Odisha (Odia: ଓଡ଼ିଶା), also known as Orissa, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Odisha was established on 1 April 1936 at Kanika Palace, Cuttack, as a province in India, and consists predominantly of Odia speakers.
Dhauli Giri, Bhubaneswar
1 April is therefore celebrated as Utkal Divas (Odisha Day). Odisha is the ninth largest state by area in India, and the eleventh largest by population. Odia is the official and most widely spoken language with 93.33% Odia speakers according to a linguistic survey. Odisha has a relatively unindented coastline (about 480 km long) and lacks good ports, except for the deepwater facility at Paradip.
The narrow, level coastal strip, including the Mahanadi River delta supports the bulk of the population. The interior of the state is mountainous and sparsely populated. Deomali at 1672 m is the highest point of the state. Odisha is subject to intense cyclones. The most intense one, in October 1999, Tropical Cyclone caused severe damage and some 10256 deaths. Odisha is home to the Hirakud Dam, near Sambalpur the longest earthen dam in the world.
world famous pipili chandua
Odisha has several popular tourist destinations. Puri, Konark & Bhubaneswar are known as Golden triangle of eastern India. Puri, with the Jagannath temple near the sea (famous for Rath Yatra or the Car Festival), and Konark, with the Sun Temple, are visited by thousands of tourists every year. The Jagannath Temple of Puri, the Konark Sun Temple, the Lingaraj Temple, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Dhauligiri of Bhubaneshwar, Ashoka’s famous Rock Edict at Jaugada near Berhampur city and the Barabati Fort of Cuttack are important in the archaeological history of India.
Odisha in pre-historic age
jagannath temple puri, Odisha
On the other hand in the third century BC, in the eastern part of Odisha Kalinga flourished as a powerful empire under the Jaina emperor, Kharavela. He ruled all the way down south to include parts of the Tamil country. He built the superb monastic caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves. Subsequently, the region was ruled under various monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Shashanka. It also was a part of Harsha’s empire. In 795 AD, the king Yayati Kesari I of Kesari or Soma dynasty of Kosala united Kosala and Utkala into a single empire. He is also supposed to have built the first Jagannath Temple at Puri, although the current structure of the temple is entirely different and was built by Kings Choda Gangadeva and Ananga Bhimadeva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 12th century. The famous Lingaraja temple in Bhubaneshwar was started by Keshari dynasty king Yayati Keshari III and completed by his son Lalatendu Keshari in the 10th century.
King Narasimha Dev is reputed to have built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple. Although now largely in ruins, the temple may have once rivaled the Taj Mahal in splendour. The Mughals conquered Coastal Odisha in 1576. The last Hindu Emperor of Odisha, Gajapati Mukunda Deva, was defeated and was killed in the battle of Gohiratikiri. The coastal plain of Odisha from Medinipur to Rajahmundry came under Mughal rule, which was broadly divided into six parts as Jaleswar Sarkar, Bhadrak Sarkar, Cuttack Sarkar, Chicacole (Srikakulam) Sarkar, Kalinga Dandapat and Rajamundry Sarkar or Godavari Province.
similipal reserve forest mayurbhanj, odisha
Odisha’s Central, Northern, Western and Southern hilly areas were ruled independently by Hindu kings. The Nizam of Hyderabad occupied the area between Rajahmundry to Srikakulam in 16th century. Medinipur was attached to Bengal province in 18th century. The remaining parts of Coastal Odisha, were subsequently ceded to the Maratha Empire in 1751. The British occupied the Northern Circars comprising the southern coast of Odisha as a result of the Carnatic Wars in the early 1760s and incorporated them into the Madras Presidency gradually.
