River Krishna

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Mar 19 22:26:10 UTC 1999

At 16:58 -0800 3/18/99, Venkatraman Iyer wrote:
>>>The name of the River Krishna in AP in old times appears to have
>>>been  called something cognate with the Tamil "karum peNNai";
>>>'karum' refers to black color and 'peNNai' means palm tree.
>There are many instances in Tamil literature where 'peNNai'
>is palm tree. >

No one will  doubt that but:

>May be, the major region watered by the three PeNNaar rivers
>were full of palmyra trees in old times.

This is what I wonder about. Again not the prevalence of plam trees, but
the most common river names are 'white' ,"milky' (= quick, in the
mountains), and 'black (=slow, in the plains), or red (if full of mud as in
monsoon, or iron), etc.  Then, of course, 'crooked" etc., etc.
Of course, you can name a river after peculiar local landmarks or natural
phenomena as well (Wind / Snake/ Beaver river, in Wyoming, Colorado etc.,
Double Mountain Fork in Texas, Red Deer in Alberta, Canada), and I guess
there must be a Fir River or Lake somewhere in Canada...

But such names are not so typical as the others... That is why I would like
to hear from the linguists what the Drav. roots and their meaning  of
peNN-Ar/ai, Porunai etc. would be ....

>Are the TN rivers taNporunai (sanskritized as tAmraparNI)

--- again a strange name in Skt. as in all adaptations: red/copper
(colored) - leaved River?

>and Aan2porunai ( later Amaravati, Amravati) also related to Nahali 'parayn'??

I really wonder: why all these PennAru (A.P., sic, on my map) , PeNN-ar/-ai
rivers in the South if there is no(?) good etymological explanation...?


Michael Witzel                          Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies
Harvard University                  www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs
my direct line (also for messages) :  617- 496 2990
home page:     www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list