A number of famous Kalinga kings are mentioned in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata and they are credited with having contracted matrimonial relations with princesses of the Aryan royal families of the north. According to epic evidence as contained in the Mahabharata, the Kalinga country comprised the entire tract of country lying along the coast of Vaitarani in Orissa to the borders of the Andhra country.
The country of the Kalingas has been mentioned by Panini. According to Kautilya's Arthasashtra, elephants of Anga and Kalinga belonged to the best of their types. The Jatakas contain a number of references to the Kalinga country and its kings. The Jatakas also refer to the capital city of Kalinga which was Dantapuranagara which was probably identical with Dantakura which has been mentioned in the Mahabharata.
It has been said that the tribes called Kalingas were nearest to the sea, and higher up were the Mandaei and the Malli. The royal city of Kalinga is called Parthalis. The capital city Parthalis of the Kalinga has been identified with Purvasthali.
Kalinga during the days of Kharavela of the Ceta dynasty had risen to historical prominence. Historical accounts by Yuan Chwang states that the people who lived in Kalinga were very different from those who lived in Mid-India. There were few Buddhists, the majority of the people being of other religions. In Kalinga there were also some monasteries and at the same time there were also Deva temples in the land of Kalinga.
The Kalingas have always been distinguished in literature and sometimes also in epigraphs. In the Puranic accounts three types of Kalingas have been distinguished. They were namely the Gangaridae-Kalingae, the Mekala-Kalingas and the Kalingae proper.