Coromandel Coast

The Coromandel Coast is the southeastern coast region of the Indian subcontinent, bounded by the Utkal Plains to the north, the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Kaveri delta to the south, and the Eastern Ghats to the west, extending over an area of about 22,800 square kilometres.[1] Its definition can also include the northwestern coast of the island of Sri Lanka. The coast has an average elevation of 80 metres and is backed by the Eastern Ghats, a chain of low, flat-topped hills.

Coordinates: 13°22′00″N 80°20′00″E / 13.3667°N 80.3333°E

India Coromandel Coast locator map
Districts along the Coromandel Coast
Coromandel Coast 1753
Map of the coast (in French)

Etymology

Coromondel is the Dutch pronunciation of "Karimanal", a village in the Sriharikota island in the north of Pazhavercadu (Pulecat Lake).[2] Pazhavercadu (Pulecat) was an early Dutch settlement along with Masoolipatnam in present-day Andhra Pradesh. There is a Dutch Cemetery belonging to the seventeenth Century at Pulecat. It is said that the first Dutch ship stopped here for fresh drinking water, and upon asking the name of the place Karimanal was spelled as Corimondal (K replaced with C and d inserted).[3]

The land of the Chola dynasty was called Cholamandalam (சோழ மண்டலம்) in Tamil, literally translated as The realm of the Cholas, from which the Portuguese derived the name Coromandel.[4][5][6][7][8] The name could also be derived from Kurumandalam, meaning The realm of the Kurus.[9]

Description

Economy

Agriculture is the mainstay of the coastal economy. Rice, pulses (legumes), sugarcane, cotton, and peanuts (groundnuts) are grown. Bananas and betel nuts are grown together with rice in the low-rainfall region of the interior. There are casuarina and coconut plantations along the coast.

Large-scale industries produce fertilizers, chemicals, film projectors, amplifiers, trucks, and automobiles. There is a heavy vehicle and armoured car factory at Avadi and a nuclear power station at Kalpakkam.

Roads and railways linking Chennai, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Chengalpattu, and Puducherry run parallel to the coast.

Geography

The coast is generally low, and punctuated by the deltas of several large rivers, including the Kaveri, Palar, Penner, and Krishna River, which rise in the highlands of the Western Ghats and flow across the Deccan Plateau to drain into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial plains created by these rivers are fertile and favour agriculture. The rivers remain dry during most of the year. There is little forest cover, but marshes, swamps, scrub woodlands, and thorny thickets are common.

The coastline forms a part of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The important ports include Chennai, Thoothukkudi, Nellore, Ennore and Nagapattinam, which take advantage of their close proximity with regions rich in natural and mineral resources and good transport infrastructure.

Climate

The Coromandel Coast falls in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats mountain range, and receives a good deal less rainfall during the summer southwest monsoons, which contributes heavy rainfall in the rest of India. The region averages 800 mm/year, most of which falls between October and December. The topography of the Bay of Bengal, and the staggered weather pattern prevalent during the season favours northeast monsoons, which have a tendency to cause cyclones and hurricanes rather than a steady precipitation. As a result, the coast is hit by inclement weather almost every year between October and January.

The high variability of rainfall patterns is also responsible for water scarcity and famine in most areas not served by the great rivers. For example, the city of Chennai is one of the driest cities in the country in terms of potable water availability, despite high percentage of moisture in the air, due to the unpredictable, seasonal nature of the monsoon.

Flora

The Coromandel Coast is home to the East Deccan dry evergreen forests ecoregion, which runs in a narrow strip along the coast. Unlike most of the other tropical dry forest Biome regions of India, where the trees lose their leaves during the dry season, the East Deccan dry evergreen forests retain their leathery leaves year round.

The Coromandel Coast is also home to extensive mangrove forests along the low-lying coast and river deltas, and several important wetlands, notably Kaliveli Lake and Pulicat Lake, that provide habitat to thousands of migrating and resident birds.

History

Sarasa chintz
Sarasa chintz from the Coromandel Coast, 17th or 18th century, made for the Japanese market. Private collection, Nara Prefecture.

