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Structure Of Poompuhar City

The Structure Of Poompuhar City 2000 years ago
Pavai mandramThe structure of Poompuhar town can be traced from the fifth chapter of the Silappathikaram, Pattinappalai. Manimegalai also describes the same. The city is said to have been designed on the lines of Mayan's architecture. The town had well-marked divisions known as Pattinappakkam and Maruvurppakkam. The market place in the middle known as Nalangadi during the day and as Allangadi by night. The seashore was inhabited by the fisher folk. The town had several warehouses. Weavers, silk merchants, vendors, fish and meat sellers, potters, grain merchants’ jewellers and diamond makers lived in Maruvurppakkam. The kings and nobles, rich traders and farmers, physicians, astrologers, members of the king’s army, court dancers occupied Pattinappakkam. The five Manrams - Vellidai Manram, Elanchi Manram, Nedankal manram, Poothachathukkam and Pavaimanram were located in Pattinappakkam. Gardens like Elavanthikaicholai, Uyyanam, Chanpathivanam, Uvavanam, and Kaveravanam added beauty to the town.

During excavations, temples for  Lord Shiva, and Chathukkappootham the last of the deities were found in the city. There are temples for Shiva, Indra, his elephant Iravatham, and his Vajrayutham, Balaraman, Suriyan, Machatham, Chandran, Arugan and Thirumal. Buddha sthupas or pillars and seven Buddha viharas were also found. Apart from these, a temple for Champapathi Amman, brick idols, and UlagaAravi Manram existed in Poompuhar.

Cool and shady river banks with trees and dense foliage, sacred passages from temples to the river for Gods to come and bathe, and the ringed wells on the fringes of the town were salient features of the town planning that have been noted during excavations. The town had a compound wall engraved with tiger emblem.

The town also had different market places and living areas for foreigners like Yavanas.

Excavations at Poompuhar

Excavation work on the lost Poompuhar city has been in progress since 1910. The excavations conducted by Indian Archaeological Department have revealed the existence of several ringed-wells called Urai Kinaru near the seashore. Pattinappalai a book Sangam period speaks of these wells.

The excavation has also been taken up near Champapathi Amman and Pallavaneswaram temples. The remains of the various buildings have been found during the excavation in 1960-1961. Remains of a brick building and a boat-jetty were discovered at the Keezhaiyur area in Poompuhar. A water reservoir and the remains of several buildings were also found. Relics of a sixty feet long Buddha vihar with rectangular rooms were discovered at Pallavaneswaram. The Buddhapada or the feet of Lord Buddha in limestone was unearthed. This Buddhapada in limestone resembles the marble feet that was dug up from Amaravathi and Nagarjunakonda the Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh. The size of this Buddhapada 3 1/2' x 2 1/2' and it has two feet and holy symbols like lotus flowers, the poornakumbam and the swastikam. Several other brick figures and copper coins were also found. These coins were both rectangular and circular in shape. The Chola emblems of the tiger with the upright tail and the sun were engraved on them. These coins are considered to be those of Karikala Cholan.


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