Odisha
Odisha-Temple

Odisha or Orissa 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.

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The name, Odisha (formerly Orissa), refers to the current state in India. But in the different era the region and parts of the region were known by different names. The boundaries of the region also has varied over the ages.The human history in Odisha begins in the Lower Paleolithic era, as Acheulian tools dating to the period have been discovered in various places in the region.The early history of Odisha is mostly obscure, with few mentions found in ancient texts like the Mahabharata, Maha Govinda Sutta and some Puranas. In 261 BCE, Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty conquered the region in the bloody Kalinga War. The resulting bloodshed and suffering of the war deeply affected Ashoka. He turned into a pacifist and converted to Buddhism. He sent peace emissaries to various neighbouring nations. Thus as an indirect consequence, the event caused the spread of Buddhism in Asia.The region was also known to other kingdoms in region of East Indies due to maritime trade relations.The year 1568 CE is considered a pivotal point in the region’s history. In 1568 CE, the region was conquered by the armies of the Sultanate of Bengal led by the iconoclast general Kalapahad. The region lost its political identity. The following rulers of the region were more tributary lords than actual kings. After 1751, the Marathas gained control of the region for almost half a decade. In 1803, the region was passed onto the British empire. The British divided the region into parts of other provinces. In 1936, the province of Odisha was formed on the basis of populations of Odia-speaking people.

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Sambar deer

The sambar (Rusa unicolor) is a large deer native to the Indian subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia. Although it primarily refers to R. unicolor, the name “sambar” is also sometimes used to refer to the Philippine deer (called the “Philippine sambar”) and the Javan rusa (called the “Sunda sambar”). The name is also spelled sambur, or sambhur.

Indian roller

The Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia stretching from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent to Indochina and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are within India, and Several states in India have chosen it as their state bird.

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Banyan

A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte[citation needed] (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree or on buildings and bridges. Banyan often refers specifically to the Indian banyan (Ficus benghalensis), which is the national tree of the Republic of India,though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a characteristic life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma.

Lotus

Nelumbo nucifera, also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. (These names are obsolete synonyms and should be avoided in current works.) This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

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Odisha has a network of roads, railways, airports and seaports. Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail and road with the rest of India. Some highways are getting expanded to four lanes.Plans for metro rail connecting Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, a journey of 30 km, have also started.

Odisha has a total of 17 airstrips and 16 helipads.The Government of Odisha have announced to develop an airport at Jharsuguda, making it a full-fledged domestic airport. Five greenfield airports were also to be upgraded at Rayagada, Paradip, Dhamra, Angul and Kalinganagar in an effort to boost intra-State and inter-State civil aviation. Existing aerodromes at Gopalpur, Jharsuguda, Barbil and Rourkela were also to be upgraded.Air Odisha, is Odisha’s sole air charter company based in Bhubaneswar.Major cities of Odisha are well connected to all the major cities of India by direct daily trains and weekly trains. Most of the railway network in Odisha lies under the jurisdiction of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) with headquarters at Bhubaneswar and some parts under South Eastern Railway and South East Central Railway.

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Cuisine

Odisha has culinary tradition spanning centuries if not millennia. The kitchen of the famous Jagannath temple in Puri is reputed to be the largest in the world, with a thousand chefs, working around 752 wood-burning clay hearths called chulas, to feed over 10,000 people each day.Rasagolla, one of the most popular desserts in India, is in fact an Oriya invention. It had been enjoyed in Odisha for centuries before being passed on to neighboring Bengal. The well-known rice pudding, kheeri (kheer) that is relished all over India, also originated in Puri .two thousand years ago.In fact, some well-known recipes, usually credited to Bengal, are of Odishan origin. This is because during the Bengal renaissance, Brahmin cooks from Odisha, especially from Puri, were routinely employed in richer Bengali households. They were famed for their culinary skills and commonly referred to as Ude Thakurs (Oriya Brahmin-cooks). As a result, many Oriya delicacies got incorporated into the Bengali kitchen.

Dance & Music

Odissi dance and music are classical forms. Odissi has a tradition of 2,000 years, and finds mention in the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni, possibly written circa 200 BCE. However, the dance form nearly became extinct during the British period, only to be revived after India’s independence by a few proponents, such as Guru Deba Prasad Das, Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Raghunath Dutta and Kelucharan Mohapatra. Odissi classical dance is about the divine love of Krishna and his consort Radha, mostly drawn from compositions by the notable Oriya poet Jayadeva, who lived in the 12th century CE.Sixteenth 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 Oriya music is the Padi, which consists of singing of words in fast beat.

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Structural art

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 while the Sambalpuri textiles equals it in its artistic grandeur. The Saree of Odisha is much in demand throughout the entire world. The different colors 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 colors 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.

Sand art

Sand sculpture is practiced on the beaches at Puri. Fine-grained sand is mixed with water and shaped by the fingers. Odishan legend says that
“Poet Balaram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayan, was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath. Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot of Lord Jagannath to offer his prayer. Since he wasn’t allowed by the priests of the chariot to climb it and also insulted by them. With a great frustration and humiliation he came to the beach (Mahodadhi) and carved the statues of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the Golden sand.”

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Religion

In its long history, Odisha has had a continuous tradition of dharmic religions especially Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Ashoka’s conquest of Kalinga (India) made Buddhism a principal religion in the state which led to establishment of numerous Stupas and buddhist learning centres. During Kharavela’s reign Jainism found prominence. However, by middle of 9th century CE there was a revival of Hinduism as attested by numerous temples such as Mukteshwara, Lingaraja, Jagannath and Konark, which were erected starting from the late 7th century CE. Part of the revival in Hinduism was due to Adi Shankaracharya who proclaimed Puri to be one of the four holiest places or Char Dham for Hinduism. Odisha has therefore a syncretic mixture of the three dharmic religions as attested by the fact that the Jagannath Temple in Puri is considered to be holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.