Know the Etymology: 81
Place Name of the Day: Wednesday, 09 August 2017


Tiriyāy, Tiruk-kōyil/ Tiruk-kōvil, Tirumēṉiyūr, Kiri-bamuṇē-gama, Siri-saman-pura, Śrī Jayavardhana-pura Kōṭṭē

திரியாய், திருக்கோயில்/திருக்கோவில், திருமேனியூர், கிரிப₃முணேக₃ம, ஸிரிஸமன்புர, ஸ்ரீ ஜயவர்த₄னபுர கோட்டே
Tiriyāy, Tiruk-kōyil/ Tiruk-kōvil, Tirumēṉiyūr, Kiri-bamuṇē-gama, Siri-saman-pura, Śrī Jayavardhana-pura Kōṭṭē

Tiri+āy/ Tiri+yāy
Tiru+kōyil/ Tiru+kōvil
Tiru+mēṉi+ūr
Kiri+bamuṇa+gama
Siri+saman+pura
Śrī+jaya+vardhana+pura+kōṭṭē


The sacred expanse or the expanse of the sacred place

The sacred temple

The sacred person's or the prelate's village

The auspicious Brahmin village

The town of the sacred deity, Saman; or the auspicious town of the deity, Saman

The fort of the prosperous, victory-increasing city


Tiri = Śrī (Sinhala, Sorata, EZ, iv, 114); sacred place, "Puṇyakṣetra", the presiding deity of a sacred place, "Puṇyakṣetrādhipati devatā", (Sinhala, Sorata; meanings of Śrī, relevant to the context); Tiri comes in personal names in Early Brahmi Inscriptions of the island (IC, Vol I, 819, 868); 1. The form of the word is related to Siri: (Sinhala, Paranavitana, IC, Vol I, p. 109); Siriy, Siriy-i: forms of Śrī found in Tamil Brahmi Inscriptions (Tamil, ETE, 2003, 1.2b, 2.2b, 3.2b); Sirī: = Śrī (Pali, Prakrit, CDIAL 12708); Śrī: light, beauty (Sanskrit, Rig Vedic, CDIAL 12708); welfare, riches (Sanskrit, Atharva Vedic, CDIAL 12708); 2. The form of the word is related to Tiru: (Tamil, Paranavitana, IC, Vol I, p. 109). See box on Tiru.
Tiru wealth, beauty, goddess of wealth, blemish-less (Tamil, Caṅkam diction, Kuṟuntokai, 205: 7; 181: 6-7; Akanānūṟu, 13: 6; Ciṟupāṇāṟṟupaṭai, 157); prosperity (Tamil, Tirukkuṟaḷ, 108: 2); grace, sacredness (Tamil, Tolkāppiyam, 24: 25); divinity, prefix to sacred place names or temple names (Tamil, c. 5th century CE, Tirumūlar, 886; c. 7th century CE, Tēvārams, inscriptions); auspicious word (Tamil, Piṅkalam, 6: 621); Tiruk-kōyil: temple (Tamil, 7th century CE, Tēvāram, 2: 105: 3; inscription, 700 CE, ARE, 1959-60, 358); Tiruk-kō-il: temple (Tamil, inscription, 774 CE, SII, xiv, 3); traced to Śrī, but the word formation by Ś/ T change is a feature seen in both Tamil and Sinhala since early times
Tirumēṉi sacred person of a deity, saint etc.; idol (Tamil, MTL, inscription, 871 CE, SII, viii, 581); the person of a king (Tamil, 1281 CE, Ch'uan-Chou inscription in China); a priest, religious prelate (usage especially in Malayalam); Bishops of Syrian Christian Church in Kerala (Malayalam); Tirumēṉi-kāval: temple guards (Tamil inscription, 1168 CE, TAS, v, p. 63-85); Tiru+mēṉi: literally meaning the sacred body; Tiru: sacred, blemish-less (see box on Tiru); Mēni: body (Tamil, Malayalam, DED 5099, Kuṟuntokai, 62: 4); cognates in 11 Dravidian languages
Kiri = Śrī (spoken Sinhala, Sorata, Ś / K change); auspicious or prosperous is the shade of meaning in the context of the place name; Kiri-vanta: = Śrīmat (Sinhala, Sorata). See box on Śrī. Kiri also means milk, white and a kind of paddy-field bed in Sinhala. See relevant columns.
Śrī light, beauty (Sanskrit, Rig Vedic, CDIAL 12708); welfare, riches (Sanskrit, Atharva Vedic, CDIAL 12708); beauty, wealth, paraphernalia, fame, glory, success, fortune, prosperity, thriving, splendour, lustre, Lakṣmi, goddess of wealth, deity, preceptor, sacred place, deity of a sacred place (Sinhala, Sorata, Clough); written in Tamil by using Grantha letter (as in Śrī Nantip pōttaraicar, Tamil inscription, 745 CE, TAMIZ, 1970, p. 122); Tiru/ Tiri shares the meanings of Śrī
Bamuṇā Brahmin (Sinhala, Clough); Bamuṇā, Bamuṇu: "Brāhmaṇayā" (Sinhala, Sorata); Brāhmaṇa one who has the sacred knowledge, Brahman (Sanskrit, Rig Vedic, CDIAL 9327)
Jaya victory, conquest, triumph (Sinhala, Clough); victory (Sanskrit, Atharva Vedic, CDIAL 5141)
Vardhana increasing, growing, thriving (Sinhala, Clough); strengthening, means of strengthening, increasing (Sanskrit, CDIAL 11378); Vẹḍa, Vẹḍi, Vẹḍū: early forms related to Vardhana (Sinhala, Sorata, inscriptions, EZ, i, 31; 233); Vaḍḍhaṇa: = Vardhana (Parakrit, CDIAL 11378)
Pura city, town, market town, large village, collection of houses, house or cluster of houses walled in (Sinhala, Clough); fortress, town (Sanskrit, CDIAL 8278). See column 230
Kōṭṭē from Kōṭṭa, Kōṭṭaya: fort (Sinhala, Clough, Sorata); Kōṭṭai: fort, castle (Tamil, DED 2207a). See column 237
Ūr village, town, city, (Tamil, DED 752). See column 50
Gama village (Sinhala, Clough). See column 36
Āy expanse, open field (Eezham Tamil place names); Yāya: open champaign country (Sinhala, Sorata). See column 80
Kōyil temple (Tamil, DED 2177). See column 72.


