Know the Etymology: 104
Place Name of the Day: Friday, 01 August 2008


Jaffna/ Yaazhppaa'nam/ Yaazhppaa'nap Paddinam/ Yaazhppaa'naayan Paddinam




Yāḻppāṇam
Yāḻppāṇap paṭṭiṉam
Yāḻppāṇāyaṉ paṭṭiṉam


Yaazh+paa'nan+paddinam
Yaazh+paa'na+naayan+paddinam


The city of the bard / minstrel
The city of the lord of bards / minstrels


Yaazh A stringed musical instrument of ancient times akin to lyre or harp. It was the standard instrument of Tamil music (Changkam Tamil Diction, Old Lexicons and Dictionaries); the music of Yaazh, the sound of Yaazh, the deity of Yaazh, playing Yaazh (such usages of the word are found only in the Changkam Diction); Yaappathu: anything that spreads, including the sound of music; Yaaththal: binding as in a composition, tightening the strings of an instrument etc (Changkam Diction); Yaappu: The binding across the strings of a lyre in order to tighten them (Changkam Diction); composition of poetry (Lexicons and later Tamil usage)
Paa'n A collective term for the ancient clan of bards and minstrels, whose basic musical instrument was Yaazh; Paa'n-cheari: The suburb where Paa'nar resided; Paa'n-paaddu: The song of Paa'nar at the battle field on their fallen patrons; Paa'nan: A male member of the clan of bards and minstrels; Paa'nar: Plural of Paa'nan, collective term for the members of the clan; Paa'n-maka'l, Paadini, Virali: Feminine form of Paa'nan; Pa'n: The root word of Paa'n, music, melody, anything that is well made (noun); Make, do (verb); Pa'n'nuthal: Making, composing, playing music; Pa'n'nu: To set the tune for (verb); Paa'ni: Rhythm, cymbal, sound, beauty, timing of music, hand-held jingles; Paa'nich-cheer: Hand-held cymbal, timing for music by hand, clapping hands in rhythm; Perum-paa'n: The clan of bards and minstrels who played a kind of big lyre (Peari-yaazh); Chi'ru-paa'n: The clan of bards and minstrels who played a kind of small lyre (Chee'ri-yaazh); Yaazhp-Paa'nar: The bards and minstrels who were found accompanied with the musical instrument Yaazh (All the above usages are from the Changkam Diction); Pa'ndar, Oavaar: The lower sections of the clan of bards and minstrels (Old Tamil Lexicons); Paa'nan: A caste of musicians actors and players (Malayalam); Paa'ni: Hand; Paa'navika: Relating to a drum, drummer (Sanskrit); Paa'ni: Hand, one who posseses animation; Paa'ni-vaada: Musician who plays striking with the hand only (Sinhala, Clough's Dictionary)
Paddinam A coastal town, settlement of the littoral tract (Changkam Diction); Kaavirip-poom-Paddinam: The coastal city, emporium of foreign trade and the capital of the Cholas during the Changkam times, c. 300 BCE to c. 300 CE (Changkam Diction); Paddinap-paalai: One of the Ten Idylls (Paththuppaaddu) of the Changkam literature, composed on the city of Kaavirip-poom-paddinam, around the dawn of the Common Era; Paddinap-paakkam: A suburb of the city of Kaavirip-poom-paddinam (Changkam Diction, Chilappathikaaram); Eyit-paddinam: A coastal city, having a fort, mentioned in Changkam literature (Chirupaa'naattuppadai); Paddinam: A coastal place where commodities are brought in from different directions, a settlement of the littoral tract (Thivaakaram lexicon of c. 8th or 9th century CE); A coastal settlement (Pingkalam and Choodaama'ni lexicons of 10th and 13th centuries CE); Paddam: Various commodities (Pingkalam Lexicon); Paddanam: A settlement selling commodities coming from various islands (Choodaama'ni Lexicon); Pattana (Paddana), Pattani (Paddanee): A city (Sanskrit); Patuna (Padduna): Sea port, town (Sinhala); Patunakkaara, Patunakkaaree: Masculine and feminine forms of an egoist or boaster (Sinhala)


Yaazh
A man and a woman playing the extinct Tamil musical instrument Yaazh. Ponchey-nalthu'nai-eesvaram, Tamil Nadu, c. 10th century CE. The scene perhaps depicts a competition. [Photo courtesy: varalaaru.com]


The earliest available reference to the city of Yaazhppaa'nam (Jaffna) is the Thiruma'nikkuzhi inscription from Tamil Nadu, dated to 1435 CE.

