Maritime History of Kalinga, book released

Maritime History of Kalinga

Maritime History of Kalinga:   The Forum for Rivers and Ocean Scientists and Technologists have released a book titled “Glorious Water Transport Heritage of Kalinga: Ancient to recent Times, at the Regional Science Centre’s Auditorium at Bhubaneswar.

Written by Dr. Suresh Mishra, the book is a detailed compendium on the rich maritime heritage of Kalinga. It covers both the oceanic and riverine transportation systems and has details about the ports that were there in the river estuaries. Aspects of boat and ship building too have been detailed in the book. The book is conceived on the riverine, coastal and ocean trading of the Kalingan Sahdabas.

Dr. Mishra holds a PhD Degree on Naval Architecture from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.  He served as the first Director of the Indian Maritime University at Vishakhapatnam and was Chairman of the Naval Research Board from 2016 till 2013.

Speaking on the occasion, Anil Dhir, the Convener of INTACH’s Bhubaneswar Chapter said that while most of the history of Odisha’s ancient maritime activity is based on legend and lore, there is substantial evidential proof of a rich maritime heritage. Besides the archaeological evidence, the temple walls have innumerable images of boats and shipbuilding.

There are many ancient palm leaf manuscripts which have details of ship and boat building. Dhir also said that the coast off Odisha is full of many shipwrecks, many of which have been marked on British Admiralty Maps. There were many reported instances of ships sinking in harbours when cyclones struck. The ASI should conduct a few marine archaeology projects to detect these wrecks.

Dr. Sunil Patnaik, Senior Archaeologist of the Odishan Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies said that there is sufficient proof of ancient maritime activity in the Kalingan waters and that the existence of a strong Navy too cannot be denied. He said that ports of Kalinga existed as early as 500 B.C.

Prof. Omkar Nath Mohanty, former Vice Chancellor of the BPUT Orissa spoke of the transfer of knowledge and skills, especially of metallurgy, to South East Asia by the ancient Kalingan mariners. The book has many maps and illustrations including the palm leaf manuscripts of boat making.