MUZIRIS: THE CULTURAL CRADDLE OF FOREIGN RELATIONS

 

International relations is a hot topic of the modern world. It is a multifaceted arena where many interlinked stakes and stakeholders ; trade, defense ideology, culture, national interest and sovereignty involves. As we are pretty familiar about the present day international relations, how was it in ancient times? Peeping into the ancient trade relations of India, especially South India we reach out to a Port city called Muziris.

Situated in the present day town Kodungallur of Thrissur district of middle Kerala, this port opened to the Arabian sea at an important point of Malabar coast. This spot was the heart and soul of interactions of South India with Persia, North Africa and the Mediterranean traders like Greeks and Romans

Dates from 1st century BC, the might of Muziris is recorded in Sangam literature like Purananooru, Akananooru, ancient Greco Roman texts like The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea and even in the epic Ramayana. Spices, silk, ivory pearls and diamonds where exported in return for gold coins, corals and glass.

Muziris disappeared from the history suddenly creating much ambiguity. It was earlier believed that this port city is located somewhere near Mangalore. When the proofs of Pattanam excavation were studied, archaeologists confirmed its location in Kerala. Now archaeologists believe that Muziris disappeared following a catastrophic cyclone and a flood in the River Periyar. This changed the topography of the area. A new land mass, Vypin of Kochi was formed after this flood in 1341. Vypin emerged as the new port of Kerala and reduced the myth of Muziris.

The Pattanam excavations were provided with many architectural evidences like Roman coins, glass pieces, Chinese blue white porcelain, Mesopotamian pottery and many more. Also the urban nature of the port city is evident from the warehouses, wharfs, toilet structures etc.

A tourism venture by Kerala tourism department -Muziris Heritage Project- is ongoing to reinstate the might of this cultural hotspot.

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