The name is written in this inscription as Iaazhppaa'naayan-paddinam.

Yaazhppaa'naayan Paddinam is the form of the name found in Thiruppukazh, the devotional literature on Murukan by Aru'nakirinaathar. The literature is dated to mid 15th century, of the times of the Vijayanagara ruler Devaraya II alias Pirapuda Devaraya.

If the inscriptional and literary forms are split to separate words, they will be Iyaazhp-paa'na-naayan-paddinam and Yaazhp-paa'na-naayan-paddinam.

Even though the earliest available Tamil grammar, Tholkaappiyam, sanctions that Tamil words can begin from the letter Y, sometimes such words are prefixed with the letter I. This is what found in the inscriptional term Iaazhppaa'nam. Between the first and the second letter, Y comes automatically (Udampadu-mey)

Yaazhpaa'na-naayan-paddinam means, the coastal town of the lord of the clan of lyre-playing bards and minstrels.

Naayan is a lord, chief or master. It also comes in common usage as Nayinaar. The feminine form is Naaychchi.

Almost around the time of the inscription and Thiruppukazh, or little later, the Sinhala sandesa literature and Madagoda Sannasa, refers to the city as Yaapaa-patuna.

All the historiographical literature of Jaffna, Vaiyaapaadal (16th century), Kailaayamaalai (17th century) and Yaazhppaa'na Vaipava Maalai (18th century) call the city as Yaazhppaa'nam.

Prof. K.Indrapala provides us with a long list how the place name was spelt as Yaalpaa'nam, Yaa'lpaa'nam, Yaadpaa'nam. Yaadppaa'nam, Yaappaa'na-padda'nam, Yaapaa'na-padda'nam, Yaa'lpaa'na-padda'nam, Yaadpaa'na-theasam, Iyaadpaa'nayan-padda'nam etc., in the Tamil Nadu documents of 17th and 18th centuries. (Indrapala.K., Yaazhpaa'na Iraachchiyaththin Thoattamum Va'larchchiyum, 1972)

Obviously, Yaazhppaa'na-paddinam was rendered into Portuguese as Jafana-patam, Jafana-patao and Jafana-patano-ture (ture> turai: port) in the 16th and 17th centuries. (Barros, Couto and Queyroz)

It was Jaffna-patem in the Dutch records (17 – 18th centuries) and became Jaffna in the British times.

However, Yaazhppaa'nam continued in the Tamil usage.

* * *


The historiographical literature of Jaffna, Kailaayamaalai (17th century) and Yaazhppaa'na Vaipava Maalai (18th century) come out with a story on the origins of the place name Yaazhppaa'nam.

Kailaayamaalai refers to a Yaazhppaa'nan (a bard and minstrel playing lyre), eulogizing a king with poetry, accompanied with the music of lyre, and receiving a town as a present, which becoming Yaazhppaa'nam, bearing his caste name. (Kailaayamaalai: 59-67)

Yaazhppaa'na Vaipava Maalai comes out with the same story but with additions. It gives the bard's name as Anthaka-kavi-Veeraraakavan (the blind poet Veeraraakavan). Instead of the town it mentions a region, which was earlier called Ma'natti (the sandy stretch). The king is named as Vaalasingkan, ruling from Kandy.

The above stories may not have historicity, but could have based on some earlier memories.

Both the literatures agree in connecting the name Yaazhppaa'nam with the clan of bards and minstrels playing lyre.

* * *


The affix Paddinam and the Portuguese renderings of it into Patam and Patao, clearly indicate that the place name stood for a town and not for a region.

