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Nestled in the beautiful district of Thoothukudi lies the historic town of Korkai, an ancient gem steeped in rich culture and history. The town served as the capital of the Early Pandyan Kingdom, and its importance as a centre of trade and commerce is evident even today. The town is a must-visit destination for tourists and history buffs alike, offering a glimpse into the glorious past of South India.

Korkai's origins can be traced back to the ancient Pandyan civilization that thrived in the south of India during the Sangam period. This once-prosperous city was renowned for its wealth and commerce, and it played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural and economic landscape of the region.

Blessed with a strategic location on the banks of the Thamirabarani River, Korkai was a thriving hub for maritime trade, attracting traders and merchants from across the globe. It was particularly famed for its pearl fishing, and the pearls harvested here were regarded as some of the most exquisite in the world. The wealth and prosperity brought about by this trade left an indelible mark on the city, casting it in the limelight and giving it the reputation of being a hub of luxury.

Although the sea has receded about 6 km in the past 2000 years, leaving Korkai well inland today, the echoes of its illustrious past still resound in the annals of history. This land, rich in antiquity, has bestowed upon us the Adichanallur urn burial site, a treasure trove of ancient artefacts that date back to the time of the great Pandyan kingdom.

While the city may have lost some of its lustre in recent times, its glorious past and rich cultural heritage continue to draw tourists and scholars from around the world. The city boasts a wealth of archaeological sites and ancient ruins that offer a fascinating glimpse into its opulent past.

One such site that captivates visitors is the ancient harbour, which was once a thriving centre of maritime trade. The ruins of this harbour offer an alluring insight into the city's commercial and cultural connections with the rest of the world. It's an awe-inspiring sight to see remnants of stone pillars, anchorages, and quays.

The town boasts a rich collection of archaeological finds. The megalithic burial urns found at the site provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who lived here over 2,000 years ago. The artefacts found at the site, including black and red pottery ware with old Tamil Brahmi scripts, have been dated to a period between the 3rd century BC and the 2nd century AD. The ruins of centres for the split opening of pearl oysters found here indicate the town's importance as a centre of pearl fisheries.

Another highlight of Korkai is the ancient Vanni tree, which is over 2,000 years old and stands tall and proud as a testament to the town's history. The tree is believed to be sacred and is visited by pilgrims from far and wide. The tree's sprawling branches provide a welcome respite from the scorching sun and offer a serene place to sit and reflect.

For those who crave to witness the natural beauty of Korkai, a tranquil escape awaits at the Thamirabarani River. A boat ride along the river presents picturesque views of the lush greenery and peaceful waters, a tranquil treat for the senses.

Korkai is a destination that exudes magnificence with its rich cultural heritage, historical significance, and natural beauty. Whether you are a history aficionado, an archaeology enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene escape, Korkai promises to offer something that will leave you spellbound. Pack your bags and journey to this ancient city that continues to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world.

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