Literary & Archaeological Evidence of Early Seafaring & Navigation Technologies in India

Dublin Core


Literary & Archaeological Evidence of Early Seafaring & Navigation Technologies in India


Session 2
Nautical (Ship and boat) Archaeology of South Asia


India is situated at the central point of the ocean that washes on its coast on three sides, seemed destined very early for a maritime future in the region. Both literature and archaeological works of the region are providing ample evidence about the early sea routes and maritime trade activities of the region. Vedic literature, one of the early existed texts, has provided copious references about the early seafaring. There was a time in the past when Indians were the masters of the long distance seaborne trade. They built ships, navigated the sea, and held in their hands all the threads of international commerce, whether carried overland or via sea. The archaeological excavations of several Indo-Saraswathi, the first civilization in the region, sites and many others have also conclusively demonstrated advance maritime activities right from the third millennium Before Christ (BCE). During the early historical period (second BCE to second CE) several coastal towns, both east and west coasts of peninsular India, had international trade and commerce. The subject matter for the present discussion are based on glimpses of the regional seafaring and navigation technologies mentioned in the available early indigenous literature of the Sanskrit language, as well as archaeological records.

Key words – Vedic literature, Sanskrit, Rigveda, Matsya yantra


S. Rama Krishna Pisipaty


November 2011



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