Tiru in Tamil and Tiri in Sinhala are taken as cognates of Śrī in Sanskrit, coming through split of the conjunct consonant and through Ś > T change.

Tiru is seen in Caṅkam diction and Tiri comes in the Brahmi inscriptions of the island. That shows early localisation of the term, and the comparability of the cognates shows shared linguistic traits in extreme peninsular India and in the island.

Direct use of the Sanskrit term comes much later. Only around 8th century CE, Śrī appears in Tamil inscriptions.

Kiri is another Sinhalicised form of Śrī/ Siri, coming through Ś/ K change.

* * *


Tiri seen as personal name component in Brahmi inscriptions of the island:

"பருமக ப₃க திஸ₂ புத திரிபலஹ…" (IC, vol I, 819)

"Parumaka Baka Tiśa puta Tiripalaha…" (IC, vol I, 819)

Tiri-pāla son of the chief Baka Tiśa


"பருமக திரி புத அபி₄ஜிய.." (IC, vol I, 868)

"Parumaka Tiri puta Abhijiya.." (IC, vol I, 868)

Abhijiya, son of the chief Tiri

* * *


Siriy seen as personal name component in Tamil Brahmi inscriptions:

"கணிய் நந்தஸிரிய்" (ETE, 2003, 2)

"Kaṇiy nantasiriy" (ETE, 2003, 2)

