Odisha is one of the 29 states of India, located in the eastern coast. It is surrounded by the states of West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west, and Andhra Pradesh to the south and south-west. Odisha has 485 kilometres (301 mi) of coastline along the Bay of Bengal on its east, from Balasore to Malkangiri. It is the 9th largest state by area, and the 11th largest by population. Odia (formerly known as Oriya) is the official and most widely spoken language, spoken by 33.2 million according to the 2001 Census.
The ancient kingdom of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 261 BCE resulting in the Kalinga War, coincides with the borders of modern-day Odisha. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April 1936, as a province in British India, and consisted predominantly of Odia-speaking regions. April 1 is celebrated as Odisha Day. The region is also known as Utkala and is mentioned in India's national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana". Cuttack was made the capital of the region by Anantavarman Chodaganga in c. 1135, after which the city was used as the capital by many rulers, through the British era until 1948. Thereafter, Bhubaneswar became the capital of Odisha.
The term "Odisha" is derived from the ancient Prakrit word "Odda Visaya" (also "Udra Bibhasha" or "Odra Bibhasha") as in the Tirumalai inscription of Rajendra Chola I, which is dated to 1025. Sarala Das, who translated the Mahabharata into the Odia language in the 15th century, calls the region Odra Rashtra and Odisha. The inscriptions of Kapilendra Deva of the Gajapati Kingdom (1435–67) on the walls of temples in Puri call the region Odisha or Odisha Rajya.
The name of the state was changed from Orissa to Odisha, and the name of its language from Oriya to Odia, in 2011, by the passage of the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 and the Constitution (113th Amendment) Bill, 2010 in the Parliament. After a brief debate, the lower house, Lok Sabha, passed the bill and amendment on 9 November 2010. On 24 March 2011, Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, also passed the bill and the amendment.
Prehistoric Acheulian tools dating to Lower Paleolithic era have been discovered in various places in the region, implying an early settlement by humans. Kalinga has been mentioned in ancient texts like Mahabharata, Vayu Purana and Mahagovinda Suttanta. The Sabar people of Odisha have also been mentioned in the Mahabharata. Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as not yet being influenced by Vedic traditions, implying it followed mostly tribal traditions.
Hathigumpha on the Udayagiri Hills built in c. 150 BCE
Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty conquered Kalinga in the bloody Kalinga War in 261 BCE, which was the eighth year of his reign. According to his own edicts, in that war about 100,000 people were killed, 150,000 were captured and several more were affected. The resulting bloodshed and suffering of the war is said to have deeply affected Ashoka. He turned into a pacifist and converted to Buddhism.
By c. 150 CE, emperor Kharavela, who was possibly a contemporary of Demetrius I of Bactria, conquered a major part of the Indian sub-continent. Kharavela was a Jain ruler. He also built the monastery atop the Udayagiri hill. Subsequently, the region was ruled by monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Shashanka. It was also a part of Harsha's empire.
Later, the kings of the Somavamsi dynasty began to unite the region. By the reign of Yayati II, c. 1025 CE, they had integrated the region into a single kingdom. Yayati II is supposed to have built the Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar. They were replaced by the Eastern Ganga dynasty. Notable rulers of the dynasty were Anantavarman Chodaganga, who began construction on the present-day Jagannath Temple in Puri (c. 1135), and Narasimhadeva I, who constructed the Konark temple (c. 1250).
The Eastern Ganga Dynasty was followed by the Gajapati Kingdom. The region resisted integration into the Mughal empire until 1568, when it was conquered by Sultanate of Bengal. Mukunda Deva, who is considered the last independent king of Kalinga, was defeated and was killed in battle by a rebel Ramachandra Bhanja. Ramachandra Bhanja himself was killed by Bayazid Khan Karrani. In 1591, Man Singh I, then governor of Bihar, led an army to take Odisha from the Karranis of Bengal. They agreed to treaty because their leader Qutlu Khan Lohani had recently died. But, they then broke the treaty by attacking the temple town of Puri. Man Singh returned in 1592 and pacified the region. In 1751, the Nawab of Bengal Alivardi Khan ceded the region to the Maratha Empire.