The original location of the town must be the fort of Jaffna and its surroundings facing the Jaffna lagoon and the Palk Straits. The Fort of Jaffna was first built by the Portuguese in 1560 CE and it was called Nossa Senhora dos Milagres. The fort was later rebuilt by the Dutch in 1680 CE.

Paddinam, as one may see from the table above is an ancient Tamil word for a coastal town of maritime trade. A number of examples can be cited for the use of the word in the Tamil place names (see the list of place names at the end of the column).

The occurrence of the word Pattana and its feminine form Pattanee in Sanskrit diction seems to be borrowings from Tamil.

There is a striking difference in the usage of the word in Sanskrit and in Tamil. While Pattana in Sanskrit stands for any city or town, Paddinam in Tamil very specifically means a coastal town.

It should be noted here that the Sinhala usage of the word Patuna for a coastal town shares that meaning only with Tamil and not with Sanskrit.

The Sinhala usages Patunakaara and Patunakaaree for boastful men and women were perhaps ways of ridiculing the city people by the villagers.

In the later Tamil usage there was a differentiation between Padda'nam and Paddinam: the former for an inland town and the latter for a coastal town. But often they were confused in common usage.

These words, and their Sanskritized form Pattanee, confined largely to the lands of Tamil usage and adjacent regions, traveled as far as the Isthmus of Kra, the border area of today's Thailand and Malaysia. Sungai Pattani in Malaysia and Pattani in Thailand are good examples. Both the places are located in the region recognized as Kaazhakam (Changkam Diction, Paddinappaalai) or Kadaaram (Chola inscriptions) in the ancient Tamil records. The places mentioned are located straight across the Bay of Bengal from Naakap-paddinam of the Coromandal Coast. Naakap-paddinam and Yaazhppaa'nap-paddinam are close by ports.

* * *


Jaffna City, the sea routes
Jaffna City, the sea routes [Map: TamilNet]


In the era of sail ships, today's Jaffna or Yaazhppaa'nap-paddinam was a natural location for a seaport. Its geography, while commanding the sea routes of the Jaffna Lagoon, provided safe and protected anchorage for the vessels plying the Palk Strait.

The port of Jaffna directly faces an inlet from the Palk Strait into the Jaffna lagoon between Ma'n'niththalai and Mandaitheevu, facilitating sea routes towards south. It has another access to the Palk Strait and the Bay of Bengal through the inlet at the Kayts port, for northbound sea routes. Its location also provides for the shortest ferry route to cross the Jaffna Lagoon and get to the mainland of Sri Lanka from the peninsula, besides controlling the Kayts to Poonakari lagoon route. (See map)

No wonder, early archaeological evidences such as Black and Red Ware associated with the Proto and Early History of South India and Sri Lanka as well as Rouletted Ware, associated with Greacco-Roman trade around the dawn of the Common Era, have been found at Ma'n'niththalai, the sandbar at the entrance to the Jaffna port. (Ragupathy 1987) (See Ma'n'niththalai).

There is also an earlier report of finding Roman coins from the locality of the Jaffna Fort.

What is inferred by the evidences is that an ancient Paddinam (a coastal trading settlement, an emporium or an entrepot) existed at the location of today's Jaffna, whether it was called Yaazhppaa'nap-paddinam or not at that time.

Somewhere in its long history before the 15th century, the Paddinam became associated with the community of Yaazhp-Paa'nar to gain the name Yaazhppaa'na-naayan-paddinam or perhaps from the very inception as a humble settlement the place was connected to the said community. In ancient Tami usage the word Paddinam stood not only for a coastal town, but also for a coastal village (Neythal nilaththu oor).

* * *


Dancing couple, Paa'nan & Virali
Dancing couple, Karoor, Tamil Nadu, first century CE: perhaps a reminiscence of Paa’nan and Vi’rali [Photo courtesy: The Hindu]
The community of Paa'nar was a social element inextricably linked to the composition and portrayals of the corpus of Changkam Tamil literature (c. 300 BCE to c. 300 CE). They were found mentioned almost in every work of Changkam classics.

