Orissa borders on the Bay of Bengal . The eastern part, close to the sea is more prosperous, with a lot of tourist locations and religious places. The western part is a hilly and forested area, generally drought prone. It is a predominantly tribal belt. However, the western part of the state contains enormous volumes of iron ore and other minerals that promises to herald a major industrialisation of the state.
History of Orissa.
The word Oriya is an anglicised version of Odia which itself is a modern name for the Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central belt of modern Orissa. Orissa has also been the home of the Kalinga and Utkal tribes that played a particularly prominent role in the region's history, and one of the earliest references to the ancient Kalingas appears in the writings of Vedic chroniclers.
A major turning point in world history took place in Orissa. The famous Kalinga war that led emperor Ashoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was tought here in 261 BC. Ashoka's military campaign against Kalinga was one of the bloodiest in Mauryan history on account of the fearless and heroic resistance offered by the Kalingas to the mighty armies of the expanding Mauryan empire
In the second century BC, Kalinga flourished as a powerful kingdom under the Jaina king, Kharavela. He ruled all the way down south to include parts of the Tamil & Karnataka country. It is he who was built the superb monastic caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri. Subsequently, the kingdom was ruled under various monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Sasanka. It also was a part of Harsha's empire. In 795 AD, the king Yayati united Kalinga, Kosala and Utkala into a single empire. He also rebuilt the famous Jagannath temple at Puri. King Narasimha Dev is reputed to have built the magnificent Sun Temple in Konark
Places to Visit: Temple Towns
Bhubaneswar is known for its architecture and ancient temples.
- The 10th century Lingaraja temple, dedicated to Shiva, has been described as "the truest fusion of dream and reality." The surface of the 55 meter high Lingaraja temple is covered with carvings. Sculpture and architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony.
- The twin cave groups of Kandagiri and Udayagiri are evidence of the region's antiquity, dating to the 2nd century BC or the early Jain monastery.
Konark or Konarak is a temple town near Puri in the state of Orissa, south of Kolkata in India. It is most famous for its Sun temple.
The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture, and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. The massive structure, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendour surrounded by drifting sand.
Built by King Narasimhadeva in the thirteenth century, the entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. Surya has been a popular deity in India since the Vedic period.
Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri is a pilgrimage town with the famous temple of Lord Jagannath (means Lord of the Universe) The Puri sea beach is a major attraction with its fantastic sea face view and golden sand
Eat the rasagullas from the dhabas .Taste chena pod, another traditional sweet-meat from Orissa.