Home > District > Poombuhar
Tourism Officer
Nagapattinam District
Tamil Nadu

Boat on FishingTourism Plays a Key Economy for the District even though Agriculture and Fishing are the Major ones. Shrines, Places of Hindu Faith, Mosques forms the Spritual Tourism for the district. Annual Festivals and functions marks glory of the Year. Heritages like Tarangam Padi  

Agriculture FieldOne of the major economies of the District, Agriculture contributes a higher share of Rice Production in the State. We have raised so many important agricultural crop in our District. Rice, Groundnut, Pulses, Gingelly, Sugarcane and Cotton.  

ThisImage fort was a busy trade centre till 1845 AD when the Danes handed over the fort to the English.This fort was declared as a protected monument by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Tamilnadu in 1977 AD.The Danes constructed fortifications on the coast at Tranquebar. This was the only busy trade centre on the Coromandal coast for the Danes. It was used as a Public Works Department Travellers Bungalow for government servants and colonials till 1977 AD. 

Singara Vaelavar Temple, Sikkal It is one of the most important seats of Sakthi. The temple, Lord Siva had annihilated Yama, the God of death and destruction to save the life of Markandeya and bestowed immortality on him.Inside the precincts of the temple of Arulmigu Amerthakadeswarar is located the temple of Shri Abirami Amman Temple.  

Fishing, Catched Fish - moving out along with Para marine activities like Dry fish ,Prawn farming constitues the second Major economy for the district. The marine ecosystem provides mankind with food, medicines, industrial products and pleasure.  

Visiting Hours
Fore Noon
08.30-13.00 IST
After Noon
14.30-20.30 IST


the footstep

Art MuseumPoombuhar is in Sirkali Taluk of Nagapattinam District. It is known as Kaveri poompattinam. Tourists have to alight at Mayiladuthurai junction to proceed Poombuhar by road, visitors from Chennai by train have to get down at Sirkali. Poombuhar is connected to Mayiladuthurai as well as Sirkali by road. The distance from Poombuhar to Mayiladuthurai is 24 kms and to Sirkali is 21 kms. Chennai to Poombuhar by private carriers can take the route via Dindivanam, Pandicherry, Cuddallore and Sirkali. Tourists from Those who come from Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelvelli may proceed via Mellur, Tiruppathur, Karaikudi, Pattukkotai, Thiruthuraipoondi, Nagapattinam, Karaikkal, Tharangambadi and Akkur. They can also come via Pudukkottai, Thanjavoor, and Mayiladuthurai.


After the Sangam chola period a major part of Poompuhar town was swallowed by the Bay of Bengal. Though Poompuhar became a prey of times, still a few small villages remain a silent witness to the cruelty of times. Thirusaikadu (sayavanam), Pallavaneeswaram Melapperumpallam, Kelaperumpallam, Keezaiyur, Melaiyur and Vanagiri are what remain of ancient Poompuhar. The Tamailnadu Government has taken steps to reproduce the glory thus submerged and scattered ancient town on the basis of historical evidences and literacy reference. In 1973 Kalaingar Dr.M.Karunanithi the Honoruable Chief Minister of Tamilnadu gave crystal form to the lost town,by reproducing it on the basis of literary evidences. Several Symbolical monuments were raised.Sillappathira-Art gallery, Illangi manram, Pavaimanram Nedungal mandram and Kotrappandal found their existence and remain today, to attract visitors, with their artistic splendour.


Among the dynastic rules Cheras, Chola, Pandias, Athiyas who ruled over Tamilnadu since the time before the Christ, the Cholas who held a place esteem had this ancient town for their port capital. Puhar means the estuary of river in the sea. The port town of Kaviripoompattinam has been mentioned in the temple inscriptions, ancient literature and travelogues by different names like Kaganthi, Sampathi, Palapukaz, Moothur, Mannagathu, Vanpathi, Cholapattinam Kabaris Emporiam, and Kolappattinam.