The British had occupied the Northern Circars comprising the southern coast of Odisha as a result of the 2nd Carnatic War by 1760, and incorporated them into the Madras Presidency gradually. In 1803, the British ousted the Marathas from the Puri-Cuttack region of Odisha during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The northern and western districts of Odisha were incorporated into the Bengal Presidency.
The Orissa famine of 1866 caused an estimated 1 million deaths. Following this, large-scale irrigation projects were undertaken. In 1903, the Utkal Sammilani organisation was founded to demand the unification of Odia-speaking regions into one state. On 1 April 1912, the Bihar and Orissa Province was formed. On 1 April 1936, Bihar and Orissa were split into separate provinces. The new province of Orissa came into existence on a linguistic basis during the British rule in India, with Sir John Austen Hubback as the first governor. Following India's independence, on 15 August 1947, 27 princely states signed the document to join Orissa.
Odisha lies between the latitudes 17.780N and 22.730N, and between longitudes 81.37E and 87.53E. The state has an area of 155,707 km2, which is 4.87% of total area of India, and a coastline of 450 km. In the eastern part of the state lies the coastal plain. It extends from the Subarnarekha River in the north to the Rushikulya river in the south. The lake Chilika is part of the coastal plains. The plains are rich in fertile silt deposited by the six major rivers flowing into the Bay of Bengal: Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Baitarani, Brahmani, Mahanadi and Rushikulya. The Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), a Food and Agriculture Organization-recognised rice gene bank and research institute, is situated on the banks of Mahanadi in Cuttack. Three-quarters of the state is covered in mountain ranges. Deep and broad valleys have been made in them by rivers. These valleys have fertile soil and are densely populated. Odisha also has plateaus and rolling uplands, which have lower elevation than the plateaus. The highest point in the state is Deomali at 1672 metres. The other high peaks are: Sinkaram (1620 m), Golikoda (1617 m), and Yendrika (1582 metres)
Odia is the language spoken by the majority of the people of the state. English is widely used for official purpose and Odia is used as regional language. Odia belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family, and is closely related to Bengali and Assamese. A few tribal languages belonging to the Dravidian and Munda language families are spoken by the Adivasis of the state. The capital city of Bhubaneshwar is known for the exquisite temples that dot its landscape. The classical dance form Odissi originated in Odisha. Contemporary Odisha has a cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three religious traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The culture of the Adivasis is an integral part of modern Odia heritage.
Orissa Ikat is a woven silk product of this region that also is known as "Bandha of Orissa". It is made through a process of tie-dying the warp and weft threads to create the design on the loom prior to weaving. It is unlike any other ikat woven in the rest of the country due to its design process, which has been called "poetry on the loom."
Odisha has a culinary tradition spanning centuries. The kitchen of the Jagannath Temple, Puri is reputed to be the largest in the world, with 1,000 chefs, working around 752 wood-burning clay hearths called chulas, to feed over 10,000 people each day.
The syrupy dessert rasgulla is known throughout the world as an Odisha dessert. Chhenapoda is another major Odisha sweet cuisine, which originated in Nayagarh.
The history of Odia literature has been delineated by historians and linguists along the following stages: Old Odia (900–1300 AD), Early Middle Odia (1300–1500 AD), Middle Odia (1500–1700 AD), Late Middle Odia (1700 AD–1850 AD) and Modern Odia (from 1850 AD to the present).
Odissi (Orissi) dance and music are classical art forms. Odissi is the oldest surviving dance form in India on the basis of archaeological evidence. Odissi has a long, unbroken tradition of 2,000 years, and finds mention in the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni, possibly written c. 200 BC. However, the dance form nearly became extinct during the British period, only to be revived after India's independence by a few gurus.
The variety of dances includes Ghumura Dance, Chhau dance, Mahari dance, and Gotipua.
