Know the Etymology: 65
Place Name of the Day: Sunday, 09 April 2017


Pūvarasan-kulama, Teppan-kulama, Pusiyan-kulama, Veruň-kulama

பூவரசன்-குலம, தெப்பன்-குலம, புஸியன்-குலம, வெறுங்-குலம
Pūvarasan-kulama, Teppan-kulama, Pusiyan-kulama, Veruň-kulama

Pūvarasam+kulama
Teppam+kulama
Pusi+kulama
Veṟum+kulama


The Portia-tree tank

The tank in which rafts are used; or the tank in which the raft-festival is conducted

The empty tank; or the tank found with mildew or moss

The empty tank


Kulamatank (Sinhala, usually in Sinhalicised place names or in place names in which the term is adopted to usage in Sinhala in the North Central and North Western Provinces); Kuḷam: tank, lake, reservoir (Tamil, Caṅkam and modern, DED 1828); also a general term for a pond (Tamil, Kuṟuntokai, 325: 4-5); tank (Malayalam DED1828); Kuḷaṉ: variation of Kuḷam (Tamil, Tolkāppiyam, 22: 5); Kuḷi: (verb) to bathe, dive, plunge into water (Tamil, Puṟanāṉūṟu, 2: 10, DED 1832); Kuḷa: tank, pond (Tulu, DED 1828); Koḷa, Koḷahe, Koṇa: pond (Kannada, DED 1828); Kolanu, Kolāku, Kolākuvu: tank, (Telugu, DED1828); Kol: tank (Gondi, DED 1818); Kulya: small river, canal, ditch (Sanskrit, Rig Vedic, possible Dravidian etymology cited, CDIAL 3352); Kūla: pond, tank (Sanskrit, possible Dravidian etymology cited, CDIAL 3352); note the root Ku related to pit and pond in other Dravidian words; Kuṭai: (verb) to scoop, hollow out (Tamil, DED 1660); Kuṭṭam, Kuṭṭai: depth, pond (Tamil, DED 1669); Kuṇṭu: depth, hollow, pond (Tamil, DED 1669); Koḷḷa: a deep place (Kannada, DED 2157); Kolamē: a very deep pit (Tulu, DED 2157); Kuḻi: (verb) to be hollowed out, sink hollow (Tamil, cognates in 17 Dravidian languages, DED 1818); Kuḻi: pit, hole, hollow, cavity, depression, excavation, pond, well (Tamil, DED 1818); Kuḷī: tank, the locality of a tank; "Vẹva, Vẹvaṭa āsanna pradeśaya" (Sinhala, Sorata, inscriptions, Epigraphia Zeylanica, I, 203); Kulī: = Kuḷama (Sinhala, Sorata); tank or the neighbourhood of a tank; "Vẹva, hō vẹvaṭa asala pedesa" (Sinhala, Sorata, inscriptions, Epigraphia Zeylanica, IV, 188); Kuḷi: freshwater lake (Dhivehi/ Maldivian, DBF, such lakes are usually found in the shallow center of large islets. Sometimes they are marshes or swamps); Kiḷi: = Kuḷi (Addu and Fuvah Mulakku dialect of Dhivehi/ Maldivian, DBF); Kuḷu: = Kuḷi (Maldivian island-names, EDMIN). See column 18 on Kuḷam in Tamil
Pūvaracu Portia tree, Thespesia populnea (Tamil, MTL); literally meaning, 'the flowering Aracu (Bo) tree' (from the conspicuous flowers and from the leaves looking like the leaves of the Bo tree; the Bo-tree doesn't flower, but Portia has beautiful flowers): Pū: flower (Tamil, DED 4345); Aracu: the Bo-tree or Pipal tree, Ficus religiosa (Tamil, DED 202; from Aracu: to rustle, onomatopoeic)
Teppan from Teppam: raft, float, "Pahura" (Sinhala, Sorata); raft, float: (Tamil, DED 3414, cognates in 5 Dravidian languages); Tappa: small boat (Prakrit, CDIAL 5726); Tarpa: raft (Sanskrit, CDIAL 5726); Teppak-kuḷam: tank attached to a temple in which the deity is floated on rafts during festival (Tamil, MTL); usually such tanks have a structure built at the centre
Pusi = Puhu: vacant, empty, barren, "His, Kisivak nẹti" (Sinhala, Sorata); Pussa: that which is empty, vacant, unproductive, barren, blighted (Sinhala, Clough); Pus: (adjective) blank, empty, barren, vacant; (noun) mould, fungus forming on things in a damp place (Sinhala, Clough); Puñcai: dry land (Tamil, DED 4337); Pūñcu: mould, mildew (Tamil, DED 4357); Būcu, Buci: mould, mildew (Tulu, DED 4357); Būsi, Bōsu: mould, mildew (Kannada, DED 4357). See column 293
Veṟum (adjective) empty; from Veṟu: empty (Tamil, DED 5513); Veṟumai: emptiness, vapidness, uselessness (Tamil, DED 5513); Veṟi: (verb) to become empty, as a place devoid of inhabitants (Tamil, DED 5513); cognates in 18 Dravidian languages


