Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kadamba Port Ruins (Govapuri)

With increasing trade between the western seaboard of India and the Arabian peninsula in the 10th century, the ruling Kadamba dynasty built an extensive port at the entrance of the Zuari river, overlooking the Arabian sea. Govapuri, as it was called, also served as the new naval headquarters of the Kadamba fleet. The city became so prosperous that the royal court  abandoned the ancient capital at Chandrapura. Govapuri acquired fame for its many palaces, hilltop Shiva temple, other smaller temples surrounded by carefully designed gardens and fountains, shipyards, horse stables and the extensive bazaar where Arab and local merchants freely interacted with each other. Much of the city, however, was destroyed by Delhi Sultanate troops during their incursion into the Deccan in the 14th century. The city was abandoned shortly afterwards. Today, nothing remains. Heavy silting has erased all traces of the past. All that can be seen are a few laterite blocks that constituted the ancient port, strewn along the northern bank of the Zuari river. Nevertheless, they are extensive and continue for several kilometers.

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