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Scientists to digitally create port city Poompuhar

Date: 03 February 2020 Tags: Historical Places


The Chola Dynasty port city in Tamil Nadu that vanished from maritime history around 1,000 years ago will be digitally reconstructed by a team led by the Department of Science and Technology.



The reconstruction of Poompuhar is part of DST’s Indian Digital Heritage project. An exhibition of its first project ‘Digital Hampi’ is currently on display at the National Museum.



  • There are exhaustive narrations in works of Sangam Tamil literature to infer that the city, located 30 km from the existing Poompuhar town in southern TN, was submerged due to “kadalkol” or rising sea levels.

  • Despite several studies on Tamil literature, archaeology, history, epigraphy, underwater exploration and geosciences, the mystery of the exact location of initial establishment of Poompuhar, its age, later shifts, along with periods, time-series spatial evolution in the present location at the mouth of river Cauvery, and the reasons and periods of its extinction, remain unresolved.

  • The study involves underwater surveys and photography by remotely operated vehicles and sea bed drilling, remote sensing-based geodynamic studies to bring out comprehensive information on the time series evolution and extinction.

  • It also involves the visualisation of geodynamic processes of the last 20,000 years like land subsidence, sea-level rise, Cauvery’s migration, floods, tsunami, cyclones and erosion. The information extracted from the studies will help digitally reconstruct the life history of Poompuhar.

  • Initial studies carried out by the Indian Remote Sensing Satellites show that the city was established initially in the Cauvery Delta-A about 30km away from the present town around 15,000 years ago.

  • It shifted further 10 km to the west to Delta-B around 11,000 years ago and again further 10 km west to Delta-C around 8000 years ago. Finally, it was re-established at the present location at the mouth of the river Cauvery around 3,000 years ago.

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