Written Words Never Die

Kaveri-Poom-Pattinam, also known as Poom-Puhar, was the capital of the Cholas in ancient Tamilakam. Now, the city lies below the ever encroaching ocean or lost to human neglect and depredation. But records persist regarding its glory days.

It was a great commercial port and boasted some of the wealthiest merchant families of ancient Tamilakam, some even wealthier than the monarchs of that age. The classic epoch Silappathikaram provides detailed accounts of the city’s layout and life.

Puhar was cosmopolitan and hosted sizeable foreign communities from the Orient, Africa, Middle East and Europe. Magnificent temples and buildings rose, and the arts flourished.

Seven-storey mansions were common in the wealthier precincts occupied by merchants. These buildings, as tall if not taller than many temples, hinted at the architectural, engineering and organisational skills of the people, not to mention the logistical acumen to pull off these constructions.

The windows were large and of…

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