Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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considered a sacred place, and is in conse-
quence much resorted to by the Hindoos.
Coimbatoor, the capital of the province,
is situated in lat. 10 52' N. long. 77 5'
E. This was formerly one of the princi-
pal military stations of Tippoo Sooltan.
It has a musjid, which was built by him ;
and at Penura, two miles distant, is a
celebrated Hindoo temple, called Mail-

Travelling distance from Madras 306
miles, from Bangalore 178.

Sometime since an ancient tumulus, or
mound, was dug open near this place,
which on examination was found to con-
tain various weapons arid other articles,
such as were formerly used by the Ro-

A short distance to the northward and
westward of this town, are the Neilgher-
ries, a range of mountains connecting the
eastern and western ghats. They extend
from east to west about thirty- four miles,
and from north to south fifteen, contain-
ing a fertile and well cultivated table-land,
entirely free from jungle, and varying in
height from 5,000 to 9,000 feet above' the
level of the sea. Jackanairy being 5,659,
Dimhutty 6,041, Ootakamund 6,416, and
one of the highest peaks, named Doda-
bet, about 9,000. The air is exceedingly
clear, and the climate cool and healthy,
on which account they are much resorted
to by European invalids.


The inhabitants of these hills are of
four classes, Toders, Koters, Burgers, and
Kurrumbers. The Toders are the abori-
gines and lords of the soil, which, how-
ever, they do not cultivate, restricting
themselves to pasturing Battle. They are
quite distinct in language &nd religion
from the Hindoos, and though a fine look-
ing race, often fair, and generally of good
size and figure, are in a very rude and
ignorant state. They are not numerous,
not exceeding more than five or six hun-
dred. Th^ Koters appear to be nearly of
the same description as the Toders, but
occupy themselves as artisans, chiefly in
the manufacture of coarse iron tools.
The Burgers are the cultivators of the
land, which they hold under tribute to
the Toders. They are of Hindoo origin,
and speak the Kanarese language. They
are estimated at between six and seven
thousand. The Kurrumbers are a very
wretched race, black and small, inhab-
iting the jungles upon the skirt of the
hills, in number not more than a few

These hills produce barley, and other
dry grains, and very fine vegetables and
fruits. The animals are black cattle, and
buffaloes, a species of sheep, wild elk,
bears, and tigers.

The proper appellation of these hills is
the "Neelagiri," from neela, blue, and
: giri, hill or mountain.

Caroor is situated on the northern bank
of the river Amravutti, not far from the
Cavery, and about 50 miles westerly
from Trichinopoly. The Amravutti being
the ancient boundary between the do-


Towns. minions of Mysore and Trichinopoly.
Caroor was formerly a place of consider-
able commerce, and is still a neat pleasant

Darapoorum is situated in a fine open
country, about half a mile from the Am-
ravutti, near the south end of the pro-
vince. It is populous and well built, and
the surrounding country produces abun-
dance of rice and tobacco.

Name. j n ancient times this province was call-

ed "Kunjum? The derivation of its
present name Coiinbatoor is uncertain.

Inhabit- r fhe inhabitants of this province are
chiefly Hindoos, there being few Ma-
homedaii families to be found. The total
population is estimated at about 700,000.

History. This province originally formed part of
the Hindoo kingdom of Madura, from
which it was conquered about the year
1650, by the raja of Mysore, under whose
government it remained until 1799, when
it was transferred to the British.

Religion. Chiefly Hindooism.

Language. Tamil.

Southern Caraatie.

Bound- North, the Cavery and Coleroon, sepa-

rating it from Salem and Central Carna-
tic ; east, the sea ; south, the Gulf of


Hound- Manar; west, Travancore, and Coimba-



Divisions. The following are its principal districts,
Trichinopoly, Tanjore, Tondiman's Coun-
try, Dindigul, Madura, and Tinnevelly.

Rivers. Coleroon, Cavery, Vygaroo, Vyparoo,

and several smaller streams.

General This province presents great variety of

Descrip- r L j. . ^ / m i '

tion. appearance. 1 he districts or 1 richmo-
poly and Tanjore are level and open,
well watered and fertile, particularly
Tanjore. Tondiman's Country consists
for the greater part of thick jungle. Din-
digul and Madura are mountainous and
wooded, well watered and fertile. Tin-
nevelly level and open.

