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Kulasekarapatnam , Kulasekarapattinam
Kulasekarapatnam is located in Tamil Nadu
Kulasekarapatnam is located in India
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Coordinates: 8°24′0″N 78°3′0″E / 8.40000°N 78.05000°E / 8.40000; 78.05000Coordinates: 8°24′0″N 78°3′0″E / 8.40000°N 78.05000°E / 8.40000; 78.05000
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District Thoothukudi
 • Body Kulasekarapatnam Panchayat
 • Total 12.5 km2 (4.8 sq mi)
Population (2001)
 • Total 12,010
 • Density 960/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 628206
Telephone code 4639
Vehicle registration TN 69
Nearest city Thoothukudi
Sex ratio 1000:1177 /
Literacy 85.91%
Lok Sabha constituency Thoothukudi
Formerly with Tiruchendur
Vidhan Sabha constituency Tiruchendur
Civic agency Kulasekarapatnam Panchayat Board
Climate Humid (Köppen)
Website www.kulasaikukieaks.com

Kulasekarapatnam (Kulasekharapattinam, Tamil – குலசேகரப்பட்டிணம்) is a town in the Thoothukudi district (formerly Tinnelvelly or Tirunelveli) of Tamil Nadu, India. Kulasekharapatnam is referred to in Marco Polo's travel diaries dating to 1250 AD. Kulasekharapatnam the name is derived from pandyan ruler Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I. Kulasekharapatnam was an ancient port dating to the 1st centuries of the Christian era and was contemporaneous to the existence of Kollam, Cheran Port, another Pandyan port. Kollam served the Pandyas on the west coast while Kulasekharapatnam served them on the east coast connecting them to Ceylon and the pearl fisheries in the Gulf of Mannar facing the Tirunelveli Coast.

Kulasekharapatnam has Muslim settlements. The other ports on the Coromandel Coast were Kaveripumpattinam (Poompuhar) and Arikamedu (near Pondicherry). On the west coast the ancient ports were Kollam and Kodungallur and Barugachha (Broach) in Gujarat.[1]

The famous Mutharamman Temple, which is 300 years old, is located in this place. The ancient port had connections with Sri Lanka. This place lost significance once Tuticorin became a big port.[2]

Old Harbour mentioned by Marco Polo[edit]

Marco Polo describes the Pandyan port city of Kulasekharapatnam which even now we can see in the seashore of Kulasekharapatnam that Some Pillars which were used to give the right direction for ships as it is at this city that all the ships touch that come from the west, as from Hormos and from Kis and from Aden, and all Arabia, laden with horses and with other things for sale. And this brings a great concourse of people from the country round about, and so there is great business done in this city.

Marakkars & Rowthar Settlement[edit]

Now Kulasekarapatnam has Muslim Population as Marakkars or Marakkayars they were doing trade with Ships, they had come from Kerala, it is said Kunjali Marakkar's family members coming from kerala. In Kulsekarapatnam till 1965 the small ships "Dhoni" operated from there. If one town was a port, it must have had a Light House. Kulasekharapatnam even now has a light house in near Manapad. In Kulasekharapatnam, now even called a part of this town Rawthar Paalyam that Rawthar is called to a section of Muslim that their trade with horses. kulasekharapatnam was also an important trade centre even before the arrival of Islam. Since the 8th century AD, This city is inhabited by Muslims belonging to the Indian race.

Kulasekarapatinam Perumal Temple

Sugar factory was running very successfully till the end of the British rule. Since the British rule Kulasekharapatnam has customs office. British Railway Line was established and it was called Kulasekharapatnam Light Railway and the stations were Kulasekharapatnam Central, Kulasekharapatnam Port and KPM Sugar factory in 1933.

History of Origin of Marakkars[edit]

Maraicar or Maraicayar, Marakayar, Maraicar is a distinctive Tamil and Malayalam-speaking Muslim people of the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India. Let us first look at the name Marakkar. Note that this is different from Marakkayar though we will observe the connections after a while (Marikkar & Maricar are other spellings used in history books). According to many other historians, Moppila or Moplah is Maha Pillai (great son) and Marakkar means (Marakkalam is a wooden boat) ‘boatmen’. Thurston in his Tribes of S India, states the following - The word Marakkar is usually derived from the Arabic ‘Markab’, a boat. The story goes that, when the first immigrants of this class (they were apparently driven from their own country by persecutions) landed on the Indian shores, they were naturally asked who they were, and where they came from. In answer they pointed to their boats, and pronounced the word Markab, and they became in consequence Marakkars, or the people of Markab.