The cinema of Odisha is famous throughout India and growing every year by a large margin as people are liking Ollywood movies now. After the first Odia film Sita Bibaha in 1936, only two films were produced till 1951. A joint consortium of landlords and businessmen who collected funds after 1948 produced those two movies. Sita Bibaha was directed by Mohan Sunder Dev Goswami and was released in Laxmi Theatre, Puri. The 1951 production Roles to Eight was the first Odia film with an English name. It was released after 15 years after Sita Bibaha. It was the fourth Odia film produced by Ratikanta Padhi. The eleventh Odia film Sri Lokenath was the first Odia film that got a National Award in 1960; it was directed by Prafulla Sengupta.
One of the major trailblazers and pioneers of the Odia film industry were Gour Prasad Ghose and his wife, Parbati Ghose. They introduced and mastered innovative ways of technical storytelling. Over the years, some of their most notable films such as Maa and Kaa brought them national fame and numerous awards, including many National and lifetime achievement awards for their contribution to cinema as directors, producers and actors.
The same year, Prasant Nanda won a National Award as best actor for Nua Bou, his debut film. The name of Prasant Nanda always comes up when dealing with the Odia film industry. He was present in Odia films since 1939, but he became active only after 1976. Nanda served Ollywood as an actor, director, screenplay writer, lyricist and even as a playback singer. Such a versatile genius is quite rare in Indian cinema history. Nanda alone carried Odia films into the national honour list by winning National Awards three times in 1960, 1966 and 1969 for his acting in Nua Bou, Matira Manisha and Adina Megha.
Uttam Mohanty, whose debut film Abhiman won accolades all over, is now the veteran actor of the Odia film industry. His wife Aparajita Mohanty is a renowned actress. Sarat Pujari was one of the most popular actors of the 1960s. His popular films are Nua Bou, Jeevan Sathi, Sadhana, Manika Jodi, Naba Janma, Matira Manisa, Arundhati, Ghara Sansara, Bhookha, etc. His films portrayed the general condition of the state of Odisha with a strong social message. Sarat Pujari is a prominent figure. Apart from being an actor, he was also a successful director and an academician. He continues to act in a few select films; he is enjoying his retired life and writes columns in the newspapers as his hobby. Raju Mishra is another rising star in Odia film industry. He is an international award-winning photographer, director, choreographer and lyricist of Ollywood. Other well-known actors are Bijay Mohanty, Sriram Panda, Mihir Das, Siddhanta Mahapatra, Mahasweta Ray, Tandra Ray, Anubhav Mohanty and Babushan Mohanty.
Konark Sun Temple built by the Eastern Ganga dynasty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 16th century witnessed the compilation of literature on music. The four important treatises written during that time are Sangitamava Chandrika, Natya Manorama, Sangita Kalalata and Gita Prakasha. Odissi music is a combination of four distinctive kinds of music, namely, Chitrapada, Dhruvapada, Panchal and Chitrakala. When music uses artwork, it is known as Chitikala. A unique feature of Odia music is the Padi, which consists of singing of words in fast beat.
Being a part of the rich culture of Odisha, its music is also as much charming and colourful. Odissi music is more than two thousand five hundred years old and comprises a number of categories. Of these, the five broad ones are tribal music, folk music, light music, light-classical music and classical music. Anyone who is trying to understand the culture of Odisha must take into account its music, which essentially forms a part of its legacy.
In the ancient times, there were poets who wrote the lyrics of poems and songs that were sung to rouse the religious feelings of people. It was by the 11th century that the music of Odisha, in the form of Triswari, Chatuhswari, and Panchaswari, underwent transformation and was converted into the classical style.
Folk music like Jhumar, Yogi Gita, Kendara Gita, Dhuduki Badya, Prahallad Natak, Palla, Sankirtan, Mogal Tamasa, Gitinatya, Kandhei Nacha, Kela Nacha, Ghoda Nacha, Danda Nacha and Daskathia are popular in Odisha. Almost every tribal group has their own unique distinct songs and dance styles in Odisha.
The anthem of Odisha is "Bande Utkala Janani" (de facto) written by Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra. When Odisha became independent on 1 April 1936, this poem was made the state anthem of Odisha.