There are frequent references to the important port town in ancient Tamil literature like Akananooru, Purananooru, Pattinapalai Pathitruppathu, Muthollayiram, Silappathikaram, Manimekalai, Deveram, Thiruthondapuranam and Nandhikalampagam. Ancient pali literature like Milindapan, Budha Jathakakathaikal, Abithama avathar and Buthavamsagatha, travelogues of periplus, and merris Erithroy contain the reference to this ancient town. Ptolemy and Plini also mention Poombuhar in their writings.

Somaya a Buddha Pikkuni from Poombuhar donated one of the beautiful sculptural pillars erected by Sunga-Kings of North India during the second century B C .The pillar carries the inscriptions 'Kaganthia Somaya Pikkunia Thanam' [pillar donated by Somaya Pikkuni of Poombuhar] Buddhism flourished in Poombuhar two thousand years ago.

Details of Poombuhar have been read in the Brahmiinscriptions dating back to the second century B C in 'Barkuth' of north India. The historical details of Poombuhar have also been found in the inscriptions of Sayavanam Temple at Poombuhar.

The ancient Kings like Sembiyan, Musugundhan, Manuneethicholan and Karikal cholan. Who carried myths with them, added to the glory of Poombuhar town. Poombuhar grew into a great city during the region of Karical cholan. He conquered the territories up to the Himalayas and made a pass into the China through the Himalayas. On his return Karikal Cholan brought back the monuments and gifts presented by the Vajraking, hte Magatha King and the Avanthi King who were defeated by Karikal Cholan and exhibited them at Poombuhar.

Indiravizha was grandly celebrated during the period of Thodithol Chempian. Inscriptions at Thiruvengadu make a mention of grand festival of Indira, during the latter Cholas times. Even after Sangam Cholas period Poombuhar occupied a significant place during the regimeof Kalabras. After the Kalabras in the 6th century A.D.,Poombuhar came under the Pallavaregime and during that time Pallvaneeswaran temple was built by them. The great Siva saints Appar and Thirugnana Sambandar have sanctified the temple with their holy hymns.

With the rise of latter Cholas in 850A.D. the city regained its past glory. It is mentioned as 'Rajathiraja Valanaattu Nangoor Nattu Kaveripoompattinam' in the Sayavanam temple inscription of Vikramacholan in the same temple, calls the town 'Puhar Nagaram' Later Kopperunchingam also contributed to the grandeur of the place.


Poombuhar ParkThe town structure of Poompuhar can be traced from the fifth chapter of Silappathikaram. Pattinapalai, Manimegalai also describe the same. The city is said to have been designed on the lines of Mayans architecture. The town was divided into well marked divisions as Pattinappakkam and Maruvurppakkam by the market place in the middle town as Nalangadi in the day and Allangadi by night.The seashore was habituated by the fisher folk. It was also used as warehouses People of different occupations like weavers, Silk merchants, sweetvenders fish and meat sellers, pooters, grainmerchants, and diamond makers lived in Maruvurppakkam. King and nobles rich traders and formers Physicians, and astrologers Army people of four wings of the King's force and Court dancers Occupied Pattinappakkam.The five Mandrams called Vellidai Mandram,Elanchi mandram, Nedungal mandram Poothachathukkam and Pavai mandram were located in Pattinappakkam. Gardens like Elavanthikaicholai,Uyyanam, Chanpathivanam, Uvavanam, and Kaveravanam added beauty to the town.

Temples of Supreme God Siva, to Chathukkappootham the last of the Deities were found in the city. There are temples for Siva, Indira his Elephant Iravatham, and his Vajrayutham, Balaraman Suriyan Machathan Chandran, Arugan and Thirumal. Buddha sthupas (pillars) and seveen Buddha vihars were also found. Apart from these Temples for Champapthi Amman Brick idols and an Ulagaaravi manram existed in Poombuhar.

Cool and shady river Banks with dense trees, sacred passages from temples to the river for Gods to come and take bath and the ring wells on the fringes of the town were salient features of the town planning. The town had a compound wall and it's gates were engraved with tiger emblems. The town also had different market places and living areas for foreigners like Yavanas.


