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ଓଡ଼ିଶା oṛiśā
Clockwise from top left: Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Kalijai Temple, Rajarani Temple, Muktesvara Deula
Clockwise from top left: Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Kalijai Temple, Rajarani Temple, Muktesvara Deula
Official seal of Odisha
Location of Odisha in India
Location of Odisha in India
Map of Odisha
Map of Odisha
Coordinates (Bhubaneswar): 20°09′N 85°30′E / 20.15°N 85.50°E / 20.15; 85.50Coordinates: 20°09′N 85°30′E / 20.15°N 85.50°E / 20.15; 85.50
RegionEast India
Established1 April 1936
Largest cityBhubaneswar[1]
 • BodyGovernment of Odisha
 • GovernorS.C. Jamir
 • Chief MinisterNaveen Patnaik (BJD)
 • LegislatureUnicameral (147 Seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency21Lok Sabha[2] 10Rajya Sabha[3]
 • High CourtOdisha High Court, Cuttack
 • Total155,820 km2 (60,160 sq mi)
Area rank9th
Population (2011)
 • Total41,947,358
 • Rank11th
 • Density270/km2 (700/sq mi)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-OR
HDIDecrease 0.362 (LOW)
HDI rank22nd (2007-2008)[4]
Official languagesOriya, English
Symbols of Odisha
SongBande Utkala Janani
AnimalSambar Deer[5]
BirdIndian Roller[6]
CostumeSari (women)
  (Redirected from Orissa)
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For the orchid genus, see Odisha (genus).
ଓଡ଼ିଶା oṛiśā
Clockwise from top left: Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Kalijai Temple, Rajarani Temple, Muktesvara Deula
Clockwise from top left: Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Kalijai Temple, Rajarani Temple, Muktesvara Deula
Official seal of Odisha
Location of Odisha in India
Location of Odisha in India
Map of Odisha
Map of Odisha
Coordinates (Bhubaneswar): 20°09′N 85°30′E / 20.15°N 85.50°E / 20.15; 85.50Coordinates: 20°09′N 85°30′E / 20.15°N 85.50°E / 20.15; 85.50
RegionEast India
Established1 April 1936
Largest cityBhubaneswar[1]
 • BodyGovernment of Odisha
 • GovernorS.C. Jamir
 • Chief MinisterNaveen Patnaik (BJD)
 • LegislatureUnicameral (147 Seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency21Lok Sabha[2] 10Rajya Sabha[3]
 • High CourtOdisha High Court, Cuttack
 • Total155,820 km2 (60,160 sq mi)
Area rank9th
Population (2011)
 • Total41,947,358
 • Rank11th
 • Density270/km2 (700/sq mi)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-OR
HDIDecrease 0.362 (LOW)
HDI rank22nd (2007-2008)[4]
Official languagesOriya, English
Symbols of Odisha
SongBande Utkala Janani
AnimalSambar Deer[5]
BirdIndian Roller[6]
CostumeSari (women)

Odisha (formerly known as Orissa[9][10] /ɒˈrɪsə/ [oˑɽisaˑ]), 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 north-east and in the east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west and Andhra Pradesh to the south. It is the modern name of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 261 BCE.[11] The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April 1936, as a province in British India[12] and consisted predominantly of Oriya speakers.[13] 1 April is therefore celebrated as Utkala Dibasa[14] (foundation day of Odisha). The region 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 is the 9th largest state by area in India, and the 11th largest by population. Oriya (officially spelled Odia) is the official and most widely spoken language, spoken by three quarters of the population. Odisha has a coastline[15] (about 480 km long[16]) and lacked good ports,[15] except for the deepwater facility at Paradip, until the recent launch of the Dhamra Port. The narrow, level coastal strip, including the Mahanadi river delta, supports the bulk of the population.[17]


