Sangam Period in South Indian History: Part II Kumari Kandam and Lemuria

The objective of the 'Sangam Period in South Indian History' series is to understand and share the idea of Tamil Sangam PeriodTamil Sangam LiteratureKumari Kandam, Antediluvian Sangam Civilization and its history.  

Kumari Kandam and Lemuria (இலெமூரியா)

Lemuria is a landmass or continent predating any civilization we currently know. Some disagreement exists about its location and about the inhabitants. The name of the landmass or continent is actually 'Mu.' Some preferred to put it as a continent in Pacific Ocean and called it as 'Pacifica.' Sclater preferred to call it as Lemuria for the occurrence of the Lemur fossil. Some other prefer to put it as a landmass Indian Ocean and called it as Kumari Kandam.  

Catastrophes theories of geology and biogeographical evidence in the field influenced scientists like Ernst Haeckel to debate about the existence of Lemuria. Soon the support for Lemuria waned and Alfred Wegener's continental drift theory gained momentum. Now there are several new oceanographic and geological expeditions being developed and funded by various scientific and academic institutions to carry out further investigations. Lemuria or Kumari Kandam is perhaps one of the world's most intriguing subjects.

Opinion about Lemuria are put forward in two different camps. The first being the western occult organizations such as the Theosophical Society and Tamil aficionados from India defend them as real, lost to the modern world through acts of natural or divinely-induced catastrophe. The second camp from sceptic scientists viewing them as fantasies and rejecting them on their merits.

Thamizhakam in Kumari Kandam

The continent Kumari Kantam lent credibility to the idea of Tamizhakam or Tamilakam, the ancestral Tamil kingdom or Tamil Sangam period or antediluvian Tamil Sangam civilization which got submerged due to great cataclysmic impact. Kumari Kandam remains as a point of preoccupation and enrichment of Tamil people everywhere. 

According Dr.A.Velupillai, 'the earliest connected account about devouring of landmass by the sea (kadatkol) occurs in the commentary on Iraiyanar Akapporul,' Iraiyanar Akapporul details the three Sangams (Academy of Tamil Poets): First or Head Sangam, Second or Idai Sangam and Third or Kadai Sangam; Pandya dynasty, Kings, poets and the Sangam Tamil literature.  The Sangam literature Purananuru, Kalithokai, Kurunthokai and the grammar work Tholkappiam furnish vivid picture of the submerged land. The two Tamil epics 'Silapathikaram' and 'Manimekalai' (post Sangam Literature) witness the submergence of river 'Pahruli', and  'Kumari' ghats.  

Wikipedia: Tamilakam (the Tamil country) in the Sangam Period

The focused interest of Lemuria from Tamil intellectuals and scholars was gleamed during 1890s. They commenced their attempt to consolidate the facets of information on Tamil literature, Tamil language, Tamil history and the western biology, bio geography, cartography, Darwinism, geology (bio-geology), and paleontology to  provide an image about Kumari Kandam. However their theories and hypothesis on  Lemuria differ, but they all share a general belief about the existence of a continent  in ancient historic times and submerged under the ocean as a result of the Great cataclysmic impact."

1893 - Bal Gangadhar Tilak 'The ORION'  
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his book title, 'the ORION', has postulated with evidences about the existence of an intelligent civilization in the post glacial period i.e, about 13000 years ago. We call such civilization, "antediluvian civilization".

1941 - K. Appadurai. 'Kumari Kandam Allathu Kadal Konda Thennadu' (குமரிக்கண்டம் அல்லது கடல் கொண்ட தென்னாடு), (Kumari Continent or the Submerged Southern Land, (1941) 

The book by K. Appadurai. 'Kumari Kandam Allathu Kadal Konda Thennadu' (Kumari Continent or the Submerged Southern Land, (1941) is based on two books by 1. W. Scott Elliot, 'Lemuria : The Lost Continent of the Pacific' by Wishar S. Cerve (1931).and 2. W. Scott Elliot, 'The Lost Lemuria'  (1904). The author has adopted two maps in his book which show the distribution of land areas at different periods.  