Excavations work on Poompuhar city has been in progress since 1910.The excavation conducted by Indian Archaeological department has revealed the existence of several ring wells [Urai Kinaru] near the seashore. The Sangam literature Pattinappali tells of these wells.

The excavation has also been taken up near Champapthi Amman and Pallavaneswaram temples. The remains of the various buildings have been found by the excavation in 1960-1961.Remains of a brick building and a boat 'jetty' were discovered at Keezhaiyur area at Poompuhar. A water Reservoir and the remains of several buildings were found. Relics of a sixty feet long Buddha vihar with. Rectangular rooms were discovered at Pallavaneswaram. The feet of lord Buddha (Buddhapada) in Marable (Limestoneslab) was unearthed. This Buddha Padam in limestone resembles the marble feets got from Amaravathi, and Nagarjunakonda Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh. The Buddhapadam of the size 31/2 x21/2 has two feets and holy symbols like the lotus flower, Poorna Kumbam and Swastikam.Several kinds of brick figures and copper coins were also found. These coins are both of rectangular and circular shapes. The chola emblems of the tiger with upright tail and the sun were engraved on them. These coins are considered to be those of Karikal Cholan.

A coin of Karpagatharu (heavenly tree capable of giving anything) engraving was unearthed. In Velliyan irruppu area on ancient Roman Copper coin was dug out. Copper coins with the inscriptions of Rajaraman were also found during the excavation. Copper idol of Buddha in meditation and green beeds, shells and glass bangles were the other items excavated A gold coated copper statue of Buddha in mediatation (Bothi Sathuva Mytheya) was found at Melaiyur in 1927.It belongs to the 8th century. Recently Tamilnadu Archaeological Department has discovered the remains of several buildings. The National Institute of oceanography, Goa and the Archaelogical Departmrnt of Tamilnadu Governtment have undertaken off shore exploration at Poompuhar.


Art Gallery A beautiful seven tired building of great sculptural value has been built as Sillappathikara Art gallery. The first storey is 12 Feethigh and each storey above it has a height of 5 Feet. The topmost part, which has Kalasam has height of 8 Feet. The total height of art gallery is 50 Feets.

The 'Magara Thoranavayil' at the entrance of the art gallery imparts an imposing and beatiful look to the whole structure. Its height is 221/2' It has been designed on the pattern of Magara Thorana Vayil found in Suruli Malai Mangala devi koil. There is also anklet shaped tank in the art gallery. On this sides of this tank are erected the statues of Kannag (91/2)' and Mathavi (81/2)' Scenes from Sillappathiram, the epic of the land have been given lively shapes in stones on the walls of the gallery. These sculptures carved by the sculptors of Mamallapuram Art College remain the treasure house of Tamil culture.

From To Distance
Chennai Sirkali 261 KMs
Chennai Mayiladuthurai 290 Kms
Thanjavoor Mayiladuthurai 70 KMs
Tiruchi Mayiladuthurai 120 KMs
Tourism Department Lodging facilities at Poombuhar
Shell Type Cottage I [Sangu Type] Rs 150/- Two Beds A/C
Shell Type Cottage II [Sippi Type]
Two Beds Rs120/-Two Beds A/C
Tourist Lodge
Rs 25/- per room [Two Beds with common Toilet]

Tale in brief

The imperial Cholas whose reign in the 2nd century A.D. has been detailed by Foreign annalists like Ptolemy, had flourishing maritime trade relations with far-east Asia Greece and Rome. Their ships frequented Poompuhar, also known as Kaveripoompattinam, the shore capital of Cholas. It is also recorded in Tamil literature that the port of Puhar, as the International trading centre nutured and prompted frien dship and fraternity among all peoples.Masathuvan and Manaikan were merchant princes and Kovalan the son of Masathuvan was married Kannagi the daughter of Manaikan. A seprate mansion was set up for the young people where they spent sometime happily.