Froduo Rjce, tobacco, cotton, and jaggery, the
latter two articles principally in Tinne-
velly. There are elephants in the south-
ern and western parts of Madura and

Towns. The principal towns are Trichinopo-

ly, Tanjore, Combaconum, Tranquebar,
Nagore, Negapatam, Poodoocotta, Dindi-
gul, Sholavandrum, Madura, Shevagunga,
Ramiiad, Tinnevelly, Palamcottah, and

Trichinopoly, also called Trichira-
poora, the capital of the province, is sit-
uated on the south side of the Cavery,
and is a large and populous town. By
the Mahomedans it is commonly called
Nuthur-Nuggur. Trichinopoly is cele-
brated for a memorable siege, which it


Towns, sustained from 1751 to 1755, when It
was successfully defended by the English
against the French and their Native allies.
Within the fortified city is a rock, about
300 feet high*, on which are a pagoda and
other buildings. In a durgah outside the
city, not far from the western wall^ under
a plain slab, lie the bones of Chunda Sa-
hib ; and in a sort of choultry adjoining,
are the burial places of Umeer-ool-Oomra
and his family. Triehinopoly is one of
the principal military stations of the

Travelling distance from Madras 207
miles, from Bangalore 206.

Opposite to the town of Triehinopoly,
the Cavery separates into two branches,
forming an island called Seringam, ( Sree-
rungum.) About thirteen miles to the
eastward of the point of separation, the
branches again approach each other, but
the northern one is at this spot twenty
feet lower than the southern. The north-
ern branch, which takes the name of
Coleroon, is allowed to run waste to the
sea ; but the southern, which retains the
name of Cavery, is led by numerous chan-
nels to irrigate Tanjore. Near the east
end of Seringam an immense mound, call-
ed the annicut, has been formed to pre-
vent the waters of the Cavery from des-
cending into the Coleroon. About a mile
from the western extremity of the island,
at a short distance from the bank of the
Coleroon, stands the celebrated pagoda
of Seringam. It is composed of seven
square enclosures, 350 feet distant from
each other ; and each enclosure has four
large gates, with high towers, placed one


j n the centre of each side opposite to the
four cardinal points. The outward wall
is nearly four miles in circumference.

Tanjore, (Tunjavooroo) the capital
of the district so named, is situated in a
fertile plain, in lat. 10 42' N. long. 79
11' E., about 38 miles easterly from Tri-
chinopoly. It consists of two parts, the
fortified town, and the fort or citadel,
both on the same level, and connected to-
gether by a wall. The city is regularly
built, and contains many good edifices.
In the fort is a celebrated pagoda, one of
the finest specimens of the pyramidical
temple in India. Its principal tower is
199 feet high. In ancient times Tanjore
was one of the chief seats of learning in
southern India.

Travelling distance from Madras 205

Combaconum, in the same district, is
situated about 23 miles north-easterly
from Tanjore. This was the ancient cap-
ital of the Chola rajas. It is still a large
and populous town, chiefly inhabited by
Brahmins, and possesses a number of fine
tanks and pagodas.

Tranquebar, in the same district, is
situated on the coast, m lat. 11 N.
long. 79 53' E. It is a very neat regu-
larly built town, and belongs to the Danes,
who settled there in 1616, having pur-
chased the ground from the raja of Tan-

Nagore, or Nagoor, is also in the same
district, and on the coast, 13 miles south
of Tranquebar. It is a populous and
busy place, and possesses a number of
trading vessels, some of them of a consid-


Towns, erable size. The main branch of the
Nagore river forms its harbour. There
is here a curious minar, 150 feet high,
and several mosques, erected at different
times by the nabobs of the Carnatic.
Nagore is the principal resort of the Lub-

Negapatam, in the same district, is
situated on the coast, 20 miles south of
Tranquebar, in lat. 10 45' N. long. 79
54' E. This place, originally a Portu-
guese settlement, was taken in 1660 by
the Dutch, who made it the capital of
their possessions on the Coromandel coast.
It is now much decayed and depopula-

Dindigul, the capital of the district so
named, is situated in lat. 10 18' N. long.
78 2' E., near the western entrance of an
extensive plain, about SO miles from east
to west, and 25 from north to south, al-
most surrounded by mountains. It is a
clean and neatly built town, and has a
strong fort built upon a rock about 400
feet high, on the summit of which is a
Hindoo temple. Under the northern
ledge of the rock there is a remarkable
natural cavern, inhabited by some Maho-
medan fukeers.

Travelling distance from Madras 275
miles, from Trichinopoly 60.

Poodoocotta, the capital of Tondiman's
Country, situated in lat. 10 18' N. long.
78 58' E., is a remarkably clean well built
town, of modern erection.