On 4 November 2011, the English rendering of the name Odisha was officially changed from Orissa to Odisha.[18][19] The change required minor amendments to the Orissa (the Alteration of Name) Bill and the Constitution (113th) Amendment Bill which were approved by both houses of parliament.[20] The Oriya language is now officially rendered "Odia" in English.[18][21][22][23][24][25][26] These spellings reflect different transcriptions of the same Oriya names. ଓଡ଼ିଶା Oṛiśā is pronounced [oˑɽisaˑ] in Oriya. The letter ଡ଼ is a flapped [ɽ] sound resembling the r in most languages, but closer to the d in American English ladder than it is to English r. It is an allophone of ଡ [ɖ ], and may have been pronounced centuries ago. The letter ଶ ś is commonly transcribed sh, reflecting the pronunciation of the ancestral letter in Prakrit; however, in modern Oriya it is pronounced the same as ସ s. Thus the name Orissa is closer to the actual Oriya pronunciation of the name, whereas Odisha is an intentionally archaising transcription.

The name Odisha is derived from Pali or Sanskrit[27] words Ora (Ura) or Odra Desa or Sumera or Odra Visaya. The earliest epigraphic reference to Odras is found in the Soro copper plate grant of Somadatta, from which it is clear that Uttara Tosali, with its visaya Sarepahara identified with Soro of Balasore (Baleswar) district, was part of Odra Visaya.[28] Both Pali and Sanskrit literatures mention the Odra people as Oddaka and Odrah, respectively. Ancient writers like Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy described the Odra people as Oretes. In the Mahabharata the Odras are mentioned along with the Paundras, Utkals, Mekalas, Kalingas and Andhras, while according to Manu the Odras are associated with the Paundrakas, Dravidas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas, Paradas, Pallavas, Chinas,[clarification needed] Kiratas and Khasas. The location of the Odra territory has been given in the Natural History of Pliny, in which it is mentioned that the Oretes were inhabiting the country where the mount Maleus stood. The Greek Oretes is probably the Sanskrit Odra, and the Mount Maleus has been identified with Malayagiri near Pala Lahara. Pliny associates the mount Maleus with the people called Monedes and Sharis, who were probably the same as the Mundas and the Savaras respectively, inhabiting the upland regions of Odisha.

Visitors also called the Odisha with different names. The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang who visited Odisha in about 636 CE gives an account of the territory named Wu-Che, which is very likely the same as Odra. The pilgrim states that the Wu-Cha (Wu-tu) country was above 7,000 li in circuit and its capital was above 20 li in circuit. The area of the territory, which was 7,000 li or (2,253 kilometres (1,400 miles)) in circuit, was very extensive. The Muslim geographer Ibn Khurdadhbin, who wrote his geography in 846 CE, refers to a territory called Ursfin, which is identified by the Russian scholar V. Minorsky with Odra Desa. In another Persian geography, called Hudad-al Alam, written towards the close of the 10th century CE, mention has been made of a territory called Urshin (Odra Desa), which has been associated with the territories called N. Myas, Harkand, Smnder and Andhras, which were more or less contiguous. The territory called N. Myas may be Mahismati and Harkand is suggested to be Akarakhand (eastern Malwa). Urshin may be the same as Odra Desa and Smnder may be the territory bordering the sea. Andhras is without doubt the same as Andhra Desa. Alberuni has referred to a territory called Udra Vishau, located 50 forsakhs towards the sea in the south from the Tree of Prayaga. Fifty forsakhs is equal to about 200 miles (322 kilometres). So Udra Vishau may be the same as Odra Desa.

