The Coromandel coast in Eastern Tamil Nadu has a fascinating past involving an ancient dynasty, a clash between colonial powers, and a prosperous trade in diamonds.

While many theories float around about how the coast got its name, there are two most popular ones.

The first one credits the Chola empire that settled here around 300 BC.

The Tamil-speaking dynasty of warriors had some 3.6 million sq km under their empire rule.

This included India’s broad eastern coastline that stretched between Point Calimere in the south (in present-day Tamil Nadu) to Gangam in the north (in present-day Odisha).

As years passed, traders from European countries began establishing themselves firmly on this coast. Among these were the Portuguese.

They began calling the region Cholamandalam which meant ‘Realm of the Cholas’.

It is said that it was the Britishers who further translated Cholamandalam into Coromandel.

Another theory tells of how the first Dutch ship to India stopped at Karimanal — an island village to the north of Pulicat, a town in Tamil Nadu.

The sailors aboard the ship spelled the village’s name as ‘Corimondal’ and the name stuck thereafter!