The senior Jaina monk, Nanta-siri


* * *


Early usages of Tiru in Caṅkam literature:

"திரு மனை" (குறுந்தொகை, 181: 6-7)

"Tiru maṉai" (Kuṟuntokai, 181: 6-7)

Wealthy house


"திரு நுதல்" (குறுந்தொகை, 205: 7)

"Tiru nutal" (Kuṟuntokai, 205: 7)

Beautiful forehead


"திரு வீழ் மார்பின் தென்னவன்" (அகநாநுறு, 13: 6)

"Tiru vīḻ mārpiṉ teṉṉavaṉ" (Akanānuṟu, 13: 6)

The Pandyan king on whose chest the goddess of wealth stays in


Later usages of Tiru:

"திரு அம்பலம்" (திருமூலர், 886)

"Tiru ampalam" (Tirumūlar, 886)

The sacred hall (Citamparam)


"பெருந் திருக் கோயில்" (சம்பந்தர் தேவாரம், 2: 105: 3)

"Perun tiruk kōyil" (Campantar Tēvāram, 2: 105: 3)

The great sacred temple


"திருவே… மங்கலச் சொல்லே" (பிங்கலம், 6: 261)

"Tiruvē… maṅkalac collē" (Piṅkalam, 6: 261)

Tiru is an auspicious word


* * *


Usage of Tirumēṉi in Tamil inscriptions:

"திருமேனி காவல்க்கு நில்க்கும் பிள்ளெற்கு" (Tamil inscription coming from Cēra country, 1168 CE, TAS, v, p. 63-85)

"Tirumēṉi kāvalkku nilkkum piḷḷeṟku" (Tamil inscription coming from Cēra country, 1168 CE, TAS, v, p. 63-85)

To the people who stand guarding the deity (temple)


"ஸ்ரீ செக[சை]கான் திருமேனிக்கி நன்றாக" (Tamil inscription, 1281 CE, Ch´uan-Chou, China, T.N. Subramaniam, South Indian Studies, 1978)

"Śrī Ceka[cai]kāṉ tirumēṉikki naṉṟāka" (Tamil inscription, 1281 CE, Ch´uan-Chou, China, T.N. Subramaniam, South Indian Studies, 1978)

For the welfare of the illustrious body of the illustrious Chekachai Khān [Here Tirumēṉi means the Chinese emperor]

* * *


Tiriyāy is a place where a major Buddhist archaeological site is found in Kuchchaveli division of Trincomalee district. There is another Tiriyāy near Maṇṭalāy in Pazhai, in Pachchilaippalli division of Ki'linochchi district (HAM records).

Tiruk-kōyil/ Tiruk-kōvil is the name of a famous historical temple of Murukaṉ in the Eastern Province. The place is also a divisional headquarters in Amparai district.

Tirumēṉiyūr is in Manthai East division of Mullaiththeevu district. Kōyil Puḷiyaṅkuḷam, Pūcāriyār-kuḷam and Vayirāvi Mūṇṭu-muṟippuk-kuḷam are nearby places, marking the religious significance of the place.

Kiri-bamuṇē-gama comes in Polpithigama division of Kurunegala district. There is another place called Kiri-bamuṇa in Ibbagamuwa division of the same district

Siri-saman-pura is in Ratnapura division of Ratnapura district. A historical temple of the deity Saman is found at this place.

Śrī Jayavardanapura Kōṭṭē is also the name of the division commonly written as Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte in Colombo district. The place was the capital of the Kingdom of Kotte, one of the three kingdoms that existed when the Portuguese came to the island.

