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Glory that was Kalinga

History Of Orissa

My Kitchen (Odiya Pakasala)

Bhakti Songs

Oriya Films

Theatre History


Famous Peoples from Orissa

Orissa (2001 provisional pop. 36,706,920), 60,162 sq mi (155,820 sq km) is a state situated in the east coast of India.

Orissa is bounded on the north by Jharkhand, on the north-east by West Bengal, on the east by the Bay of Bengal, on the south by Andhra Pradesh and on the west by Chhattisgarh.

The relatively unindented coastline (c.200 mi/320 km long) lacks good ports except for the deepwater facility at Paradip. The narrow, level coastal strip, including the Mahanadi River delta, is exceedingly fertile. Rainfall is heavy and regular, and two crops of rice (by far the most important food) are grown annually. The state is known for its temples, especially in the cities of Konark, Puri, and Bhubaneswar.

Orissa has several popular tourist destinations. Puri, with the Jagannatha's temple on the sea, and Konark, with the Sun Temple, are visited by thousands of westerners every year. Along with the Lingaraja Temple of Bhubaneswar, the Jagannatha Temple and the Sun Temple of Konark are the must sees for anyone doing research on the archaeological marvels of India.

The dense population, concentrated on the coastal alluvial plain, is inhabited by the non-tribal speakers of the Oriya language. The interior, inhabited largely by indigenous people (adivasis), is hilly and mountainous. Orissa is subject to intense cyclones; in October 1999, Tropical Cyclone 05B caused severe damage and some 10,000 deaths.

Orissa is a littoral state with a long coastline and a storehouse of mineral wealth. Because it has begun attracting massive foreign investment in steel, aluminum, power, and refineries recently, the state holds the promise of becoming one of India's major manufacturing hubs in the near future. In spite decades of neglect by the government in New Delhi, the state could emerge as one of the most significant FDI destinations in the world, rivalling Shenzhen in China. Orissa is also a major outsourcing destination for IT (Information Technology) and IT services firms.



The capital of Orissa is Bhubaneswar, famed for its magnificent temples numbering around a thousand is known as the Cathedral City. The city of Puri is nearby on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Puri is a famous holy city and the site of the annual festival of the deity Jagannath and is one of the four Dhams (holy places) of Hinduism.

The Eastern Ghats range and the Chota Nagpur plateau occupy the western and northern portions of the state, while fertile alluvial plains occupy the coastal plain and the valleys of the Mahanadi, Brahmani, and Baitarani rivers, which empty into the Bay of Bengal. These alluvial plains are home to intensive rice cultivation.

One of the greatest benefits of Orissa ‘s vast expanses of unspoilt natural landscape has been its ability to offer a protected yet natural habitat to the state’s incredible wildlife. There are many wildlife sancturies in Orissa. The Similipal Tiger Reserve is a vast expanse of lush green forest with waterfalls, inhabited by tigers, elephants, and other wildlife. The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary has been protecting estuarine crocodiles since 1975.

Chilka Lake, a brackish water coastal lake on the Bay of Bengal, south of the mouth of the Mahanadi River, is the largest coastal lake in India. It is protected by the Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary, which harbors over 150 migratory and resident species of birds.


The official language of the state, spoken by the vast majority of the people is Oriya. Oriya belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is very closely related to Bengali and Assamese. A few tribal languages belonging to the Dravidian and Munda language families are still spoken by the Adivasis (original inhabitants) of the state. The state has a very opulent cultural heritage, one of the richest in India, and the capital city of Bhubaneswar is known for the exquisite temples that dot its landscape. The famous classical dance form, Odissi originated from Orissa. Odissi music is considered to be an offshoot of the Hindustani classical music of northern India, although some aspects of Odissi are quite distinct. There are many other popular cultural interests include the well known Jagannatha Temple in Puri, known for its annual Rath Yatra or Car Festival, the unique and beautiful applique artwork of Pipili, silver filigree ornamental works from Cuttack, the Patta chitras (silk paintings) and various tribal influenced cultures.

Contemporary Orissa has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three great religious traditions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has been further enriched by Islam and Christianity. The culture of the Adivasis (the original inhabitants of India) is an integral part of modern Orissan heritage.


