IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th December, 2023 Culture


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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Tamil Sangamam at Namo Ghat, Varanasi.
  • First held last year, the Kashi Tamil Sangamam seeks to celebrate North and South India’s historical and civilisational connections.


  • The historical link between Kashi (Varanasi) and Tamil Nadu, often referred to as Tamilakam, spans centuries and is deeply rooted in cultural, religious, and historical contexts.

Historical and Mythological Ties

  • Parakrama Pandya’s Legend: According to legends, King Parakrama Pandya from the Madurai region in the 15th century traveled to Kashi to acquire a lingam for constructing a grand Shiva temple. However, during his return, the cow carrying the lingam halted at a place known today as Sivakasi. Considering this divine intervention, Parakrama Pandya installed the lingam there, and the site is now known as Sivakasi.
  • Kasi Viswanathar Temple: To enable devotees who couldn't travel to Kashi, the Pandyas built the Kasi Viswanathar Temple in Tenkasi, southwestern Tamil Nadu, replicating the Kashi experience.
  • Adhivir Ram Pandyan: In the 19th century, another king named Adhivir Ram Pandyan constructed a Shiva temple in Tenkasi after returning from a pilgrimage to Kashi, further solidifying the connection between these regions.

Cultural Exchange through Kashi Tamil Sangamam

  • Purpose: The Kashi Tamil Sangamam is a platform that facilitates cultural exchanges between North and South India, showcasing art, music, handlooms, handicrafts, cuisines, and products from Tamil Nadu and Varanasi.
  • Participants: Around 1,400 dignitaries from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are participating in this year's event, engaging in various cultural activities, exhibitions, and exchanges over a 15-day period. Different groups comprising students, teachers, professionals, spiritual leaders, artisans, writers, traders, and businessmen are scheduled to visit Varanasi during this event.

Significance in Education and Culture

  • Scholarly Connection: In ancient times, a scholar's education in Southern India was considered incomplete without a pilgrimage to Kashi. Kashi and Kanchi, both centers of knowledge, shared similar literary themes, reflecting a deep intellectual connection.
  • Pilgrimage Practices: Pilgrims from Rameswaram would visit Kashi for darshan (divine viewing) and bring back water from the Ganges for rituals in Rameswaram, signifying the spiritual connection between the two sacred sites.
  • Shared Architectural Styles: The presence of around 18 Shiva temples bearing the name "Kashi" in Chennai's vicinity indicates architectural influences and the spread of cultural practices.

Contemporary Engagement and Discoveries

  • Reconnecting Traditions: The Kashi Tamil Sangamam aims to revive and deepen cultural ties, fostering connections between traders dealing in silk saris from Banaras and Kanchipuram, while also exploring architectural, culinary, and various other cultural associations.
  • Exploration and Reconnection: Educationist Chamu Krishna Shastry emphasizes the ongoing process of rediscovery and reconnection between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, highlighting the shared heritage and the significance of the name "Kashi" in Tamil culture.


The Kashi Tamil Sangamam serves as a vibrant platform to celebrate the shared heritage and historical connections between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich cultural tapestry between North and South India.


Q. Examine the historical and cultural connections between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, highlighting their impact on religious practices, architectural influences, and literary exchanges. (250 Words)