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Introduction

(Nagapattinam is 320 kms from Chennai) This district came into existence in the year 1991 with its headquarters in Nagapattinam city.   Its long stretch of coast line that runs along the Bay of Bengal for 188kms.   Nagapattinam has one of the most thriving harbours in India. The Shri Kayahorana Swami Neelayathatchi Amman Temple, Sowriraja Perumal Temple, and Nellukkadai Mariamman Temple are some of the important temples that can be seen here.   There is also the mini museum, the towering lighthouse and the long beautiful beach are some of the places worth visiting.

Nagapattinam is a unique district with its own historical and cultural significance. Nagappattinam was one of the constituents of Cholamandalam, and was acclaimed as the most prominent and is said to have contributed to the glory of the ancient Tamil Chola Kingdom. Nagapattinam was the Headquarters of a region during Chola period. Nagapattinam was also known as Cholkula Vallippattinam. The heritage of the town is found in the Burmese historical text dated around the 3rd century B.C. The same text gives evidences of a Buddha Vihar built by the great King Ashoka. The Chinese Traveller Hieun Tsang also mentioned the same Buddha Vihar in his book. Nagapattinam is mentioned as Padarithitha in ancient Buddhist literature. According to scholars, Avurithidal the name of a part of Nagapattinam might have been derived from the word “Padarithitha.”   Padarithitha is the name of a fruit tree, very common in this region.

In ancient times, “Naganadu,” “Nagatheezam” are the references made only to this town. Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka had close links with this town. The Anaimangalam copperplate of King Kulothunga Chola notes that Kasiba Thera a Buddhist monk renovated the Buddhist temple in 6th century B.C. with the help of Buddhist monks of Naganadu. This Nagar Annam Vihar later came to be known as Naganana Vihar

The Pallava King Rajasimha (690-720 BC) permitted a Chinese king to build Buddha Vihar in Nagapattinam and once there was a Chinese built Buddha Vihar in Nagapattinam. According to the Anaimangalam copper plate of Kulothunga Chola, Sri Vijayathunga Varman built Raja Raja Perumpalli in the name of Raja Raja Cholan and Rajendra Chola Pepumpalli in the name of Rajendra Chola in 1090 BC. This Buddha Vihar was also called Sudamani Vihar.

Excavations were conducted by the Archaeological Department at Velipalayam in Nagapattinam and more than 300 statues of the Buddha were unearthed and kept at the Museum in Chennai. The dilapidated old Buddhist tower was razed down 200 years ago.

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