By late 1530 the Coromandel Coast was home to three Portuguese settlements at Nagapattinam, São Tomé de Meliapore, and Pulicat. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Coromandel Coast was the scene of rivalries among European powers for control of the India trade. The British established themselves at Fort St George (Madras) and Masulipatnam, the Dutch at Pulicat, Sadras and Covelong, the French at Pondicherry, Karaikal and Nizampatnam, the Danish in Dansborg at Tharangambadi.

The Coromandel Coast supplied Indian Muslim eunuchs to the Thai palace and court of Siam (modern Thailand).[10][11] The Thai at times asked eunuchs from China to visit the court in Thailand and advise them on court ritual since they held them in high regard.[12][13]

Eventually the British won out, although France retained the tiny enclaves of Pondichéry and Karaikal until 1954. Chinese lacquer goods, including boxes, screens, and chests, became known as "Coromandel" goods in the 18th century, because many Chinese exports were consolidated at the Coromandel ports.

Two of the famous books on the economic history of the Coromandel Coast are Merchants, companies, and commerce on the Coromandel Coast, 1650–1740 (Arasaratnam, Oxford University Press, 1986) and The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, c.1750-c.1850 (P. Swarnalatha, Orient Longman, 2005).

On 26 December 2004, one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history, the Indian Ocean earthquake, struck off the western coast of Sumatra (Indonesia). The earthquake and subsequent tsunami reportedly killed over 220,000 people around the rim of the Indian Ocean. The tsunami devastated the Coromandel Coast, killing many and sweeping away many coastal communities.

Applications of the name

Four ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Coromandel after the Indian coast. The Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand was named after one of these ships, and the town of Coromandel, New Zealand was named after the peninsula. Coromandel Valley, South Australia, and its neighbouring suburb, Coromandel East, gain their name from the ship Coromandel, which arrived in Holdfast Bay from London in 1837 with 156 English settlers. After the ship reached the shore, some of its sailors deserted, intending to remain behind in South Australia, and took refuge in the hills in the Coromandel Valley region.

A red nail varnish made by Chanel is named coromandel due to its suggestions of exoticism. One of the earliest superfast trains of Indian Railways that runs between Howrah and Chennai is named Coromandel Express.

In Slovene the idiom Indija Koromandija (India Coromandel) means a land of plenty,[14] a promised land, a utopia where "Houses are bleached with cheese and covered with cake".[15]

In literature

The 1955 historical novel Coromandel! by John Masters describes a young English adventurer arriving in the 17th century at the Coromandel Coast. He is the founder of the Savage family, whose descendants live during British rule in India and appear in other books of Masters' series.

There is a well-known poem by the Indian poet and freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu titled 'Coromandel Fishers'. The little-known early 20th-century poet Walter J. Turner wrote a poem titled 'Coromandel'.

"The Courtship of the Yonghy-bonghy-bo" by Edward Lear is set on the Coast of Coromandel.

Coromandel wood is referred to by Dame Edith Sitwell in her poem "Black Mrs. Behemoth", part of "Façade". She likens the wood's grain to the rolling, curling smoke of a blown out candle. Sir Osbert Sitwell (Dame Edith's brother) composed a poem titled "On the coast of Coromandel".

Coromandel Sea Change is a 1991 novel by Rumer Godden about a diverse group of guests staying at a hotel on the Coromandel coast during an election campaign.

The coast is noted in M. M. Kaye's novel The Far Pavilions. A work of fiction, the lead character, Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn, retires to the Coromandel Coast early in the tale.

See also

References

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica entry on Coromandel Coast
  2. ^ Topographic Map of India "66C/7 & 66C/11" by Survey of India
  3. ^ "http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/10/19/stories/2003101900280700.htm"
  4. ^ The Land of the Tamulians and Its Missions, by Eduard Raimund Baierlein, James Dunning Baker
  5. ^ South Indian Coins – Page 61 by T. Desikachari – Coins, Indic – 1984
  6. ^ Indian History – Page 112
  7. ^ Annals of Oriental Research – Page 1 by University of Madras – 1960
  8. ^ The Periplus of the Erythræan Sea by Wilfred Harvey Schoff
  9. ^ Edgar Thurston (2011). The Madras Presidency with Mysore, Coorg and the Associated States. Cambridge University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-107-60068-3.
  10. ^ Peletz (2009), p. 73 Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, p. 73, at Google Books
  11. ^ Peletz (2009), p. 73 Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, p. 73, at Google Books
  12. ^ Peletz (2009), p. 75 Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, p. 75, at Google Books
  13. ^ Peletz (2009), p. 75 Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, p. 75, at Google Books
  14. ^ Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika "Indija Koromandija"
  15. ^ "Razvezani jezik" From: [http://razvezanijezik.org

