Ports of Ancient IndiaStateSalient Features
Lothal PortGujaratThe oldest port in India. The remains of the port city of Lothal were discovered in 1954 and were excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The excavations led to the discovery of a mound, a township, a marketplace as well as the dock, cementing the existence of the port in Lothal.
Muziris PortKeralaMuziris port had played a significant role in connecting the region with the Persians, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Roman Empire. While spices, particularly black pepper, were the key item exported from the Muziris port, other commodities shipped include semi-precious stones, diamonds, ivory and pearls, among others. The goods arrived at Muziris from over 30 countries were mostly textile, wine, wheat and gold coins etc.
Poompuhar PortTamil NaduPoompuhar, also known as Puhar or Kaveripattanam, is believed to be the Port town of Chola Empire. Situated in the mouth of the Kaveri River. The port witnessed the Indian merchants trading their commodities, mostly spices, with other Asian countries as well as Arabs.
Arikamedu PortPuducherryArikamedu, is known as the port of Podouke in historical documents. It finds mentions in Tamil poems of the Sangam period. Arikamedu was a Chola port dedicated to bead making and it was the only port city in the region to have ties with Romans. In addition, textiles, terracotta artefacts, plants, spices and jewellery were also shipped from the Indian port to Roman ports and other eastern destinations. The discovery of several antiquities of Roman origin helped archaeologists to draw the history of the ancient port Arikamediu
Bharuch PortGujaratLocated in the region that comes under the current state of Gujarat and at the mouth of the river Narmada. Bharuch was also known as Bharukaccha and Barygaza to the merchants from around the world. Bharuch had established trade relations with Arabs, Greeks and Romans, Africans, Chinese and Egyptians. Bharuch was a terminus for a number of land-sea trade routes and goods were trans-shipped there to send abroad utilising the monsoon winds.
Sopara PortMumbaiSopara was an ancient port town and the capital of the ancient Aparanta. The site of this ancient town is located near the present day Nala Sopara (Mumbai). In ancient times, it was the largest township on India’s west coast, trading with Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cochin, Arabia and Eastern Africa. The Mahabharata and the Puranas state that the Śūrpāraka was reclaimed from the sea for the dwelling place of Parashurama and it became a tirtha for this reason. The finding of the relics in a stupa and the rock edicts (the fragments of the 8th and 9th major rock edicts) of Ashoka in 1882 prove the importance of this port town from the 3rd century BCE to the 9th century CE.
Calicut PortKeralaCalicut, also known as Kozhikode, was also one of the busiest ports and trading centres. Located on the coast of Arabian Sea, this west coast port was an important trading port especially for spices including pepper, cloves and cinnamon. It began to grow as a notable trade centre under the Chera regime. While textiles and spices were the commodities travelled from Calicut, goods such as Chinese Ceramics and European pots came in return.
Tuticorin PortTamil NaduTuticorin also known as Thoothukudi. Thoothukudi was ruled by several dynasties including the Pandyas and the Cholas in the past, often using it as their important seaport. The most important trade in this region included fishery and pearl.
NirppeyarruTamil NaduAncient port located in Tamil Nadu. Equated with modern Mahabalipuram.
Tondi PortTamil NaduImportant port during Pandya dynasty. Located in Tamil Nadu.
Korkai PortTamil NaduImportant port of Pandya dynasty located in Tamil Nadu.
MotupalliAndhra PradeshImportant port of Kakatiya Dynasty located in Andhra Pradesh
There are evidence of its existence mainly during Satavahana period. It was known by the names like Masula and Bandar. It saw flourishing Sea trade. Major trade item was Muslin Clothes.
Tamralipti was located on the eastern coast near the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and River Ganga. Tamralipti was related to trade routes and frequented by traders, travellers and pilgrims. The Dudhpani rock inscription of Udaymana of eighth century CE contains the last record of Tamralipti as a port of ancient South Asia. In the map of the Greek geographer Ptolemy, Tamralipti appears as Tamalities. Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang calls the town Tan-mo-lih-ti (te). These textual references have led scholars to identify Tamralipti as one of the most important centres of trade and commerce of early historic India. It has also led to the belief that Tamralipti had emerged as a thriving urban settlement in this period and had multidirectional links with different geographical regions of South Asia.
Pulicat PortTamil NaduImportant port during the reign of Vijayanagar kings on East Coast.
Barbaricumnear KarachiAncient port near Karachi in Indus Delta. Important for Indo-Roman trade in ancient times.
Ports of Ancient India (Ancient Ports)

Q. Which one of the following was very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom? [2017]
(a) Kakinada
(b) Motupalli
(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)
(d) Nelluru

Ans: (b)

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