Through the lens of ancient mariners: the emergence of Poduke


Think of Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Khmer, Champa and Eastern Indian dynasties. What connects them? Not just the fact that they were colossal empires, but ones that specialised in maritime trade. The secrets to unlocking the history behind any region is often linked to its description in ancient literature and based on accounts of sea faring traders and merchants.

Tamil Nadu has numerous entries for ports of commercial trade dating back centuries ago mentioned frequently in Sangam literature as well as that famous book for seafarers, Periplus of Erythrean Sea. Mylapore, Mamalla/Poonjeri, Kaveripumpattinam, Nagapattinam, Korkai and Kumari were important maritime trade centres. Continue reading


The Jewel of the Coromandel Coast – through the eyes of the Indian rulers


One thing that fascinates us whenever we travel to a place is the history behind it. The Good Friday weekend worked out well for us when we decided to head to the Coromandel Coast of The Bay of Bengal – Mamallapuram.

We decided to dig deep and look at how Mamallapuram came into being to what it is today through the annals avaiable. In this post, we look at Mamallapuram through the eyes of the Indian rulers.

One of the earliest references comes in a piece of early Tamil literature: Perumban-Arruppadai that talks highly of a local chieftain named Tondaiman Ilamtiraiyan (1st Century CE) as the ruler of Tondaimandalam with Kanchipuram as his capital. There is mention of a port with a lighthouse. With praises heaped on Mamalla from the 5th century onwards, it is likely that it was indeed the port mentioned in this text. Continue reading