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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Dravida (द्रविड़) or Dravira, was a Buddhist Kingdom visited by Xuanzang in 640 AD in South India.


Origin of name


Visit by Xuanzang in 640 AD

Alexander Cunningham[1] writes that In the seventh century the province of Ta-lo-pi-cha, or Dravida, was 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit, and its capital, named Kien-chi-pu-lo, or Kanchipura, was 80 li, or 5 miles, in circuit.[2] Kanchipura is the true Sanskrit name of Conjeveram, on the Palar river, a large straggling town of great antiquity. As Dravida was bounded by Konkana and Dhanakakata on the north, and by Malakuta on the south, while no district is mentioned to the west, it seems certain that it must have extended right across the peninsula, from sea to sea. Its northern boundary may therefore be approximately defined as running from Kundapur, on the western coast, via Kadur and Tripati, to the Pulikat Lake, and its southern boundary from Calicut to the mouth of the Kaveri. As the circuit of these limits is very nearly 1000 miles, the boundaries suggested may be accepted as very nearly correct.

During the pilgrim's stay at Kanchipura, about 300 Buddhist monks arrived from Ceylon, which they had quitted on account of political disturbances, consequent on the death of the king. By my reckoning, Hwen Thsang must have arrived in Kanchipura, about the

[p.549]: 30th of July, A.D. 639, and, according to Tumour's list of the kings of Ceylon, Raja Buna Mugalan was put to death in A.D. 639. From the information furnished by these monks, the pilgrim drew up his account of Seng.kia.lo, or Ceylon, which he was prevented from visiting by the disturbed state of the country.

In Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini[3] mentions works done by various chiefs during the reign of king Jayasimha (1128 - 1155 AD) of Kashmir....The chief among the kings made his own matha a specially desirable object. He was without vanity, and gave away in gifts many villages, the principal among which was celebrated as Simhapura by those who knew of his gifts. In this place the son of the daughter of the lord of Kārapatha established a Colony of the twice-born who were going to Sindhu and of the rough out caste people of Dravida who formerly lived at Siddhachchhatra. (p.218-219)