[INDOLOGY] Identififying Ceylonese toponym Cauraga(s)hing

Dániel Balogh danbalogh at gmail.com
Fri Nov 1 07:21:01 EDT 2019

Dear Jan, knowing next to nothing about Sri Lanka, I may be completely off
the mark here. But given that we're talking about a mountain, I would guess
"shing" is cognate of Sanskrit śṛṅga, "horn, peak". I don't think an
Englishman of that time would have pronounced "sh" as anything other than
English *sh*, nor do I see any reason to drop the s from the name as you
seem to suggest. If the Sinhalese word caura/cora is also a Sanskrit
cognate, then again, it can probably be ruled out; Knox would surely have
pronounced "c" as the phoneme *k* and would have written "ch" if he had
meant a palatal affricate.
Best wishes,

On Fri, 1 Nov 2019 at 11:45, Jan Filipský via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear All,
> A student of mine is trying to identify the Ceylonese/Sri Lankan toponym
> „Cauragashing“ mentioned by the British sailor Robert Knox in his book *An
> Historical Relation of Ceylon *(1681), p. 4. According to the author, it
> is a mountain „about the middle of the land“ obviously separating the Wet
> and Dry zones of the island he had personally visited, describing his
> experience as follows: „as oftentimes I have seen, being on the one side of
> a Mountain called Cauragas hing, rainy and wet weather, and as soon as I
> came on the other, dry, and so exceeding hot, that I could scarcely walk on
> the ground, being, as the manner there is, barefoot.“
> One may infer that Knox refers to the Central (Kandyan) highlands, playing
> the role of a major watershed, a natural geographic divide; if so, could
> anybody explain the local name *Cauraga(s)hing*? If one may venture a
> speculation, couldn’t it refer to the whole mass of the highlands where
> the rebels (sinh. *caura*, *cora*) go to (sinh. *ga*) – perhaps, in haste
> (sinh. *hingu*)? Sincere apologies to all knowledgeable colleagues for unsubstantiated
> fantasizing and many thanks for elucidating.
> With best regards,
> Jan Filipsky, Praha
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