Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tamil words and Vedic culture in Petra and Wadi Musa of Jordan.

Petra in Jordan had always attracted the attention of historians. Now is the turn of astro- scientists who have found it to be strategically placed as to be on the line of solar rays on specific days. Writing on this, says, “New research suggests that ancient architects tracked the motion of the sun and constructed the religious center with the winter solstice in mind. When the Earth reaches its farthest point from the sun, light from the sun shines into the monastery — which is located in Petra, Jordan — and falls upon the podium of a deity. At the same time, the light casts the shadow of the head of a lion (a sacred animal in Nabatean culture) upon a mountain opposite to the religious center.”

{When the winter solstice occurs, the setting sun shines upon a podium of the Monastery at Petra. This produces the silhouette of a lion's head that shines on the rocks opposite to the structure.}

If we have to agree with these scientists that this structure was built for an astronomical purpose, then there are a host of temples in Tamilnadu as centres for astronomical observations!  The most popular example is the Sarangapani temple in Kumbakonam that has two entrances called as Uttarayana vaasal and Dakshinayana vaasal where the sun rays fall at the time of Uttarayana (northern sojourn of the sun) and Dakshinayana (southern sojourn) respectively. The purpose was not merely to observe the movement of sun but to use it for religious worship. 

I find similar purpose in Petra structure. There seems to have existed a Shiva temple at Petra as we can see a Shiva linga in the structure at Petra. The temple at Petra has been discussed by Blogger Neeta Raina in her blogspot. The following structure resembling Shiva linga is found in the Petra temple.

As was the practice, the location was so chosen as to align with solar rays falling on the entrance on a specific day. There was another reason for this specific alignment. The clue for it is found in the water source in Petra. Before explaining that, we must understand what Petra means. 

Petra is not a Greek word. The common belief is that the name Petra is derived from Greek “pietra” meaning stone, as Petra is a rocky place. Earlier in my article on Greek vs Vedic astrology I have shown that the Greek word Petra had come from the Tamil word “Paarai” which means rock. From Tamil Paarai > Petr > Petra. The Tamil connection or rather Tamil migration to Greece was extensively revealed in that series of articles which would continue after a couple of months. 

Petra has another root word in Tamil. Petram in Tamil means cattle wealth. Petra in Jordan must have been the place of rest for cattle. This is supported by the observation by Pliny the Elder who said that Petra was the centre of caravan trade! Camels too join the category of Petram as they are like cattle, possessed by people and considered as wealth. Petra of Jordan derives this name from the much earlier time of pre-Greek society of Tiryns and Etruscans who were migrant Tamils after the 3rd deluge in the Indian Ocean in 1500 BCE. (Read my series on these topics here ).

The entire structure of Petra was that of a Stepwell or Vaapi that we find in North India. Petra is an oasis that was formed by diverting water for use there. This is similar to the Vaapi structures where water is drawn or diverted from another place to be made available for easy access and for round -the -year use. The important purpose of Vaapi or stepwell is to make the water easily accessible to cattle which can take rest near the vaapi. This concept was used in the Great Bath of Mohenjadaro. This is found in many places in North India. The following is the step well or Vaapi found at Mul Dwarka at Gujarat.

(click the image to enlarge)

The water reaches through the underground passage to another place. It is shown below.

The cattle or people get access to this water by walking down the steps reaching to this water. Such access steps are made from different places and different directions. One side of the step-way is shown below.

This is Vaapi or Bawdi or Wadi where cattle rest after drinking water.

Coming back to discussion on Petra, Petra being a caravan trade centre, it needed to supply water and shade for the camels and bulls that were brought there for trade. 

The name Wadi Musa of a town near Petra where water was diverted stands proof of this. Wadi or Paadi is the name of many places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These are the places where cattle are raised in plenty or rested to escape from the heat of the sun. There is inscriptional evidence from Coimbatore in Tamilnadu to establish this. (“Coimbatore Maavattath tholloyal kaiyedu”  page 53. Published by Archaeological dept of Tamilnadu). Such places will be endowed with water sources for the cattle.
In North India Vaapi (stepwell) fulfils this purpose of supply of water to the cattle. Wadi or Vaapi are the variations of the same word that rests on the idea of supply of water for cattle and people too.   One can find the same idea in Wadi Musa. 

Wadi Musa in Jordan attributed to Moses is thought to be the “valley of Moses”. But going by the logic of the use of water and structure and the presence of caravan trade, it is more suitable to refer to this as “Wadi” or “Vaapi” or “water for cattle” place of Moses. The etymology of Wadi Musa is based on a story of Moses striking the rock to get water for his followers. What he had done was in fact to draw and divert water from an inaccessible source to an accessible place. This is the concept of  Vaapi (Sanskrit) or Bawdi (Hindi) or Wadi (Tamil) or step well to fetch water from unreachable places / depths for people and camels to drink easily. 