Orissa has a history spanning a period of over 3000 years. In ancient times, it was the proud kingdom of Kalinga. Kalinga was a major seafaring nation that controlled and traded with most of the sea routes in the Bay of Bengal. For several centuries, a substantial part of South Asia & Southeast Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Bali, Vietnam and Thailand were colonized by people from Orissa. In Malaysia, Indians are still referred as Klings because of this. Many illustrious Sri Lankan kings such as Nisanka Malla and Parakarama Bahu claim Kalinga origin. The King who destroyed the Sinhalese Buddhist control of Northern Sri Lanka and established a Hindu Kingdom in Jaffna was known as Kalinga Magha. One theory holds that the name of the country "Siam" for Thailand is derived from Oriya/Sanskrit Shyamadesha. The huge Hindu temple in Cambodia known as Angkor Wat is a fine example of Orissan-influenced Indian architecture, with some local variations. Bali in Indonesia still retains its Orissan-influenced Hindu heritage.

A major turning point in world history took place in Orissa. The famous Kalinga war that led emperor Asoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was fought here in 261 BC. Later on, Asoka was instrumental in spreading Buddhist philosophy all over Asia.

In the second century BC, Kalinga flourished as a powerful kingdom under the Jaina king, Kharavela. He ruled all the way down south to include parts of the Tamil country. It is he who was built the superb monastic caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri. Subsequently, the kingdom was ruled under various monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Sasanka. It also was a part of Harsha's empire. In 795 AD, the king Yayati united Kalinga, Kosala and Utkala into a single empire. He also built the famous Jagannath temple at Puri. King Narasimha Dev is reputed to have built the magnificent Sun Temple in Konark. Although now largely in ruins, the temple may have rivaled the Taj Mahal in splendour.

The dynasties that ruled Orissa beginning in the third century BC included:

     Murundas Dynasty

     Matharas Dynasty

     Nala Dynasty

     The Vigrahas and the Mudgalas

     Sailodbhava Dynasty

     Bhaumakaras Dynasty

     Nandodbhavas Dynasty

     Somavamsis Dynasty

     The Eastern Gangas

     Suryavamsi Dynasty

The Moslems of Bengal occupied Orissa in 1568 after defeating the last Hindu king.

The Moguls conquered Bengal and Orissa in 1576; however, Orissa was subsequently ceded to the Marathas in 1751.

In 1803, the British under the British East India Company occupied Orissa after the Second Anglo-Maratha War. In 1823, Orissa was divided into the three districts of Cuttack, Balasore and Puri, and a number of native tributary states. Orissa was administed as part of the 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 Orissa in 1912, in response to local agitation for a separate state for Oriya-speaking peoples. In 1936, Bihar and Orissa separated into separate provinces.

Following Indian independence, the area of Orissa was almost doubled and the population was increased by a third by the addition of 24 former princely states. In 1950, Orissa became a constituent state in the Union of India.


Orissa's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $18 billion in current prices.

Following India's independence, Orissa has not been a focus of investment by the central governments in New Delhi, causing its infrastructure and educational standards to lag behind the rest of the nation. About 20% of the road network is paved. In rural areas over 65% of the population have no access to safe drinking water.

Orissa has abundant natural resources and a large coastline. It contains a fifth of India's coal, a quarter of its iron ore, a third of its bauxite reserves and most of the chromite! It is receiving unprecedented investments in steel, aluminium, power, refineries and ports. India's topmost IT consulting firms, including Satyam Computer Services,TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) and Infosys have large branches in Orissa.

Orissa is projected to become one of the industrial powerhouses of India in a decade's time. Recently 43 companies have lined up to set up mammoth steel plants in the state, including POSCO of South Korea which has agreed to construct a mammoth $12 billion steel plant, which would be the largest investment in India in history. The state is attracting huge investments in aluminum, coal-based power plants, and petrochemicals. Although Paradip is Orissa's only large port, the coastal towns of Dhamra and Gopalpur are being developed into major ports as well.

The state also has huge tourism potential. It is blessed with beautiful beaches and pristine forests containing exotic wildlife. The landscape is dotted with temples and ancient monuments


Orissa has a population of 32 million. About 87% of the population live in the villages and one third of the rural population does not own any land other than homesteads.