Was it also a titular name for seaborne traders? KVK Iyer clarifies in his history of Kerala that Marakkar was a prized title given by the Zamorin of Calicut. Derived from Marakka Rayar it signifies the captain of a ship Rayar (Captain) of Marakkalam (ship)

Traditionally, the Maricars engaged in mercantile commerce. They can be found along coastal areas of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India. They are generally considered to be of Middle Eastern(Arab) origin.

Most of us have heard and read about the famous Kunhali Marakkar and his exploits, but one question remains, where did they come from? There have been many questions about their real origins, were they Moplahs of Arab extract from Pantalayani Kollam (South of Calicut); were they of Sri Lankan origin, were they Tamil Marakkars or were they from Tulunad? The research was quite interesting and the result obtained cannot be termed fully conclusive but was quite revealing. For those here, and only interested in Kunjali’s story, this does not cover the life and times of any of the famous Kunhali’s but hovers only around theories of their possible origin.

The Maraicars can be found in coastal areas of South India, including Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Around the 12th century AD in Arab countries there was a dispute among two kings who belongs to the same royal family which later erupted in war. The defeated members of the royal family were packed in ships and banished with their captains and servants. Those who settled in coastal regions of India [Tamil Nadu and Kerala] are called marakala rayars, [MARAKALAM which means wooden boat and RAYAR which means king in the Tamil language]. The captains of the ships are called malimars (malumiyar comes from the Tamil word MALUMI and YAR, malumi means captain in Tamil) and the ship crew members are called sherangs. Even today malimars [malumiyars], sherangs and Maricars [Marakalrayars] are to be found living only on the coast of Tamil Nadu. Maricars can be found abundance in Maraikayar Pattinam (which is thought to be the ancestral hometown of the early Maricars), Parangipettai (Portonovo), Kulasekharapatnam, Kilakarai, Adirampattinam, Muthupet, Nagore, Nagapattinam, Manjakollai and various other coastal towns.

Cheraman Perumal, the ruler of Kerala embraced Islam[edit]

Kulasekharapatnam Jumma Mosque and Matharasa

Maraicars in Malabar are descendants of one of the missionaries in the team of twelve sent to Kerala during the time of Prophet Muhammed. It is said that the Maharaja of the then Kerala, Cheraman Perumal went to Arabia and accepted Islam in Mecca. He died there in Mecca and was buried there. While the Maharaja was there, he sent a team of twelve messengers in a ship to Kerala to preach the Islamic principles. The local rulers knew these people are sent by their own Maharaja and received them royally. The missionaries married women from the royal families and settled down in different parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The descendants of each of them became a family and one was the Marakkar family. Kunjali Marakkars[1][2] were the most famous Marakkars among them.

Maricars dealt business with sea trade earlier

According to KVK Iyer, Kunjali after the destruction of Ponnani by Almeida approached the Zamorin and asked to fight the Portuguese. Impressed by his courage he was given this title by the Zamorin. It appears that the people who carried the title used a special silk turban on their heads. Don Lach & Ed Levy quoting Laval in the book ‘Asia in the making of Europe’ states that Marakkar means ‘viceroy’.

NM Nampoothiri quoting the Granthavaris of Calicut - Zamorin confirms the honorific title - In 1687 the Kuliyoti Kottakal Marakkayar was given the title Marakkayar. Another man, Kunnikkalathor was given the title Kunnali Marakkayar in the same year.


  1. ^ K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, History of South India, 2nd ed.,Oxford University Press, 1958
  2. ^ "Picnic on the beach". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 15 October 2005. 

External links[edit]

  • http://indianmuslims.in/kunjali-marakkar/
  • Kudi Maraikayar of eastern Sri Lanka
  • Muslim Identity, Print Culture, and the Dravidian Factor in Tamil Nadu - J. B. Prashant More
  • Medieval Seafarers of India - Lakshmi Subramaniam
  • India & the Indian Ocean world – Ashin Das Gupta
  • Moors of Sri Lanka
  • Political Evolution of Muslims in Tamil Nadu and Madras - J. B. Prashant More
  • Kerala Muslim History – PA Syed Mohammed
  • Tuhfat Al Mujahideen – Zainuddin Makhdum
  • Charithrathile Marakkar Sannidhyam – SV Mohammed
  • Kunjali Marakkar – Kerala Calling Malabar & the Portuguese – KM Panikkar
  • Castes & tribes of S India – Thurston
  • Portuguese Cochin & the Maritime trade of India – Pius Malekandathil
  • The Career and Legend of Vasco Da Gama - Sanjay Subrahmanyam
  • Paramasivan kannan