The words, the concepts and purposes are all still found in Indian culture and Indian country side. Western researchers need to learn a lot before making claims on ‘astronomical purposes’ of Petra. Petra was indeed a place of Tushara – a Mleccha king who deviated from Vedic culture of India of olden times. Reproduced below is the article from Neeta Raina’s blog. The article is reproduced below that.

- Jayasree


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Jordan gets its name from River Jordan. The origin of the name 'Jordan' is generally traced to the ancient Semitic word 'Arda'. 'Arda' in turn comes from the Hebrew 'Yorad' which is derived from the Aramaic 'Yarden' or 'Jarden' meaning 'down-flowing' or 'that which descends'. 

Lets go a step further and check out the Sanskrit connection. In Sanskrit, the verb in the context for 'flowing down' is 'jharat' (झरत्) and the root word is 'jhara' (झर) which means 'sprinkling' or 'waterfall' and is used to describe water bodies or rivers etc. There are rivers all over the world which have names close to the 'jhara' sound such as the 'Jari' which is the northern tributary of the River Amazon, River Jara in Melbourne, the Jara River - a tributary of the Susita River in Romania, or Lake Jara in New Mexico - not to mention many more in India and Nepal.

Now lets look at the Temple of Petra in Jordan. Petra in Ma’an, is the home of Jordans most ancient race - the Nabateans. Petra is a complete city carved in a mountain - its rocks are mostly red or pink in hue. Many have put forth the view that the Temple of Petra is a Temple of Shiva owing to the carved Shiva Linga in the mountain. 

The Shiva-Linga of Petra Temple, Jordan.

Lord Shiva is a Vedic God

It is said that the name Petra derives from the Greek word 'pietra' which means 'stone' a reference to the rocky landscape of the area. But it is highly likely that the Greek 'pietra' is a distorted form of the Sanskrit 'prastar' (प्रस्तर) which means 'rock' .

The Bible, the Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna Tablets refer to Petra with names such as 'Sela', 'Seir' and 'Pel'.

'Shila' (शिला), a close cognate of 'Sela' too means 'rock', 'mountain' or 'rocky-mountain' in Sanskrit. Even the word 'pal' (पल) is linked to 'stone' an occurs in Sanskrit as 'upala' (उपल) or as 'shonapal' (शोणोपल) which means 'red-stone' - thus explaining the name 'Pel' from the ancient texts.

The Biblical Manuscript or the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' say that the original name of Petra was 'Rekim' or 'Rekem'. The name 'Rekem' was inscribed on the Petra temple passage wall - the passage wall was called the Siq or Sic. This inscription 'Rekem' was visible until a couple of decades back when a bridge was built over the passage-wall such that sadly, the inscription is no longer visible.

In any case, it is interesting to note that a close Sanskrit cognate of 'Rekim', the Sanskrit 'Recin', pronounced Rechin (रेचिन्), means red-powder.

It is known that the original Aramaic texts say that the oldest known name of Petra is Rekem-Geya which is very interesting. It translates as 'Red-Gaya' from Sanskrit. Gaya is an ancient Vedic-Hindu pilgrimage site in Bihar in India. Ancient Indian tribes that migrated West from Bihar (then called Magadh) right up to Greece are known to have built temples en-route and given them Vedic names. To read more about the link of Gaya to Greece click here.

Temple of  Petra
Also called Rekem-Geya
or Rekem-Gaya

The Petra Temple area was full of water springs. There are several springs in the Petra area even today. The Siq or Sic* is a complex geological feature that has many places where water could enter the Petra Temple. In Sanskrit 'Sic' (सिच्) means to soak or irrigate.

It is Moses who is credited with extracting water from below the red rocky arid area that is called Petra today. Until then, say the Aramaic texts, the site of Rekem-Geya was known as 'kadesh'. 'Kadesh' or 'Ku-desh' (कुदेश) in Sanskrit means 'Bad-Land' or 'Inhospitable Land'.

In some texts the region is also known as Barnia-Kudesh. 'Bhurni' (भूर्णि) in Sanskrit means 'desert' or 'distant'. 'Kudesh' as mentioned above means 'inhospitable'.