Source: Wikipedia - William Scott-Elliot Map of Lemuria superimposed over the modern continents from The Story of Atlantis and Lost Lemuria. 
1953 - Devaneya Pavanar (1902–1981) 'Muthal Thai Mozhi' ('முதற்தாய் மொழி')  
The Sangam Literature provides literary evidence about the submerged land mass 'Kumari Kandam.' 
The Tamil scholars believe like Devaneya Pavanar (1902–1981) claimed that Tamil is a'Classical language' and this most ancient and still spoken language originated in 'Lemuria' (இலெமூரியா), the 'cradle of civilization' and place of 'origin of language.' He believed that evidence of Tamil's antiquity was being suppressed by Sanskritists.

Dr. A.Velupillai 'Lemuria allathu Kumari Kandam('லெமூரியா அல்லது குமரி கண்டம்') Dr. A.Velupillai, Department of Religious Studies, Arizona State University.'Lemuria allathu Kumari Kandam'. According to the author different 'cataclysmic landslips' or 'on-rush of the sea.' have submerged vast territory that was called Kumari Nadu or Kumari Kandam, known also as Lemuria to western scholars.

2004 - Sumathi RamaswamyThe Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories
The author not only details the history of that lost land, but also investigates the history of how it has been imagined and mapped by a remarkable range of people, from nineteenth-century paleo scientists, to late-nineteenth-century occultists, to American "New Age" believers, to twentieth-century British colonial officials, and Tamil nationalists.

Bio-Geography Theories 
1840 - Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772 – 1844) speculated about the relationship between animals in India and Madagascar. He was also hypothesized the existence of a giant southern continent during the “secondary era” (before P.L.Sclater), but did not give it a name. The Darwin theory of evolution got acceptance and the Darwinism encouraged biologists to seek to trace the diffusion of species from their points of evolutionary origin.  The biologists regularly postulated the submerged land masses to provide a satisfactory explanation for populations of land-based species now separated by barriers of water.

1859 - Alfred R. Wallace (1823-1913) put forward the submerged continent to explain the fauna found on the island of Celebes.

1864 - Charles Etienne Braseur de Bourboug (1814 – 1874) The term 'Mu' was coined by aCharles Etienne Braseur de Bourboug, a French traveler. Based on this Augustus le Plongeon, (1825 – 1908) was a British-American photographer and antiquarian added that Mu as a continent got submerged in the Pacific ocean and this view was amplified by James Churchward (1851 – 1936) British born occult writer.
 Map developed by James Churchward 1930

1864 - Phillip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913), an English lawyer, zoologist and bio geographer,The Mammals of Madagascar.

Lemur - a mammal
Source: Slater 1899 Aye Aye

Sclater discovered the existence of land mass including Madagascar island (African shores)and Indian peninsula in 1864 and named it as 'Lemuria' for the presence of fossil lemur.  Lemur was an animal that is related to monkeys and that lives in trees mostly in Madagascar.Sclater has also published the picture of Lemur Aye Aye (shown above) found on Madagascar in 1899. He conducted extensive research on fossils of Lemur in Madagascar Islands in the Indian Ocean.  He was puzzled by the presence of lemur fossils in both Madagascar and India, but not in Africa or the Middle East. The zoologist proposed that Madagascar and India must have once been part of a larger continent which he named'Lemuria.'

A sample of lemur diversity; 8 of 15 biological genera are depicted (from top, left to right):LemurPropithecusDaubentoniaArchaeoindrisMicrocebusLepilemurEulemur,Varecia.
Source: Wikipedia
The research was based on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  This has influenced him to conclude that the African land including Madagascar and Indian peninsula should have been one large landscape. The continent Lemuria was proposed by him was based on the theory of animal which existed in the same landscape gone separated during the Continent drift. He published an article in The Quarterly Journal of Science titled 'The Mammals of Madagascar.'  The concept of Lemuria gained some acceptance within scientific communityand they included this concept in their scholarly publications. Few scholars also placed the origins of the human species on this supposedly 'lost' continent, and claimed the fossil record could not be found because it sunk beneath the sea.

