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
Orissa, one of the 25 states of India, is the best
of ancient and modern India. It is the one of the areas where people share a strong
sense of holiness, a sense of belonging and attachment to their beautiful land,
and cherish their enduring links with the past. It contains exquisite temples,
superb monuments, inviting beaches, enchanting wildlife and astonishing natural
landscapes. It is a must on the itinerary of any tourist visiting India.
The state capital Bhubaneswar offers an impressive combination of traditional
architecture and modern imput, due to a throroughly planned attempt to make the
city into a modern thriving town. Both within and in the surroundings of the capital,
there are several historically interesting temples and caves, such as the Udayagiri
and Khandagari caves. An impressive piece of Kalinga architecture, also listed
on the World Heritage list, is the General at Konark. Another place of interest
is Puri, one of the four holiest pilgrimage centres in India.
of Orissa is located in the east coast of India, bounded by the States of Andhra
Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Broadly the territory of the State
can be divided into four distinct regions: The Eastern plateau (the districts
Of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and the Palalahara, the latter being a subdivision
of the Dhenkanal district) is an undulating upland frequently intersected by hill
ranges.It slopes down from north to south. The Central River Basin (the districts
of Balangir, Sambalpur and Dhenkanal) is washed by many major rivers of the state
and contains some of the most fertile parts of the state. The Eastern Hill Region
to the south and south-west of the Central River Basin (erstwhile districts of
Phulbani, Ganjam and Koraput) comprise of wide open upland plateaus fringed by
forests. The Coastal Belt (the districts of Balasore, Cuttack, Puri and Konark
a portion of Ganjam) has extensive alluvial tracts in between the hills of the
west and the salty tracts of the east. Orissa, with her 156,000 sq. kms. of land,
13 percent of which is urbananized, is home to nearly 32 million people. The literacy
rate grazes below the national average of 52%.
Through the centuries,
Orissa has been a meeting place for various cultural migrations from different
parts of the country. The economic life of the people of Orissa centers mainly
around agriculture where one out of every four persons in Orissa is a tribal.
Any tourist is bound to get amazed by vast lands of varied kinds of agriculture
spread out throughout the state. At the same time, the state is on the threshhold
of an industrial growth with an emphasis electronics, iron and mine industries
and the production of cash crops such as tea, coffee and rubber.
of the most ancient and well known village in Orissa is Village Kusupur known
for village poet Nandakishore Bal. Modern literate Suryamani Jena and Artist Bimbadhar
Varma. Village Kusupur is also famous for its live traditional sword fighting
by the warrier class (kshetriyas) during Dussera Festival in the month of October
every year organised by Kusupur Dussera Sabha.
Dussera or Vijayadashami,
the tenth day of the bright half of Aswin is celebrated as the day of victory
to rejoice about Durga's triumph over the demon Mahishasura.
In the Indian
states including the state of Orissa, Dussera celebrates the homecoming of Rama
the hero of the epic Ramayana, after his victory over Ravana, the king of Lanka.
In vast open spaces, Ramleela, the folk play with music and spontaneous dialogues,
retelling the story of the life of Rama, are enacted till the wee hours. Songs
are sung in praise of Rama and people in thousands witness this traditional theatre
with its exaggerated costumes, jewellery, makeup and drama. Larger than life figures
of Ravana and other demons are burnt on cold dark nights with fireworks lighting
up the sky. In the traditional villages in the state of Orissa has their own way
of celebrating the Dussera. Traditional sword fighting were organised by the village
associations (Akharas) mostly from the warrior class (Kshetriyas). One of the
oldest tradition in the Orissa’s Village Kusupur is being kept alive for last
more than hundred years by Kusupur Dussera Sabha, which has the history of its
uniqueness in itself.
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 save 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.
population, concentrated on the coastal alluvial plain, is Oriya-speaking. The
interior, inhabited largely by aborigines, is hilly and mountainous. Orissa is
subject to intense cyclones; in October 1999, Tropical Cyclone 05B caused severe
damage and some 10,000 deaths.
holds the promise of becoming one of India's major manufacturing hubs in the near
future. Recently POSCO of South Korea has agreed to construct a mammoth $12 billion
steel plant, which would be the largest ever investment in India. Several other
steel majors have shown enough interest in setting up very large scale projects
in the state. Although Paradip is Orissa's only large port, the coastal towns
of Dhamra and Gopalpur are being developed into major ports as well.
