How did Ravana travel from Sri Lanka to India?


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research post No. 1301; Dated 20th September 2014.

Marxist historians used to describe the wars in Ramayana and Mahabharata as ‘class wars’. For them Lanka of Ramayana was a small island in Godavari river. Foreign “scholars” also subscribed to this view. They never believed that one can travel from some location in Sri Lanka to Dandakaranya in central India or Kailash in the Himalayas. After Ravana drove out his half brother Yaksha Kubera from Sri Lanka, Kubera took refuge in Kailash/Tibet area in the Himalayas. Ravana even went to Kailash and ‘shook it’. When he was trapped by Shiva, he had to beg for his release. These episodes demonstrate that people were travelling from Kandy to Kashmir without any difficulty.

Foreign “scholars” and Marxist historians did not know Tamil and so they did not know that the Tamil Saivite and Vaishnavite saints were very clear in locating Lanka in present Sri Lanka. Even before the Vaishnavite saints sang about Sri Lanka of Ravana, Tamil epic Silappadikaram of second century CE, mentioned Gajabahu from ‘sea clad’ Sri Lanka. So it is not river clad ‘lanka’ of Godavari.


Before Agastya laid a road route to Tamil Nadu through the Vindhyas, all the North Indians were using the coastal route to come to Rameswar. They used boats wherever necessary. Yakshas were occupying Sri Lanka before Vijayan was banished from Bengal to Sri Lanka for his misdeeds. This happened in the fifth century BCE. Mahavamsa, the chronicle of Sri Lanka, says that Vijaya first married a Yaksha girl and then only he married a Tamil princess from Pandyan kingdom of Tamil Nadu. So Ramayana and other Puranas were right about Kubera, Yaksha and Ravana. Mahavamsa says that Buddha and his predecessors visited Sri Lanka. It is possible because Buddha had a very long life and he died when he was 84 years old.

tamluk board

How did Ravana travel?
Some amazing travel information is reported in Mahavamsa. That gives us some idea about how Buddha and Ravana travelled. Indians were expert navigators which is confirmed by Sangam Tamil literature and Hindu Puranas ( I have already explained ‘Agastya drank ocean’ — is an idiom to say that Agastya crossed the Indian ocean to establish Hindu empire in South East Asia. I have already written about Sri Mara, a Pandya who ruled Viet Nam in the second century CE).

Hindus knew the secret of monsoon. They knew if they leave at a particular time of the year the wind will take them to their destination without spending a single penny. They knew when to come back as well. It is demonstrated in Kalidasa’s Megaduta and throughout Sangam Tamil literature. One babbler gave this secret of monsoon to a person (Hippalous) in Alexandria (in Egypt) and then westerners came for business and then for ruling the country.


Mahavamsa says (Chapter 11) that Devanampiriya’s ambassadors reached Tamralipti (Tamluk) in West Bengal within seven days and they spent seven more days to go to Pataliputra to meet Emperor Asoka. In short, it took one week for sea travel and another week for land travel to Patna (Pataliputram) in Bihar. On their return journey, it took twelve days from Tamralipti to Sri Lankan harbour at Jambukola.

Devanampriya’s ambassadors stayed with Asoka for five months. The reason was they were waiting for the favourable wind. If they leave at a particular time the return journey would be easy. When we read this, we can guess how Ravana and Surpanaka came to Dandakaranaya for involving in anti social activities. It was their hobby! Like wealthy people visiting hill centres during summer, they went there to simply spend time. This is like the Arabian wealthy people or sheiks coming to Bombay to do certain things which are banned in their countries! Ravana might have sent Surpanakha deliberately to avoid her misdeeds at home.

Ravana had a thought powered air plane. He took it forcefully from Kubera. Those who could not believe that Ravana used his plane to come to Dandakaranaya, still can accept his sea travel.


In chapter 18 of Mahavamsa , another travel information says that one person has reached Patna (Pataliputra) in one day. It may be classified as a miracle. But the traffic between Patna and Sri Lanka was very hectic in those days. Asoka’s daughter and son also travelled to Sri Lanka from India by ship. Traffic between Sri Lankan coast and Malayam Hills in Tamil Nadu was heavy. We often hear about Sri Lankans coming to Malaya hills and going back with a big army. Thousands of Buddhist Bhikshus were visiting Sri Lanka during all the important festivals.

(This article is part of my series on Mahavamsa)


Picture of Ancient Indian ship in sculpture.

Pictures are taken from various websites; thanks.

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1 Comment

  1. Ravana is neither a demon nor abductor of Sita
    He is Kundalini Yogi / Srividyopasaka of Kaula Path
    Please read : Shodasi : Secrets of the Ramayana
    Author : Seshendra Sharma

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