1887 - Melchior Neumayr (1845 – 1890) - Erdgeschichte (1887)
Melchior NeumayrGerman paleontologist. The distinct resemblances of rock formations on different continents were taken into consideration by geologists. The book Erdgeschichte(1887) by Melchior Neumayr, approached systematically and proposed many hypothetical submerged land bridges and continents to account for the distribution of species.  

Lemuria and Mysticism

The concept of Lemuria got associated with the realm of 'mysticism.' Borrowing from numerous other 'Theosophists', occult writers developed their own mythical theories. Over a period of  time the Lemurians, the mythical people of Lemuria get to be presented it in an understandable form as highly evolved beings. The location of Lemurians changed over the years to include much of the Pacific Ocean. 

Most modern New Age-oriented beliefs can be traced back to the mystical writings ofHaeckelBlavatsky and Spencer Oliver  and other contemporaries.

1868 - Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (1834–1919) - 'Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte' (The History of Creation,') (1868)
Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel, German Darwinian taxonomist, in his book'Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte' (The History of Creation,') promoted his view of evolution. The author viewed the earliest humans descending from Asian primates and placed the cradle of humanity in AsiaAfrica and very cautiously on the hypothetical island between these two continents. Lemuria played a major role as possible migration route of humans into Africa and Indonesia

1888 - Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), founder of the Theosophical Society and the occultist, in her novel 'The Secret Doctrine' (1888)
Blavatsky labeled Lemuria as a 'spiritual place.'  Blavatsky claimed to have been shown an ancient, pre-Atlantean history, the ‘Book of Dyzan’, by the 'Mahatmas' - a secretive, highly evolved group of mystical adepts involved in overseeing the spiritual growth of individuals, and guiding the development of civilizations. Blavatsky also brings out the idea about some creatures from Lemuria survived the catastrophe and left from the continent submerged under Pacific Ocean. These creatures are the ancestors of some of Aboriginal tribes inAustralia. According to Houghton Lemuria was the 'Mu,' or 'Motherland,' of all civilization and home to 'an advanced and highly spiritual culture, perhaps the mother of mankind.'

1894 - Frederick Spencer Oliver - A Dweller on Two Planets (1894)
Frederick Spencer Oliver, an American occult writer published book title A Dweller on Two Planets (1894) or The Dividing of the Way and this book describes the belief about the survivors, from a submerged continent called Lemuria, found living in a secret city inside ofMount Shasta in northern California.  The author claimed the Lemurians lived in a complex of tunnels beneath the mountain and occasionally were seen walking the surface dressed in white robes. This belief has been repeated by Guy Warren Ballard (1878 – 1939) an American mining engineer who visited Mount Shasta in 1930 and provided details of his encounters in a series of books Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence.

Ascended Masters are considered as the spiritually illuminated creatures who in their past incarnations were ordinary humans, but who have undergone a series of spiritual transformations originally called initiations.

Great White Brotherhood, the faith or belief systems similar to Theosophical and New Age, known as the supernatural beings with huge power who spread spiritual teachings through selected humans. 

Theories - Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift

Soon the 19th century theory of bio-geography and the concept of Lemuria has been render outmoded totally from conventional scientific consideration after the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift were accepted by the larger scientific community. However existence of sunken continents like Zealandia  in the Pacific and the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean needs to be mentioned here. 

Plate tectonics explicate the characteristics and movement of Earth's surface in the present and the past. Plate tectonics theory: 'The Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core.' As maintained by the theory of plate tectonicsMadagascar and India were absolutely part of the same landmass, despite that the plate movement caused India to break away millions of years ago, and move to its present location. The primeval landmass split apart, but it did not submerge beneath sea level. Continental drift is a scientific theory that asserts that all the continents on Earth were once connected, but have since shifted apart due to plate tectonics. 

1912 - Alfred Lothar Wegener (1880 – 1930),  a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist, hypothesized the advanced the theory of continental drift (Kontinentalverschiebung) and stated that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth.

