18 July 2017

Muziris diary: പെരിയാർ തീരം

Muziris Heritage Project (MHP)is the first green project of Govt. of Kerala and the largest heritage project in India. Muziris heritage project, now a major trourism venture, stretches between North Paravoor in Ernakulam district and Kodungalloor in Trissur district.

Muziris's history goes possibly 3,000 years back. In ancient time it was one of the major urban settlement and port city. Connected by both land and water, peoples with ships and other carriers from various places, cities and ports in many part of India, Assyria,Babylonia, China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Arabia,Phoenicia all came here. Mentioning of this port city have found in Myth, old literature and travelogues of various. Depiction of this old town found in Ramayana, King Asoka's Rock Edicts, famous old Tamil poems (such as, Chilappathikaram) etc. In ancient time Muziris was known as Murachipattanam. In Ramayana, Murachipattanam is the place where Sugreeva's (one of the Monkey King) sleuths scurried through while looking for the abducted Sita. Roman ships coming to Muziris or Muciri Pattinam laden with gold to be exchanged for pepper found in Sangam literature (such as Agananooru (Akanaṉūṟu)). Theory says that the capital of Chera dynasty was near Muziris port. Chola dynasty who were the mightiest ruler of both land and sea, expanded their influence to this western (Arabian sea) sea port. And sometime, Pandyan dynasty wages war against Cheras and claimed victory over them and held the control of this port city. As the history of South India mainly tied with these three kingdoms. It is possible to say that Chera Chola and Pandyan kingdom flourished on the shore of River Periyaar, Kaveri and the River Vaighai respectively.

For Greeks,Romans, Egyption,Babilonian Muziris was a spice City. Along with other major sea ports in ancient times Muziris also marked its place in the ancient sea routes. According to Pliny the Elder and Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Muziris could be reached in forty days time from the Red Sea ports in Egyptian coast purely depending on the south-west monsoon winds(Hippalus).First century AD, Periplus of the Erythraean Sea shows that this port city comes under the control of Pandyan Kingdom.

But this ancient port had forgotten and dropped off from its importance and erased from map. The main cause was a big flood, on the Periyaar River, which wiped out the entire port(Pattanam) and major part of the city in 1341 AD. But, later this area (Muziris) was used by Europeans. Initially, Portuguese occupied this place and built a fort to control the Arabian sea rout to the spice city. As it plays a major strategic point, later Dutch occupied it from Portuguese. During Mysore invasion the port was destroyed by Tipu Sultan and now remains only very few part of it. British seized from Tipu sultan and later handed over to Travancor. This fort is called Kottappuram fort.

Many artifacts of interest have been unearthed at various sites in North Paravur-Kodungallur region, through excavations, as part of the Muziris Heritage Project. Agricultural tools, clothes, utensils, coins and inscriptions on plates or papyrus, along with folklore, tells about the lives of the people of that time.

Muziris heritage includes two archaeological sites, Pattanam and Kottappuram fort(undertaken by ASI). Pattanam, which is in North-Paravoor, the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) has undertaken a massive research project here. Places and findings in Muziris project give more than 2000 years of Kerala history

One can cover most of the places mentioned in Muziris project in a day. Both land and and water way service are available and there is hop-on hop-off water taxi, boat tour service available to circuit the places. One can visit Kottappuram fort, Kottappuram market, Thiruvanchikkulam temple, Cheraman parampu, Cheraman Juma Masjid, which are adjacent places, by a brief walk.

Kottappuram fort, Kottappuram market both at the mouth of the River Periyar. The Kottappuram fort also known as Kodungallur fort, in old days it was called Cranganore fort. Kottappuram fort was built by Portuguese in 1503. In 1663 Dutch seized the control and in 18th century Travancore bought it from Dutch. But during the Mysore invasion Tipu Sultan destroyed the fort. Now only some walls and bastion available. Excavation from this site yield a fossilized tree and revealed a complete human skeleton, which gives distinction to Muziris excavations.

ചുവർചിത്രങ്ങൾ, കോട്ടപ്പുറം ചന്ത

Here, in this post, included a very small portion of Muziris heritage. And, below is the interesting highlights of Muziris:

  • Pattanam excavation
  • Kottappuram Market
  • Kottappuram fort
  • Pallippuram Fort
  • Gothuruthu Performance & Chavittu Nadakam Centre
  • Cheraman Parambu
  • Paravur Market
  • Harmony Park (Jewish Cemetery)
  • The Holy Cross Church
  • Marthoma Church, Azhikode
  • The Azheekal Sree Varaha Temple
  • The Manjumatha Church
  • The Kottakavu Church
  • Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple
  • Kizhthali Siva Temple
  • Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple
  • Cheraman Juma Masjid
  • Vypeekotta Seminary
click here to see location on map

Source: Traveling, Books, Internet, People
"Discussion, Opinions and suggestions are invited"