* * *


Some related place names:

Tiri:

Mangala-tiriya: Attanagalla division, Gampaha district. This is an ancient cave temple

Gantiriyāva: Bamunakotuva, Kurunegala

* * *


Tiru:

Tiruk-kētīccaram: Manthai West, Mannar

Tiru-kōṇa-malai: Trincomalee Town and Gravets, Trincomalee

Tiruk-kaṭalūr: Trincomalee Town and Gravets, Trincomalee

Tiru-maṅkalāy: southwest of Kiḷiveṭṭi, Trincomalee district (Kathiraveli OIS)

Tiruk-koṇṭaiyaṭi-maṭu: Māṅkēṇi, Vakaneri OIS. Koṇṭai: = Koṉṟai, Cassia fistula, a sacred tree.

Tiruk-kuḍiyiruppu: Manmunaippattu, Batticaloa (Kalmunai OIS)

Tiru-nel-vēli: Nallur, Jaffna. The place name in Jaffna dates back to pre-colonial times. May have come from Tirunelvēli in Tamil Nadu

Tiruvaiyāṟu: Karaichchi, Kilinochchi. A recent place name coming from the same name in Tamil Nadu

Tiruccentūr: Manmunai North Batticaloa. A recent place name coming from the same name in Tamil Nadu

Tirup-perun-tuṟai: Manmunai North, Batticaloa. A recent place name coming from the same name in Tamil Nadu

* * *


Kiri:

Kiri-bamuṇa: Ibbagama, Kurunegala. The suffix part seems to be missing in this place name. Probably there was a suffix such as Gama

Kiri-gam-pamuṇuva: Homagama, Colombo

Kiri-vat-tuḍuva: Homagama, Colombo

Kiri-van-dala: Seethawaka, Colombo

Kiri-van-deṇiya: Rambukkana, Kegalle

Kirivāna: Dompe, Gampaha

Kiri-dana: Galigamuwa, Kegalle

Kiribat-goḍa: Kelaniya, Gampaha: Kiri+bat+goḍa; Bat: = Bhadra (Sinhala, Sorata); Bhadra: prosperity, fortune, happiness, propitiousness excellence (Sinhala, Clough)

Kiribat-talāva: Medadumbara, Kandy. See Kiribat-goḍa

Kiribat-kuṁbura: Yatinuwara, Kandy. See Kiribat-goḍa

Kiribat-galla: Rideegama, Kurunegala. See Kiribat-goḍa

Kiribat-gala: Nivithigala, Ratnapura. See Kiribat-goḍa

Kirivanā-goda: Pathahewaheta, Kandy

Kiri-oruva: Pallepola, Matale; Soranathota, Badulla; Bandarawela, Badulla

Kiri-pēdda: Karandeniya, Galle

Kiri-vehera: Kandaketiya, Badulla

Kiri-pōruva: Eheliyagoda, Ratnapura; Bulathkohupitiya, Kegalle. Pōruva: = Pēruva: part

* * *


Siri: (Many of the place names listed are recent ones)

Siri-malvatta: Kudasale, Kandy. See column 156 on Mal-vatta. The Siri prefix differentiates the place from other Malvatta places. The place is the headquarters of the main Buddhist chapter in the island

Saman-siri-gama: Ambagamuwa, Nuwara Eliya

Siri-pura: Karandeniya, Galle; Dimbulagala, Polonnaruwa; Siyambalanduwa, Moneragala

Kithsiri-pura: Mulatiyana, Matara

Raṇasiri-pura: Lunugamvehera, Hambantota

Gańga-siri-pura: Thissamaharama, Hambantota

Siri-bō-pura: Hambantota, Hambantota

Uksiri-pura: Damana, Ampara

Siri-maňgala-pura: Seruvila, Trincomalee

Siri-vardhana Pedesa: Negombo, Gampaha

Punsiri-pura: Millaniya, Kalutara

Sańdasiri-gama: Mathugama, Kalutara

Siri-digana: Medadumbara, Kandy

Hel-siri-gama: Kothmale, Nuwara Eliya

Siri-seta-gama: Kotavehera, Kurunegala. Seta: peace in mind, Nirvāṇa, auspicious, "Śāntiya, Maṅgalaya, Nivaṇa" (Sinhala, Sorata)