1999 - JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) Resolution Research (1999)
JOIDES Resolution  is a scientific drilling ship once used by the Ocean Drilling Program, then by her successor, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (now known as the International Ocean Discovery Program). JOIDES Resolution research vessel conducted drilling expeditions in the Indian ocean in 1999 and came out with evidence that the continent measuring about one third size of Australia was found sunken about 20 million years ago. The samples obtained at the expedition show pollen and wooden fragments in a sediment dating back to 90 million years. The expedition do not support the concept of Lemuria as a land bridge for mammals.

2006 - Frank Joseph. 'The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World's Oldest Culture.'  (2006)
Frank Joseph, the renowned Atlantis expert, editor of the Ancient American Magazine. According to him 
the global cataclysms have affected our planet in c.3100 BC, 2200BC, 1600 BC, and 1200 BC. He has published his book title, 'The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World's Oldest Culture.' In this book the author establishes with substantial physical evidences the existence of Lemuria. Lemuria was a great archipelagoe-based nation that was flooded when a massive tsunami hit the island chain some time before the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 BC. The survivors then made their way around the world, sharing their scientific and mystical skills throughout Asia, Polynesia, and the Americas.

Author uses the latest archaeological findings, from the totem poles of the Pacific northwest, the stone monuments of Easter Island, to the enigmatic glyphs and symbols in Japan--as well as recent deep-sea discoveries and DNA analysis--to recreate a portrait of a socially and technologically advanced ancient civilization.  


There are many different versions of fantasy or the story floating around on Lemuria.  Theosophists placed Lemuria in a lost Indian Ocean world. But the followers of Twentieth-century American New Age  preferred to think Lemuria in Pacific Ocean or even California, Paradise. Some other researchers were so specific to point it to Mount Shasta as the last refuge of Lemurians. The exact location of Lemuria varies with different researchers and authors.

The researchers have considered number of reasons for the loss of Lemuria. Philip Sclater has observed  Lemuria as the land-bridge between Africa and India, which got submerged. Theories of plate tectonics and continental drift were accepted by the larger scientific community. Ernst Haeckel considered Lemuria as the 'cradle of the human race.' Though there was no fossil remains of Lemurians, Ernst Haeckel concludes Lemurians as the "missing link" between apes and humans i.e, the 'evolved man-like apes' (Papuans).

The Tamil intellectuals, researchers and writers believe that the Indian Ocean land bridge as their (Tamil) ancestors' homeland. The antediluvian Tamil kingdom and the antediluvian civilization of Tamils have lost due to great cataclysmic impact. What is remaining at present is much lesser portion of what was once known as Kumari Kandam or Kumari Nadu or Tamizhakam. Some of the Tamil enthusiasts also linked Lemuria with Kumari Kandam and believed that both lands are one and the same.  Some other skeptic writers counter these arguments with the help of western theories of Lemuria. Frank Joseph's book The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World's Oldest Culture.' has establishedwith substantial physical evidences about the existence of Lemuria.

The date of three Tamil Sangams as stated in Iraiyanar Akapporul can be treated as legendary and historical date of Sangam period appears reasonable. The Tamil scholars, academic researchers, national and international historians and curriculum developers have the responsibility to arrive at the correct history of Sangam Period, Tamizhakam and Kumari Kandam. 

  1. Absolute Astronomy Sangam http://www.absolute 
  2. Geologist´s Dream: The Lost Continent of Lemuria.
  3. Iraiyanar Akapporul Wikipedia 
  4. Kumari Kandam Bharath gyan.
  5. Kumari kandam (Lemuria) Tamil Myth.  Controversies in History. June 19, 2007
  6. Legends: Lemuria in  Mount Shasta Annotated Bibliography (Chapter 16)
  7. Lemuria and Kumari Kandam. Mahalingam, N. The Hindu, June 23, 2010  
  8. Lost continent of Lemuria
  9. Lost Lands of Mu and Lemuria. Haughton, Brian.
  10. Tamil Sangams/Venus62 version Wikipedia
  11. Tamilakam Wikipedia. 
    YouTube:Expedition to Poompuhar - Remains of Kumari Kandam - Graham Hancock Underworld E02 (2002) - Krishnadhas Tha