Apart from these Sambalpuri Songs are very famous in the state as well as neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Chattishgarh etc. Some of them like "Rangabati" and "Ekda Ekda" are famous worldwide.
Other cultural attractions include the 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 (palm leaf paintings), famous stone utensils of Nilgiri (Balasore) and various tribal influenced cultures. The Sun temple at Konark is famous for its architectural splendour and erotic sculpture, while the 'Sambalpuri textiles' equals it in its artistic grandeur. The sari of Odisha is much in demand throughout the entire world. The different colours and varieties of sarees in Odisha make them very popular among the women of the state. The handloom sarees available in Odisha can be of four major types; these are Ikat, Bandha, Bomkai and Pasapalli. Odisha sarees are also available in other colours like cream, maroon, brown and rust. The tie-and-dye technique used by the weavers of Odisha to create motifs on these sarees is unique to this region. This technique also gives the sarees of Odisha an identity of their own.
Odisha is mainly known for its rich culture and the enormous number of ancient temples. The temples of Odisha conform to the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture, with distinctive features specific to this region. The best known of these are the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple, Puri and the Konark Sun Temple. Raghunath Temple in the town of Odagaon, Nayagarh district is an important pilgrimage centre. The temples of Odisha exhibit a majestic grandeur. An Odia temple (deula) usually consists of a sanctum, one or several front porches (Jagamohana) usually with pyramidal roofs, a dancing hall (nata mandira) and a hall of offerings (bhog mandira).
The Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar has a 150-foot (46 m) high deula while the Jagannath Temple, Puri is about 200 feet (61 m) high and dominates the skyline. Only a portion of the Konark Sun Temple, the largest of the temples of the "Holy Golden Triangle" exists today, and it is still staggering in size. It stands out as a masterpiece in Odisha architecture. Sarala Temple, regarded as one of the most spiritually elevated expressions of Shaktism is in Jagatsinghpur district. It is also one of the holiest places in Odisha & a major tourist attraction. Maa tarini temple situated in Kendujhar district is also a famous pilgrimage destination. Every day thousands of coconuts are given to Maa Tarini by devotees for fulfilling their wishes.
Odisha is also well known for its Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destinations. Northeast of Cuttack, about 10 km (6 mi) from Bhubaneswar, there are Buddhist relics and ruins at the three hilltop complexes of Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, which bear witness to Buddhism's fruitful tryst with this region until well into the 13th century. There is Dhauli with a large statue of Buddha which brings international Buddhist tourists to Odisha.
Odisha's varying topography – from the wooded Eastern Ghats to the fertile river basin – has proven ideal for evolution of compact and unique ecosystems. This creates treasure troves of flora and fauna that are inviting to many migratory species of birds and reptiles. Bhitarkanika National Park is famous for its second largest mangrove ecosystem. The bird sanctuary in Chilika Lake (Asia's largest brackish water lake) and the tiger reserve and waterfalls in Simlipal National Park are integral parts eco-tourism in Odisha, arranged by Odisha Tourism. Daringbadi, known as "Kashmir of Odisha," is a hill station in the Kandhamal district of Odisha.
The Gharial Sanctuary at Tikarpada and the olive ridley sea turtles in Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary are on the list of avid nature watchers. The city wildlife sanctuaries of Chandaka and Nandankanan Zoological Park are must-visit sites for the lessons they teach in conservation and revitalisation of species from the brink of extinction.
Odisha is blessed with around 500 km (311 mi) long coastline and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Chilika lake provides a haven for millions of birds and is one of the few places in India where one can view dolphins. The lush green forest cover of Odisha plays host to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the famed royal Bengal tiger. Amidst the picturesque hills and valleys nestle breathtaking waterfalls and rivulets that attract visitors from all over. Odisha beaches include Chandipur Beach, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Konark Beach, Astaranga Beach, Talsari Beach, Pata Sonapur Beach, Satpada Beach, Baleshwar Beach, Paradeep Beach, Satabhaya Beach, Gahirmatha Beach, Puri Beach, Ramachandi Beach, Malud Beach, Baliharachandi Beach etc.