Jayasiri-pura: Panduwasnuwara West, Kurunegala

Siri-gampala: Wennapuwa, Puttalam

Siri-keta: Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa

Muṇisiri-pura: Lankapura, Polonnaruwa

Siri-sańgabō Pedesa: Thamankaduwa, Polonnaruwa

Siri-kanduru-yāya: Elahera, Polonnaruwa

Siri-mal-goḍa: Badulla, Badulla

Siri-pā-gama: Ratnapura, Ratnapura. Siri-pā: the foot of Buddha, Adams Peak (Sinhala, Clough)

* * *


Śri: (Some of them are recent ones)

Śrī Saraṇaňkara: Dehiwala, Colombo

Śrīyā-gama: Pathahewaheta, Kandy. Śrīya+a; Śrīya: prosperity, wealth, "Sambata" (Sorata)

Padavi Śrī Pura: Padavi Sri Pura, Trincomalee

Śrī Palābaddala: Ratnapura, Ratnapura. The place is at the foothills of the Adam's Peak; Palābat, Paḷābat: "Mārgōpakaraṇa" (Sinhala, Sorata); provisions etc., for a journey. Palāpat+tala

* * *


Notes on Tiriyāy:

Tiriyāy lies between Kuccaveḷi and Pulmōṭṭai in Trincomalee district, at an important location in the communication route of the eastern coast of the island. It was a ferry point to cross the Yāṉ-oya or Kal-āṟu River.

The river Yāṉ-oya itself might have gained that name because it facilitated crossing or boating.

Tiriyāy is a major archaeological site of the island in the eastern coast, dating back from the early centuries of the Common Era.

Tiriyāy of Trincomalee district and many other Buddhist sites of its genre in the Eastern Province, namely Kuccaveḷi, Vēlakāma Paḷḷi (Rājarājap-perum-paḷḷi, Nātanār Kōyil or Velgam Vihāra), Situlpavu, and Kurukkaḷmaṭam show strong legacies of Tamil Buddhism in the island.

Most of these sites in their heyday were belonging to Mahāyāna Buddhism. They were probably initiated and patronized by merchant guilds from South India. The influences of the Pallavas and later the Cholas are strongly seen in their sculpture, architecture and inscriptions.

The Sanskrit inscriptions found in these places are in the Grantha alphabet of the Pallavas. Almost 15 Tamil inscriptions of Tamil Buddhist devotees of the Chola period are found at Nātanār Kōyil (the Tamil name of local usage for Velgam Vihara). The Mahayana Buddhist images of Bodhisattva Padmapāṇi and Tārā found at Kurukkaḷ Maṭam in Batticaloa District belong to the Pallava style of sculpture datable to c. 7th century CE.

The earliest evidence for the cult of Tārā comes from the Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna schools of Buddhism of the Kaliṅga country (Orissa). It is believed that the cult originated through a syncretism between Buddhism and the Earth Goddess (Tāra-Peṇṇu: Taraip-peṇ) cult of the Kui tribe (a Dravidian tribe) of Orissa. Later the cult of Tārā became popular in the Buddhism of Southeast Asia, China and in the Himalayan Buddhism.

Kāñci, the capital of the Pallavas, and Tamil Buddhists played a major role in the spread of Mahāyāna Buddhism to Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

After the initial rejection of the Mahāyāna Buddhism of the Abhayagiri monks by the Hīnayāna or Tēravāda monks of Mahāvihāra in Anuradhapura in the 1st century BCE, the Pallavas seemed to have brought it again to the island. Significantly, the Mahāyāna Buddhist sites of this genre are mostly found in the East of the island.

This alternative school of Buddhism in the island is identified largely as Tamil Buddhist heritage (Indrapala 2006). Not surprisingly it was obscured in the Pali chronicles such as Mahāvamsa and Cuḷuvamsa of Tēravāda Buddhism.

