Poompuhar also called as Puhar, Kaveripoompatinam etc., as it was located on the mouth of Kaveri, it was a flourishing ancient port city of the early Chola kingdom. the literature indicated that the city was constructed in a well planned manner and had two districts. the one near the sea was Maruvurpakkam and one to the west was Pattinapakkam.
Maruvurpakkam was inhabited by the fisher folk, foreign traders, overseas travellers, weavers, silk merchants vendors, potters and jewellers . It also had the shipyard and ware house. The precious goods that arrived at the port spread over to other parts of the country and the goods were stocked at the huge warehouses and displayed in the market day and night for sale. Thus it was a port where trade and commerce flourished. Pattinapakkam was inhibited by the Kings and nobles, rich merchants, farmers, astrologers, dancers and army .
One of the most famous 5 epics of Tamil literature Silapadikaram and Manimekalai speaks about the fame of the Puhar. These literatures extolled and heralded the details of Poompuhar and how the city flourished. Other Tamil literature Purananuru describes that there were tall mansions in the city and the ships brought precious articles from overseas to this port .
In spite of its flourishing richness, Poompuhar had been repeatedly afflicted by floods and erosions. The town was rebuilt several times.
By 500 BC, this wondrous and wealthy city though rebuilt repeatedly, was destroyed by the sea and soil erosion. Still a few small villages remain a silent witness to the cruelty of times. Thirusaikadu (sayavanam), Pallavaneeswaram Melapperumpallam, Kelaperumpallam, Keezaiyur, Melaiyur and Vanagiri are what remain of ancient Poompuhar
Excavations of submerged wharves and pier walls extending out several meters in length have confirmed the ancient literary sources that refer to this town. Marine archaeologists have recovered pottery off shore dating back to the fourth century BCE.
Details of Poompuhar have been read in the Brahmi-inscription dating back to the second century BC in ‘Barkuth’ of north India. The historical details of Poompuhar have also been found in the inscriptions of Sayavanam Temple at Poompuhar.
The archaeological find beneath the seas off shore of Poompuhar by the National Institute of Oceanography found the remains of a fort wall of length was 85 meters and height 2 meters. Wall was covered by dust settled there over centuries. The carbon dating of the structure showed that it belonged to 3rd century B.C.
With the rise of later Cholas in 850 AD the city regained its past glory. It is mentioned as “Rajathiraja Valanaattu Nangoor Naattu Kaveripoompattinam” in the Sayavanam temple inscription of Vikrama Cholan in the same temple, calls the town “Puhar Nagaram”. Later Kopperunchingan also contributed to the grandeur of the place. After the Sangam Chola period a major part of Poompuhar town was swallowed by the Bay of Bengal. Though Poompuhar became a prey of times, still a few small villages remain a silent witness to the cruelty of times.