Re: [INDOLOGY] River कायकुटी

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at
Thu Aug 31 16:02:12 UTC 2017

There is a Kāyakuṭī/"Kayakudi" river in Tamil Nadu, more precisely in the Pandya country. See:

The imperial gazetteer of India, W.W. Hunter, vol. 1, 1885, p. 12:

Achandaviltán. — Town in Srivilliputtur táluk, Tinnevelli District, Madras Presidency. Lat. 9 29' n., long. 77 42' e. ; population (1881), 2765 ; houses, 544. Situated on the left bank of the Kayakúdi river.

"Achamthavilthan" ,  means "the lord has removed the fear from the minds of the people".  There is a small story behind this.

There is a river in between the two parts of the village.  People have to go to other side of the river to buy Vegetables and other items. Once a pragrent lady has gone to other side to buy some items. On return, due to sudden rainfall there was a heavy water in the river and she has prayed to the Lord Venkatesa Perumal and he made the way for her. Due to this the people of this village has changed the name as "Achamthavilthan".

11km from there, the same  river (a tributary of the Vaippar river/stream, which flows between the Vangai and the Tamraparni) is also linked to the Madavar Vilagam Vaidyanathar temple in Srivilliputhur (now Virudhunagar District):
The lord also said that as the spring healed her wounds and quenched her thirst, the stream would be known as Kayakudi Aaru.  Those having a dip in the river would be free of all fears of life and attain all comforts in life.

This should be the river to which refers the South-Indian commentator Dakṣiṇāvartanātha (who himself originated from some village called Mahārjuna, identified with the "region called Madhyārjuna which is the Sanskritised form of the popular name of Tiruviṭaimaruttūr" [Thiruvidaimaruthur] near Kumbakonam, according to N. P. Unni).

Why Dakṣiṇāvartanātha says that [the supposed Pandyan capital] Nāgapuram is on the border of this river? Maybe because at the time of the late Pandyas (from the second third of the 14th c. onwards, after the establishment of the Sultanate of Madurai), their real capital was no longer in Madurai (even if they never stopped in their inscriptions to symbolically present themselves as the true rulers of Madurai); "they found themselves restricted to their more southern possessions" (K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Pandyan Kingdom, 1929, p. 217) in the regions of Srivilliputur, Tenkasi and Tirunelveli.

I am not sure that more historical importance has to be ascribed to this possibly "new" location of Nāgapura by Dakṣiṇāvartanātha, who is a rather fanciful commentator. 

Best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

Le 29 août 2017 à 23:27, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan <palaniappa at> a écrit :

> If the question is really about the river mentioned by a commentator, there is no river in Tamil Nadu called Kāyakuṭī. If one considers the possibility that this name is a translation of some Tamil name, one has to allow for ‘losses in translation’. According to Monier Williams, kāya also means "assemblage , collection , multitude SaddhP.” This seems to be a synonym of saṅgha (perhaps referring to the legendary Tamil assembly in Madurai) or a translation of ‘Ta. Kūṭal’, another name of the city of Madurai. 
> If it was related to the city called uraga, there was a discussion in Indology earlier such as
> I was not able to navigate and get to all the posts from this link. You may want to do a search on ‘uraga’ and look at the posts.
> Regards,
> Palaniappan
>> On Aug 29, 2017, at 9:32 AM, Christophe Vielle via INDOLOGY <indology at> wrote:
>> The name of this river is reminding of 'Kāyal', the name of the emporium in the delta of the Tamraparni (Tinnevelly District) referred to by Marco Polo ( - cf. Kólkhoi emporion, Ptolemy Geogr. 7, 1, 10). But the Tamil word kāyal ('backwater, mouth of a stream") is far from the meaning of "Curve of the body" (kuṭī is found in several words for/names of "curving" rivers). The Tāmraparṇī  herself is described by Kālidāsa in 4.50 (53  crit. ed. Goodall & Isaacson).
>> This explanation of Nāga(/Uraga)-pura as a city on the border of the Kāyakuṭī  river in the  Pāṇḍya country was already made by  Dakṣiṇāvartanātha  (13th-14th c.) in his unpublished dīpikā on the Raghuvaṃśa according to N. P. Unni (Highways and Byways in Sanskrit Literature, Delhi: New Bharatiya Book Corporation, 2012, p. 159, who relies on a KUML transcript-manuscript). It is in this case (like in other) the source of  Aruṇagirinātha (contemporary of  Mallinātha, early 15th century - the latter who also sometimes uses Dakṣiṇāvartanātha has possibly misread his source here or, as you guess, his text has been later corrupted), himself followed by  Nārāyaṇa Paṇḍita.
>> The commentary of Vallabhadeva could be useful here, but I have not Goodall & Isaacson edition at hand.
>> On his side, the commentator Hemādri says: uragākhyasyeti kalpitārtham.
>> Best wishes,
>> Christophe Vielle
>> Le 28 août 2017 à 21:34, Krishnaprasad G via INDOLOGY <indology at> a écrit :
>>> Dear all
>>> In Raghuvamsa 6th Canto and Verse 58 or 59 
>>> अथोरगाख्यस्य पुरस्य नाथं first foot says about Nagapura or Uragapura 
>>> Mallinatha explains as कान्यकुब्जतीरवर्तिनागपुरस्य but this seems to be a mistake as Kanouj is on the North of India , whereas the poet in further verses clearly places it on the south. 
>>> And on further search I found Arunagirinatha and Narayana in the commentary to the above mentioned verse give the details as the place  in the bank of the river कायकुटी
>>> पाण्ड्येषु कायकुटी नाम नदी प्रवहति तस्मिन् तीरे नागपुराख्यं...
>>> Does any one knows about this river or its modern name kindly inform.
>>> I also believe that even Mallinatha has written कायकुटी as the name is not famous that must be due to लिपिसारूप्य scribal error occurred
>>> Thanks
>> Correction :
>> Not तस्मिन् 
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>> Christophe Vielle
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Christophe Vielle

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