Echoes of India

Ancient India like you've never heard it before

A spectacular odyssey through South Asian history from the invasion of Alexander. Along the way, monks debate, queens boast, and armies roar. In Echoes, the past comes back to life - noisy, breathing, as thriving as the Indian subcontinent is today.

Search
  • Anirudh Kanisetti

08. The Lost City of the Tamils (20 mins)


(if the audio embed above doesn't load, spam the refresh button or search for Echoes of India on your podcast app)


This is the story of the jewel of ancient South India: the great Tamil trading city of Puhar. Episode 8 of Echoes of India brings to life a city sung about in poetry for thousands of years, at a time when one of the most important elements of Indian history was emerging: the international merchant corporation.


As Nagarjuna and his sceptical monks were creating a ruckus in Andhra, the Tamil country was going through an equally important transition - it, too leapt from the Megalithic to Iron cultures, fuelled by coastal trade and agrarian surpluses from its fertile river plains. At the edge of the Kaveri river delta was the thriving trading city of Kaveripumpattinam, one of the great centres of the Sangam age, the first flowering of Tamil literature. This is its story.


Voice Credits & Notes Below.


Voice Credits (in order of appearance):

Opening - Hamsini Hariharan

On Merchants - Yazad Jal

On Puhar - Manasa Venkataraman

On the Tsunami - Ganesh Chakravarthi

Notes:

  1. I apologise for ruining the beauty of Tamil with my accent. I tried not to.

  2. My primary source for this episode was Kanakalatha Mukund's fascinating book, The World of the Tamil Merchant (my review here). It is part of a series on India's economic history that is well worth a read.

  3. Priya Ravichandran, an independent researcher based in Chennai, generously helped with selecting sources and provided useful information on Puhar.

  4. The translation I used of the Manimekhalai was Alain Danielou's 1989 edition, which was lent to me by my friend, the bibliophile Anand Ganapathy.

  5. Yes, I am aware that I was very sarcastic about the Silappadikaram. No, that is not because of disrespect because satire is the highest form of flattery. OK?

  6. Image source: (Yes, I am aware it's from 9th century Java, which is why I very cleverly mentioned Java in this episode. And I can't help it if there are no open source images of ancient Indian ships!) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Borobudur_ship.JPG

144 views
 
  • Black Instagram Icon
 
  • Black Instagram Icon

©2018 by echoes of india. Proudly created with Wix.com