Kumari Kandam: A Myth or Lost Continent

Known to be a mythical lost continent situated in the ancient Tamil civilization, Kumari Kandam (sometimes referred to as Kumari Nadu and Kumarikkandam) is said to be located to the south of India’s present location in the Indian Ocean. It is believed that this continent was submerged under the ocean and ever since the idea of its existence has been raised in the late 19th century, the topic has been a cause of many speculations, thorough research and heated discussions. 

History 

It was in the latter part of the 19th century that the speculations of a lost continent Lemuria were made by some European and American scholars in an attempt to explain resemblance to Africa, India, Madagascar, and Australia on geological and other aspects. Moreover, the presence of a lost continent was even mentioned in some early Tamil works. Later in the 20th century, the term ‘Kumari Kandam’ was started being used to refer to this submerged continent. In retrospect, the modern concepts of plate tectonics and continental drift theory were later brought up to render the earlier theory obsolete. But the belief about its existence still remained popular among many Tamil revivalists and nationalists and up to this day, many hold the opinion that Kumari Kandam was real.

Belief and Myths about Kumari Kandam

Source
  • The legend of Pandiyan kings losing a portion of their land to the ocean as described in Tamil and Sanskrit Literature was connected to the lost continent by some Tamil revivalists in the 19th century. The term ‘Kumari Kandam’ was first mentioned back in the 15th century in the Tamil religious epic Kanda Puranam. When the questions about Lemuria’s existence came to colonial India, people had a great faith in folklore and believed to be facts that were historical occurrences. Hence, ‘Kumari Kandam’ was started being used instead of Lemuria.
  • Tamil revivalists in the 20th century believed Kumari Kandam to be the place where the first two Tamil sangams were organised. They also asserted it to be the cradle of the civilisation which represents the heritage of Tamil culture and language.  
  • The story of Kumari Kandam is also laden deep with nationalistic sentiments. Many people believed that Pandiyan kings used to rule the entire Indian continent and Tamil civilization is the earliest civilization of the world.
  • Some claimed that following the submersion of the lost continent, its inhabitants established various civilizations and started to settle in different parts of the world. Hence, Kumari Kandam is said to be the platform that contributed to the set up of the entire human civilisation. 
  • Another myth associated with Kumari Kandam is related to Adam’s bridge (often referred to as Rama’s bridge or Rama Setu) which is a chain of limestone shoals consisting of small pebbles, silt and sand that is extended to about 18 miles in Palk Strait from mainland India to Sri Lanka. While it was once said to be formulated naturally, images taken by the NASA satellite in the more recent times depicted it to be a long bridge that was broken under the surface of the ocean.
Furthermore, the existence of this bridge itself brings up another legend that is mentioned in the Hindu religious scripture Ramayana. According to this legend, when Sita was held captive by Ravana, Lord Rama made use of this bridge to cross the ocean and reach Lanka with his Vanara Sena.

So, in a nutshell, the existence of Kumari Kandam is one that is full of controversy and raises a lot of logical questions. While believers of science and logic waive off any claim related to such speculation, some Tamil nationalists and revivalists still presume that Kumara Kandam was very much real. It is completely upon you to decide what you believe to be true; though the thought of there being a lost civilization does seem to be very much fascinating!

This post was published by Kanushka Chandnani

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