External links

Buckingham Canal

The Buckingham Canal is a 796 kilometres (494.6 mi) long fresh water navigation canal, that parallels the Coromandel Coast of South India from Kakinada in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu. The canal connects most of the natural backwaters along the coast to Chennai (Madras) port. It was constructed during British Rule, and was an important waterway during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Originally called Cochrane's Canal in 1806, it was briefly renamed Lord Clive’s Canal before finally being named the Buckingham Canal in 1878. The name reflects the order of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos — as Governor of Madras — who ordered the extension of the canal to help people affected by famine. It was first known as the North River by the British and was believed to be partly responsible for reducing cyclone damage to much of the Chennai - southern Andhra coastline.

Coastal Andhra

Coastal Andhra (Telugu: తీర ఆంధ్ర Tīra Āndhra), is a region in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. This region was part of Madras State before 1953 and Andhra State from 1953 to 1956. According to the 2011 census, it has an area of 95,442 square kilometres (36,850 sq mi) which is 57.99% of the total state area and a population of 34,193,868 which is 69.20% of Andhra Pradesh state population. This area includes the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh on the Coromandel Coast between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, from the northern border with Odisha to Pulicat lake of South.

Coastal Andhra has rich agricultural land, owing to the delta of the Godavari Krishna river and Penna. The prosperity of Coastal Andhra can be attributed to its rich agricultural land and an abundant water supply from these three rivers. Rice grown in paddy fields is the main crop, with pulses and coconuts also being important. The fishing industry is also important to the region.

Dutch Coromandel

Coromandel was a governorate of the Dutch East India Company on the Coromandel Coast between 1610 until the company's liquidation in 1798. Dutch presence in the region began with the capture of Pulicat from the Portuguese, which then became a colony of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until 1825, when it was relinquished to the British according to the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. It is part of what is today called Dutch India.

East Deccan dry evergreen forests

The East Deccan dry evergreen forests are an ecoregion of southeastern India. The ecoregion includes the coastal region behind the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal, between the Eastern Ghats and the sea. It covers eastern Tamil Nadu, part of Puducherry and south eastern Andhra Pradesh.

Eastern Coastal Plains

The Eastern Coastal Plains is a wide stretch of landmass of India, lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. It is wider and leveled than the Western Coastal Plains and stretches from Tamil Nadu in the south to West Bengal in the north through Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Chilka Lake is a brackish water lake along the eastern coastal plain. It lies in the state of Odisha and stretches to the south of the Mahanadi Delta.Deltas of many of India's rivers form a major portion of these plains. The Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri and Krishna rivers drain these plains. The region receives both the Northeast & Southwest monsoon rains with its annual rainfall averaging between 1,000 and 3,000 mm (39 and 118 in). The width of the plains varies between 100 and 120 km (62 to 80 miles).

It is locally known as Utkal Plains in the Northern part between Kangsabati and Rushikulya Rivers, Northern Circars in the Central part between Rushikulya and Krishna Rivers and, as Coromandel Coast in the Southern part from the south of river Krishna till the Southern tip of Mainland India at Cape Comorin where it merges .

False Divi Point

False Divi Point is a low headland located at the northern terminus of the Coromandel Coast, within the state of Andhra Pradesh of southeastern India.

Fort St. David

Fort St David, now in ruins, was a British fort near the town of Cuddalore, a hundred miles south of Chennai on the Coromandel Coast of India. It is located near silver beach without any maintenance. It was named for the patron saint of Wales because the governor of Madras at the time, Elihu Yale, was Welsh.

Gulf of Mannar

The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the west coast of Sri Lanka and the southeastern tip of India , in the Coromandel Coast region. The chain of low islands and reefs known as Ramsethu, also called Adam's Bridge, which includes Mannar Island, separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay, which lies to the north between Sri Lanka and India. The Malvathu Oya (Malvathu River) of Sri Lanka and the estuaries of Thamirabarani River and Vaipar River of South India drain into the Gulf. The dugong (sea cow) is found here.