Travelling distance from Trichinopoly
34 miles.

Sholavandrum, in the Madura district,
is situated 12 miles jiorth of Madura,


Towns. U p on the northern bank of the Vyar or'
Vygaroo river. It is a large open town,
though consisting chiefly of small thatch-
ed huts.

Madura, the capital of the district, and
formerly the capital of an Hindoo king-
dom, is situated in lat. 9 55' N. long. 78
14' E., upon the south side of the Vy-
garoo. This is a city of considerable an-
tiquity, and contains the remains of many
magnificent edifices, comprising some of
the most extraordinary specimens of Hin-
doo architecture now extant, particularly
the ancient palace of the rajas. It has a
pagoda covering an extent of ground al-
most sufficient for the site of a town, in
front of which is a celebrated choultry,
called Tiroomul Naik's, 312 feet in length,
and covered with grotesque sculptures.
Near the town is a remarkable eminence,
called from its shape the "elephant rock.' 1

Travelling distance from Madras 292
miles, from Trichinopoly 82.

There was formerly at Madura a cele-
brated college, called by the Natives,
"Maha Sunkum."

Shevagunga, in the same district, was
formerly the capital of a polygar princi-
pality, tributary to Madura, and ruled
by a ranee. It is a large open village,
agreeably situated, and clean. Lat. 9
55' N. long. 78 32' E.

Ramnad, in the same district, is situat-
ed near the coast, in lat. 9 23' N. long.
78 56' E. It is the capital of a pollam,
generally styled the Ramnad zumeen-
daree, which was granted to the present
zumeendar^s family under the Hindoo go-
vernment of Madura, with the title of


Towns. Sutti-putti) for the defence of the road,
and protection of the pilgrims resorting
to the pagoda of Ramiserum. The town
is of an irregular appearance, and contains
nothing of note.

In the gulf of Manar, opposite to Ram-
nad, and about a mile from the coast, is
Ramiserum, a small sandy uncultivated
island, about eleven miles long, and six
broad. This island is celebrated through-
out India as a place of pilgrimage for the
Hindoos. The pagoda is about 9 miles
from Pambum, the port of the island, and
is considered a fine building. A line of
black rocks stretches across the gulf from
Ramiserum to Ceylon, known by the name
of Adam's Bridge.

Tinnevelly, the capital of the district
so named, is an inland town, situated in
lat. 8 48' N. long. 78 1' E. a little to
the westward of the Tumbrapoornee river,
about 25 miles distant from the Western
Mountains. It is a large and populous

Palamcottah is situated on the eastern
side of the Tumbrapoornee, which divides
it from Tinnevelly. It is a fortified town,
and was formerly the principal strong-
hold of one of the southern polygars.

Travelling distance from Madras 390
miles, from Trichinopoly 180.

Tuticorin^ in the same district, is sit-
uated on the coast, in lat. 8 57' N. long.
76 36' E. It is a large town, and is
noted for its pearl fishery, which has ex-
isted for many centuries, and still con-
tinues productive, though the pearls are
considered inferior to those found in the
bay of Condatchy in Ceylon.


Name. This province has its present general

name of Southern Carnatic from the Eng-
lish. There is no native name applicable
to it as a whole.

inhabit- Hindoos of various castes, and Maho-
medans, the latter principally in the dis-
trict of Trichinopoly, and those of the
Lubbee caste along the coast.

History. J n ancient times this province was di-
vided into a number of principalities,
nearly all of which formed part of, or
were dependent upon the two great Hin-
doo kingdoms of the Chola Desum, and
Madura. For the better understanding
of their history, we will notice the several
districts separately.

Trichinopoly was originally part of the
Chola Desum, and remained an indepen-
dent Hindoo principality until 1736, when
Chun da Sahib acquired possession of it.
Chunda Sahib lost it in 1741 to the Mah-
rattas, from whom it was taken in 1743 by
Nizam-ool-Moolk ; and it thenceforward
continued to form part of the dominions
of the nabobs of the Carnatic, until the
country passed under the government of
the British.

Tanjore, the ancient Chola Desum, was
conquered in ] 675 by Ekhojee, a Mahrat-
ta chief, brother of Sevajee, and remained
subject to his descendants until 1799,
when the territory was transferred to the
British still, however, preserving to the
raja his title, and allowing him to retain
the city arid fort of Tanjore, with several
palaces in different places for his residence,
Never having been subdued by the Ma-


History, homedans, Tanjore retains more of its
original Hindoo character than most other
parts of the country ; and, until lately,
the barbarous practice of suttee was very
frequent. It is considered one of the
most fertile districts in all India, and is
thickly populated.

