The state of Odisha or Orissa (better known as) is situated on the Eastern Coast of India which is surrounded by other states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. Bhubaneswar is the current capital of Odisha while Cuttack was an ancient Odisha capital. The State derives its name from ancient Prakrit word ‘Odda Visaya’. Odisha is an important hub of Indian tourism and the total population of Odisha is 41,947,358 as per 2011 Census report. In order to explore and know about Odisha, one must pay a visit to this ancient place at least once in their lifetime.
History of Odisha: The Formation
The history of Odisha’s origin is ancient and deep rooted. In earlier times, the region was known as Kalinga. The civilization was under the reign of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, Guptas, Bhauma-Kara Dynasty, Soma Dynasty, Sultans, Nawabs, Marathas, and British East India Company. Ashoka has gained control over this region during the ghastly Kalinga War. In the year 1950, the region became a constituent State of India. You can also find hints about Odisha in the ancient texts of ‘Mahabharata’ which signifies the state had a glorious past.
Geography of Odisha
The fertile plains along the coast and the forests in the interiors parts make the geography of the state interesting. Odisha is located between 17.780N and 22.730N, and 81.37E and 87.53E. Odisha spreads across an area of 155,707 km2 and is divided into 30 tehsils which are further divided into numerous towns and villages. Odisha comprises 5 main geographical features – the coastal plains in the East, the middle mountainous regions, the central plateaus, the rolling uplands in the West and the major food plains.
Biodiversity of Odisha
As per the report of ‘Forest Survey of India’ in 2012, the state has 48,903 km2 of forests that cover around 31.41% of the total surface area. The forests are segregated as the medium dense forest, open forest and scrub forest. Bamboo forest and mangroves are also found in Odisha. The rich biodiversity of Odisha comprises of rare species of mammals, reptiles, plants, and birds. The region also harbors a variety of migratory birds.
Climatic Conditions of Odisha
Odisha experiences four seasons namely winter that lasts from January to February, pre-monsoon that lasts from March to May, South West monsoon from June to September and the North East monsoon from October to December. The coolest place in Odisha is Daringbadi.
Odisha experiences a warm climate majority of the year. The month of July brings in the most rains while the weather in winter is usually dry. The best time to visit Odisha is between the months of October to March.
The diverse culture of the state adds the colors to the customs and traditions of the people. The unique rituals and heritage of the Adhivas is an important part of the state’s culture. ‘Odia’ is the regional language of Odisha. Dravidian and also Munda are the tribal languages practiced by the Adivasis of the state.
Interesting Facts about Odisha
- The population density of Odisha is 269/Km2
- Odissi is among the oldest dance forms in India.
- Bande Utkala Janani is the anthem of Odisha.
- The Sun Temple of Konark and Puri are among the World Heritage Sites.
- The Chilika Lake is the “Largest Brackish Water Lake in Asia”.
- The Sambar Deer is the state animal of Odisha.
- The Indian Roller is the state bird of Odisha.
- The Ashoka is the state flower of Odisha.
- The kitchen at Jagannath Temple is renowned as the largest in the entire world.
- Modern urban legend includes ghost stories about scary places and ghost towns of the state. The state highway story being the most prominent of all.
Odisha Tourism: Best Tourist Attractions
Odisha harbors many World Heritage Sites and historical monuments. It also serves as one of the best vacation spots in India owing to the factor that it abounds in sightseeing places, temples, sanctuaries, beaches, rivers, hot springs and lakes. The industry of tourism in Odisha has flourished over the years bringing in revenue to the state treasury. One must always consult a reliable and trustworthy travel guide or tourist website to book their hotels and resorts.
- Temples: The state is a land of temples which are an important part of the Orissa tourism. The majestic temples are built on the Indo Aryan Nagara fashion of architecture. Some of the famous temples include Konark Sun Temple, Jagannath Temple, Puri, Lingaraja Temple, Raghunath Temple, Sarala Temple, Maa Tarini Temple, and many more.
- Buddhist Relics: Dhauli, the Khandagiri Caves and Udayagiri Caves are among most visited tourist attractions and important religious centers of the state.