Kulama is a term found in the Sinhala place names of North Central and North Western Provinces, and also in some place names in the border areas of Northern and Eastern Provinces. There is a particular concentration of Kulama-related place names around Anuradhapura. Many such place names would show traces of direct Sinhalicisation from Tamil that probably took place within a century or two. But in some examples it could be seen that Sinhala usage in these provinces adopted the term Kulama to have Sinhala place names (see related place names listed below).

Kulama is used in these place names to mean a pond, tank or reservoir. The term is obviously the Sinhala form of Kuḷam in Tamil/ Dravidian meaning the same (DED 1828).

See column 18 for the usage and vast examples of Kuḷam in Eezham Tamil place names.

Kulama is not listed as a Sinhala word in dictionaries, probably because of recent Sinhalicisation, or because it was seen as a marker of Tamil villages in the said provinces, or because the usage is confined only to two provinces of the Sinhala region of the island.

However, a related Dravidian word, Kuḷī (Kuḻi in Tamil, DED 1818), used in the meaning of a tank or precincts of a tank, could be found in old Sinhala inscriptions, and this has been listed as a Sinhala word (Sorata, citing Epigraphia zeylanica Vol I, 203 and Vol IV, 188).

* * *


Among the examples taken for this column, Pūvarasu from Pūvaracu in Tamil meaning the Portia tree and Verum from Veṟum in Tamil meaning empty, have no cognates in Sinhala. Teppam means the same in both Tamil and Sinhala. Pusi as in Pusiyaṉ, in meaning empty or in meaning mildew, is a term of Sinhala usage, even though cognates are seen in Dravidian. See boxes above for etymology.

* * *


Pūvarasan-kulama is found near Mihintale in Anuradhapura district (Medawachchiya One Inch Sheet).

Teppan-kulama is a place in Nuwaragampalatha division of Anuradhapura district.

Pusiyan-kulama is a place in Nuwaragampalatha division of Anuradhapura district.

Veruň-kulama is in Galnewa division of Anuradhapura district

* * *


Some related place names:


Anuradhapura district:

Kiḍavaran-kulama: Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura. Kiḍavara: worker in straw or rattan, basket maker (Sinhala, Clough)

Periya-kulama: Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura. Periya-kuḷam

Karamban-kulama: Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura. Karampaṉ-kuḷam

Pūvarsan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Pūvaracaṉ-kuḷam

Perimiyan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Piramiyaṉ-kulam. Piramiyan: a plant

Pusiyan-kulama: Nuwaragampalatha, Anuradhapura. Pusi: = Puhu: vacant, empty, barren, "His, Kisivak nẹti" (Sinhala, Sorata)

Baňḍāra-puḷiyan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Teppan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palathe, Anuradhapura. Teppama: raft (Sinhala, Clough)

Tannāyam-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Tānāyama: rest house, place of accommodation for travellers (Sinhala, Clough); Tāṉam: place, station; Tāṉi: abode (Tamil, MTL, for the latter, Jaffna dictionary is cited); Sthāna: place of abode (Sanskrit, CDIAL 13753)

Maha-bulaň-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Bulaň-kulama: Viḷāṅ-kuḷam

Uḷuk-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. See column 109

Pallaň-kulama: Rambewa, Anuradhapura

Kāṭu-puliyaň-kulama: Rambewa, Anuradhapura. Kāṭṭup-puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Sivalā-kulama: Galenbindunuwewa, Anuradhapura. Sivalā: fox (Sinhala, Sorata); Śṛgāla: jackal (Sanskrit, CDIAL 12578); Sigāla: jackal (Pali, CDIAL 12578)