Tondiman's Country, or the Tonda-
mundalum, was originally connected with
the Chola dominions. It subsequently
became a distinct zumeendaree, under the
rule of a Hindoo chief called by the Eng-
lish the Tondiman, from Tondi, and the
English word man, a corruption probably
of the old Hindoo name Tonda-mundalum.
Although at present nominally a depen-
dent of the British Government, the Ton-
diman is allowed the full possession of his
zumeendaree free from tax or tribute of
any kind, as a reward for the remarkable
fidelity exhibited by his family in their
connection with the English through all
changes of fortune, especially during the
early wars of the Carnatic. The Natives
of this district were long celebrated as
most expert thieves, from which circum-
stance they derived their name of col-
laries, (kutluree*, from kullur, thief,) but
so much is their character improved, that
now a theft is seldom known amongst
them. The instrument commonly called
by Europeans the "Cholera horn,"" derives
its name from this people, and is properly
the "kullureehorn."

Dindigul was formerly subordinate to
the kingdom of Madura, and continued an
independent Hindoo principality until
1755, when it was subdued by the raja of
Mysore, and annexed to that country ;


History. f rom which it was separated, and finally
transferred to the British in 1792.

Madura was the seat of the ancient
kingdom so named. In the remote
periods of Hindoo history, this was one
of the holy countries of the south of India,
and its capital was styled the southern
Madura. Its ancient sovereigns were
named the Pandian race, and it is sup-
posed to have been the " Pandionic re-
gion" of Ptolemy. After the dissolution
of the Pandian monarchy, Madura fell
under the rule of a number of turbulent
polygars, sometimes tributary to the na-
bobs of the Carnatic, but more frequently
refusing to acknowledge their authority.
After much conflict, particularly from the
middle to the end of the 18th century,
the province was finally subjugated by
the British, and added to the Carnatic
territory, with which it was transferred
to them in 1801.

Tinnevelly originally formed part of the
Chola sovereignty. Subsequently it was
divided amongst a number of independent
polygars, under whom it remained for a
long time in a state of great anarchy ;
until, after much conflict, it was finally
subdued by the English in the beginning
of the present century.

ttoiigion. Hindooism and Mahomedanism.

Language. The general language of the province
is Tamil.




Bound- North, Malabar; east, the Western
Mountains, separating it from Coimba-
toor and Southern Carnatic; south and
west, the sea.

Divisions. North Travancore, including the small
principality of Cochin, and south Tra-

None of any magnitude, but numer-
ous small streams.

General This province consists of a long strip
' f land, shut in from the main country,
by a lofty range of mountains running
from its northern to its southern ex-
tremity, terminating at Cape Comorin.
In length it may be estimated at 140
miles, by an average breadth of about
40. Through the mountains are three
passes. The northern, or Chow-ghat,
leading into Coimbatoor ; the central, or
Ariyungol, not practicable for carriages,
about 10 miles in length, leading into
Tinnevelly ; the southern, or Arumboo-
lee, twelve miles from Cape Comorin, a
broad level opening between the moun-
tains, into the south of Tinnevelly.
Along the coast, separated from the sea
by a narrow strip of sandy soil, is a
backwater, or brackish lake, communi-


General eating with the sea by creeks at differ-
tion. en t points, and extending from Chow-
ghat to Quilon, a distance of about 140
miles. Its breadth and depth vary very
much, but it is navigable throughout for
boats. From Quilon, a canal connects
this backwater with another at Anjengo,
continuing the water communication as
far as Trivanderam. Travancore is one
of the richest and most fertile countries
in India. Its surface is beautifully
varied with hill and dale ; and winding
streams, flowing down the mountains,
preserve the valleys in a constant state
of verdure. The mountains are covered
with lofty forests.

Produc- The productions of this province are

tions. 1111 -r-k -i

numerous and valuable. Pepper, carda-
moms, cassia, betel-nut, cocoa-nut, gin-
ger, mace, nutmegs, bees-wax, ivory,
sandal-wood, ebony, &c. Rice is always
in the greatest plenty, a scarcity being
quite unknown ; the country generally
yielding three crops in the year. The
cattle are of a small breed, and there are
no sheep, except such as are procured else-
where. The forests are filled with teak
and other valuable woods, and abound
with elephants. Buffaloes and tigers are
numerous, as are also monkeys, apes, and
other wild animals. The black tiger is
a native of this province.

