Excavations At Poompuhar

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Location: 24-km From Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu
Significance: Archaeological Site
Main Findings: Historic Port

An archaeologist delight, Poompuhar is a town for those who like to wander amidst history and take a stroll through time. Poompuhar is 24-km away from Mayiladuthurai in Sirkali Taluka in Nagapattinam district. It was once a major port during the reign of Cholas.

The original city was submerged by the sea and at present there is only a small village. Explorations were carried out in Poompuhar right from 1910, along the coast of the state and certain pockets in and around Karur. The archaeological department has revealed the existence of several ring-wells near the seashore.

A Well Planned City
Puhar known to "Ptolemy" and "Pliny", was a planned city built over 2,000 years ago. Excavations show an extent of planning that would make most modern planners envious. During the excavations remains of the various buildings were found. A wharf belonging to the 3rd century BC was excavated at Poompuhar in 1962-63 and a similar wharf was unearthed in the subsequent excavation during 1997. Several kinds of brick figures and copper coins were also found.

The structural similarities and their functional viability are studied. The existence of such wharves corroborates the plan of ancient Poompuhar, which is splendidly explained by the Pattinappalai, one of the Sangam texts. The study stresses the need for further extensive excavations along the course of the palaeochannel to open up new vistas in the technology of marine structures of ancient Poompuhar.

The National Institute of Oceanography, Goa and the Archaeological Department of Tamil Nadu Government have undertaken offshore exploration at Poompuhar and they have contributed a museum.


Rail: The nearest railway station is Mayiladuthurai junction.
Road: Poompuhar is connected to Mayiladuthurai as well as Sirkali by road. Regular bus services are available from both these places to Poompuhar.

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