They were bards and minstrels of wandering habits. Yaazh (lyre) was their basic musical instrument and hence they were called the Yaazhp-Paa'nar.

Some descriptions define Yaazhp-Paa'nar as one of the three groups of Paa'nar, the other two being Isaip-Paa'nar and Ma'ndaip-Paa'nar. Yaazhp-Paa'nar are again devided into two sub-groups, Perum-paa'n (those who play a big lyre) and Chi'ru-paa'n (those who play a small lyre)

Together their men and women, the Paa'nar mingled with every section of the society, ate whatever they received whomsoever offered and served the aesthetic needs of rulers as well as paupers.

It is difficult to say whether they were a tribe, clan or a caste.

In a verse found in the Changkam anthology Pu'ranaanoo'ru, Paa'nan is placed along with Thudiyan, Pa'raiyan and Kadampan. The verse also infers that the said four identities were exclusive peoples of a tribal tract of land. The exact Tamil word used in this context to mean a community is Kudi, which can be interpreted as a tribe, clan or caste. (Pu'ranaanoo'ru: 335)

It seems that Paa'nar were one of the aboriginal tribes, who in Changkam times took to the profession of aesthetics and became recognized for their accomplishments.

Even though they were a wandering tribe, often rulers and chieftains gifted them with lands, usually unproductive and located in the suburbs of towns and villages, for them to make hamlets and settle down. Yet they had the habit of leaving such settlements en bloc and journeying to far away places seeking patrons and presents.

Two of the Changkam idylls, Perum-paa'n-aattuppadai and Chi'ru-paa'n-attuppadai were themed on the journeys of the community of Paa'nar.

In some instances of Changkam literature there are also references to chieftains among the Paa'nars (Akanaanoo'ru). There is a speculation that they could be the ancestors of a dynasty that was known in later history as the Baa'nas of Northern Tamil Nadu, bordering Karnataka.

* * *


Egyptian harp
A harp of the Egyptian civilisation, British Museum, London. The Yaazh had a resemblance to it. [Photo courtesy: Archangeli's photostream, flickr]
Sumerian harp
A harp of Sumerian civilisation, third millennium BCE, British Museum, London [Photo courtesy: zwoje-scrolls.com]
Belur Veena
Handheld Vee’naai, Belur, Karnataka, 12th century CE.
Vil Yaazh
The Vil Yaazh, a violin-like instrument, Belur, Karnataka, 12th century CE. [Photo courtesy: cityguide, Webindia123.com]
Playing Saarangi
Anant Kunte playing the sarangi. [Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]
The identity and the association of the community of Paa'nar with the music of Yaazh continued even after the Changkam times. They were found associated with the Saiva – Vaishnava devotional movement of the subsequent centuries, rendering devotional music. Thiruneelaka'nda-Yaazhp-paa'nar of the Saiva saints and Thirup-paa'n-aazhvaar of the Vaishnava saints are illustrative examples.

The community of Paa'nar and their musical instrument Yaazh disappeared in the later Tamil traditions. Perhaps a part of them were assimilated into the identity of Temple Dancers (Devadasi) and Temple Musicians, who are today tagged as Isai-vea'laa'lar. Another part might have become wandering mendicants.

Tamil lexicons come out with four types of Yaazh: Peari- yaazh, Chakoada-yaazh, Makara-yaazh and Chegkoaddu-yaazh.

Of them, at least one seemed to have evolved into today's South Indian stringed instrument called, Vee'nai.

The Changkam literature lets us know many more types of Yaazh such as Chee'ri Yaazh, a small type of instrument also called Karung-koaddu-yaazh (Akanaanoo'ru, Nedunalvaadai), lyres of different tracts of land such as Paalai-yaazh and a type Vil-yaazh, which was played with a bow.

Vil-yaazh evolved into somewhat like the Saarangi of North India and today gave way to the borrowed instrument of violin. But the primitive version can still be found in folklore.

Swami Vipulaananthar's Yaazh Nool is a detailed treatise on the forgotten instrument of Tamil music.

* * *


The presence of Paa'nar community in Sri Lanka, especially in Jaffna Peninsula in the past is well attested by a number of place names.

Probably the Paa'nar, especially the lower sections of them, were one of the aborigine communities having generic relationship with the Veddahs.

Place names such as Pa'n'naakam indicate that their settlements have gone through the phase of Prakrit influence. This could be interpreted as a possible suggestion to their aboriginal or very early heritage in Sri Lanka.

Even the lower sections of the Paa'nar community, such as the Pa'ndar and Oavaar also had settlements in the Jaffna peninsula, as seen from the examples, Pa'ndath-theruppu, Pa'nda-vil, Pa'ndaakkai, Oavaali etc. (See Pa'ndath-theruppu).

Paa'nadura (Paanan-thu'rai) in the Western Province of Sri Lanka is an example for a port bearing the name of the community.

People bearing the title Maa-Paa'nar, literally meaning the Great Paa'nar, were chieftains in Jaffna and Vanni until the Dutch times. The hereditary trustees of Nalloor Kanthasaami temple still hold the title Maapaa'nar.

It seems that in the context of Jaffna while some sections of Paa'nar became part of the elite, other sections were either absorbed into Saiva mendicants or took to fishing.

The community doesn't have any identity of its own today.

However, the presence of a number of place names and titles connected to the Paa'nar community, especially in the Jaffna peninsula, and the inscriptional form mentioned earlier, strongly evidence that the place name Yaazhppaa'nap-paddinam originated from the Paa'nar community.

Obviously it became Jafana-patam, Jaffna-patem etc in the languages of the European colonists, finally to become Jaffna, while it became shortened as Yaazhppaa'nam in the Tamil usage.

In the 15th century Sinhala writings it was Sinhalicised to Yaapaa-patuna. It couldn't have been the other way round as some scholars have speculated and continue to speculate. That is contrary to the rules of linguistics.

* * *


The exact nature of the relationship between Jaffna and Nalloor, the capital of the kingdom of Jaffna, which lies a couple of kilometers interior, is not known. Probably the place, and the number of ports in the stretch, such as Naavaan-thu'rai (Naavaai: ship), Pa'n'nai-thu'rai (Pan'nai: freshwater resource) etc might have served as outlets.

Jaffna seems to have come to prominence with the Portuguese building a fort there and with the collapse of the Kingdom at Nalloor. It became the seat of colonial power in Northern Ceylon under the Portuguese and the Dutch, who maintained the name Jaffna Patem not only for the city, but also for the whole region under its jurisdiction.

Jaffna Fort
The Jaffna Fort: moat and the main entrance. [Photo courtesy: A visit to Jaffna in 2002, S.R., Sangam.org]


Jaffna Fort
The main entrance of the Jaffna Fort. [Photo by Terry for TamilNet]
Jaffna Fort
The main entrance of the Jaffna Fort, marking the year of its re-building by the Dutch as ANNO 1680. [Photo by Terry for TamilNet]
The fort seen in Jaffna today is of Dutch architecture. It had two entrances: the main one facing the east and the other facing the north. Sea was bordering the southwestern side while there was a moat and an esplanade on the other sides.

A highway starting from the eastern entrance was passing through the harbour and the European quarters, to Kolumputh-thu'rai, the ferry point to cross to the mainland and to travel to Mannaar and Colombo through a coastal route. Today there is no such coastal highway to Colombo. The road from the eastern entrance of the fort now leads to the A9 highway to Kandy.

The highway starting from the northern entrance of the fort was passing through the native town and was branching off to the deep-sea ports of the northern coast, where the Bay of Bengal and the Palk Strait meet. Today's KKS (Kaankeasanthu'rai) Road begins from the northern entrance of the fort.

The native town of Jaffna was planned and built by Vaiththilinkach-cheddiyaar in the 18th century at a locality known as Va'n'naar-pa'n'nai on the northern side of the fort.

As the place name implies the locality earlier had a pond used for washing clothes by the community of launders. (Va'n'naar: dyers and launders; Pa'n'nai: pond, water resource)

The native town was designed centering-around the Vaiththeesvaran Temple, which in popular usage is called today as 'Padda'naththu Chivan Koayil' (the Siva temple of the town). Middaay-kadai-chanthi (the sweet vendor's junction), close-by the temple was the hub of commercial activity.

