TRICHY: Bharathidasan University has received a funding of Rs 8.5 crore from the department of science and technology (DST) to trace the life history of the ancient port city of Poompuhar. The university’s department of remote sensing will be the lead agency to carry out the inter-disciplinary research.
Established by the Chola dynasty at the mouth of river Cauvery during the Tamil Sangam period (BC 300 – AD 300), Kaveripoompattinam or Poompuhar port city, as it was known, had trade links with Asian, Arabian and Mediterranean countries. Though it was nurtured by several dynasties, Poompuhar became suddenly defunct during AD 1100. The elaborate narrations made in Sangam and post-Sangam literature like Cilappathigaram and Manimegalai have been attracting scientists from different fields to take up studies on the port.
“These literatures have the mention of Poompuhar which got submerged due to Kadalkol (devouring of the land by sea). But there is a beeline of enigmas not only behind its origin but also spatial and time series evolution, period and reasons for its sudden disappearance from the maritime history of the world,” said S M Ramasamy, Professor of Eminence, department of remote sensing, BDU, the project’s national coordinator.
The study will be an inter-institutional research project with AMET University, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigul and various other universities collaborating with BDU.
It will involve the surveying of the submerged Poompuhar using unmanned vehicles, multi-beam side looking scanner, underwater photography, computer-based assemblage of fragmented and buried structures and objects, said Prof Ramasamy. Vice-chancellor Manisankar said, “It is yet another giant leap by the university and it would bring out the socio-cultural evolution of the ancient Tamils in this country, in addition to the life history of Poompouhar.”