The Lost Continent of Kumari Kandam

The Lost Continent of Kumari Kandam


Most people are familiar with the story of Atlantis, the legendary sunken city as described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Till this day, opinion is still divided as to whether this story should be understood literally or taken merely as a morality tale. Further east in the subcontinent of India is a similar tale, though it probably is less well known compared to that of Atlantis. This is the ‘lost continent’ of Lemuria, frequently connected to the legend of Kumari Kandam by speakers of the Tamil language.

The term Lemuria has its origins in the latter part of the 19th century. The English geologist Philip Sclater was puzzled by the presence of lemur fossils in Madagascar and India but not in mainland Africa and the Middle East. Thus, in his 1864 article entitled ‘The Mammals of Madagascar’, Sclater proposed that Madagascar and India were once part of a larger continent, and named this missing landmass ‘Lemuria’. Sclater’s theory was accepted by the scientific community of that period as the explanation of the way lemurs could have migrated from Madagascar to India or vice versa in ancient times. With the emergence of the modern concepts of continental drift and plate tectonics, however, Sclater’s proposition of a submerged continent was no longer tenable. Yet, the idea of a lost continent refused to die, and some still believe that Lemuria was an actual continent that existed in the past.

One such group is the Tamil nationalists. The term Kumari Kandam first appeared in the 15th century Kanda Puranam, the Tamil version of the Skanda Puranam. Yet, stories about an ancient land submerged by the Indian Ocean have been recorded in many earlier Tamil literary works. According to the stories, there was a portion of land that was once ruled by the Pandiyan kings and was swallowed by the sea. When narratives about Lemuria arrived in colonial India, the country was going through a period when folklore was beginning to permeate historic knowledge as facts. As a result, Lemuria was quickly equated with Kumari Kandam.

Bhagavata-Purana, 10th Skanda

Bhagavata-Purana, 10th Skanda. Image source.

The story of Kumari Kandam is not regarded as just a story, but seems to be laden with nationalistic sentiments. It has been claimed that the Pandiyan kings of Kumari Kandam were the rulers of the whole Indian continent, and that Tamil civilisation is the oldest civilisation in the world. When Kumari Kandam was submerged, its people spread across the world and founded various civilisations, hence the claim that the lost continent was also the cradle of human civilisation.

So, how much truth is there in the story of Kumari Kandam? According to researchers at India’s National Institute of Oceanography, the sea level was lower by 100 m about 14,500 years ago and by 60 m about 10,000 years ago. Hence, it is entirely possible that there was once a land bridge connecting the island of Sri Lanka to mainland India. As the rate of global warming increased between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the rising sea levels resulted in periodic flooding. This would have submerged prehistoric settlements that were located around the low-lying coastal areas of India and Sri Lanka. Stories of these catastrophic events may have been transmitted orally from one generation to another and finally written down as the story of Kumari Kandam.

One piece of evidence used to support the existence of Kumari Kandam is Adam’s Bridge (also called Rama’s Bridge), a chain of limestone shoals made up of sand, silt and small pebbles located in the Palk Strait extending 18 miles from mainland India to Sri Lanka.  This strip of land was once believed to be a natural formation, however, others argue that images taken by a NASA satellite depict this land formation to be a long broken bridge under the ocean's surface. 

The location of Adam's Bridge between India and Sri Lanka

The existence of a bridge in this location is also supported by another ancient legend.  The Ramayana tells the tale of Sita, Rama’s wife, being held captive on the island of Lanka. Rama commissions a massive building project to construct a bridge to transport his army of Vanara (ape men) across the ocean to Lanka. 

As with most so-called myths, it seems likely that there is at least some truth to the ancient Tamil legends of Kumari Kandam, but just how much, is yet to be determined.

By Ḏḥwty

References

Jayakaran, S. C., 2011`. The Lemuria Myth. [Online]
Available at: http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=archiveSearch&aid=20110422280809000&ais=08&avol=28

Mahalingam, N., 2010. Lemuria and Kumari Kandam. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/lemuria-and-kumari-kandam/article482101.ece

Parameswaran, N., 2005. Tamil civilisation - is it the oldest?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=256

Wikipedia, 2014. Kumari Kandam. [Online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumari_Kandam

Wikipedia, 2014. Lemuria (continent). [Online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemuria_(continent)

Comments

Atlantis was not a land.. Atlantis was a word best sea force who rules kumari kandam kingdom.. 7 kingdom.. every kingdom had 7 countries.. total 47 countries 7 kingdom ruled and developed by space knowledge, architect..science...farm..sea routes. etc. etc.. that ancient tamils friends.. research deeply...

I was raised by My Maternal Grandparents , My Dad figured Atlantis Wasn't an Island but rather a Ship ! and instead of Sinking it Took Off ! What do You think ?

Forgive Me I should have added My Grand Dad was born 1920 He Instilled in me a Fascination for Ancient Archaeology .. .I read all his childhood books from Jules Verne and others ,

Another great article

nothing

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Ancient Places

Google Earth image of manmade stone structures in Saudi Arabia
Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 peculiar stone structures have been found, dating back thousands of years ago. These stone features were discovered by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an extremely unwelcome and harsh area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article