Vaiththilingkach-cheddiyaar designed the different quarters of the town and settled it with different communities, artisans etc., including separate quarters for Devadasis (temple dancers), falling in line with the life of those days.

It is said that he spent the huge profits he earned by taking up the pearl-diving contracts in building the temple and the town.

As the adopted son of the Dutch commander's wife in the Jaffna fort, he wielded lot of influence in getting the necessary permission from the authorities.

It was a rare occurrance under the colonial rule where a native person was permitted to build a city.

He belonged to the Vea'laa'n-cheddi community of Jaffna, which shouldn't be confused with the Naaddukkoaddai Cheddiyaars of Tamil Nadu.

It is said that he died by immersing himself in the Ganges at Kaasi (Banares) after instituting charities there.

Vaiththilingkach Cheddiyaar's effort was the first and the last in handling the town planning and urbanization of Jaffna, systematically and comprehensively.

The European and Christian quarters of the city was extended up to Chu'ndikkuzhi in the British times and the Muslim quarters which was previously at Nalloor, in the capital of the Kingdom of Jaffna, was evacuated and shifted to Naavaanthu'rai (today's Choanaka Theru) in the late Dutch times.

Va'n'naarpa'n'nai and the Sivan temple
Va'n'naarpa'n'nai and the Sivan temple [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]


* * *


The Jaffna city didn't make any impressive progress in the 19th and 20th centuries compared to the process of urbanization in Colombo and elsewhere in South Asia.

The economic importance of Jaffna city and the capital it generated declined during British times.

The sea trade dwindled with the advent of steam vessels, which couldn't be plied in the shallow waters. The northern ports were either closed or restricted in the beginning of 20th century and communication with India was regulated only through Thalai Mannaar. The coastal highway to Colombo was never developed. Railway was introduced to Ceylon in 1864, but it came to Jaffna only in 1905.

The economic concentration of the British was on the plantations of southern Ceylon and on the development of Colombo that served their strategic purposes. The monopoly of Colombo in capital accumulation affected not only Jaffna but also other such urban centres of Ceylon.

The discrepancy in urban development resulted in resourceful sections of the society gradually leaving Jaffna and settling down in Colombo and considerable sections of the educated elite of Jaffna migrating to British Malaya and Singapore.

The picture is in contradiction to beliefs that British colonialism favoured Jaffna Tamils.

By the time of independence Jaffna was reduced to a city of only services, yet it was the second largest city in Ceylon at that time. It has become a ghost city today in the course of the post independent developments and civil war.

Part of the City of Jaffna
Part of the City of Jaffna [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]




Some Related Place Names:

Sri Lanka:

Maap-paa'na-oori: The village of the community of Maa-Paa'nar (a section of Paa'nar also known as Perum-paa'nar) or the village of a person of the title of Maa-paa'nar (there were many chiefs in Jaffna and Vanni). This is a locality in the Kaarainakar Northeast GS area of the Kaarainakar division of Jaffna district

Paa'nan-ku'lam: The tank of a Paa'nan. This is a locality in Nalloor, having a Naachchi-amman temple (source: Vaakkiya Pagnchaangkam, Kokkuvil)

Paa'naa-vil-ku'lam: The pond of Paa'nar. This is a name of a pond in the Maasaar area of the Pachchilaippa'l'li division of Ki'linochchi district.

Paa'naa-villu: The pond of the Paa'nar community. This is is a name of a pond located near Kollan-villu and Ve'l'laangku'lam in the Mannaar district.

Paa'naa-veddi: The open land of the community of Paa'nar. This is a locality in the Chuzhipuram village (three GS areas), in the Valikaamam West division of Jaffna district.