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 Lord 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.
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. History and culture
is the state's official language. The state has a very opulent cultural heritage,
one of the richest in India, and the capital city of Bhubaneswar is known as the
temple city in India for its temples with rich heritage. Other popular cultural
interests include the well known Lord Jagannath 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.
has a glorious and ancient history spanning a period of over 2000 years. In ancient
times, it was the proud kingdom of Kalinga. Kalinga was a major seafaring nation
that controlled most of the sea routes in the Bay of Bengal. For several centuries,
a substantial part of Southeast Asia, such as Kampuchea (Cambodia), Java, Sumatra,
Bali and Thailand were colonies of Orissa. In fact the name of the country "Siam"
is derived from Oriya/Sanskrit Shyamadesha. The temple of Angkor Wat is a fine
example of Orissan architecture, with some local variations. Bali still retains
its Hindu Orissan 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 Kharavela. 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 would easily have rivaled
the Taj Mahal in splendor.
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.
During the dark ages of Indian civilization,
Orissa was ruled by a succession of Muslim kings. It was later annexed by emperor
Akbar and became part of the Mughal empire. After the fall of the Mughals, the
Marathas under Shivaji invaded the land and continued to rule until 1803 AD when
Orissa fell prey to the barbaric British. Modern Orissa was carved out of Bihar
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. The dynasties that ruled Orissa beginning in the
third century BC included:
The Vigrahas and the Mudgalas
After long resistance to the Muslims,
the region was overcome (1568) by Afghan invaders and passed to the Mughal empire.
After the fall of the Mughals, Orissa was divided between the Nawabs
of Bengal and the Marathas. In 1803 it was conquered by the British. The coastal
section, which was made (1912) part of Bihar and Orissa Province, became in 1936
the separate province of Orissa. In 1948 and 1949 the area of Orissa was almost
doubled and the population was increased by a third with the addition of 24 former
princely states. In 1950, Orissa became a constituent state of India. 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. 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.
people of Kalinga sided with the Kauravas during the great Mahabharata war (how
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.
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 "cathedral 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.
Sinhala (people of Sri Lanka) are named after Raja Jai Sinha, an ancient Oriya
Although conventional theory suggests that the Buddha
was born in Bihar or Nepal, some historians believe that the birthplace was in
Orissa. The Buddha's disciples from Orissa became the first Buddhists.
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
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. Following India's independence, Orissa has been severely
neglected by the central government in New Delhi. The government, which typically
has been formed by the Congress Party has made shockingly little investment in
transportation, infrastructure and education in Orissa, which is why Orissa lags
behind the other states. Only 20% of the road network is paved. In rural areas
more than 65% of the population have no access to safe drinking water. However
the state is blessed with abundant natural resources and a coastline, and is receiving
unprecedented investments in steel, aluminum, power, refineries and ports. The
state capital holds the promise of being one of the centers for softwarec technology
in India. It appears that the state is destined to become one of the industrial
powerhouses of India in a decade.
The aborgines or tribes, known as
Adivasis, constitute 24% of the population, belonging to 62 different ethnic communities.
Their traditional livelihood revolves 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
Sun worship Stone
work at KonarkKonark Temple
- This is also known as the Sun Temple and is
famous for its exquisite Orissan style of architecture. The sun temple was built
in the 13th century A.D. The Sun Temple (Surya Deul) at Konark 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.
Jagannath Temple (12th Century A.D.)
at Puri is Famous for Ratha Jatra
(Car Festival). Every year millions of devotees come to Puri during the Rathyatra.
It is a festival during which Jagannath along with his brother Ballabhadra and
sister Subhadra come out of the temple to meet their devotees.
city of Bhubaneshwar has some magnificient temples, including the Lingaraja temple,
and the Mukteswar temple.
here for Orissa Tour Package