Know the Etymology: 111
Place Name of the Day: Tuesday, 12 September 2017




The seafront

Alvāy seafront (Eezham Tamil, place name); Alavāy-kaṭaṟkarai: beach, seashore (Eezham Tamil, Batticaloa coastal folk usage, Balasundaram, p. 266); Aluvā-kara: beach, seashore (Eezham Tamil, Mannar, Pēcālai coastal folk usage, Lōmiyā, Uthayan, S. A., 2008); Alavāk-kara: seashore in general, used in calling the beach at Toṇṭi in Tamil Nadu (Tamil Nadu coastal folk usage, "Kaṭaṟkaraip Paratavar Kalaiccol Akarāti", Murukanantham, S., 1990, p. 37); Alaivāyk-karai: seashore (Tamil, MTL); Alaivāy: Tiruccentūr in Tamil Nadu, where the temple is located on the seafront (Tamil, MTL, Caṅkam diction, Akanāṉūṟu, 266: 20-21; Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai, 125); Alai+vāy: literally meaning, the wave front or the place fronting waves (Tamil DED 240+DED 5270); Alai: (verb) to wave, to wave as sea; (noun) wave, sea wave (Tamil, DED 240, Naṟṟiṇai, 382: 3; cognates in 11 Dravidian languages); sea (Tamil, Tivākaram, 5: 40); Vāy: mouth, beak, edge, rim (Tamil, DED 5352, Naṟṟiṇai, 188: 1-2; cognates in 20 Dravidian languages); also means, place, surface, bank of river or sea (Tamil, Kuṟuntokai, 59: 2; Naṟṟiṇai, 5: 2; Campantar Tēvāram, 3: 70: 9); also a locative case suffix (Tamil, Naṟṟiṇai, 285: 5)

Alavāy-kaṭaṟkarai and Aluvā-kara are terms used by the coastal folk of Batticaloa and Mannar to mean a beach or seashore. Alavāk-kara is a term found used in the same meaning by the coastal folk of Tamil Nadu.

Alvāy in Jaffna Peninsula seems to have got its name from its seafront.

All the said word forms correspond to the phrase Alai-vāy, literally meaning, the wave front or the place fronting waves. See box on the etymology of the phrase.

The use of the phrase Alaivāy as a toponym in Tamil dates back to the Caṅkam times.

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Alaivāy as a place name in Caṅkam Tamil usage:

"அலைவாய்ச் செரு மிகு சேயொடு உற்ற சூளே" (அகநானூறு, 266: 20-21)

"Alaivāyc ceru miku cēyoṭu uṟṟa cūḷē" (Akanāṉūṟu, 266: 20-21)

The oath taken in the name of the valorous God Murukaṉ at Alaivāy (Tiruccentūr)

"அலைவாய்ச் சேரலும் நிலைஇய பண்பே" (திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை, 125)

"Alaivāyc cēralum nilaiiya paṇpē" (Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai, 125)

Residing at Alaivāy is customary for God Murukaṉ

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Alvāy is a place in Vadamaradchi Southwest division of Jaffna district. This is a large village that has a seafront and interior parts. The seafront of this place is called Paṉai-muṉai (Point Palmyra), which is the northern most point of the island.

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The location of Point Palmyra at Alvaay, Vadamaraadchi of the Jaffna peninsula, which is the northernmost tip of the Island of Ilaṅkai. [Satellite Image courtesy: Google Earth]
The location of Thiruchchenthoor, known as 'Alaivaay', in the Changkam literature. Note the projecting landscape facing the breaking waves of the Gulf of Mannaar. [Satellite Image courtesy: Google Earth]

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Revised: Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 18:30

First published: Thursday, 30 October 2008, 16:06

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