How Ancient Are Glories Of Odisha?

Kalinga’s presence & prominence as a major maritime power has been vastlyunder-rated & under-documented in popular history of India & South Asia. Tillnow, as per popular mainstream historians,Kalinga comes into mention only during the invasion by Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.Prior to this, there were mentions of mighty elephants and excellent handwoven textiles from Kalinga in different texts from the Mauryan time, dating back to the 4th Century BCE. The antiquity of the Kalinga kingdom on the eastern seaboard of the Indian subcontinent can be traced back to the 8th century BCE. A whopping 3000 years of continuous heritage and cultural traditions.

Ancient Glories Of Odisha

The Kalinga country spanned for the majority of the Eastern Seaboard of the Indian subcontinent- from the areas around Tamralipti in present-day WB to the almost until Godavari/ Krishna basin in present day Andhra.Kalinga country had existed through multiple centuries; the native people groups of Kalinga were great seafarers. They must have considered the vast sea as any other usual water body that you would usually find dotting the landscape of Odisha.

The Kalinga people were not just simple boat rowers or raft steerers; rather, they were experts in ship building, charting & navigating the night skies; had knowledge of ocean currents, water quality and temperature, study of geology, topography, flora & fauna; expert mechanics & engineers, supervisors, artists, sculptors, scholars, and so many more ! For them, charting the ocean waters and going to all those faraway lands across the vast ocean, came easily and naturally.

Kalinga region was home to an enterprising & wealthy group of traders & merchants called the Kalinga Sādhabas. The Sadhabas had great business acumen along with amazing foresight prudent enough to bring together experts related to shipping & navigation from different regions. They possessed & maintained a wealth of various ships with highly skilled people working with/for them.

There are many a times mentions of Kalinga maritime expertise in ancient Buddhist & Hindu texts, & in accounts of foreign travellers & traders. More importantly, the continuation of cultural practices like the Kārtika purnima Dangā Bhasā, similarities in art, craft, sculpture, language etc among various regions of SEAsia-they all allude to Kalinga’s influence.

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