Kaliveli Lake

Kaliveli Lake, or Kaliveli Lagoon, is a coastal lake and lagoon with wetlands in the Viluppuram District of Tamil Nadu state, in eastern South India.

This lake is on the Coromandel Coast, near the Bay of Bengal. It lies approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of Pondicherry city, and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of Auroville.

Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari, (formerly known as Cape Comorin) is a city of the Kanyakumari district in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is the southernmost city of peninsular/contiguous India. Kanyakumari has been a city since the Sangam period. and is a popular tourist destination.

Kaveri

Kaveri (also known as Cauvery, the anglicized name and Ponni), is an Indian river flowing through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is the fourth largest after Godavari and Mahanadi River in south India and the largest in Tamil Nadu which on its course, bisects the state into North and South. Originating in the foothills of Western Ghats at Talakaveri, Kodagu in Karnataka it flows generally south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the southeastern lowlands, emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths in Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu. Amongst the river valleys, the Kaveri delta forms one of the most fertile regions in the country.

The Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 square kilometres (31,334 sq mi) with many tributaries including Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini, Bhavani, Arkavathy, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal and Arkavati. The river's basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows: Tamil Nadu, 43,856 square kilometres (16,933 sq mi); Karnataka, 34,273 square kilometres (13,233 sq mi); Kerala, 2,866 square kilometres (1,107 sq mi), and Puducherry, 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi). Rising in southwestern Karnataka, it flows southeast some 800 kilometres (500 mi) to enter the Bay of Bengal. In Mandya district it forms the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls that descend about 100 metres (330 ft). The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power. The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India. Access to the river's waters has pitted Indian states against each other for decades.

Krishna River

The Krishna River is the fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India, after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra. The river is almost 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) long. The river is also called Krishnaveni. It is one of the major sources of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Presidency of Coromandel and Bengal Settlements

The Presidency of Coromandel and Bengal Settlements was an administrative division of British India, established by the East India Company on 17 July 1682.

Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary

Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is a famous 481 km² located in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and Protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu, India. Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilka lake in Orissa. International name: Pulicat Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, IBA Code: IN261, Criteria: A1, A4iii.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore Latin: Pondicherien(sis) et Cuddaloren(sis) is an archdiocese located in the cities of Pondicherry and Cuddalore in India.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tiruchirapalli

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tiruchirapalli/Trichy (Latin: Tiruchirapolitan(us)) is a diocese located in the city of Tiruchirapalli in the Ecclesiastical province of Madurai in India.

Sadras

Sadras is a fortress town located on India's Coromandel Coast in Kanchipuram District, 70 km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu state. Sadras is the anglicized form of the ancient town of Saduranga pattinam.

Thiruvalluvar Statue

The Thiruvalluvar Statue, or the Valluvar Statue, is a 133-feet (40.6 m) tall stone sculpture of the Tamil poet and philosopher Valluvar, author of the Tirukkural, an ancient Tamil work on secular ethics and morality. It is located atop a small island near the town of Kanyakumari on the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula on the Coromandel Coast, where two seas (the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea) and an ocean (the Indian Ocean) meet. The statue was sculpted by the Indian sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati, who also created the Iraivan Temple, and was unveiled on the millennium day of 1 January 2000 by the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. It is currently the 25th tallest statue in India.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is a 30-hectare (74-acre) protected area located in the Kancheepuram District and Madurantakam taluk of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The sanctuary is about 75 kilometres (47 mi) from Chennai on National Highway 45 (NH45). Easily reachable from Madurantakam and Chengalpattu. More than 40,000 birds (including 26 rare species), from various parts of the world visit the sanctuary during the migratory season every year.Vedanthangal is home to migratory birds such as pintail, garganey, grey wagtail, blue-winged teal, common sandpiper and the like.Vedanthangal is the oldest water bird sanctuary in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil language means 'hamlet of the hunter'. This area was a favourite hunting spot of the local landlords in the early 18th century. The region attracted a variety of birds because it was dotted with small lakes that acted as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. This was established in 1858 by the order of the Collector of Chengalpattu.

The best time to visit this sanctuary is from November to March. During this time, birds are seen busy building and maintaining their nests.

Villagers near this sanctuary are very concerned about the sanctuary and its winged residents, and they have taken many serious steps to avoid disturbance to the flow of birds.

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