uraga and AlavAy

Michael Rabe mrabe at ARTIC.EDU
Sat Apr 3 16:29:37 UTC 1999

On Wed, 31 Mar 1999 02:54:43 EST, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan writes:

>Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsa calls the capital of the Pandya kings of Tamil
>region as "uraga". Kalidasa's use of this name for Madurai is very
>significant. The name uraga is based on the name Alavay found to be attested
>for the first time in the post-Classical Tamil text, tEvAram, of 7th century...

This may very well be a correct inference,  but it is at odds with the
views of E. Hultzsch [_Gadval Plates of Vikramaditya, c. A.D. 674_, EI X
(1909-10): 102], who cites Venkayya's equation of Kalidasa's Uragapura with
Uraiyur, an ancient capital of the Cholas near Tiruchi and his own
preference for matching it with the coastal Buddhist enclave, Nagapattanam
[i.e., Ptolmey's Nikama].  In other words, I think it's an unwarranted
stretch to say that because Kalidas identifies his Uraga with the Pandyas
that he must necessarily have had Madurai in mind.  Perhaps his knowledge
of Southern geography wasn't so precise after all!

Precluding the identification with Madurai is this passage from the cited

_This VikramAditya....having entered the Cholika province was encamped in
Uragapura which is situated on the southern bank of the Kaveri..._ [ibid.,
p. 105, ll. 22, 23]

Wasting time,
[that should be spent grading],
Michael Rabe

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