University of Hertfordshire

An investigation into the age and origin of Suranga in the foothills of the Western Ghats of India

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalWater History
Early online date3 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2015


This paper presents the evidence for determining the age and origin of suranga
irrigation found mainly in southern Karnataka and northern Kerala in the foothills of the Western Ghats of south India. It draws on on-going research that has attempted to use an interdisciplinary approach to date the system using Indian Archives, British and Portuguese colonial archives, etymology, oral testimony archaeology, phenology and palaeo dating techniques. The results from this study put the origins of the system at around 1900–1940 CE.
These results are compared with the current academic discourse that supports the view that the system originates from ancient Persia and qanat technology, because of the long established trade links with Persia and the Arabian Peninsula in the Malabar region. We argue that a new ‘origin discourse’ should be framed around these much more recent dates. The methodological constraints behind both theories are discussed throughout to enable the
reader to appreciate the limitations of both arguments.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version. The final publication is available at Springer via:


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