Safeguarding for Posterity Two Private Collections of Palm-Leaf Manuscripts from the Tamil Country (EAP1294)

Aims and objectives

This project aims to clean, digitise and catalogue at least a part of two palm-leaf manuscript collections (the Kalliṭaikuṟicci and the Villiampākkam ones), made up of around 183 bundles. Some of their specimens are as old as 1849, with a few that might prove to be older. These manuscripts contain texts of various genres, in Tamil, Sanskrit and Manipravalam, and use the Tamil and Grantha scripts. These hitherto-neglected manuscripts, especially those of the Kalliṭaikuṟicci collection, will give us an insight into the reading habits of an erudite, Tamil Brahmin family from the mid- to the end of 19th century.


This project initially aimed at digitising and cataloguing about 30% of two different private collections of palm-leaf manuscripts (namely, the Kalliṭaikuṟicci and the Villiampākkam collections), in South India. However, the team working on the project has actually managed to clean, digitise and catalogue 100% of both collections without needing extra time or money for doing so. This means that 186 palm-leaf manuscripts, all 18th-19th century artifacts in various states of damage, will now be preserved in the form of digitised images and also see the light of day by becoming accessible to everyone.

This project digitised two collections. An overview of the records and their archival structure can be viewed below: