Cavari puhum patinum
|Elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Myladuthurai|
Puhar (Tamil: பூம்புகார்) (also known as Poompuhar) is a town in the Nagapattinam district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It was once a flourishing ancient port city known as Kaveri puhum pattinam, which for a while served as the capital of the early Chola kings in Tamilakkam. Puhar is located near the end point of the Kaveri river, aside the sea coast. Earlier on, it was presumed that much of the town was washed away by what is now speculated to be a tsunami around 500 AD.But saint Tirugnanasambandar who lived in 7th century C.E describes in his Patikam on Chayavaneswarar temple of Poompuhar, that it is a thriving city with many high rise buildings. Pattinathar who lived around the same time also gives the same explanation. Ottakoothar, who lived in court of Raja Raja II(1146.C.E-1178.C.E) also describes the town as being a splendid ancient city where Cholas held their coronation ceremony from very ancient times. Many Chola Coins belonging to Parantaka chola I, Raja Raja I, Kulothunga chola I, etc have been discovered from Poompuhar temples like Chayavanam and Pallavaneeswaram. So it is established that the city merged with sea only around 1520.C.E. Ancient Pottery dating back to the 4th or 5th century AD have been discovered off shore around this town.
The general plan of the city of Puhar is described in considerable detail in the fifth book of Silapathikaram (c. fifth century CE). The town was built on the north banks of the river Kaveri. The Sthalapuranam of Poompuhar has it that the city was a divine gift to emperor Muchukundan of solar race who lived during Krita ge or first of epochal ages from Lord Indran, the king of gods. The Puranas relate that Muchukundan was a great servant of Lord Siva who attained salvation through a boon from him. When Devas were being attacked by Asuras with very sophisticated weapons,King Muchukundan was given the task of keeping watch of Amaravathi without sleeping. King spent many years without sleeping and fighting the fast moving Demons and ultimately Gods overcame the demons and destroyed their entire force. For virtuous service Muchukundan obtained several gifts like Magnificent City of Poompuhar that resembled Amaravathi. The Tyagesa Sivalingam which Lord Indran was worshipping in amaravathi, was installed in Poompuhar. 6 other icons of Lord Siva which Lord Vishnu had been worshipping and several very sophisticated war weapons used by Gods only were given to King. When the emperor requested Sivan for salvation ,Lord implored that by taking up the task of protection of gods he had become so dear to Lord Vishnu that he would bless him with Salvation when he comes to earth as Lord Krishna in Dwapara age. When the King queried about the delay, Lord replied that since he had lost sleep for many years during war he would take a deep slumber near Karur Alanthureswara temple and would be awoken by Lord Vishnu. As destined the King slept.During Dwapara age, a powerful demon called Kalayavana attacked Dwaraka and started chasing Lord Krishna,Lord Ranintothe went to the Place were the king was asleep and woke him up. The Powerful rays from King'se yes fell on the demon and he was instantly destroyed. Being blessed with a vision of Lord the king instantly attained salvation. Elara Chola ruled (1,389,968 sq mi) from the Place of Present parts of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Maldives and they had around 10,000 battle ships in the Kavaripatinum port, near river Kaveri mouth. The town had two distinct villages, Maruvurpakkam near the sea and Pattinappakkam to its west. These two village were separated by a stretch of gardens and orchards where daily markets were held under the shades of the trees. The market place was known as Naalangadi during the day and as allangadi by night.
The village of Maruvurpakkam was near the beach and had several terraced mansions and warehoused with windows shaped like the eyes of the deer. Maruvurpakkam being close to the shore and hence to the shipyard was naturally preferred by the many overseas travellers, merchants and 'yavanas (foreigner) whose pleasant features arrested the eyes of the spectators living close to each other.
Maruvurpakkam 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 King and nobles, rich traders, 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.