Gal-kulama: Galenbindunuwewa, Anuradhapura

Vannam-kulama: Galenbindunuwewa, Anuradhapura. Vaṇṇāṉ-kuḷam

Ukkulan-kulama: Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. Ukkuḷāṉ-kuḷam

Maradan-kulama: Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. Marutaṉ-kuḷam

Kuňci-kulama: Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. Kuñcuk-kuḷam

Kuruntan-kulama: Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. Kuruntaṉ-kuḷam

Sīppu-kulama: Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. Probably, Cippik-kuḷam

Tariyan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Neḷum-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Kīrik-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. See column 19

Tammẹnnā-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Vanniyan-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Vaṉṉiyaṉ-kuḷam

Ñaṇi-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Ñāṉi-kuḷam

Kavarak-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura. Kavara: Gavara

Maha-pālāḍi-kulama: Nuwaragam Palatha, Anuradhapura

Pāvak-kulama: Nachchduwa, Anuradhapura. Pāvaṟ-kuḷam

Palayā-kulama: Nachchaduwa, Anuradhapura. Paḻaiya-kuḷam

Iṭṭi-kulama: Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura

Halmilla-kulama: Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura

Nāvak-kulama: Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura. Nāvaṟ-kuḷam

Gal-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura

Ñaṇik-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Ñāṉi-kuḷam

Perimiyan-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Piramiyaṉ-kuḷam. Pirami: a herb

Vannam-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Vaṇṇāṉ-kuḷam

Kuṭṭi-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Kuṭṭik-kuḷam

Puliyan-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Puḷiyaṉ-kuḷam

Periya-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Periya-kuḷam

Alut-puňci-kulama: Thirapane, Anuradhapura

Sembu-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Cempuk-kuḷam; Cempu, Cēmpu: an aquatic yam (Tamil)

Payinḍi-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura

Mānak-kulama: Thirappane, Anuradhapura. Māna: a grass

Nāvak-kulama: Kekirawa, Anuradhapura. Nāvaṟ-kuḷam. Nāval: Jambu tree

Ihaḷa Puliyan-kulama: Kekirawa, Anuradhapura. Puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Kẹlệ-puliyan-kulama: Kekirawa, Anuradhapura. Puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Karukkan-kuḷama: Kekirawa, Anuradhapura

Kuňci-kulama: Ipalogama, Anuradhapura. Kuñcuk-kuḷam. Kuñcu: small (Tamil)

Puliyan-kulama: Ipalogama, Anuradhapura. Puḷiyañ-kuḷam

Veruň-kulama: Galnewa, Anuradhapura. Veṟuṅ-kuḷam

* * *


Kurunegala district

Kohomban-kulama: Galgamuwa, Kurunegala

Monnan-kulama: Galgamuwa, Kurunegala. Maṉṉan-kuḷam

Kuruntan-kulama: Galgamuwa, Kurunegala. Kuruntaṉ-kuḷam

Nā-heṭṭi-kulama: Galgamuwa, Kurunegala. Nākac-ceṭṭi-kuḷam

Monnệ-kulama: Kotavehera, Kurunegala. Maṇṇā-kuḷam

Oṭṭu-kulama: Rasnayakapura, Kurunegala. Oṭṭuk-kuḷam

Kuruvi-kulama: Rasnayakapura, Kurunegala. Kuruvik-kuḷam. Kuruvi: bird (Tamil)

Puduk-kulama: Ibbagamuwa, Kurunegala. Putuk-kuḷam. Putu: new (Tamil)

* * *


Puttalam district:

Puk-kulama: Vannathivillu, Puttalam. Pūk-kuḷam

Eḷuvan-kulama: Vannathivillu, Puttalam. Ilavaṅ-kuḷam. Ilavu: silk cotton (Tamil)

Mayilan-kulama: Vannathivillu, Puttalam. Mayilaṅ-kuḷam

Puliyan-kulama: Karuwalagaswewa, Puttalam; Pallam, Puttalam. Puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Navadan-kulama: Munthal, Puttalam. Nāvitaṉ-kuḷam