- Beaches: Approximately 500 km long coastline runs through the state thereby blessing it with a number of scenic beaches. Some of the beaches include Gopalpur Beach, Chandipur Beach, Konark Beach, Talsari Beach, Astaranga Beach, Sapta Pada Beach, Puri beach, Baleshwar Beach, Baliharachandi Beach, Malud Beach, etc.
- Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Odisha is rich in biodiversity and in order to protect its riches a number of sanctuaries and national parks have been built which also serve as hot spots of eco tourism. Chilika Lake bird sanctuary, Chandaka wild life sanctuary, Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary, and Gharial Sanctuary are the main wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. Tiger reserve of Simlipal National Park, Bhitarkanika National Park, and Nandankanan zoological park are the famous National Parks in the state.
- Romantic Places for Couples: The hill station ‘Darinbadi (Kashmir of Odisha)’, picture perfect Mahendragiri and scenic Chilka are among the prettiest romantic places for couples. The presence of picturesque locales and scenic mountains and beaches makes Odisha one of the best honeymoon destinations.
- Shopping Malls: The Naya Sarak and Balu Bazaar are shopping hubs of Odisha besides the city shopping malls. Handicrafts, sand sculpture, jewelry, garments and decorative pieces in Pipli style are a rage among the tourists.
- Haunted Places: Besides trekking spots and base camps the haunted hubs are also considered as popular adventurous places by the tourists. The State Highway, Chaandpur Village, Balaore Haunted House, Kansbahl, RIE’s Haunted House, Jatan Nagar, Puri Haunted House, Ring Road, Cuttack Hostel, and Haunted Tree in Manglodia are among the haunted places in Odisha. The spine chilling stories about these places make them the most haunted places in India.
People of Odisha
The diverse ethnicity of Odisha is among the important characteristics of the region. The major religions of Odisha are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Sarnaism, and Jainism. The Santhal, Bonda, Oraon, Mahali, Kandha and Munda are among the well recognized tribes of the region.
The Odisha cuisine has a tradition that has spun over the centuries. Pahala Rasgulla and Chhenapoda are among the favorite sweets of the state. The Pitha is another popular dish. Sea food forms important part of the majority of recipes. The people of Odisha are known for their impeccable cooking skills.
Major Festivals in Odisha
The major festivals of Odisha include Rath yatra, Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Dola Purnima. The renowned social festivals include Puri Beach Festival, Konark Dance Festival and International Dance Festival.
Folk dance and regional songs form an integral part of the celebrations. The Chhau Dance, Ghumra Dance, Gotipua and Mahari Dance are among the popular folk dances of Odisha. The famous folk music includes the Yogi Gita, Dhuduki Badya, Jhumar, Kendara Gita, Palla, Prahallad Natak, Mogal Tamasa, Sankirtan, Gitinatya, Kela Nacha, Kandhei Nacha, Ghoda Nacha, and Daskathia Danda Nacha.
Popular Fairs in Odisha
Deba Snana Purnami, Dola Purnima, Raja (Swing Festival), Buddha Jayanti, Diwali & Kali Puja, Bhasani Jatra and many other festivals call for exciting fairs in Odisha. People love to celebrate the different colours of life by taking part actively in these fairs.
Ratha (Gundicha) Yatra is the most popular fair and attracts millions of devotees every year. On this auspicious occasion, people from all over the world come to witness the grandeur of this place during this time of the year.
Clothing Trends in Odisha
The traditional dresses of men include the Dhoti, Kurta, Turban and Gamucha while for the women it is Saree. Most urban population and youth are up to date with the latest clothing trends that include both the Indian attire and the western outfits.
Odisha’s GDP has shown a sharp growth over the years and government is introducing policies to uplift the rural population of the state and for its overall development. The youth of the state are not only updated with the latest fashion trends but also with the current world affairs. The literacy rate of Odisha is 73%.
Odisha tourism is booming and touching new milestones as visitors love exploring the lovely land of Orissa. It offers the best tourist attractions and hence, satisfies all kinds of travelers. Odisha is waiting to treat all the tourists with its best. The gorgeous clear skies and mesmerizing surrounding will make you stay for a longer amount of time. On this vacation, plan a trip to Odisha because you need it.
Districts of Odisha