Sadhaba

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Sadhabas (or Sadhavas) were ancient mariners from the Kalinga empire, which roughly corresponds to modern Odisha, India. They used ships called Boitas to travel to distant lands such as South-East Asia to carry out trade.

Kartik Purnima, immediately before the full moon in October and November, was considered an especially auspicious occasion by the Sadhabas to begin their long voyages. Coconuts, earthenware, sandalwood, cloth, lime, rice, spices, salt, cloves, pumpkins, silk sarees, betel leaves, betel nuts, elephants, and precious and semi-precious stones were the main items of trade. Sometimes, even women were allowed to navigate as Sadhabas. Odia navigators were instrumental in spreading Buddhism and Hinduism in East and South East Asia. In addition, they disseminated knowledge of Indian architecture, epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Indic writing and Sanskrit loan words in many Indo-Chinese languages such as Khmer and Indonesian, and the Tagalog language.

Maritime trade declined only in the 16th century, with the decline of the Gajapati dynasty.

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