Foreign Accounts

Foreign accounts also provide an excellent account of information ancient Kalinga. The Greek historians Pilny, Diodorus, Curtius, and Plutarch all made reference to the Kalinga people. Megasthenes makes reference to the Regia Gangaridum Calingarum (Gangetic Kalinga Region). Pliny classifies Kalinga as Gangarides (Gangetic), Maceo (Middle), and Calingae (Kalinga). The anonymous Greek sailor’s book “The Peri plus of the Erythrean sea” also contains information about Kalinga. Ptolemy, the Greek geographer (2nd century A.D.), describes the Kalinga ports. His reference to a people called ‘Oretes’ who lived near the mount ‘Maleus’ is significant because the former is associated with Odras, whereas the latter is associated with Malaya.

Among the foreign accounts, the most valuable is that of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited Odisha in 638-39 AD. His writings have been made available to us in the form of T. Watters’ ‘On Yuan Chwang’s Travels’, Hwuie’s ‘Life of Hiuen Tsang’, and ‘Records of the Buddhist World’. These are priceless sources of reliable information. lTsing’s ‘Records of the Buddhistic Religions as Practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago’ is also extremely useful. Gerini’s ‘Researches on Ptolemy’ and Tibetan historian Lama Taranath’s history both contain important information about Odisha’s ancient period.

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