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 19 th 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 15 th 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


Jayakaran, S. C., 2011`. The Lemuria Myth. [Online]
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Mahalingam, N., 2010. Lemuria and Kumari Kandam. [Online]
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Parameswaran, N., 2005. Tamil civilisation - is it the oldest?. [Online]
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Wikipedia, 2014. Kumari Kandam. [Online]
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Wikipedia, 2014. Lemuria (continent). [Online]
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I often hear that continental drift is a fact and that it happens slowly over millions of years. The idea that Pangea shows us how neatly the continents all fit together is also often cited. No one seems to find it strange that over the millions of years of plate tectonics, where tectonic plates are 'slowly' eating away at each other with one plate going over or under the opposing plate, that the continents still piece together neatly like a jigsaw puzzle. Where is all the evidence of the plate tectonics? The surfaces of the earth at the time of Pangea should be now closer to the edges of the tectonic plates or under the the plates themselves, but scientists tell us the continents have hardly changed and they still fit neatly together. To me it sounds more like something moved the continents to their present positions over a short amount time to be able to keep the continents in a similar shape and form that they still are today. Something like a world wide flood could do this, but plate tectonics and slow continental drift can not. Have a look at Google earth and you can still see today where the continents once were positioned prior to the flood: North AmerIca, South America and Africa were once joined which is obvious, but we can still see the evidence of where China and India were once positioned. If continental drift and plate tectonics were actually transforming our planet there shouldn't still be outlines where the continents were once positioned but there are.

Interesting article but how can that missing piece of land fit in when it comes to the continent of Pangea? The current contents all fit together like a puzzle to show how the 1 huge continent looked a long time ago.

In kumari-kandam-lost-continent maya muni lived with his twelve shishyas..
He wrote grammar of grammars (we can see it in oldest tholkappiyam , which followed the way of 'aiynthiram' derived by maya muni ) , arts, music, sculpture, architecture, temple agamas,...
The vast information we can get in 'vaisampayanam' a work of vaisampayanar published by Dr v. Ganapathy sthapathy

Just keep on asking for the Proofs and just dont let your brain to think beyond your Body!
If you dont have a open mind, you will never have time to invest time or money to do the research. I wish people like you should perish just like the Kumari Kandam!

I agree with you and we can't know what could have happened in the past unless we were there.So we shouldn't be judgemental


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