Know the Etymology: 214
Place Name of the Day: Monday, 28 May 2012


Para-gala, Para-goda, Kat-paa'rai

பரகல, பரகொட, கற்பாறை
Paragala, Paragoḍa, Kaṟpāṟai

Para+gala, Para+goda, Kal+paa'rai

The rock hill
The rock hill or rocky bank
The rocks


Paa’rai Rock, crag, stratum, hillock (Tamil, DED 4121); Paar: Rock, rocky stratum, shelf of rock, shoal (Tamil, DED 4121); Barren land, waste land (Tamil DED 4110); The earth, world (Tamil, DED 3949); From the verb root Paa, Paar: To spread, to be flat and spacious (Tamil, DED 3949, 4088); A’rai: Rock, ledge, (Tamil DED 321); Paa’ra: Rock, large stone, firmness (Malayalam, DED 4121); Pare: Flat stone, stone, stone slab (Kodagu, DED 4121); Paade: Rock (Tulu, DED 4121); Paara: Slab of stone (Parji, DED 4121); Paarum: Rock, boulder (Gondi, DED 4121); Paraya: Rock, range, as Gal-paraya, Mutu-paraya (Sinhala); Para: Rock, in combinations of words (Sinhala); Paru: Reef, shoal (Old Dhivehi/ Maldivian and Maldivian island names); Faru: Reef, either the outer reef of an atoll or the reef found with lagoon inside an atoll (Dhivehi/ Maldivian, Dhivehi Bas Foi); Faaru, Fare. Fari: Reef, in combinations of island names (Dhivehi/ Maldivian, An Etymological Dictionary of Maldivian Island Names); Parvata: Knotty, rugged, mountain, mountain range, height, hill, rock, (Sanskrit)
Kal Stone, rock (Tamil, DED 1298); hill, hillock (Tamil, in place names, Changkam Diction); Kat: Kal becomes Kat in combinations (Tamil, DED 1298); Gal (plural), Gala (singular): Stone, rock (Sinhala), Hill, hillock (Sinhala, in place names). See column on Galle.
Goda Hill, hillock (in place names), heap, mass, land at the edge of water, village, hamlet (Sinhala); Koadu: Summit of a hill, peak, mountain, bank of a stream or pool (Tamil, DED 2049, 2200); A place name suffix for settlements having a hill or hillock (Tamil and other Dravidian languages). See column on Veyangoda.


Paa’rai in Tamil and Paraya in Sinhala mean a rock, reef, a range of rock, rocky hill or hillock etc. In combinations, the Sinhala term becomes Para.

Another related term in Tamil is Paar, which also means a rock, rocky stratum, shelf of rock and in the context of a seabed, means a shoal.

Presence of root verbs and distribution of cognates in various Dravidian languages, make the word Paa’rai listed as of Dravidian etymology (DED 4121, 4110, 3949, 4088).

See the table for the examples.

Compared to other cognates, note the close affinity between Tamil and Sinhala word formations: the Ai ending in Tamil corresponding to Ya ending in Sinhala; Paa’rai > Paraya.

Paa’rai and Paa’ra are common components in the place names in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, especially in the tracts of the Western Ghats and other hilly areas.

Paru in old Dhivehi and Faru in modern Dhivehi, meaning a reef in the context of Maldives, are commonly found in the island names there.

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Examples on the usage of Paa’rai and Paar in the Changkam literature:

Paa’rai as rock stratum: “Ulaik kal anna paa’rai ea’ri” (Ku’runthokai 12:2)

உலைக் கல் அன்ன பாறை ஏறி (குறுந்தொகை 12:2)

Climbing the rock stratum (in the arid tract) which is hot like the anvil of the blacksmith

Paar as earth: “Paar paka veezhntha vearudai vizhukkoaddu…vi’lavu” (Natti’nai 24:1)

பார் பக வீழ்ந்த வேருடை விழுக்கோட்டு…விளவு (நற்றிணை 24:1)

The wood-apple tree having sturdy branches and roots that sink cracking the earth

Paar as rock: “Paarth-thu’raip pu’nari alaiththalin” (Natti’nai 315:2)

பார்த்துறைப் புணரி அலைத்தலின் (நற்றிணை 315:2)

Because the waves of the sea toss (an old boat) with the rocky coast

Paar as hard shelf: “Paar udaiththa ku’ndu akazhi” (Pu’ranaanoo’ru 14:5)

பார் உடைத்த குண்டு அகழி (புறநானூறு 14:5)

The deep moat dug out by breaking the hard shelf of the earth

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Kal in Tamil and Gal/ Gala in Sinhala, meaning stone or rock (hill and hillock in place names) are cognates of Dravidian etymology (DED 1298). In combinations Kal would become Kat as in the Tamil place name Kat-paa’rai. See column on Galle.

