Know about Nagapattinam
The great significance of “Nagapattinam” in the History of Tamil Nadu
“Nagapattinam” on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India takes a ‘very important’ place in the – medieval and subsequent period – history of Tamil Nadu, and was well known in all South-East Asian Countries. It finds mention in the Historical Chronicles and Inscriptions of the medieval & later period – Malaysia, Indonesia (Java & Sumatra), China, Miyanmar (former Burma), Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu as a great ‘Seaport City’ of Cholas the – “Nagapattinam”.
It was from here Emperor Rajendra Chola – 1, and Emperor Virarajendra Chola under the command of Kulothunga Chola – 1 (who was the heir apparent to the Chola throne at that time) sent Cholas forces in many ships, and captured many near and far lying countries in South and South-East Asia.
It was from this seaport city many Chola trade embassies were sent to China, Miyanmar, Malaysia & Indonesia, and during this perod many traders from eighteen different countries including Sri Vijaya, Kadarem, Rammanadsa, China, and Arab countries were trading at this seaport city of Nagapattinam, and some even settled down in this region.
The Copper Plates issued by Emperor Rajaraja Chola – 1, Emperor Rajendra Chola – 1 and Emperor Kulothunga Chola – 1 too refers to the grant of the village Aanaimangalam of Nagapattinam by Rajaraja Chola – 1 to build a Buddhist temple named the ‘Chulaamanipanma Vihare’ alias ‘Rajarajaperumpalli’ and another built by Rajendra Chola – 1 known as ‘Rajendra Cholaperumpalli’ at the request of the two Sri Vijaya Emperors of Indonesia namely the ‘Chulaamanivarman’ and ‘Mara Vijayotungavaman’.
The Chinese Emperor ‘Ta-Sung’ of a little later period built a Buddhist Vihare named the ‘Padikrama Vihare’ at Nagapattinam, which was also known as the Chinese Pagoda.
The foremost three of the 63 – Tamil Saiva Saints namely Thirunaavukkarasar, Thirugnanasampanthar, and Sunthatharar have referred to Nagapattinam ‘as a seaport city’ in their Tamil Thevara Pathikams, and it is also referred to in the Tamil Periyapuraanam of this period.
The ancient ‘Thiru Nagaikaaronam Siva temple’ at Nagapattinam has been adorned by the Thevara Thiruppathikams of the great Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu. The Sri Vijaya kings of Indonesia too have given many grants through their envoys to this temple recorded in this temple inscriptions.
The earliest reference to Nagapattinam is found in Burmese Chronicle of the 3rd century B.C. which mentions of the ‘existance’ of a Buddhist temple at Nagapattinam known as Asokavihar (Asoka Vihare) which was built by the Emperor Asoka of Magadha kingdom of North India.
The ‘seventh century’ Chinese Buddhist Monks named Wou-Hing (who actually visited Nagapattinam) and Tche-hong who visited India have mentioned in their travel writings the ‘Nagapattinam’ Port of Tamil Nadu. The other well known Chinese Buddhist Monk of this same period who has referred to this great seaport city as Nagapattinam in his travel writings was I-tsing.
The Pallava king of this periond the Rajasimhan (A.D.690-728) permitted the delegation sent by the ruling Chinese king to build a Buddhist Vihare at Nagappattinam. The Nagapattinam continued to be of great historical importance also during the rule of the Paandiya kings who ruled Tamil Nadu after the fall of Cholas.
The Archaeological Department of Tamil Nadu has unearthed around 300 – Buddha Statues of various sizes from this region and now kept in Chennai Museum.
Hence the name “Nagapattinam” – for this region “should not be changed” for any other name at any time, which will eventually lead to the complete ‘loss of track historically’ of the great “medieval period – Seaport city” of Tamil Nadu much connected with the golden era of the Tamilian History of Tamil Nadu – by the future Tamil generations.