Odisha - a state that lies on the eastern coast is a Quintessence of Rich Temple Culture in India. The land where many Kings established their kingdoms has left behind the legacy of a rich heritage that can be traced through alluring sculptured temples and captivating monuments. The intriguing tribal life, myriad dance forms, music, and rituals have been a high point of the state. The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar and the regional language of the state is Oriya. Best known for traditional tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, and adventure tourism, there is a lot more to the gem of a state.

History of Odisha

Odisha, a buried treasure has been a gold mine in the pages of history. Known as Kalinga  Utkal, Odra, and Koshala during various periods, Odisha has a chequered history of the monarchical imperium of different dynasties and assimilation of Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu cultures. It was also a dominant seafaring empire and had strong trade alliances with most of the seaports of the Bay of Bengal. 

The quintessential terrestrial location of Orissa, as it is formerly known, attracted the Magadhan Dynasty and Mauryan Dynasty who waged war to take charge of the rich coastal ports of Orissa. One of the main reasons for Ashoka's Kalinga War was to gain control over Tamralipta, Palora, Dosarin, Kannagara, Dantapur, Pithunda, and Manika Patana, which were strategically very important and were all located in ancient Orissa. Rich in resources, Odisha was once the biggest trader of diamonds, pearls, conch shells, indigo, corn, spices, and textiles like muslin and silk of fine quality. The battle of Kalinga was a major turning point in the life of Ashoka when he embraced Buddhism therefore it has also been a major Buddhist kingdom. Having been a part of Bihar and Bengal, it was in 1950 when Odisha was announced as an independent state of the union republic of India. Thus, the history of Odisha is quite rich and interesting. 

Culture of Odisha

In the vibrant state of India, the culture of Odisha is a classic representation of grand history, brilliant architecture, sensational music, and dance forms, impressive handicrafts, and remarkable cultural diversity. Boasting a unique culture of Jagannath Sanskruti, people in Odisha follow old customs and traditions even if the state has now been urbanised. It is believed that Kalinga played an extremely important role in the cultural matrix of Indian civilization. The old traditions and customs are based on a three-tiered structure which includes the tribal, the folk, and the urban, and people from different cultures thrive together in a cocoon. 

Having exchanged cultures with foreign lands, it is believed that some regions of Sri Lanka, Java, Bali, Sumatra, Vietnam, and Thailand were colonised by the natives of Odisha. A bridge between the northern and southern halves of the country, Odisha culture stands for its religious inclusivity and acceptance of all mainstream religions that including Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Tantrism, and Vaishnavism binding all in a comprehensive cult of Lord Jagannatha, who is the presiding deity of the State.

Tribes of Odisha

Odisha has the largest number of tribes, as many as 62 which includes 13 primitive tribal communities. The Adivasi (aborigines), Vanabasi (forest dweller), and Girijana (mountain dweller) constitute 22.13% of the state. Their life is knitted around the forest ecosystem and they collect their basic amenities through the sources available in nature. The tribes of Orissa belong to three linguistic divisions and have umpteen socio-cultural similarities between them. However, each tribal community has a separate mode of living and their unique way of life differs through their sartorial choices, ornaments, and houses. They also express their cultural identity and distinctiveness through their music, dance rituals, festivals, and handicrafts. 

Tribal communities live up to minimalism and are innately inclined towards artistic skills. To them, the artistic and aesthetic essence is to make life more enjoyable and to fulfil cultural, social, and religious needs. Every facet of their life is profoundly akin to religious belief, ritual practices, and adherence to supernatural powers.

Art And Handicraft of Odisha

The cultural heritage of Odisha is reflected in the assortment of its vivid art forms.  A land of rich and diverse artistic achievements, the art and handicraft of Odisha depict the legacy of spiritual, philosophical, and human dimensions that have synthesised and blossomed into the finest art forms. The ‘Golden Triangle’ of Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark are examples of superlative artistic, sculptural, and architectural skills of proficient artists. 

From revered stone carving to exquisite art of Pattachitra and Santhal paintings, laudable sand art to the intricate sequence of Ikat, vibrant bottle art to the internationally acclaimed applique work, Odisha is resplendent in preserving the art tradition. The adroit artisans of Odisha have also been successful in securing the glorious art forms of silver filigree, coir craft, and terracotta over the centuries while Raghurajpur artisans of Puri have immortalised the traditional art of Pattachitra, paintings of mythology on a paper made from tamarind seeds. The art forms of Odisha are visual treats and manifestations of its rich heritage. 

Importance of Odisha

Odisha, situated on the eastern coast of India, holds significant importance due to its rich cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and natural wonders. Known as the land of temples, Odisha boasts a wealth of architectural marvels, including the world-famous Konark Sun Temple, the towering Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, and the ancient caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri. Beyond its religious significance, Odisha is celebrated for its vibrant cultural traditions, such as the classical Odissi dance, Pattachitra paintings, and the Rath Yatra festival in Puri. Additionally, Odisha is blessed with diverse ecosystems, including lush forests, pristine beaches along the Bay of Bengal, and the picturesque Chilika Lake, Asia's largest brackish water lagoon, which supports a rich biodiversity. With its blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and spiritual significance, Odisha holds a special place in India's cultural tapestry and continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Food of Odisha

Odisha is a quintessential gourmet hub for every gastrophile as the state offers diverse cuisines for everyone from vegetarians to non-vegetarians and seafood lovers to street food lovers. Some of the unique and delectable foods of Odisha are Khicede aka khichdi which is offered as the main Bhog to Lord Jagannath at the Puri Temple. Chhena Poda - cheese dessert of Odisha which is known as Lord Jagannath’s favourite is definitely worth trying. Special dishes are prepared during the festivals of Odisha that are truly delectable and leave you asking for more.