The archaeological remains of Tiriyāy are situated on a small rocky hillock, a couple of kilometers away from the present village of Tiriyāy. Presence of a late Brahmi inscription on a rock face here reveals that the place was occupied in the early centuries of the Common Era.

In the 8th century CE, a Mahāyana Buddhist shrine called Girikanda Chaitya (The Hill Temple) was built here by a merchant guild of the Pallava country. The evidence comes from a Sanskrit inscription found in the site written in Pallava Grantha, an alphabet that was evolved by Tamils to write Sanskrit.

The Vaṭṭadāgē (circular shrine) and the sculptures of Dvārapālakas found here also show Pallava style of art.

The Pallava influences seemed to have existed prominently in this region. There is another Mahāyana-Sanskrit inscription in Pallava Grantha writing is seen on a rock facing the sea at Kuccaveḷi, a few kilometers south of Tiriyāy.

The ancient port of Pallava-vaṅka was probably located at Puṭavaik-kaṭṭu, a natural port between Kuccaveḷi and Tiriyāy. Pallava-vaṅka literally means the ships of the Pallavas.

The location of Pallava-vaṅka could also be traced to present Pulmōṭṭai, a few kilometers north of Tiriyāy on the other side of the Yāṉ-oya / Kal-āṟu river, at the mouth of the Kokkuḷāy lagoon.

In 1981, extensive archaeological remains of an ancient habitation site, including ring-wells, were seen in the stretches scooped for ilmenite at Pulmōṭṭai. This means, a settlement existed there before the times of the deposition of ilmenite and the white sand that was lying above ilmenite.

The landscape of Puṭavaik-kaṭṭu (named probably from a bund at the entrance-channel or from a way of laying nets) and the adjacent projection of a rocky hillock into the sea, called Koṭuvāk-kaṭṭu-malai (the hillock of the place to lay net for Koṭuvā fish, i.e., Ambassis dayi or Glassy Perchlet), make a naturally protected port at the mouth of a backwaters formed by the estuary of a small river.

This fishing harbour of today, known for its rich catches of deep-sea fishes, was renamed as Sāgarapura with the colonization of Sinhala fishermen from the western coast of the island

In the maps of British times (1899), the river Yāṉ-oya is marked as Kal-aṟu in its course through the Tamil areas and as Yan-aru in the Sinhala areas. In the latest maps prepared by the Survey Department the river is marked as Yan-oya. Only a fishing camp at the estuary is marked as Kallarawa, in Sinhalicised spelling.

The Tamil village at Tiriyāy became a ghost settlement after repeated ethnic massacres.

* * *


Satellite view of the archaeological site at Thiriyaay
Satellite view of the archaeological site on a rocky hillock at Thiriyaay [Image courtesy: Google Earth]


Tara from Kurukka'lmadam at British Museum
The bronze image of Tara from Kurukka'lmadam, Batticaloa, taken by Sir G. Brownrigg the third English governor of Ceylon (1812-1822) in the display of British Museum, London. [Image Courtesy: Ron Reznick / digital-images.net]
Tara 2
The front view of the image of Tara from Kurukka'lmadam. The Tripple Gem (Tri-ratna) originally placed in the coiffure is missing. [Image courtesy: lakdiva.org]


Kurukka'l Madam
A recent photograph of the stone image of Bodhisattva Padmapani seen in the premises of a temple at Kurukka'lmadam, Batticaloa. He holds lotus buds in both hands.
A location map the ferry point of Yaan Oya, Thiriyaay, Pudavaik-kaddu and Kuchchave'li
A location map the ferry point of Yaan Oya, Thiriyaay, Pudavaik-kaddu and Kuchchave'li [Image courtesy: Google Earth]
Location of the Kuchchave'li site of Mahayana inscriptions
Location of the Kuchchave'li site of Mahayana inscriptions [Image courtesy: Google Earth]


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Revised: Wednesday, 09 August 2017, 18:30

First published: Friday, 22 February 2008, 05:26

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