Page:Origin and spread of the Tamils.djvu/92

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NOTES TO LECTURE II 81 We have then another interesting variety called Kalladhoni, (literally thief-boat), still in vogue in Kodikarai. One important feature in this is hand impressions to avert what is called an evil eye. Also an eye is carved upon either bow followed by the propitiatory sign of e (u) paravi or horse, together with the name of Amman, the patron goddess. There is a custom that the crew worship Māriamman at Kodikarai before they launch out into the sea. What is of further interest is that this Tamil custom has been universal. The owners of Kalla-dhonis are said to be Karathurai Vellalas. Pictures of a three masted ship and a royal barge on the walls of the Ajanta caves (600 A.D.) follow this agelong custom. Outside India, the Greeks, the Romans and the ancient Egyptians adopted this, not to speak of the eye carved on the junks and sampans of China and Indo-China and the boats belonging to the north of Ceylon. The catamaran was the characteristic craft on the east coast upto the delta of Kistna. Beyond this still more primitive form was in use. The shoe-dhoni is an instance seen in the Godavari creeks. The river craft of South India was four-fold. The earliest was the using of the plantain stem as catamaran still in use in Tanjore and Bengal. The second was the chatty raft as seen at Vellore equally primitive. The third was the coracle seen on the Kaveri, Tungabhadra, the Tigris and the Euphrates. It may be pointed out that hide covered coracles were used by Assyrian wine-merchants down the Tigris when they took their produce to Chaldean cities. This coracle variety seems to have travelled as far as Ireland where the coracle was covered with tarred canvass. The fourth variety was double palm-butt dugout by name Sangadam seen from the Godavari to South India and Ceylon.