Ancient Indian Ports

Poompuhar Port

  • Poompuhar, also known as Puhar, is believed to be the Port town of Chola Empire.
  • Located in Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu on mouth of Kaveri River. Also known as Kaveripattinam.
  • Details about it have been found in several historic documents including Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
  • According to historians, the port witnessed the Indian merchants trading their commodities, mostly spices, with other Asian countries as well as Arabs.

Arikamedu Port

  • Arikamedu is in today’s Puducherry, a union territory of India, was an important ancient port city.
  • It finds mention in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and Tamil poems of the Sangam period.
  • It is believed to be an active trading port of the region with Roman Empire as early as second century BC.
  • Excavations have revealed Roman Arretine ware, pottery, beads, intaglios, lamps, glass and coins here.

Bharuch Port

  • Bharuch, located in Gujarat, was a prominent port in the Indian subcontinent region during ancient India.
  • Also known as Barygaza/Bhrigukachcha and Broach.
  • Bharuch had established trade relations with Arabs, Greeks and Romans, Africans, Chinese and Egyptians.
  • Bharuch was ruled by numerous powerful empires, such as the Gupta dynasty, Rajputs and Mughals.

Calicut Port

  • Calicut, also known as Kozhikode, was also one of the busiest ports and trading centres.
  • Located on Arabian Sea, this west coast port was an important trading port especially for spices including pepper, cloves and cinnamon.
  • History of this port goes back to AD 1100. It began to grow as a notable trade centre under Chera regime.
  • However, it became one of the most important seaports in India after arrival of the Portuguese sailor Vasco Da Gama in the year 1498.
  • Landing of the Portuguese sailor opened the routes for a never-ending relation between east and west.

Tuticorin Port

  • Tuticorin or Thoothukudi port is one of the oldest seaports in India, established as early as 6th century.
  • Located near Chennai, Thoothukudi was ruled by several dynasties including Pandyas, often using it as their important seaport.
  • Most important trade here included fishery and pearl.
  • Earliest mention in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.


  • Located in present-day West Bengal. It lies just south of the Rupnarayan River.
  • Jain sources identify Tamralipti as the capital of the kingdom of Vanga. It was long known as a port.
  • According to the Mahavamsa, an epic history of Sri Lanka, it was the departure point of Prince Vijaya’s expedition to colonize Sri Lanka (c. 500 BCE).
  • It was the departure point for the Buddhist missionary expedition dispatched by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka to Sri Lanka 250 years later.
  • It was also the port for trade with Southeast Asia.
  • Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hein visited the city in the 5th century CE, and Hieun-Tsang visited it in 7th century.
  • Heun-Tsang reported presence of Buddhist monasteries and an Ashokan pillar there. He referred to Tamralipti as a port for export of indigo, silk and copper (tamra), from which it derived its name.
  • It was an important port under the Gupta empire.


  • Ancient port located in Tamil Nadu. Equated with modern Mahabalipuram.

Muchiri (Muziris)

  • Ancient port located in Kerala. Important port of Cheras.


  • Important port in the East Coast (Bay of Bengal).


  • An important ancient port located close to Mumbai. Important in Mauryan times. 


  • Important port city in Bengal during Mauryan times. (Bengal was known as Vanga)

Tondi port

  • Important port during Pandya dynasty. Located in Tamil Nadu.

Puhar/ Kaveripattinam

  • Important port of Chola dynasty. Located in Tamil Nadu

Korkai port

  • Important port of Pandya dynasty located in Tamil Nadu.


  • Important port of Kakatiya Dynasty located in Andhra Pradesh


  • Ancient port near Karachi in Indus Delta. Important for Indo-Roman trade in ancient times.


  • Important port during Golconda rulers of medieval times. (Or Machilipatnam port)

Pulicat Port

  • Important port during the reign of Vijayanagar kings on East Coast.
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