Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Immortality for the vanished

Dennis Overbye writes about history's vanished cities in the NY Times:

"Nothing lasts forever.
Just ask Ozymandias, or Nate Fisher.
Only the wind inhabits the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde in Colorado, birds and vines the pyramids of the Maya. Sand and silence have swallowed the clamors of frankincense traders and camels in the old desert center of Ubar. Troy was buried for centuries before it was uncovered. Parts of the Great Library of Alexandria, center of learning in the ancient world, might be sleeping with the fishes, off Egypt's coast in the Mediterranean."

Mesa Verde, Troy, Nan Madol, Helike, and now New Orleans. May I dare add Poompuhar to this list? The port capital of the first Chola empire, the city of Kovalan and Kannagi, where the Romans came to buy pearls and where the Greek traders, enamoured by the place decided to stay on indefinitely. The city that I was introduced to through bedtime stories and really old movies, the city of which my Dad could never speak of without an involuntary sense of swelling pride, the city which according to my thatha was claimed by the sea thousands of years ago. We all have our own Atlantis, mine happens to be Poompuhar.


gawker said...

Didnt they find some old temples n stuff buried under mud after the recent tsunami washed away part of the beach? Or was that all bogus

Veena said...

That was the old shore temple at Mahabalipuram.

There also seems to be some evidence of an ancient city 3km off the coast of present-day poompuhar township where some marine archealogy was done; and the city is supposedly the ancient Poompuhar which was hit by a tsunami long time ago. Not much work being done though, no funding!

This link has some details: