Kanthaloor Salai: Applying Informatics for Survey, Excavation and Conservation of the Sites of Ancient University of South India

Gowri S Panicker, Anand Kumar Singh


India has a great tradition of higher education and research, which aimed integrated development of man. University of Takshasila flourished several centuries before its counterparts in Alexandria, Athens or Constantinople. Takshasila, Nalanda, Kanthaloor Salai and Vikramasila of ancient India had more impressive teaching and research programmes. Kanthaloor Salai that exited in ancient Kerala known as the Nalanda of South India conducted advanced courses on 61 systems of knowledge. They included Rasabandha, Rasayana, Indrayala, Dantakarma, Kayakarma, Lepykarma, Chitra, Gold smithy, Visahathantram, Paediatrics, Martial Arts, Jyothisa, Mantra, Yoga, Music, Dance, and Drama. But this great centre for knowledge stands disregarded in educational history of India. Its archaeological sites, structures and artefacts except those of religious importance stands destroyed, or covered by water, earth or developments. This paper attempts to trace the history of Kanthaloor Salai, identify the sites, and makes recommendations for conservation of existing remains the surrounding regions and the places where its satellite campuses existed. A survey or excavation will be strongly opposed by the local population who have their properties developed above the sites. Authors suggest use tools provided by Informatics like LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), satellite imagery, aerial photography, Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), etc for identifying the sites and structures remaining under earth or water without physical excavation and then proceed further by creating heritage awareness among the people and with their cooperation and participation.


Salai, Knowledge, Vastu, Temple Architecture, Consecration, Informatics, GIS, Education, History, Kerala, Ancient Universities

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