Puliccā-kulama: Munthal, Puttalam

Kavayan-kulama: Mahakumbukkadawela, Puttalam. Kavayan: Gavayā

Mẹllan-kulama: Anaimadu, Puttalam

Ālaň-kulama: Anaimadu, Puttalam. Ālaṅ-kuḷam

Periya-kulama: Anaimadu, Puttalam. Periya-kuḷam

Saňgaṭṭik-kulama: Anaimadu, puttalam. Ceṅ-kaṭṭik-kuḷam. Ceṅkaṭṭi: brick

Tāmarak-kulama: Pallam, Puttalam. Tāmaraik-kuḷam

Madavak-kulama: Pallam, Puttalam. Matavuk-kuḷam. Matavu: sluice

Mayik-kulama: Chilapam, Puttalam. Mayil-kuḷam

Maradan-kulama: Chilapam, Puttalam. Marutaṅ-kuḷam. Marutu: Terminalia arjuna (Tamil)

Manak-kulama: Madampe, Puttalam. Maṇaṟ-kuḷam. Maṇal: sand (Tamil)

Iraṭṭa-kulama: Madampe, Puttalam. Iraṭṭaik-kuḷam. Iraṭṭa: twin (Tamil)

Pu-kulama: Madampe, Puttalam. Pūk-kuḷam; Pū: flower (Tamil)

* * *


More Kulama place-names from One Inch Sheets:

Vavuniya Sheet:

Puliyan-kulama: Vavuniya OIS. Puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Kuḍā-puliyaṅ-kulama: Vavuniya OIS

Kuruntan-kulama: Vavuniya OIS. Kuruntaṉ-kuḷam. Kuruntu: wild lime (Tamil)

Neḍuṅ-kulama: Vavuniya OIS. Neṭuṅ-kuḷam. Neṭum: big, long (Tamil)

* * *


Medawachchiya Sheet:

Periya-kuḷama: Medawachchiya OIS. Periya: big (Tamil)

Ilupu-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Iluppaik-kuḷam. Iluppai: a tree

Baṇḍāra-bulaṅ-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Baṇḍāra-Viḷāṅ-kuḷam

Basavak-kuḷama: Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya OIS

Nalla-pāmpuk-kulama: Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya OIS. Nalla-pāmpuk-kuḷam; Nalla-pāmpu: cobra (Tamil)

Ciṟuk-kulama: Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya OIS. Ciṟu-kuḷam. Ciṟu: small (Tamil)

Āńḍiyan-kulama: Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya OIS. Āṇṭi: mendicant (Tamil); Āńḍi: Sáiva mendicant (Sinhala)

Dura-bulaṅ-kulama: Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya OIS

Kopa-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS

Pahala-halmilla-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS

Īccaṅ-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Īccaṅ-kuḷam

Pūvarasaṅ-kulama: near Mihintale, Medawachchiya OIS. Pūvaracaṅ-kuḷam

Īccaṅ-kulama-vẹva: Medawachchiya OIS. Īñcu: a local variety of date plam (Tamil)

Vēlan-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Vēl: acacia (Tamil)

Puduk-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Putuk-kuḷam

Kāṭṭu-māṅ-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Kāṭṭu-māṅ-kuḷam

Kāṭu-puliyaṅ-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS. Kāṭṭup-puḷiyaṅ-kuḷam

Bulaň-kulama: Mihintale, Medawachchiya OIS. Viḷāṅ-kuḷam

Kuruñjān-kulama: Medawachchiya OIS.

* * *


Galgamuwa Sheet:

Angittan-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS

Puliyaṅ-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS. Puḷi: tamarind (Tamil)

Mẹllan-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS. Mẹlla: a plant, Olax zeylanica (Sinhala)

Nayik-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS

Kollan-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS. Kollaṉ: ironsmith (Tamil)

Gal-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS

Māṅ-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS. Mā: tree; Māṉ: deer (Tamil)

Atti-kulama: Galgamuwa OIS. Atti: a tree (Tamil)

Oṭṭu-kulama: north of Galgamuva, Galgamuwa OIS. Oṭṭu: contract work done by tank-builders (Tamil). See column 83


Revised: Sunday, 09 April 2017, 21:30


First published: Wednesday, 05 September 2007, 01:00

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