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Thriving ancient city
A Purananuru poem (poem 30) says that big ships entered the post of Puhar without slacking sail, and poured out on the beach, precious merchandise brought from overseas. In the extensive markets of Puhar there were many tall mansions surrounded by platforms reached by high ladders. These mansions had many apartments and were provided with doorways, great and small, and with wide hallways and corridors (Pattinappaalai – II –142-158). In all parts of the town there were flags of various kinds and shapes flying in the air.
Pattinappaalai, a poem that describes the ancient Puhar very vividly, was written by the poet Kadiyalur Uruthirangannanaar is part of the Ten Idylls anthology and was sung in praise of Karikala Chola, a second century Chola king.
Merchants of Puhar
Pattinappaalai also gives an idealised description of the merchants plying their trade in Puhar (Pattinappaalai – II –199-212):
- They shunned murder, and put aside theft, pleased the gods by fire offerings,…they regarded others rights as scrupulously as their own, they took nothing more than was due to them and never gave less than was due from them. Trading thus in many articles of merchandise, they enjoyed an ancient heritage of prosperity and lived in close proximity to one another.
The ancient city of Puhar was destroyed by the sea around 1500 years ago. Scientists speculate that this could have been the effects of a Tsunami possibly caused by Krakatoa 535 AD event. This tsunami is mentioned in the Tamil poem Manimekhalai (see below), which relates that the town Kāveripattinam or Puhār was swallowed up by the sea due to the Chola King not holding the annual Indra festival, causing the wrath of the sea goddess Manimekhalai. This event is supported by archeological finds of submerged ruins off the coast of modern Poompuhar. The town of Kāveripattinam is believed to have disappeared in between the 3d and the 6th century. Due to this Tsunami, Lemureia continent also believed to be submerged in sea.(Kumari Kandam)
The ancient Tamil Buddhist poem Manimekalai by the poet Seethalai Saathanar is set in the town of Kaveripattanam. Ancient ruins of a 4th-5th century Buddhist monastery, a Buddha statue, and a Buddhapada (footprint of the Buddha) were found in another section of the ancient city, now at Pallavanesvaram.
Kaveripattanam is located at  It has an average elevation of 1 m (3.3 ft)..
The major tourists attractions in Poompuhar :
Silappathikara Art Gallery A beautiful building of great sculptural value has been built as Sillappathikara Art Gallery.Scenes from Sillappathikaram, the Epic of the land have been given lively shapes in stones on the walls of the Gallery. These sculptures carved by the sculptors of Mamallapuram Art College remain the treasure house of Tamil Culture.
Masilamani Nathar Koil Though heavily eroded by the sea in a number of places, this temple built in 1305 by Maravarma Kulasekara Pandiyan, still manages to impress all the tourists to Poompuhar with its architectural richness.
- Rao Bahadur Krishnaswāmi Aiyangar, Maṇimekhalai in its Historical Setting, London, 1928, p.185, 201, etc. Available at www.archive.org 
- Gaur A. S. and Sundaresh, Underwater Exploration off Poompuhar and possible causes of its Submergence, 1998, Puratattva, 28: 84-90. Available online at 
- Marine archaeological explorations of Tranquebar-Poompuhar region on Tamil Nadu coast, Rao, S.R.. Journal of Marine Archaeology, Vol. II, July 1991, pp. 5–20. Available online at 
- ”Indian town sees evidence of ancient tsunami”, Associated Press report, Poompuhar,1/14/2005. Available online at 
- Rao Bahadur Krishnaswāmi Aiyangar, Maṇimekhalai in its Historical Setting, London, 1928. Available at www.archive.org 
- Hisselle Dhammaratana,Buddhism in South India, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, 1964. Available on Buddhist Publication Society Online Library 
- Marine archaeological explorations of Tranquebar-Poompuhar region on Tamil Nadu coast., Rao, S.R.. Journal of Marine Archaeology, Vol. II, July 1991, pp. 6. Available online at 
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Kaveripattanam
- "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies". Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Mudaliar, A.S, Abithana Chintamani (1931), Reprinted 1984 Asian Educational Services, New Delhi.
- Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).