The aborgines or tribes, known as Adivasis, constitute 24% of the population, belonging to 62 different ethnic communities. Their traditional around the forest ecosystem. Over the years collection of forest produce, hunting and persuasion of other traditional ways of living have become increasingly difficult, influencing socio-cultural life. Issues with modernisation and industrial activities, such as mining, construction of dams, roads, railways have grown to become a concern affecting their very traditional livelihood and have displaced the Adivasi communities


Religion, temples, and festivals



o    Shaivism

o    Vaishnavism

o    Shaktism


     Sun worship

Perhaps the most well-known temple in Orissa is the Konark Temple. This is also known as the Sun Temple and is famous for its exquisite Orissan style of architecture. The Konark temple was built in the 13th century A.D. It includes in its decoration many vignettes of military life. The thousands of elephants marching around the base of the temple are not figments of the imagination. Rather, they demonstrate pride in the superb war elephants for which Orissa was famous.

Another well known temple in Orissa is the Jagannath Temple, which was built in the 12th Century A.D. It is located in Puri and is associated with the Ratha Jatra (Chariot Festival) ce;ebrated all over northern India. Every year millions of devotees come to Puri during the Ratha Jatra. It is a festival during which the three dieties, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are brought out of the Jagannath temple in chariots to tour the streets, providing a glimpse to the thousands of devotees who throng the street.

The capital city of Bhubaneswar has some magnificent temples, including the Lingaraja temple, and the Mukteswar temple. Maa Charchika's Temple at Banki is one of the Shakta place of worship. It is situated on Ruchika parbat near the Renuka river, in a place called Banki near the two major cities, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The Sunadei temple on the bank of river Mahanadi is an Orissan landmark.

Interesting facts about the state

     The world's oldest coins were discovered in Sonepur, in western Orissa. These priceless silver punch marked coins could be as old as 1000 BC. They are preserved in the Orissa State Museum.

     Rasgolla, the sweet delicacy enjoyed all over India, originated from Puri, Orissa. It became popular in Kolkata in the nineteenth century and eventually spread across the rest of the country.

     The ancient people of Kalinga sided with the Kauravas during the great Mahabharata war.

     The city of Sambalpur in western Orissa was one of the world's most prominent centers of diamond production. Travelers from lands as far away as Greece used to visit the city.

     Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, was born and grew up in Cuttack city in Orissa.

     Bhubaneswar, the capital city was the home of over 600 magnificent temples in medieval times. It is called the "temple city" of India.

     Puri is one of the four Dhams - Hindu centers of pilgrimage. Every year, millions throng all over Puri to witness the famous Rath Yatra.

     The Sinhala (people of Sri Lanka) are named after Raja Jai Sinha, an ancient Oriya king.

     The Jagannath temple kitchen in Puri is reputed to be the largest kitchen in the world, with 400 cooks working around 200 hearths to feed over 10,000 people each day.



The state is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to an elected unicameral legislature and by a governor appointed by the president of India.

     Assembly Election Results of Orissa

     List of political parties in the state


Orissa is home to many colleges and universities, deemed and otherwise.

The ruins of a major ancient university and center of Buddhist learning, Ratnagiri, was recently discovered in Orissa. Scholars from far away lands, such as Greece, Persia and China used to study philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and science at this famed University. Taxila, Nalanda and Ratnagiri are the oldest universities in the world. The ruins of Ratnagiri University have not been fully excavated yet.

     Education on Orissa, Bhubaneswar

Research Institutes

     Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar


     Utkal University, Bhubaneswar.

     Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar.

     Fakir Mohan University, Byasa Vihar, Balasore.

     Berhampur University, Bhanja Vihar, Berhampur.

     Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar.

     Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Sambalpur.

     Sri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishvavidhyalaya (University), Puri.

     Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Rourkela.

     Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar.

     North Orissa University, Mayurbhanj.

     Khallikote Autonomous College, Berhampur.