Paa'naaka-veddi: The open land of the community of Paa'nar. This is a locality in Maathakal, having an Amman temple. (Source: Vaakkiya Pagnchaangkam, Kokkuvil)

Paa'naa-vidai: Probably, Paa'naa-voadai, the pond of Paa'nar. A locality having a Siva temple in Pungkudutheevu

Paa'na-dura: Paa'nan-thu'rai: The port named after the Paa'nar. This is a coastal town of its own division in the Kalutara district of Western Province.

Pa'n'naa-kam: (Paa'n- kaamam): The village of the community of Paa'nar. This is a GS area in the Valikaamam West division of Jaffna district.

Pa'n'naa-ka'ndi: The sector of the community of Paa'nar. This is a GS area in the Karaichchi division of Ki'linochchi district.

Pa'nda-vil: The pond/tank of Pa'ndar (lower sections of Paa'nar). This is a locality amidst paddy fields on the northern side of the Pa'ndaththeruppu – Vi'laan Road, roughly a kilometer from the Pa'ndaththeruppu junction.

Pa'nda-theruppu: The street/settlement/camping site of the lower sections of Paa'nar. This is a GS area in the Valikaamam Southwest (Cha'ndilippaay) division of Jaffna district.

Pa'ndaththanai-ku'lam: The pond of the place of Paa'nar. This is a name of a pond in the southeastern part of Pungudutheevu in the Jaffna district.

Pa'ndaakkai: The pond of Pa'ndar (lower sections of Paa'nar). This is a locality in Uduppiddi in Jaffna district where there is a Pi'l'laiyaar temple.

Paa'ndiruppu: Probably Pa'ndar-iruppu: The settlement of Pa'ndar (lower sections of Paa'nar). This is a place of eight GS areas in the Kalmunai division of Ampaa'rai district.

Oavaali: The pond or waterhole of Oavaar (lower sections of Paa'nar). This is a name of a small pond and the locality in Ussan GS area of Thenmaraadchi division of Jaffna district.



Tamil Nadu:

Kaavirippoom-paddinam: The city or emporium at the estuary of Kaaviri River, which was also the capital of the Cholas of the Changkam period. A coastal hamlet and a tourist place today near Chidamparam, Tamil Nadu

Eyit-paddinam: The coastal town protected by a fort. A place mentioned in one of the Changkam Idylls, Chi'rupaa'naattuppadai.

Chenna-paddinam: The old way of writing the name of Chennai (Madras)

Naakap-paddinam: The harbour or emporium named after the Naakas. This was an important centre for the contacts of the ancient Tamil country with Southeast Asia. The importance was retained until Dutch times. There was regular communication between Jaffna and Naakappaddinam in the past. A district headquarters in Tamil Nadu.

Athiraam-paddinam: Athiveera-raama-paddinam: The coastal town or port named after Athiveeraraama Paa'ndiyan. This was a regular port touched by sails from Kayts.

Theavi-paddinam: (Devi Pattinam): The coastal town or port perhaps named after a female deity. A place in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu

Sethu-Baavaa-paddinam: The coastal town or port named after a Muslim mystic. This is a place in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Kaayal-paddinam: The coastal town or port at the backwaters. This was an important port of the Pandyas in the Gulf of Mannaar. This is a place in the Thooththukkkudi district of Tamil Nadu.



Karnataka:

Sri Ranga-pattanaa: The town named after Sri Ranganatha, Vishnu in his sleeping posture. This is a fortified town in an island in the river Kaveri, which was the capital of the rulers of Mysore and at the time of the British conquest, the capital of Tipu Sultan.

Periya-pattanaa: The big town. This is a place in southern Karnataka.

Chenna-raaya-pattana: The town named after Chennaraya. This is a place in southern Karnataka. Note that the term Pattana prevails only in southern Karnataka in the territories once ruled by the Cholas. They were urban centres in the interior regions.



Southeast Asia:

Sungai Patani: The town of the river. This is a town in the Kedah state of Malaysia. Kedah is identified with the Tamil terms Kadaaram and Kaazhakam.

Patani: The town. This is an east coast town in Thailand in the Isthmus of Kra, bordering Malaysia. It was a flourishing commercial centre in the historical past.

First published: Friday, 01 August 2008, 13:31

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