தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Tamil Language Inscriptions in China

Eight medieval (ninth-thirteenth century) Tamil-language inscriptions have so far been found in Southeast Asia and China. The contents, locations, dates and local historical and archaeological contexts provide an interesting sidelight on an important period in the economic history of Southeast Asia. - Journal of South east Asian Studies, 1998

[see also The medieval Tamil-language inscriptions in Southeast Asia and China]

Dr..S.Jayabarathi, Kedah, Malaysia
10 February 2006


Tamil Language Inscriptions were found about 500 miles north of Canton, in a place called Chuan Chou. This is a port city. It was an important port city in the ancient times also.



 

Normally, the Tamils used to sail to Ta Kua Pa in the west coast of Thailand. They would then take an overland journey across the Isthmus of Kra to other ports like Nakon SiTammarat or Songkla. These ports were on the east coast of Thailand. From there they would sail on to one of the ports of present day Vietnam. Then they would sail northwards to Canton.

A straight sail would be a longer distance which would take them across the Bay of Bengal, Straits of Malacca, Gulf of Siam, and South China Sea. They would have to sail around the Malay Peninsula. This would have increased their journey by more than a thousand miles and would have taken up several more months.

Apart from Canton, the Tamils had gone to other places also and established their own colonies. The merchant guilds like 'Thisai Aayiraththu AinnuuRRuvar' was very active around this part of the world.

In Chuan Chou, there was a Sivan Temple. In that temple, an image of Siva was consecrated under the 'Firman' - royal orders of 'Sekasai Khan'. This was done for the health of Sekasai Khan. Sekasai Khan in this inscription is the name of Kublai Khan himself. His full name was Kublai Sekcen Khan. Sekcen Khan became Sekasai Khan in Tamil. The Sivan Temple was known as ThiruKathaleesvaram and the Lord of the temple was known as ThiruKathaleesvaram udaiya Nayanar. The person who executed the order was Thava ChakkaravarththikaL Sampandha PerumaL. It was done on the Chithra Paurnami day of Saka Era 1203 - 1281 AD.

This was during the rule of Kublai Khan who came to power in 1260 and ruled until 1294 AD. Kublai Khan was the grandson of Chengiz Khan. He was the third son of the fourth son of Chengiz Khan. After Chengiz Khan, the Mongolian Empire was divided into four parts of which China was one.

Kublai became the Grand Khan of all Mongols. He took China as his part of inheritance and ruled from there. He built Beijing and moved the capital there. He also had a summer capital. His country was big, wealthy, and prosperous. He was mighty and powerful. His armies were immense, powerful, and invincible.

He started an Imperial Dynasty called the Yuan Dynasty. He ruled during the time when the Imperial Pandyas were ruling Tamilnadu and Kerala. The Pandyas were on very close friendly terms with the Great Kublai Khan. At that time, Kublai Khan was very ill. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller spent seventeen years at the court of Kublai Khan. When he found that the Great Khan was getting old and sickly, he got permission and left China.

It should be noted that he temple was consecrated according to the Firman of the Emperor. The word, 'Firman' is used in the inscription. The last line of the inscription is in Chinese characters. Chola types of statues were also found in the temple site. This is a rare inscription in Tamil which is found outside TamilNadu.

 

 

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