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About Odisha

Odisha, formerly known as Orissa, is an Indian state on the subcontinent's east coast, by the Bay of Bengal. It is surrounded by the Indian states of West Bengal to the east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south. It is the modern name of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga. The modern state of Odisha was established on 1st April 1936, as a region in British India. Therefore 1st April is celebrated as Utkala Dibasa (foundation day of Odisha). The state is also known as Utkala when mentioned in India's national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana". Cuttack remained the capital of the state for over eight centuries until 13 April 1948 when Bhubaneswar was officially declared as the new state capital, a position it still holds.

Odisha extends over an area of 155,707 square kms, about 4.87 (9th) of the total area of India. It has a coastline about 480 km long. Odisha stands for its ancient glory and modern effort. Endowed with natures bounty, a 480 km stretch of coastline with beautiful beaches, serpentine rivers, mighty waterfalls, forest-clad blue hills of Eastern Ghats with rich wildlife, Odisha is dotted with attractive temples, historic monuments as well as pieces of modern engineering feat. The land, while holding its original beauty, also offers the visitors modern amenities. Odisha, with a rich heritage that is more than two thousand years old, has a glorious history of its own.

The name Odisha is derived from Sanskrit word "Odra Vishaya" or "Odra Desa". The ancient province of "Odra desa" or "Or-desa" was limited to the valley of the Mahanadi and to the lower course of the Subarnarekha River. Orissa was renamed as Odisha and Oriya language was renamed as Odia on 1st November 2011 by Parliament of India.

Odisha is one of the major states of India both in terms of land area and population wise. The state is ranked at eleventh position in terms of Population in India. However the state population was recorded as 43,726,252 (4.37 Crore) in the year 2014. According to latest Census of India 2011, the Population of Odisha state was 4.19 Crore (3.73 percent of the total population of India). Oriya (officially spelled Odia) is the official and most widely spoken language, spoken by three quarters of the population. The overall literacy rate according to Census 2011 is 73.5%.

For administrative purpose, the state of Odisha is divided into 30 districts - Angul, Balangir, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Boudh, Cuttack, Debagarh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Khordha, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundargarh.

Government and Politics:
The state of Odisha has a parliamentary system of representative democracy. The state government comprises of two bodies known as the Odisha legislative and the legislature. The legislative assembly comprises of elected members and speaker and deputy speaker. Odisha high court is located in Cuttack and has lower courts. The governor is appointed by the President and is the head of the state. The chief minister is appointed by the leader of the winning party or by a coalition of parties. There are 147 members of the legislative assembly. They serve for a term of 5 years, unless the assembly is dissolved before the term. Odisha has 21 seats and 10 seats to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively in the Indian Parliament. Regarding politics, the state has some major parties like the Biju Janata Bal, the Bhartiya Janata party, the Indian National Congress. Every party has able leaders who are interested in the development of the state.

Odisha has been a seat of education from primary to the highest level since the ancient times. Historically, Odisha has been at the forefront of education and research. The ruins of a major ancient university and center of Buddhist learning (Ratnagiri), were discovered in the Jajpur district of Odisha. The state was famous as an education hub in ancient days.  Its capital city, Bhubaneswar, is emerging as a knowledge hub in India with several new public and private universities, including the establishment of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), are India's new National Universities by the government, as well as Vedanta University, one of the world's largest private universities. Today the state has some of the renowned universities in the country. Some of the major universities are the Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Utakal University, Sambalpur University, Kalinga institute of Industrial Technology, Shir Jagannath Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya, Fakir Mohan University, National Institute of Technology, Odisha University of Agriculture and many more. There used to be students from far away countries like Persia, Greece and China to study mathematics, philosophy and astronomy. The prestigious NIT Rourkela is an institute of national importance. There are plenty of engineering colleges, science colleges, technology, higher studies and many more.

Odisha has major of its population in agriculture. The total area of cultivation is 87.46 lakh hectares. Out of which 18.79 lak hectares are irrigated. The major crop produced is rice and is one of the major rice producing state in the country. District wise the state produces different crops. Besides rice, oil seeds, jute, pulses, coconut, mesta, turmeric and sugarcane are important crops. Tea, rubber and cotton are the cash crops. The other crops that rank second in the state are ragi, jute, rape, gram, mustard, sesame, maize.

The state also has a mineral production like coal, limestone, bauxite, iron ore and various other minerals. It has a third position of bauxite reserves in the country. Rourkela steel plant was the first ever integrated steel plant in India. Major industries like the Jindal steel, ESSAR steel authority of India, Nilachal Ispat Nigam limited and Posco, etc. have played a great role in the industrial sector. There are plenty of small scale industries of handicrafts and handloom which contribute in a major way to the economy of the state.

Fishery has also emerged as one of the major components of the economy of the state. Due to the vast coastline there is a wide scope for inland, brackish water and marine fisheries.