Goda in Sinhala and Koadu in Tamil are cognates of Dravidian etymology (DED 2049, 2200). Both words mean hill, hillock, peak and edge or bank of a water body. Settlements associated with such features also get the name. See column on Veyangoda for further discussions.

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Para-gala is a place in Katapola division of Matara district. There are other places with the name Paragala in Ayagama division of Ratnapura district, in Katapola division, Matara district and in Ayagama division, Ratnapura district.

Para-goda is a place in Divulapitiya division of Gampaha district. The same place name Paragoda is also found in Bulathsinhala division of Kalutara district, in Rideegama division of Kurunegala district, in Hatharaliyadda division of Kandy district, in Imaduwa division of Galle district and in Rideegama division of Kurunegala district.

Kat-paa’rai is a place in Ea’raavoorp-pattu division of Batticaloa district.

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Some related place names:

Paran-goda: The rock hill or rocky bank; Dompe division, Gampaha district.

Para-duwa: The rocky promontory; Kalutara division, Kalutara district; Akurassa division, Matara district

Para-wehera: The rock temple; Matara Four Gravets division, Matara district

Para-mulla: The rocky corner; Matara district

Paru-sella: The rock hill; Yatiyanthota division, Kegalle district




Some related place names (Tamil Nadu):

Vaal-paa’rai (Tail-like reef; Coimbatore), Vaddap-paa’rai (The round rock; Thirinelvely), Keerip-paa’rai (The mongoose rock; Vaddappaa’rai, Thirunelvely), Varaddup-paarai (The barren rock, Vaal-paarai, Coimbatore), Peaychchip-paa’rai (The she-devil’s rock or the rock of the folk deity Peaychchi; Thirunelvely), Koodu-paa’rai (Cage-like reef; Vikramasingapuram, Thirunelvely), Akaththiyar-paa’rai (The rock named after sage Akaththiyar; Kodumudi, Erode), Mayil-aadum-paa’rai (The rock of dancing peacock; Theni).




Some related place names (Kerala):

Chathuranga-paa’ra (The dice-board-like rock; Kottayam), Jadaayu-paa’ra (The rock named after the mythical vulture Jadaayu; Kollam); Kattil-paa’ra (Bed-like rock; Kottayam); Elavalli-paa’ra (The rock at Elavalli; Thirissur)




Some related place names (Dhivehi/ Maldivian):

Ali-dhoo-paru-finolhu (The sand bank on the reef of Alidhoo Island; Thiladhunmathi North Atoll), Dhapparu (The lower reef; Thiladhunmathi North Atoll), Dhipparu-huraa (The islet on the long reef; Thiladhunmathi South Atoll); Fodhdhipparu (The reef of Fodhdhoo Island; Miladhunmadulu South Atoll), Kodhdhipparu (The curvature of the log reef; Male Atoll), Meedhupparu (The reef of Meedhoo Island; Maalhosmadulu North Atoll)

Bodu-faru-finolhu (The sand bank of the big reef; Maalhosmadulu North Atoll), Bolissa-faru (The reef of shells; Miladhunmadulu North Atoll), Faru-kolhu (The tip of the reef; Miladhunmadulu North Atoll), Faru-muli (The corner of the reef; Miladhunmadulu South Atoll), Gaa-faru (the rocky reef; Male Atoll), Heen-faru (The narrow reef; Ari South Atoll), Kotte-faru (The reef resembling a fort or the reef producing a certain measure of cowries; Huvadhoo South Atoll), Kuda-faru (The small reef; Thiladhunmathi South Atoll), Maa-faru (The big reef, Miladhunmadulu South atoll)

First published: Monday, 28 May 2012, 23:29

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