Orissa

Orissa

 
Orissa is an attractive treasure house of cultures and customs, religions and traditions, languages and literature, art and architecture, scenic beauties and wildlife. Situated on the eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, Orissa stands for its ancient glory and modern endeavour. The state once formed a part of Kalinga kingdom which is best known in ancient history for its brave resistance against the invasion of the Mauryan King Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., who ultimately conquered it . That the emperor turned to Buddhism and peace after witnessing the bloodshed in this war is well known. This also formed the turning point in the history of Orissa giving a boost to art and architecture in the ancient kingdom.



 
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Major Tourist Destnations in Orissa:
Balasore Berhampur Bhubaneswar
Chilika Cuttack Dhenkanal
Jeypore Konark Phulbani
Puri Rourkela Sambalpur

Orissa is an attractive treasure house of cultures and customs, religions and traditions, languages and literature, art and architecture, scenic beauties and wildlife. Situated on the eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, Orissa stands for its ancient glory and modern endeavour. The state once formed a part of Kalinga kingdom which is best known in ancient history for its brave resistance against the invasion of the Mauryan King Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., who ultimately conquered it . That the emperor turned to Buddhism and peace after witnessing the bloodshed in this war is well known. This also formed the turning point in the history of Orissa giving a boost to art and architecture in the ancient kingdom. The state rose to prominence as a kingdom under Kharavela, a great conqueror and patron of Jainism, in the second half of the 1st century B.C. Other great rulers were the kings of the Kesari dynasty and the Eastern Ganga dynasty who were also great builders.

Orissa was separated from Bihar and came into existence on 1 April 1936. The capital was established at the historic city of Cuttack, located at the apex of the Mahanadi delta. In 1956, it shifted to Bhubaneswar, a planned modern town of the post-independence period.

Orissa is endowed with nature's bounty including a 482 km stretch of coastline with virgin beaches, serpentine rivers & waterfalls and forest-clad blue hills of Eastern Ghats with rich wild life. Orissa is dotted with exquisite temples, historic monuments as well as pieces of modern engineering feat. The land, while retaining its pristine glory, also offers the visitors modern amenities. Its lush green countryside and fertile plains, tiny hamlets fringed with palm, coconut trees and mango groves offer the charm of rural beauty while the urban pockets, the four cities in particular, with the splendour of modern technology provide the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay. This wonderful land of fascinating beauty boasts of colourful festivals round the year. Orissa is also the land of unique handicrafts and other excellent artefacts.

Orissa has a long tradition of art and architecture. The early monuments date back to the third century B.C. The remnant of an Ashokan pillar, turned into a Siva Lingam and enshrined in the Bhaskaresvara temple at Bhubaneswar and the lion capital of an Ashokan pillar, presently in the State Museum, speak volumes of Orissa's past glory. The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri and Udaygiri and the inscriptions recording Kharavela's short but eventful reign during the first century B.C. constitute the second phase of the evolution in Orissan art. The Naga and Yaksha images found in places around Bhubaneswar belong to the post-Kharavela era. The fortification of Sisupalgarh near Bhubaneswar is yet another monument of ancient Orissa.

Orissa is also known for exquisite handicrafts. Silver filigree work of Cuttack, horn work of Cuttack and Parlakhemundi and the famous appliqué work of Pipili deserve special mention. Pattachitra, a form of folk painting of Orissa, is a unique craft. Brass and bell metal ware, particularly vases and candle stands, are beautiful and long lasting. The black stone bowls and plates of Nilagiri and Khiching and multi-coloured stone statues are other attractions. Silk and cotton handloom products, especially saris are simply bewitching. The Sambalpuri saris and Maniabandhi patas are matchless in their texture and designs.

Since prehistoric days the land of Orissa has been inhabited by various people. The earliest settlers of Orissa were primitive hill tribes. Although prehistoric communities cannot be identified, it is well known that tribes like Saora or Sabar from the Mahabharata days had inhabited Orissa. Saora in the hills and the Sahara and Sabar of the plains continue to be an important tribe distributed almost all over Orissa. 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. Most of the tribal people and much of the population in Orissa belong to the Australoid group in racial history, while most of the general population belong to the broad-headed Alpinoid type. Besides this, a sprinkling of Mediterranean type is found in the general population.

Fast Facts

Area: 155,707 Sq Km
Capital: Bhubaneswar
Language: Oriya
Average Rainfall: 200 C.M.
Climate: Tropical Monsoon
Geographical Corodinates:
Latitude 17o 49'N to 22 o 34'N
Longitude 81o 29'E to 87 o 29'E
Borders: West Bengal in north-east, Bihar in the north, Madhya Pradesh in the west, Andhra Pradesh in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east.

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