It is one of Indian state situated near Bay of Bengal which was formerly known as Orissa. It is bounded by west Bengal in the north east, in the north lays Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh to the south. It consists of 30 districts and its capital is Bhubaneswar. Oriya and English are widely spoken languages here. It encompasses an area of around 1, 55,707 square kilometers. The state offers many attractions for tourists ranging from lush green forests to coastal plains, swirling rivers.
Geography of Orissa: State of Orissa can be divided into three main regions: the Coastal plains, the Middle mountainous area and Coastal Plains. River Subarnarekha flows in the north and River Rushikulya in the south. There can be seen many deltas made by big rivers. Majority of the state is covered with hills and mountains of Eastern Ghats which incline dramatically towards the east slope in the direction of north -west.
History of Orissa: Orissa was known as Kalinga in the ancient period. Many dynasties ruled the state at different time period. During the second century AD Kharavela setup a powerful kingdom and Guptas conquered the area in 4th century AD but during tenth century Bhaumakara dynasty dominated the state followed by the Soma dynasty. Gangas were in power during 11th and 12th century. Muslim sultanate impacted the state till 1568 which was followed by Mughal emperors, who influenced the state till death of Aurangzeb. After the downfall of Mughals, Nawab of Hyderabad and Marathas took the charge till East India Company came and overpowered in 1803AD.
Economy of Orissa:
Agriculture: Much of the land of the state is either unfertile or unproductive for the crop still one- fourth of the gross product of the state contributes due to agriculture. Two- third of the population is engaged in farming. Rice is grown on more than half of the total land cultivated. Apart from rice, pulses, vegetables, cereals, corn, jute sugarcane, coconut and oilseeds are also among the major crops of the state. Farmers have to content with even low production due some unfavorable conditions like less sunlight, less fertile soil and less rains.
Resources and power: Orissa is blessed with significant production of chromite, graphite,nickel and high quality iron core. Area’s large scale industries are dependent on Orissa for supply of coal from Talcher, a place near city of Dhenkanal. It has many robust power plants which cater the need of power and irrigation to the whole lower basin.
Manufacturing: As the state is rich in natural resources, there are many large as well as small scale industries including cement, aluminum, fertilizers, steel, ferromanganese and many more. Apart from these, there are many sugar mills, rice mills and cotton mills also.
Modes of Transportation: Discovery of mineral resources in the state led to a very good construction of roads connecting it to the other parts of the country. Nowadays, most of the rivers have bridges and national highways and main roads are wide spread. Besides, it is well connected with railway lines and main railway stations are situated at Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Cuttack, Khurda and Balsore. Bubhaneshwar also has a domestic air port too.
Health and Welfare: Before mid 20th century, Orissa used to be in the grip of epidemics like cholera, smallpox, leprosy and tuberculosis. A fatal disease of filariasis was much prominent in the area. In addition, rate of malaria was also too high along the coastal belt. But, later many remedial programs were initiated by then government which did commendable job in reducing the number and frequency of such diseases. Still many diseases like AIDS and cancer are matter of concern. Various programs and schemes are in progress which aim at educating, creating awareness and many other works.
Food of Orissa:
Due to proximity and similarity with neighboring states it shares same food and tastes which include mainly rice and vegetables which are grown in plenty there. Though the food is simple yet delicious. Most of the people are religious minded thus vegetarian. However, some of them eat fish, prawns, and crabs etc too.
Education in Orissa:
Orissa boasts of having oldest universities of the world like Nalanda,Taxila and Ratnagiri. In modern Orissa many renowned universities are imparting education like , Berhampur University, Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Farik Mohan Univerisity , Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and many more.
Dance and Music of Orissa:
Orissi is considered one of the oldest classical dance forms of India. This dance is exhibit the holy love Lord Krishna and Radha. There are many folk dances and folk theatres too. Chhau is a fine example of non verbal theatres which mixes various dance forms and preserves the heritage of theatre tradition. Main elements of dance are Jatra Danda- Natak Prahaladnatak and many more.