Now lets look at the most ancient known settlers of Petra. The name of the tribe was 'Nabha' and are referred to as the Nabateans. In Sanskrit the word 'Nabha' (नभ) means the 'Sky'. A cognate of 'Petra' is 'patra' (पतर) - [the 't' here is pronounced as in 'path'] and means 'flying'. Finally, there is another cognate of 'Petra' which is the Sanskrit 'PaTra' (पटर) - [the 't' pronounced as in the English 'pet'], which means 'ray of light'. The 'sky', 'ray' and 'flying' connection to the word 'Nabha' and 'Petra' may be of interest to those who have explained ancient world history by linking it to the 'gods who visited the world from the sky'.

It is also interesting that the Hindu scripture Ramayana mentions a multi-storied temple, built by celestial architect Vishwakarma, far away from India, in the western direction. It is difficult to pin point where this multi-storied building might be located, but the fact that one of the highest mountain peaks in Jordon, which is a few kilometres away from Petra, is known as 'Jabal Ram' does make one wonder.

Jabal Ram Peak at the centre,
the second highest point in Jordan
The area around is called Wadi-Rum. Rum is also
pronounced as Ram

Suggested Links:
1. "Is Petra an Ancient Shiva Temple"?: Click Here
2. 'Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams' of India: Click Here

3. From Bharata to India: Chrysee the Golden by M.K. Aggarwal


Ancient Monastery at Petra Likely Built to Track Sun
by Elizabeth Howell, Contributor   |   April 01, 2014 05:32pm ET

Add the Monastery at Petra to the monuments that humans probably built for astronomical purposes. New research suggests that ancient architects tracked the motion of the sun and constructed the religious center with the winter solstice in mind.

When the Earth reaches its farthest point from the sun, light from the sun shines into the monastery — which is located in Petra, Jordan — and falls upon the podium of a deity. At the same time, the light casts the shadow of the head of a lion (a sacred animal in Nabatean culture) upon a mountain opposite to the religious center.

The structure in ancient Arabia is just one of several Nabatean temples, palaces and tombs on which scientists conducted a statistical analysis. The Nabateans flourished in what is now Jordan, and surrounding countries, between the 1st century B.C. and 1st century A.D. 

"The Nabataean monuments are marvelous laboratories where landscape features and the events of the sun, moon and other stars interact," Juan Antonio Belmonte, a researcher at the Canaries Astrophysical Institute and coordinator of the study, said in a statement.

"The astronomical orientations were often part of an elaborate plan and, possibly, a mark of the astral nature of their religion, which showed incredible 'hierophanies,' or demonstrations of the sacred on monuments related to cultic times and worship," he said.

Another significant structure, the Urn Tomb, has a main gate centered with the equinox sunset, while solar rays from the summer and winter solstices shine on the building's interior corners. In 446 A.D., when the structure was converted into a church, scientists said the locals used the solstice markers to honor Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and the birth of St. John the Baptist (June 24), which fell around the winter and summer solstices, respectively.

"This amazing set of three alignments within the plan of the tomb, in combination with significant features in the distant horizon, can hardly be ascribed to chance," added Belmonte. "We consider that it is a deliberate attempt to convert the hall of the Urn Tomb into a type of time-keeping device."

The results were published in Nexus Network Journal and include participation from the Canaries Astrophysical Institute, the Spanish National Research Council and the University of Perugia in Italy.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+. Original article on


agath said...


You say that it came from Tamil word Paarai while the other author claims that it came from Prasthar. Which one is correct? Or is there a root word for both Paarai and Prasthar since both sound quiet similar?

jayasree said...

Yes, two points of view. But none of them indicate that the word came from Greek or of European origin. This is a research analysis where we discuss the different angles and connections. Any further conclusion on Petra's origins can not afford to ignore the views expressed here.

On Paarai and Prasthar, it needs a research on Tamil- sanskrit root for that word meaning rock. Its probable that these two words originated from the same root as these two languages co-existed among the olden people, according to me.

Unknown said...

"Petra of Jordan derives this name from the much earlier time of pre-Greek society of Tiryns and Etruscans[/u] who were migrant Tamils after the 3rd deluge in the Indian Ocean in 1500 BCE."

could you tell me, how do you know, that Etruscans were in Jordan, and maybe in Petra?
Have you suggested Links, where I can find this information?

Sri Rama said...


Why no new articles recently?

Jai Sree Ram.

Unknown said...

The original greeks themselves are from indo aryan hittites not european ,their language is proto indo aryan. Hittites mixed akkadians who mixed with sumerians who are dravidians who are Canaanites whose deity was shiva .a branch of hittites settled on west coast india , the kurds and berbers are also from hittites . The assyrians succeeded the thamud who are from prophet hud pbh . They did believe in ONE GOD the Nabateans frequented southern india the imliq and akkadians are the Nabateans imliq is from prophet Salih and akkadians are from Nabi Hud pbh