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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 1074Book's First Page
construction of temples, but also lent money to the kings. Thus, the rulers did their best to accommodate the guilds because of the benefit which they derived from their trade. Due to their international connections, the troops they employed and the immunities they enjoyed, such guilds almost constituted a state within the state. Among the most powerful guilds were the Ayyavole and the Manigramam. The Ayyavole, derived from the name of a former capital of the Chalukyas, Aihole, dominated the trade of the Deccan, whereas the Manigramam was based in Tamil Nadu. The international connections of the Ayyavole extended to West Asia, while the Manigramam concentrated on trade with South-East Asia. The inscription at Takuapa (on the Isthmus of Siam), belonging to the middle of the ninth century, mentions this latter guild (Manigramam) specifically, while the Tamil inscription of 1088 found in Sumatra was also produced by a guild from Tamil Nadu. But there was no strict division of the spheres of trade between these guilds. Thus, for example, a nanadesi trader from the Malabar coast (Malaimandalam) established a nanadesi-vinnagar temple, devoted to Vishnu, at Pagan in Burma in the 13th century. In the trade with West Asia, the traders of the south-west coast of India obviously had some advantages. Ethnic connections were helpful in this respect too. Arab and Jewish merchants who settled on the Indian south-west coast corresponded with their colleagues even in far off Cairo. Letters and papers found in an old synagogue of Cairo give ample evidence of the intimate contacts which the medieval merchants of Cairo had with those of south India. The respect which the Jewish traders enjoyed in south India is shown by a royal grant inscribed on copper plate in favour of one Issuppu Irappan (Joseph Raban). He obtained princely privileges, exemption from all taxes and the grant of the revenue of a traders’ quarter of the port of Cranganore on the Malabar coast. The imperial Cholas tried to enhance their maritime strength by gaining control over all strategically important coastlines. They captured the southwest coast of India and almost the entire Indian east coast up to the mouth of the Ganges. They also seized the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Andamans. In keeping with this line of policy, they finally took on Sri Vijaya.