Dahibara Aloo Dum is a famous street food of Cuttack. Mudhi Masa of Baripada is a puffed rice and mutton gravy combo that is unique and tastes heavenly. Koda Khai is another traditional Odia savoury that is offered as prasad in Lingaraj Temple  A delight for seafood lovers, the state offers Chingudi Kossa - a shrimp preparation, Macha Besara - deep-fried Rohu Fish, Hilsa Machha Jhola - Hilsa fish curry, and many more dishes that will make you drool. Gorge on these distinctive dishes that are made with local ingredients and lots of simplicity.

Places To Visit In Odisha

  • Seek blessings of Lord Shiva at Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneshwar. Explore other famous temples in Odisha.
  • Go on a date with animals at Nandankanan Zoo.
  • Enjoy the tranquillity of crashing waves at Puri Beach which is one of the best beaches in Odisha.
  • The sensual carving at Rajarani Temple is an example of intricate artwork making it a major attraction of the place.
  • Endorsing the rich culture, Udaygiri, and Khandagiri caves are truly heartwarming.
  • Delve into the world of Buddhism at Dhaulagiri and get some profound vibes.
  • Enjoy the scenic beauty of Sambalpur which is filled with mesmerising landscapes.
  • Witness the world of science at Regional Science Park.
  • Learn about tribal people at Tribal Museum in Koraput.
  • Enjoy nature at Simlipal National Park

How To Reach Odisha (Bhubaneswar)

Odisha, sans a doubt, is one of the exemplary states in India that has gracefully embraced the prototypical temple culture of the country with myriad art forms, tribal traditions, and urbanisation. Enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the local culture of the state and immerse in elation in a land where every single festival is celebrated with warmth and exuberance. The finesse and grandeur of Odisha truly make us proud. The state is well-connected with different parts of the country. Have a look at how diverse modes of transportation help reach this magnificent state.

  • Major City. Bhubaneswar
  • Popular Airport. Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneshwar
  • Popular Railhead. Bhubaneswar Railway Station
  • Popular Festival. Rath Yatra in Puri

By Air

Odisha has several airports. The Biju Patnaik International Airport is the only international airport in the state and the rest are all domestic airports. So the most convenient way of reaching Odisha by flight from any city in India would be through domestic airports. After deboarding at the airport, you will need to hire a cab or some other means of public transportation to reach your desired destination in Odisha. 

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By Train

Bhubaneswar Railway Station is the major station in the city. After deboarding at the station, you can hire a cab to reach your respective destination.

By Road

You can also consider travelling to Odisha by your own vehicle or by bus. There is a great infrastructure of highways in the state and it is absolutely safe to travel in your own vehicle. 

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  • Bhubaneshwar to Nandan Kanan Zoo. 11.8 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Cuttack. 20 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Taptapani. 25.2 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Puri. 63.1 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Chilika Lake. 61.8 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Konark. 65.5 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Gupteshwar Caves. 110.5 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Roopark Village. 179.9 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Simlipal National Park. 197.5 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Chandipur. 207.3 km
  • Bhubaneswar to Hirakud Dam. 291.8 km 
  • Bhubaneswar to Barbil Waterfall. 293 km 
  • Bhubaneswar to Tribal Museum. 485.7 km

Frequently Asked Questions About Odisha

Q 1. What makes Odisha famous?
A 1.
Odisha is a beautiful state in India known for its scenic locales, rich history, cultural grandeur, architectural excellence, spiritual sites, and more. The state has a lot to offer to every visitor. 

Q 2. Why has the name Odisha been changed from Orissa?
A 2.
After British rule came to an end, the names of several cities and states were changed due to demand from civil society. As a result, Orissa was changed to Odisha. 

Q 3. What are the major languages spoken in Odisha?
A 3.
Odia is the main official language spoken in Odisha besides English. 

Q 4. Which is the richest district in Odisha?
A 4.
The Khordha district is the richest and most developed district in Odisha.

Q 5. What are the major delicacies enjoyed in Odisha?
A 5.
Some of the unique and delectable dishes are Khicede aka khichdi which is offered as the main Bhog to Lord Jagannath at the Puri Temple. Chhena Poda - cheese dessert of Odisha which is known as Lord Jagannath’s favourite is definitely worth trying.

Q 6. What is Odisha Sanskruti drawing known for?
Odisha Sanskruti drawing, also known as Odisha's cultural art, is renowned for its intricate details, vibrant colors, and depiction of Odisha's rich cultural heritage and traditions. This art form often features themes inspired by Odisha's mythology, folklore, rituals, and daily life. Artists skillfully incorporate elements such as Odissi dance poses, traditional attire, temple architecture, and intricate designs inspired by Odisha's famous Pattachitra and palm leaf paintings. Through Odisha Sanskruti drawing, artists pay homage to the state's diverse cultural landscape, capturing its essence with precision and beauty.

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