The old ports of Lothal, Sopara, Baroach and Muziris, that line the west coast of India are proof of the vibrant trade the Indian subcontinent had with the west as far back as 4500 years ago. While these are well known, we know little of the ports and port towns in the East. Of the many, perhaps the most important was Tamralipti, a great centre of trade and commerce.
Also known as Tamralipta, this port was located in the present day town of Tamluk, in Midnapur, West Bengal. The name ‘Tamralipta’ comes from tamra or copper, which was mined nearby at Ghatsila in Singbhum district of Bihar and exported through this port. Interestingly, even today, almost 2500 years later, these copper mines are active and copper is mined by Hindustan Copper Limited, a PSU company. Tamralipti or Tamralipta means ‘coated with copper’.
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