Ancient Kalinga’s Maritime Legacy & its Global Significance

Situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, ancient Kalinga once comprised the coastal regions of modern Odisha and the adjacent coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Bengal as well. Owing to its location between the two great East Indian deltaic regions of the Ganges and the Krishna and Godavari rivers, Kalinga itself had two distinct historical core areas in the delta regions of the Mahanadi in the Central Odisha and, further to the Southwest, of the Rishikulya and Vamsadhara rivers in Southern Odisha and Northwestern Andhra Pradesh. The earliest historically known centre of Kalinga was at Toshali and Kalinganagara (Sisupalgarh) near Bhubaneswar, the respective capitals of Ashoka and Kharavela in the third and first centuries B.C. It was most likely this central Odishan core area under Kharavela’s successors to which the Roman geographer Pliny referred in the first century A.D. Pliny writes: “The royal city of Calingae is Parthalis (Toshali). Over their kingdom 60,000 foot soldier…

Mystical Odisha’s Buddha Trail

Odisha has always become mystical and mysterious about its offering to global travellers. The state has been the custodian of more than 2000 years of cultural & historical legacy which people are yet to explore. The marvellous discovery of the Buddhist establishments of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri & Lalitgiri by Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI), abandoned around 1000 years during the fall of Buddhism in India, is reframing the colourful glory of the grandeur of Kalingan architecture.
By visiting Odisha, one can pay homage to the ancient land of Kalinga which put all its resources and the entire maritime trade route to propagate Buddhism across the world. Though Lord Buddha spent his life in Nepal, Bihar and U.P., but without contribution of Odisha, the influence of Buddhism would have limited to Northern India. Buddhism became a world religion only after Kalinga-Asoka war and because of the vast maritime trade route of Kalinga. And all these happened only after 200 years of the Map…

Trade routes of Kalinga Sailors to Ceylon, Java, Sumatra and Bali

“The entire two-way trade route of 14,000 kms from the mouth of Mahanadi to Bali and back used to be completed by Kalinga Sadhabapuas in about 180 days (during mid-November to mid-May). The ships used to sail at a speed of 4.86 k.p.h. The seaworthy sailing period was 120 days while the rest 60 days were spent on trading and rest.”
The Kalinga Sadhabapuas voyaged to Bali in the sea-worthy country boats and used to take advantage of the North East monsoons, which normally starts from November. By taking advantages of this retreating monsoon (North East Monsoon) the boats used to sail from Mahanadi mouth down to the South West along the East Coast of India right up to Nagappattinam in the Cauvery Delta and Point Calimere 10 degree 20’N latitude further south, just north of Palk Strait. The Kalinga sailors used to trade all along their South West ward voyage along the East Coast of India and used to replenish the essential provision like food and water, if required. Thus, the sailors were …

Reviving Kalinga-Lanka Brotherhood

Few years ago, one of the senior diplomat of Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi, a close friend of mine, visited Odisha for first time with his family.  He was awe-struck with what he experienced there. After returning he told me, “I am surprised to see a place in India which reminds my homeland Sri Lanka, so much of resemblance in food, climate, culture, physical appearance and many more.”
He was true, there indeed exist a similarity in Odisha and Sri Lanka which we need to explore. The reason for the diplomat’s unique experience is the economic, spiritual, cultural and marital linkages between ancient Kalinga ( i.e. present day Odisha and parts of Andhra & West Bengal) and Sri Lanka which blossomed for more than 2000 years. The relationship tapered off around the 17th century A.D. due to political developments and the advent of foreign rulers in both the countries. The ancient Ceylonese religious scriptures, the Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, Dathavamsa and others, have detailed illus…