In 1803, the British under the British East India Company annexed the Maratha province of Odisha after the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The northern and western districts of Odisha were incorporated into Bengal Presidency. Following famine and floods in 1866, large scale irrigation projects were undertaken in the last half of the 19th century. The coastal section was separated from Bengal and made into the Province of Bihar and Odisha in 1912, in response to local agitation for a separate state for the Odia-speaking people. In 1936, Bihar and Odisha were split into separate provinces. Thus after a long period of struggle the Odia people got re-united after centuries of political separation. On 1 April 1936, the new province of Odisha came into existence on linguistic basis during the British rule in India with Sir Jhon Austin Hubbak as the first Governor. A long cherished dream of Odia people and their leaders like Madhusudan Das,
tara tarini temple, odisha
Maharaja Krushna Chnadra Gajapati, Pandit Nilakantha Das, Bhubanananda Das and many other came true. The district of Ganjam was transferred from Madras Presidency to the new province of Odisha on 1 April 1936. From that time onwards people of Odisha celebrate the day 1 April as Utkal Divas or Odisha Day. Following Indian independence, the area of Odisha was almost doubled and the population was increased by a third by the addition of 24 former princely states. In 1950, Odisha became a constituent state in the Union of India. Since prehistoric days the land of Odisha has been inhabited by various people. The earliest settlers of Odisha were primitive hill tribes. Although prehistoric communities cannot be identified, it is well known that Odisha had been inhabited by tribes like Saora or Sabar from the Mahabharata days. Saora in the hills and the Sahara and Sabar of the plains continue to be an important tribe distributed almost all over Odisha. Most of the tribal people have been influenced by Hindus and have adopted Hindu manners, customs and rituals. Bonda Parajas of Koraput district are the best example of these tribes. Several pre-historic sites have been excavated in Odisha since the arrival of Britishers. Kaliakata of Angul, Kuchai & Kuliana of Mayurbhanj, Vikramkhol near Jharsuguda, Gudahandi and Yogimath of Kalahandi, Ushakothi of Sambalpur, Similikhol near Bargarh etc.
dhauli giri, bhubaneswar
Odisha has a history spanning a period of over 5,000 years. Before Kalinga it was named as Udra or “Odra Desa”. The Ancient Odra desa or Ordesa was limited to the valley of Mahanadi and to the lower course of Subarnarekha River. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapur. Bounded on the west by Gondwana, on the north by the wild hill states of Jaspur and Singhbhum, on the east by the sea and on the South by Ganjam, Odisha has a legendary history. The name Odia originated from Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central coastal belt (Khordha District and Nayagarh District) of modern Odisha. Odisha has also been the home of the Kalinga, Utkal, Mahakantara/Kantara and Kosal that played a particularly prominent role in the region’s history, and one of the earliest references to the ancient Kalingas appears in the writings of Vedic chroniclers. In the 6th century BC, Vedic Sutrakara Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as being beyond the Vedic fold,
chandaka elephant reserve forest, khurda
indicating that Brahminical influences had not yet touched the land. Unlike some other parts of India, tribal customs and traditions played a significant role in shaping political structures and cultural practices right up to the 15th century, when Brahminical influences triumphed over competing traditions and caste differentiation began to inhibit social mobility and erode what had survived of the ancient republican tradition.
History of Odisharatna giri, odisha
A major turning point in world history took place in Odisha. The Kalinga War that led emperor Ashoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was fought here in 261 BC. Ashoka’s military campaign against Kalinga was one of the bloodiest in Mauryan history on account of the fearless and heroic resistance offered by the Kalingas to the mighty armies of the expanding Mauryan empire. Perhaps on account of their unexpected bravery, emperor Ashoka was compelled to issue two edicts specifically calling for a just and benign administration in Kalinga.
odisha wild life deers
Later on, Ashoka was instrumental in spreading Buddhist philosophy all over Asia. However, Ativ Land (South Western Odisha) was unconquered by Ashoka. Tel river civilization put light towards a great civilization existing in Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput (KBK) region in the past that is recently getting explored. The discovered archaeological wealth of Tel Valley suggest a well civilized, urbanized, cultured people inhabited on this land mass around 2000 years ago and Asurgarh was its capital.
Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar was part of Kantara referred in Ramayana and Mahabharata. In 4th century B.C. this region was known as Indravana from where precious gem-stones and diamond were collected for the imperial Maurya treasury. During the period of Maurya emperor Ashoka, Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar region was called Atavi Land. This land was unconquered as per Ashokan record. In the beginning of Chrisitan era probably it was known as Mahavana.In 4th Century A.D. Vyaghraraja was ruling over Mahakantara comprising Kalahandi, undivided Koraput and Bastar region. Asurgarh was capital of Mahakantara. Hatigumpha Inscription of Emperor Kharavela, Udaygiri Konark Sun Temple built by the Eastern Ganga dynasty is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site.