Management Colleges

     Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar

     Academy of Management Studies, Bhubaneshwar

     Athgarh GS College, Athgarh

     Sumani Devi Institute of Management & Technology,Bhubaneswar

General Colleges

     Swami Vivekanand Memorial(SVM) College), Jagatsinghpur]

     Banki College, Banki.

     Devi Kandal Nityanand College, Laxmi Nrusingha Nagar,Cuttack

     Alaka Mahavidyalaya, Anakhia, Jagatsinghpur

     Redhua College, Redhua, Jagatsinghpur

     Biju Pattanaik College, Antei, Kendrapara

     Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar (BJB) College, Bhubaneswar

     Capital Law College, Bhubaneswar

     College of basic science and humanities

     Fakir Mohan (FM) College, Balasore

     Kendrapara College,Kendrapara

     Khallikote Autonomous College, Berhampur

     Gokulananda Law College, Laxmisagar, Bhubaneswar

     Narasingh Choudhary (NC)College(Autonomous), Jajpur

     Nayagarh Collage Nayagarh

     Rama Devi (RD) Women's Collage, Bhubaneswar

     Ravenshaw College, Cuttack

     Samanta Chandra Sekhar (SCS) College, Puri

     Bhadrak College,Bhadrak

     Sayala Vala (SV) Women's College, Cuttack

     Government College, Sundargarh

     Vikram Dev College, Jeypore, Koraput

     Gangadhar Meher College,Sambalpur

     Rayagada College, Rayagada

     Rama Chandra Mardaraj Science College, Khallikote

Engineering Colleges

     Krupajal Engineering College, Bhubaneswar.

     Ajay Binay Institute of Technology,Cuttack

     C.V.Raman Engineering College, Bhubaneswar (affiliated to Utkal University).

     College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar.

     Eastern Academy of Science & Technology,Bhubaneswar

     Ghanshyam Hemalata Institute of Technology and Management,Puri.

     Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology (IGIT), Sarang (affiliated to Utkal University). - unofficial website

     Institute Of Technical Education And Research (I.T.E.R), Bhubaneswar

     Jagannath Institute of Technology and Management, Paralakhemundi.

     Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (Deemed University), Bhubaneswar.

     Mahavir Institute Of Engineering & Technology,Bhubaneswar

     National Institute of Science & Technology, Berhampur.

     National Institute of Technology, Rourkela.

     Orissa Engineering College, Bhubaneswar.

     Regional Engineering College (REC), Rourkela.

     Seemanta Engineering College, Mayurbhanja (affiliated to North Orissa University)

     Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar

     Synergy Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dhenkanal

     University College of Engineering, Burla

Alumni Associations, Engineering Colleges

     Alumni Association, NIT, Rourkela, Rourkela

     Alumni Association, UCE, Burla, Burla


Medical Colleges

     Shri Ramachandra Bhanj Medical College, Cuttack

     Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati Dev Medical College, Berhampur

     Veer Surendra Sai Medical College, Burla, Sambalpur

     Institute of Health Sciences, Bhubaneswar

Rehabilitative Education

     Institute of Health Sciences, Bhubaneswar

     Training Centre for Teachers of the Visually Handicapped, Bhubaneswar

     Chetna Institute for the Mentally Handicapped (Jewels International), Bhubaneswar

     National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, Olatpur

     Training Centre for Teachers of the Deaf (A Joint Project of State Govt. & AYJNIHH, Bhubaneswar

     Open Learning System, Bhubaneswar

     Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre, Bhubaneswar

Ayurvedic Colleges

     Gopabandhu Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Puri

     Government Ayurveda College, Balangir

     K.A.T.S. Ayurvedic College, Berhampur, Ganjam

     Nrusingh Nath Ayurvedic College, Paikmal, Sambalpur

     Indira Gandhi Ayurvedic College, Bhubaneswar

     Ayurvedic College, Baripada

Homoeopathic Colleges

     Dr. Abhina Chandra Homoeopathic Medical College, Bhubaneswar

     Govt. Homoeopathic Medical College, Berhampur


Notable Schools

     Buxi Jagabandhu English Medium School(B.J.E.M.School),Bhubaneswar.


Orissa is connected to India and to the world through roads, airports, and seaports.


     Biju Patnaik Airport


     Port of Paradip
































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