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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Map of Kerala

Vekkarai (वेक्करई) is a port on the Malabar Coast near Kottayam in Kerala, India. It was an important centre for trade with Rome and has been mentioned by Roman historians Pliny and Ptolemy.



Jat clans


Mention by Pliny

Pliny[1] mentions....If the wind, called Hippalus32, happens to be blowing, it is possible to arrive in forty days at the nearest mart of India, Muziris33 by name. This, however, is not a very desirable place for disembarcation, on account of the pirates which frequent its vicinity, where they occupy a place called Nitrias; nor, in fact, is it very rich in articles of merchandize. Besides, the road-stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging. At the moment that I am writing these pages, the name of the king of this place is Cælobothras.

Another port, and a much more convenient one, is that which lies in the territory of the people called Neacyndi, Barace by name. Here king Pandion used to reign, dwelling at a considerable distance from the mart in the interior, at a city known as Modiera. The district from which pepper is carried down to Barace in boats hollowed out of a single tree,34 is known as Cottonara.35

None of these names of nations, ports, and cities are to be found in any of the former writers, from which circumstance it would appear that the localities have since changed their names. Travellers set sail from India on their return to Europe, at the beginning of the Egyptian month Tybis, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian month Mechir, the same as36 our ides of January: if they do this, they can go and return in the same year. They set sail from India with a south-east wind, and upon entering the Red Sea, catch the south-west or south. We will now return to our main subject.

32 Or Favonius, the west wind, previously mentioned in the present Chapter.

33 The modern Mangalore, according to Du Bocage.

34 Or canoes.

35 The Cottiara of Ptolemy, who makes it the chief city of the Æi, a tribe who occupied the lower part of the peninsula of Hindostan. It has been supposed to be represented by the modern Calicut or Travancore. Cochin, however, appears to be the most likely.

36 Marcus observes that we may conclude that either Pliny or the author from whom he transcribed, wrote this between the years of the Christian era 48 and 51; for that the coincidence of the 6th of the month Mechir with the Ides of January, could not have taken place in any other year than those on which the first day of Thoth or the beginning of the year fell on the 11th of August, which happened in the years 48, 49, 50, and 51 of the Christian era.

वेक्करई (केरल)

वेक्करई (AS, p.872): केरल के मलाबार समुद्र तट पर स्थित बंदरगाह है, जो ई. सन की प्रारम्भिक शतियों में दक्षिण भारत और रोम के बीच होने वाले व्यापार का महत्त्वपूर्ण केन्द्र था। तत्कालीन रोमन इतिहास लेखक प्लिनी ने इसे 'बेकारे' (Becare) और टॉल्मी ने अपने भूगोल में इसे 'बकारई' या 'बर्करे' (Bakarai, Barkare) नाम से अभिहित किया है। प्लिनी के अनुसार यह बंदरगाह मदुरा देश मे स्थित था, जहाँ पांड्य नरेश का राज्य था। वेक्करई कोट्टायम नगर के निकट स्थित था। [2]

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