Towns. There are few towns of any con-

sequence, the Natives preferring to
live dispersed over the country upon
their farms. The principal are Tri-
choor, Cranganore, Cochin, Aleppie, Qui-



Towns. ]on, Trivanderam, Oodagherry, and Nag-

Trichoor is only noted as being situat-
ed near the Chow-ghat. It belongs to
the Cochin raja.

Cranganore is situated on the coast,
16 miles north from Cochin. It former-
ly belonged to the Dutch, and was a
commercial settlement of some conse-
quence. Its inhabitants are principally
Jews, and, according to their statements,
Cranganore was possessed by their peo-
ple as early as A. D. 490.

Cochin, (Koochee,) is also upon the
coast, in lat. 9 5V N. long. 76 IT E.
In the year 1503, the celebrated Portu-
guese Admiral Albuquerque obtained the
permission of the raja to erect a fort at
this place, which was the first possessed
by any European nation in India. In
1663, it was taken by the Dutch, under
whose government it became a very
nourishing town, having an extensive
commerce with Arabia and other coun-
tries. It came under the dominion of
the English in 1795, and still has a con-
siderable traffic with other parts of
India, and also with Arabia, China, and
the Eastern Islands. Ship-building is
likewise carried on here. About a mile
distant from Cochin is a small town,
called Muttacherry, inhabited by Jews.

Aleppie is also on the coast, about
midway between Cochin and Quilon.
It is the chief depot from which the
Travaneore government exports its pep-
per and timber.

Quilon, ( Koollum,) is situated on the
coast, in lat. 8 53' N. long. 76 39' K


Towns. This was formerly the principal town of
the province, and is still a place of con-
siderable native trade.

Trivanderam, situated about 8 miles
from the coast, and about 50 miles from
Cape Comorin, is the modern capital of
the province, and the usual residence of
the raja, who has here a large palace
built in imitation of the European style,
and decorated with a variety of coarsely
executed paintings, clocks, and other
European ornaments. There is also at
this place a menagerie, or collection of
wild beasts, but it possesses nothing
worthy of notice.

Travelling distance from Madras 480

Oodagherry is a small fortress, 30 miles
south of Trivanderam, formerly one of
the principal military stations of the
province. Adjoining is the town or vil-
lage of Papanaveram, where the raja has
a palace.

Nagracoil, including also Kotar, is a
small town of little note, except from its
situation upon the main road to the
Aramboolee pass. Fourteen miles from
this place is Cape Comorin, called by the
Natives, Kunya Koomuree, forming the
southern extremity of India.

Name. The present name of this province is

derived from that of the principality of
Travancore. Its general native name,
applicable to the whole territory, is

I ants >it " Tlie ^habitants f tn i s province, called
in English writings by the general name


inhabit- o f Travancoreans, may be classed as fol-
lows : Namboorees or Brahmins, Nairs,
and other Hindoo divisions, as in Mala-
bar, forming the bulk of the population
Romanists, that is, followers of the Rom-
ish church, consisting chiefly of the fish-
ermen, and others dwelling on the coast,
and amounting to about 11 5, 000 persons
Syrians, (called by the Hindoos, Soori-
anee Maplay, or Nazaranee Maplay,)
so named, as being Christians of the Sy-
rian church, and amounting to about
125,000, being principally in the inland
parts of north Tra van core Jews in
number about 2,000, living at Cochin
and Cranganore, and a few thousand
Mahomedans. The total population is
estimated at about 1,500,000.

History. From the earliest traditions, Tra van-
core has been subject to a Hindoo gov-
ernment. Originally it appears to have
been divided into a number of separate
principalities, in which state it remained
until about the middle of the 18th cen-
tury, when raja Martandan, of the prin-
cipality of Attingal or Travancore, suc-
ceeded in adding several of them to his
own territory. From this time the rajas
of Travancore, partly by intrigue, and
partly by force, went on extending their
conquests until they had subdued the
whole province, with the exception of
Cochin. In 1799, the purchase of Cran-
ganore from the Dutch brought on a
war with Tippoo Sooltan, who denied
the power of the Dutch to make the
sale, the principality of Cochin being
tributary to Mysore. The Travanco-



History, reans were entirely defeated, and but
for the interposition of the English, the
whole province would have been con-
quered. The country continued undis-
turbed under the protection of the Bri-
tish Government until 1809, when in
consequence of a conspiracy set on foot
against the English by the dewan, or
minister of the raja, a war broke out,

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Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 15 of 26)