Tamil inscriptions in the Malay world
A good number of Sanskrit inscriptions have been found in Malaysia and Indonesia. "Early inscriptions written in Indian languages and scripts abound in Southeast Asia. [...] The fact that southern Indian languages didn't travel eastwards along with the script further suggests that the main carriers of ideas from the southeast coast of India to the east - and the main users in Southeast Asia of religious texts written in Sanskrit and Pali - were Southeast Asians themselves. The spread of these north Indian sacred languages thus provides no specific evidence for any movements of South Asian individuals or groups to Southeast Asia.
The same is not true, however, of the handful of medieval inscriptions written in Tamil language and script that have been found in Southeast Asia and China, mainly in Sumatra and peninsular Thailand. These texts arose directly from trade links between south India and certain parts of Southeast Asia and China, which involved the residence in those regions of Tamil-speaking Indians. Several of these overseas Tamil inscriptions mention well-known medieval Indian merchant associations."
A good number of Tamil inscriptions, as well as Hindu and Buddhist icons emanating from South India, have been found in Southeast Asia (and even in parts of south China). On the Malay Peninsula, inscriptions have been found at Takuapa, not far from the Vishnuite statues of Khao Phra Narai in Southern Thailand. It is a short inscription indicating that an artificial lake named Avani-naranam was dug by nangur-Udaiyan, which is the name of an individual who possessed a military fief at Nangur, being famous for his abilities as a warrior, and that the lake was placed under the protection of the members of the Manikkiramam (which according to K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, was a merchant guild) living in the military camp. Since Avani-narayana is a surname of the Pallava King Nadivarman III who reigned from 826 to 849, we can deduce the approximate date of this inscription. In the capital of Tabralinga there is a sanctuary in which there is a bronze image of Ganesa bearing a Tamil inscription Majapisedesa in modern characters.
In ancient Kedah there is an important and unmistakably Hindu settlement which has been known for about a century now from the discoveries reported by Col. Low and has recently been subjected to a fairly exhaustive investigation by Dr. Quaritch Wales. Dr. Wales investigated no fewer than thirty sites round about Kedah. The results attained show that this site was in continuous occupation by people who came under strong South Indian influences, Buddhist and Hindu, for centuries.
An inscribed stone bar, rectangular in shape, bears the ye-dharmma formula[nb 1] in South Indian characters of the 4th century AD, thus proclaiming the Budhist character of the shrine near the find-spot (site I) of which only the basement survives. It is inscribed on three faces in Pallava script, or Vatteluttu rounded writing of the 6th century AD, possibly earlier.
An inscription in the Tamil language, dated 1088 AD, has been found on the western coast of Sumatra island at Lobu Tua, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. It was erected by a Tamil merchant guild, the Ayyavole 500 (“the 500 of the thousand directions”) which enjoyed the patronage of the Chola rulers. The inscription mentions the guild as “having met at the velapuram in Varocu”. “Varocu” is Barus, an ancient port located not far from Lobu Tua, which had played a major role in the camphor and benzoin trade since the 9th century. These valuable products were in high demand in China, India and the Middle East and came from the forests in the northern Sumatra hinterland. From there, they were brought to Barus and exported. Tamil were among the foreign merchants who would come to Barus and buy the camphor and benzoin from local traders.
In 1017 and 1025, the Chola kings had sent fleets to raid ports controlled by Sriwijaya in the Malacca Straits. After these successful attacks, the Chola seem to have been in a position to intervene in the region for the rest of the 11th century. This allowed for an increased presence of Tamil merchant guilds in Sumatra.
Inscriptions of Tanjore
In the ancient city of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu are inscriptions dating from 1030. which contain a list of the ports in the Malacca Strait raided by a fleet sent by King Rajendra Chola I. A large stone makara found in Jambi province in Sumatra, dated 1064 AD, bears testimony to the reemergence of a significant power in Jambi, with a strong link to Java, in the 11th century.  The following are the places that Rajendran claims to have raided:
- Sriwijaya (Palembang)
- Malaiyur (the Malayu of the 7th century, i.e. Jambi) (referring to the ancient Melayu Kingdom. Known as Jambi today.)
- Mayuradingan (the Je-lo-ting of the Chinese on the Malay Peninsula)
- Ilangosagam (Langkasuka)
- Mappapalam, (Papphaal, placed by the Sinhalese chronicle Mahavamsa on the coast of Pegu in Burma)
- Mevilimbangan (identified with Karmaranga or Kamalanka on the isthmus of Ligor in Southern Thailand)
- Valaippanaduru (Pandurang, in Champa)
- Talaittakkolam (Takkola of Ptolemy and the Milindapandha, On the isthmus of Kra)
- Madalingam (Tambralingga, Chinese Tan-ma-ling, of which the center was at Ligor in Southern Thailand)
- Ilamuridesam (Lamuri of the Arabs, Lambri of Marco Polo at northern Sumatra)
- Kadaram (Kedah)
- Mavimbangam (Identified as being the Philippines).
- Vinodh Rajan (April 2, 2012). "Ye Dhamma - The Verse of Causation". Vinodh's Virtual Cyber Space. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012. "The Pali verse 'Ye Dhamma... ' is a popular verse in Buddhism that explains the heart of Buddhism Philosophy i.e Dependant Origination. The Sanskrit version of the verse is called "Pratityasamutpada Hridaya Dharani" [The Heart Dharani of Dependant Origination] with Om added to the beginning of the Verse, and Svaha added at the end, thus Dharani-fying the entire verse. The Pali version never seems to have had any specific title."
- Jan Wisseman Christie, "The Medieval Tamil-language Inscriptions in Southeast Asia and China", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 29, No. 02, September 1998, pp 239-268
- Sastri, K.A. Nilakanta (1949). "Takuapa and its Tamil Inscription Part I.". Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 22.
- Sastri, K.A. Nilakanta (1949). South Indian Influences in the Far East. Bombay: Hind Kitabs Ltd. pp. 82 & 84.
- Leonard Y. Andaya, Leaves of the same tree: trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka, p. 151
- Pierre-Yves Manguin, “Srivijaya, An Introduction”
- Pierre-Yves Manguin, Śrīvijaya, An Introduction, Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, 2009
- Arokiaswamy, Celine W.M. (2000). Tamil Influences in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Manila s.n. pp. 37, 38, & 41.