Temples of Orissa: Being dotted with many popular temples Orissa attracts many pilgrims from all parts of the country. Some of them are:
Jagnnath Temple( Puri):
It is one of ‘Char Dhams’ of Hindu Pilgrimage and belongs to 11thcentury. The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and most visited place in the state. Devotees visit the place to get Darshan of Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra. It is a fine example of old architecture and designing. According to the legendry, in Kirti Yuga, the real image of God had power to award ‘Moksha’ to anyone who witnessed it but Yamaraja did like the idea and hid the image at some unknown place. So, during ‘Dvapar Yuga’ Lord Vishnu recreated the image with the help of wooden logs and established in present day’s temple which is lacking in hands. On special occasions all the idols are dressed up in different attires. Architectural designing of the temple resembles to many other temples in Orissa. It is in the largest temple of the state. It is surrounded by a boundary wall with a gate on each wall. It has pyramid shaped roof and wheel on the top is made up of alloy of eight metals.
Konark Sun Temple:
Konark boasts of having the most fascinating and religious monument which symbolizes the proud architectural era of Orissa. It was built in 13th century by King Narasimhadeva. It is designed in the shape of a chariot with seven horses and 12 wheels transporting the sun God, Surya across heaven.
It is very near to the famous temple of Jagannath (35km) and only 65 km from heart of the city Bhubaneshwar. The name of the temple Konark is derived from two words, Kona means corner and Arka means the Sun. As per legends, Lord Vishnu killed devil Gyasur and kept his belongings at various places to venerate the conquest. He placed his conch at Puri, Disc at Bubaneshwar and lotus at Konark. As per mythology, once, Samba son of Lord Krishna got infected with Leprosy because of the curse given by his own father. So, Lord Krishna observed strict penance for 12 years and pleased god Surya who has supreme power to cure all skin diseases. In gratefulness, he got the temple built.
Famous for its extra ordinary architectural designing and vibrant proportions, it is one of the most famous temples of Orissa. The peculiarity of this temple is that its every inch is carved and its height is 35 feet which is lavishly sculpted and planned. Its gate is also magnificently arched and ornamented. Along the temple is a large well which is believed to have extra ordinary curing powers. It is believed to be built in 950AD.
Situated in the heart of city Bhubaneswar, Lingaraj Temple is a stunning success of old Oriya architecture. This 180 feet huge structure has enormous boundary wall which is 520 feet long and 465 wide. The height of the temple itself is 180 feet making it stand tall among all smaller structures. Their premise is spread over the area of 10 miles. The temple is dedicated to Lord Tribhubaneswar and it was reconstructed in 11th century. The walls of the temple illustrate supreme carvings of cult deities, animal motifs, Nayika and Mithuna images and many more artifacts.
Erected in the 11th century, Rajarani temple is well known for its interiors and exteriors. It resembles to temple of Khajuraho to a great extent. It is situated amongst well maintained gardens. It houses sculptured figures and a 18 m high tower made of tiers. The Shrine has eight sculptured guardians standing at eight directions around the place.
The temple is also known for its beautiful Nayikas carved in emotional and attractive poses like playing with a bird, caressing a child, taking off her anklet, holding branches of a tree and so on.
Sri Sri Baladev Jew Temple, Kendrapada Odissa:
It is located in tiny town Ichhapur in Kendrapara district. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. Idols of Devi Subhadra and Jagannath are also worshipped by the devotees. It is spread the area of 2 acres of land and divided into two parts mainly. In one part, there are temples and in another part, a beautiful garden is made. The temple is surrounded by a 14 meter high boundary wall and temple itself is 75 feet high. There are other small temples too inside the premises and Ratna Bhandar, Garuda Stambha , Snana Mandap, Jhulan Gruha are some other attractions of the temple. All the temples here are constructed are in fascinating and traditional architecture.
Ambika temple and Devkund Waterfall:
Surrounded by beautiful waterfalls of Devkunda and thick forests Ambika temple is dedicated to Goddess Ambika , an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The place is religious as well as a popular picnic spot. Constructed during 1940’s by royal dynasty of Mayurbhanj offers a perfect place for visitors where one can enjoy beauty of nature and hear chirping of birds. There is a devkunda water of this place is considered holy by devotees.
Baliharchandi Mandira, Puri:
This temple is located at distance of 27 km towards south west of Puri on national highway. It is dedicated to Goddess Harachandi an incarnation of goddess Durga and is situated on a hill top near the ocean. Many pilgrims visit the temple and great rush is witnessed during Navratras.
It is situated on hill of the mountain of Eastern Ghat at Nilagiri in Baleswar district. Its picturesque beauty attracts devotees as well as tourists all over the country. Devotees visit this place to get Darshan of Shiva Linga and pay obeisance. Journey through thick forests and mountains is enchanting and amazing. One can enjoy panoramic view of the surroundings while climbing stairs of the temple. Natural flora and fauna as well spring at the top provides perfect feast for the eyes and makes it a memorable journey.
Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar:
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the oldest temples in the vicinity which attracts thousands of devotees here. Not only oldest but also one of the biggest temple which is spread over vast area. It has a solid boundary wall meant to protect it from any kind of aggression. Peculiarity of this place is that Lingaraj is half Shiva and half Vishnu. He is offered Bel and Tulsi leaf. On the top of the temple a bow is places whereas in other temples Trishul is usually kept. Courtyard of this temple houses many small temples of other deities too.
Kapilasa Mahadev Temple, Dhenkanal: Constructed by King Narasinghdeva 1 of Ganga Dynasty in 1246 A.D. the temple is situated at a height of 2239 feet above sea level though height of the tower is 60 feet. There are two Kundas, one is Marichi Kunda and another one is Payamrta Kunda. Other deities like Jaamohana, Sri Ganesha, Kartikeya and Gangadevi are also installed there. The place has great significance as according to legends it was an Ashram of Kapila as well second Kailash Parvat of Lord Shiva.
Maa Tarini Temple, Keonjhar:
Maa Tarini is considered as a governing deity of all Shaki and Tantra shrines in Orissa. She is considered the force of life and protection. She is incarnation of Maa Durga and revered with great faith by both tribal and localities.
Tourism in Orrisa: The state is dotted with ample tourist attractions. Few of them are:
It is sacred place for thousands of devotees who visit it to take holy dip and pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath. Beach lover throng this place especially during annual Beach Festival that takes place in November. It lies in the close proximity of Sun Temple as well as Bhubaneshwar. The beaches of Puri popular for sand sculptures made by world famous artist Sudarshan Patnaik.
Nestled in the heart of coastal Orissa is one of Asia’s largest lake which is almost 1160 sq km to 905 sq km. It is home to a variety of birds and that’s why one of the most famous wetlands of the world. Between November and February, one can have beautiful view of more than 160 species of migratory birds belonging to different parts of the world. Birds like sea eagles, ospreys, golden plovers, sand pipers, pelicans, flamingo gulls and many can be commonly seen here.
Bhitarkanika National Park:
It is one of the most fascinating and famous wildlife sanctuaries of Asia. Peculiarity of Bhitarkanika National Park is that there are many vibrant and salt tolerant species of trees and lush eco system. It is located in the north eastern part of Kendrapara district of Orissa. It is spread over the area of 672 sq km with mangrove forests and wetland. It also houses avifauna, mammalians and varieties of reptiles like King Cobra, Monitor Lizard and Indian Python are prevalent there.
Mahendragiri is a beautiful tourist attraction located in the Palakhemundi region of Gajapati district. It is situated at an altitude of 5000 feet above sea level. What the place has to offer are its lush green forests, unusual mountains and free flowing stream of Mahendra Tanya. Far from the maddening crowd of the cities, the place provides solace the tourists and make it a memorable moment forever.
They are located just 6 km from city Bhubaneshwar and illustrate India’s rich archeological leftovers the luxurious past. 15 caves of Khandagiri were home to Jain scholars and hermits during bygone era. One can see holy text inscriptions on the walls of these caves. Apart from this, walls are tastefully decorated with motifs and attractive paintings.
They consist of 18 rock cut caves which exhibit inheritance of ancient history. The caves were constructed with the concept of giving shelter to Jain hermits and scholars who gave up the worldly pleasure to seek peace. Walls of the cave are decorated with beautiful images of animals and human beings. Attractive portraits of the old kings showing victory over the enemies are carved on the walls.
How to reach Orissa:
Direct flights to Bhubaneshwar are available from all parts of the country.
Rain journey to Orissa is advisable as it is both comfortable as well as scenically charming. Nearest railway station is located at Bhubaneshwar.
Being located on National highway, there is web of roads across the state thus making it accessible from all parts of the country.
Page Title: State of Orissa Can Be Divided into Three Main Regions
Keywords: How to reach Orissa, Udayagiri Caves, Khandagiri Caves, Mahendragiri, Bhitarkanika National Park, Chilka Lake, Puri Beach, Tourism in Orrisa, Maa Tarini Temple Keonjhar, Paanchakingeshwar Temple, Baliharchandi Mandira