Coastal Trade in Ancient Tamil Nadu


In ancient Tamil Nadu, big cities like Poompuhar had the ‘Maruvurappakam’ (inland town) and ‘Pattinapakkam’ (coastal Town). These cities had market and bazaars where many merchants met one another for the purpose of selling or buying different kinds of commodities and foodstuff.

Day market was called as Nalangadi while the night market was called as Allangadi. He described Madurai as a sleepless city due to round the clock business activities.

Port towns like Tondi, Korkai, Puhar and Muziri were always seen as busy with markets activities related to imports and exports. In such a brisk trade, people of the coastal region engaged themselves in coastal trade and developed their intercontinental trade contacts. They were engaged in different kinds of fishing pearls, and conches and produced salts and built ships.

Boats like Padagu, Thimil, Thoni, Ambu Odampunai etc.., were used to cross rivers for domestic trade while Kalam, Marakalam, Vangam, Navai etc.., were used for crossing oceans in foreign trade.

Ancient Trade Centres In Tamilnadu

  • Alagankulam (Ramanathapuram)
  • Mylarphan (Mylapore, near Chennai),
  • Keberis (Kaveripumpattinam),
  • Poduke or Poduce (Arikamedu, Puducherry)
  • Soptana (Marakanam),
  • Nikam (Nagapattinam),
  • Periyapattinam,
  • Kayalpattinam,
  • Colchi (Korkai)
  • Comari (Kanyakumari)
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Author and Assistant Professor in Finance, Ardent fan of Arsenal FC. Always believe "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance - Socrates"
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