unearthed in the church compound during the exploration done in 1935. The inscriptions are fixed on a half wall, in front of the church.

-- Edited by Admin on Saturday 5th of September 2015 02:33:45 PM



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Day 1: Romans, Syrian Christians, Jews and 7th to 15th century period

This tour offers a visit to the monuments rstrongaining from the times of the Romans, Syrian Christians, Jews and through the 300 year period of the 7th to the 10th centuries.

Pattanam has become the first ever site on the Kerala coast to offer a fascinating transition story of the Iron Age or the Early Historic period. The Roman presence sestrongs to be dominant and in all probability the site could have been part of an Indo-Roman settlstrongent or a commercial centre with international trade networks.

Kottakavu Church: When St. Thomas reached Kerala in A.D. 52,  he brought Christianity to India. The Kottakavu Church is said to be one of the seven churches founded by him.

Paravur Market & Synagogue: With the Roman dstrongolition of Jerusalstrong, the Jews fled from Israel and some of thstrong reached Kerala. They built the Synagogue close to the Paravur Market as their place of worship.

Cheraman parambu: The Cheraman Parambu is generally regarded as the royal seat of the Cheraman Perumals, the kings of the Chera dynasty, who ruled Kerala during the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries AD.

Cheraman Masjid: It is believed that this mosque was built in the 11th century AD.

Tstrongples: The very old Thiruvanchikulam tstrongple and Kizhthali tstrongple are located in Kodungallur area.



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July 12, 2015 07:04 IST

Muziris Heritage Project row takes a new turn



V.D. Satheesan
V.D. Satheesan

A fresh bout of controversy is in the offing for the beleaguered Muziris Heritage Project.

V.D. Satheesan, Paravur MLA, has now accused some former officials of the tourism department of attempting to torpedo the tourism project, which covers heritage structures across Paravur and Kodungalloor.

There was a concreted effort by some top officials to do things in a self-righteous manner, which led to all the controversies and heartburns, Mr. Satheesan told The Hindu after it published an article exposing some of the ills that the project has been afflicted with.

“It was progressing without a glitch till sometime ago when some officials, who are no longer with the project, went about doing things on their own, without consulting the government and other stakeholders. They had taken permission for a trial run across a few restored structures and went on to conduct a ‘hyped soft launch’ without informing the stakeholders or people’s representatives,” he said. “We will oppose the move to change the names of the Paliam Palace (Kovilakam) and the Nalukettu. In fact, the project consultant Benny Kuriakose himself had given a letter asking them to retain the original names of the monuments, as the artefacts on display there are largely about Paliam. We have other museums for showcasing Kerala history and lifestyle. They will be known as Paliam Kovilakam Museum and Paliam Nalukettu Museum,” he said.

Besides identifying some factual inaccuracies pertaining to the Paliam monuments, Mr. Kuriakose had, in his mail, pointed out that the descriptions of the Paravur Synagogue and the Chendamangalam Synagogue had got interchanged in the ‘Guide Books’ prepared by the State Institute of Children’s Literature.

There are also suggestions like these: “The agreement between Van Goens and the Paliath Achan is made in 1662, not in 1661. The information given in Page 25 and 26 is contradictory. We have the copy of the agreement from the Dutch archives. A Dutch scholar has confirmed that the date is 1662.”

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