King KarikalChola who constructed the Grand Anicut across the ferocious and benevolent river Cauvery when hydrology or the art of harnessing the unbridled rivers was unknown to the west, was a great patron of fine arts, particularly dance and architecture. At that time the air was laden with the glory and fame of the Nymph like charming Madhavi the court dancer and queen of artistes.

The hunch-backed lady brought the garland of pearls to hawk it in the street. This garland was presented to Madhavi by King Karigal Chola during her maiden dance performance. It was announced that Madhavi could marry the Man who might offer to buy it. Kovalan a handsome man and a lover of arts offered the price and went with Madhavi to live in her mansion. Enthralled by the Captivating beaty and inspring artistic attainment of Madhavi, Kovalan was in high feather.

Indira Festival came; it was an annual feature of joy celebrated at Poompuhar with pomp and pageantry. The port city was agog to celebrate the Festival. Madhavi and Kovalan erected an elegant settee on the mellowing sand to join the huge gathering. At the seashore Madhavi sang a song, the meaning of which gave Kovalan the impression that she had been harbouring the thoughts of another man. To hear her song, though mellifluous in tone, he was ill at ease. This song was the apple of discord between them, a turning point in his life and he left her with heavy heart.

Kovalan retuned to his devoted wife, Kannagi who was an ardent observer of the rules laid down for chaste wives. Smitten by seperation, she has been keeping vigil with bleary eyes to receive her beloved husband.Kovalan was all contrition and his penitent arrival was a great relief to Kannagi.

With Kannagi,Kovalan set out to Madurai with the intention of selling one of the anklets .of his wife and regaining the wealth he last after he strayed from her.They met Kounthi, the celebrated ascetic who volunteered . to lead them to Madurai.On their journey to Madurai Kovalan received a message from Madhavi which convinced him of the innocence of the latter. They reached the outskirts of Madurai and at the request of Kunthi.Mathari a cowherd woman readily consented to accommodate them to her house. Nedunchezhian the Pandya King who ruled the kingdom from Madurai as his capital was a great man of letters. and he asseverated that justice would reign supreme in his land.

After a sumptuous meal Kovalan took leave of his wife and proceed to the bazaar to sell one of the anklets .He met the chief Goldsmith of the palace and offered his anklet for a fair price. The goldsmith who had stolen the queen's anklet sometime ago thought it an opportunity to accuse Kovalan of the theft of queen's anklet and make himself innocent. He took the anklet to the King and presented the case so eloquently that king Neduchezhian, with out bestowing a moment's thought on the matter ordered that innocent Kovalan be executed.

The innocent look of Kovalan made the executioners hesitate to lay their arms on him. Yet the chief goldsmith prevailed upon them and, one of the executioners who was more crude and cruel in his outlook, moved down Kovalan with one sweep of his sword.

The news of her husband's murder was a terrific shock to her. She rushed to the court of the king, demanded justice at his hands. She pleaded with the King and to prove the innocence of her husband, Kannagi dashed on the floor one of her anklets.

Rubies in blood-like colour splashed on the ground. The queen's ankles contained pearls and the king realized the injustice done to kovalan; no interrogation was allowed nor was a personal inquiry held to enable kovalan , the accused, to prove the treacherous plan of the Goldsmith ot escape from king's wrath. the king fell down dead. Kannagi's wrath set fire to the whole city of Madurai.

Kannagi there-upon left Madurai and proceeded to Malainadu and reached Murugavel Kuntram, a sacred hill. She stood there under the shade of the venkai tree and the inhabitant of the area; mostly Tribes stood spell-bounds at the countenance of Kannagi.In the presece of these people, Kannagileft the place in a celestial chariot for Heaven.

The Tribes reported the matter to King Senguttuvan. He resolved to secure a block of stone from the Himalayas to carve the image of Kannagi and install it in a fitting manner. After his success at the battle fields in the North, King Senguttuvan made the captive Kings, Kanagan and Vijaya carry on their heads the stone from the Himalayas to Tamilnadu for building a temple for Kannagi. A temple was consecrated to Kannagi and was endowed for daily worship.