Odia has been recognized as the official lingual of Odisha. The native inhabitants belonged to the Aryan family and the language here is similar to that of Bengali, Assamese and Maithili. Over the years Oriya has formed many other variations in the language like the Baleswari, Bhatri, Laria, Sambalpuri, Ganjami, Chattisgarhi, and Medinipuri. Oriya can be found to have a different tone and the version in the hilly terrains and peculiarities. Oriya has been first discovered in Urajang in 1051 A.D. the script has been defending from the Brahmi and has a Dravidian finish.

The state has 84% of population speaking Oriya. It is also one of the oldest languages in India and spoken in the neighboring states as well. There are other languages that are spoken here by people who come from different states. Hindi is the second most spoken language that is popular and is widely accepted. Besides, there are Urdu and Bengali along with Telugu which is also spoken by some people. English is spoken only by those who are literate people.

Transportation service here is as good as in other states of India. The state has a great network of roads along with national highways. National highway numbers 5, 6, 23, 42 and 43 run through the state. There are also railways, waterways and airways in Odisha. Odisha is well-connected with the national rail network. 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. The Odisha railway network is the largest carrier of commercial load in both freight as well as passenger traffic in the country. Odisha is a link between Eastern and Western India through the railway network of South- Eastern and East-Coast Railways. Bhubaneshwar railway station is a major railhead in the state. Several trains like Konark, Rajdhani, Express and the Coromondal express, etc make it convenient and comfortable travel. Paradeep is the only major port here, where import and export take place. Odisha also has a domestic airport and is well connected to all major cities in the state as well as major Indian cities. Transport facilities are quite developed here. Due to the development projects going on in the state and as the state is being recognized as a prominent tourist state, transport is being given greater significance and the government is focusing on projects like international airports and many more roads and railways that will run all across the country.

Culture and Tradition:
Odisha is the bastion of rich culture and tradition and is evident due to the historical monuments, sculpture, artists, dance and music. The state has a department that looks after the culture and promotes systematic and comprehensive fields of arts and culture. The culture of Odisha can be seen from the ancient times that have left their mark in the form of temples and monuments. The state is full of temples that have earned appreciation from the world.

The classical dance form Odissi originated here and is famous all over the world. The dance form is all about the love of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. Besides, there are many folk dances and folk theater as well. The culture has been influenced by religions like Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The tribes and the adivasis too have played a part in the culture of Orissa. The popular Rath Yatra of Odisha is held in Puri, which is carried out with great faith and devotion. It is popular all over the country and here you can see the rituals, the culture and the customs of the people. Noteworthy here is the rich handicrafts and handloom textiles. The silver filigree work, picture frames, saris and ikat fabrics are quite famous. The famous painting form calls the Raghurajpur can be prominently seen here. The paintings are comprised of scenes from Indian mythology and the prime characters are deities of Puri temple - Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

Odisha is a melting pot of religion. The state comprises of various religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Brahmanism, Shaivism, Islam, Vaishnavism and Nath Dharma. Hinduism is the prominent religion here. Odisha also has many tribal religions and one of them is Sarana. 

People here celebrate 13 festivals in 12 months which is incredible. The festivals and celebrations go on the whole year with the same enthusiasm and energy. Some of the grand festivals here are the Rath Yatra, Chandan Yatra, Chaitya Parva, Ekamra Utsav, Kalinga Mahotsav, Parab tribal festival, Puri beach festival and the Snana Yatra.

The state of Odisha can be found from the ancient times which mean that you will find various monuments that are now a world heritage site and plenty of other monuments that are architectural marvels today. There are hundreds of temples here from the ancient times and of rulers who had built their vast empire here. The temples are worth having a look as they are grander and more beautiful than any other temples in the world. The Sun Temple of Konark in Bhubaneshwar and Puri has been awarded a World Heritage Site. Besides, you get to enjoy the vast seashore of 500 km that has world famous beaches to enjoy water sports or simply bask in the sun. Chilka is the famous black water lake that has been recognized as the haven for millions of species of birds. Dolphins are also seen here. Some of the major beaches here are Gopalpur, Chandipur, Puri and Chandrabhaga. Besides you can also have a picnic on smaller beaches like Aryapalli, Astarange, Balaramgadi, Paradeep, Talasari and Ramchandi. There are plenty of wildlife sanctuaries. Besides, there are waterfalls, lakes and museums as well.

The state is full of temples and is famous for its rich culture and heritage, which means the food too is found in elaborate style and rich. Although it is a land of festivals and celebrations, the people love simple and delicious food. Rice is the major food crop found here and is therefore the staple food of the people. Vegetables are grown in plenty, and you can see them cooked in every household. It is an integral part of the meal. Odisha people are vegetarians due to the religious practice and Hinduism religion. But due to a proximity to the sea and as the fish are found in abundance here, many people relish on fish and other seafood like crabs, lobsters, prawns, etc. People in Odisha are fond of sweets, which is why you can find a number of mouth-watering sweet dishes that have now become world famous. Rassgulla, Rice Kheer are the specialty here.

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