In the medieval Muslim chronicles like Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, Tabaquat-I-Akbari, Riyadus-Salatin, Tarkh-I-Firuzsahi, etc., the Odra territory has been referred to as Jajnagar, probably after the capital Jajatinagar or Jajatinagar. The territory of Jajnagar very probably denotes to the Ganga empire during the period from Chodagangadeva to Anangabhimdeva III, when Jajatinagar (modern Jagati on the Mahanadi) was the capital of that empire. It was Anangabhimadeva III who transferred the capital from Jajatinagar to Baranasi Kataka. Even after the change of capital, some Muslim chroniclers continued to call this territory as Jajnagar. Shams-I-Seraj-Afif called this territory as Jajnagar-Udisa with its capital city Banaras on the right bank of the Mahanadi. The word ‘Udisa’ added to Jajnagar appears very significant. It is a developed form of the word Ursfin or Urshin used by earlier Muslim writers of the 9th and 10th centuries CE. In Buddhist literature this word is expressed as Odivisa or Udivisa, as found in the works of Lama Taranath and the author of Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang. In the Tantric literature of the mediaeval period, the word Udisa has been frequently used, and in Tantrasara, Jagannath has been referred to as Udisanatha. Poet Sarala Das mentions both the words Odra Rastra and Odisha in his famous treatise Mahabharata, while Gajapati Kapileswaradeva (1435–1467 CE) in his proclamation inscribed on the temple walls of Jagannath calls his territory as Odisha Rajya or Odisha Rastra. Thus, from the 15th century CE onwards, the land of the Oriya people was called Odisha.


Since prehistoric days, the land of Odisha has been inhabited by various people. The earliest settlers of Odisha were primitive hill tribes. Although prehistoric communities cannot be identified, it is well known that Odisha had been inhabited by tribes like Saora or Sabar from the Mahabharata days. Saora in the hills, and the Sahara and Sabar of the plains continue to be an important tribe distributed almost all over Odisha. Most of the tribal people have been influenced by Hindus and have adopted Hindu manners, customs and rituals. Bonda Parajas of Koraput district are the best example of these tribes. Several pre-historic sites have been excavated in Odisha since the arrival of Britishers. Kaliakata of Angul, Kuchai and Kuliana of Mayurbhanj, Vikramkhol near Jharsuguda, Gudahandi and Yogimath of Kalahandi, Ushakothi of Sambalpur, Similikhol near Bargarh etc.

Odisha has a history spanning a period of over 5,000 years. Before Kalinga it was named as Udra or "Odra Desa". The Ancient Odra desa or Ordesa was limited to the valley of Mahanadi and to the lower course of Subarnarekha River. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapur. Bounded on the west by Gondwana, on the north by the wild hill states of Jaspur and Singhbhum, on the east by the sea and on the South by Ganjam, Odisha has a legendary history.[29] The name Oriya originated from Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central coastal belt (Khordha District and Nayagarh District) of modern Odisha. Odisha has also been the home of the Kalinga, Utkal, Mahakantara/Kantara and Kosal 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.[30] In the 6th century BCE, Vedic Sutrakara Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as being beyond the Vedic fold, indicating that Brahminical influences had not yet touched the land.[30] Unlike some other parts of India, tribal customs and traditions played a significant role in shaping political structures and cultural practices right up to the 15th century,[30] when Brahminical influences triumphed over competing traditions and caste differentiation began to inhibit social mobility and erode what had survived of the ancient republican tradition.

Hātigumfā on Udayagiri Hills

A major turning point in world history took place in Odisha.[30] The Kalinga War that led emperor Ashoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was fought here in 261 BCE. 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. Perhaps on account of their unexpected bravery, emperor Ashoka was compelled to issue two edicts specifically calling for a just and benign administration in Kalinga. Later on, Ashoka was instrumental in spreading Buddhist philosophy all over Asia. However, Ativ Land (South Western Odisha) was unconquered by Ashoka.

Tel river civilisation put light towards a great civilisation existing in Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput (KBK) region in the past that is recently getting explored.[31] The discovered archaeological wealth of Tel Valley suggest a well civilised, urbanised, cultured people inhabited on this land mass around 2000 years ago[32] and Asurgarh was its capital. Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar was part of Kantara referred in Ramayana and Mahabharata.[33] In 4th century BCE, this region was known as Indravana from where precious gem-stones and diamond were collected for the imperial Maurya treasury.[34] During the period of Maurya emperor Ashoka, Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar region was called Atavi Land.[35] This land was unconquered as per Ashokan record.[36] In the beginning of the Christian era probably it was known as Mahavana.[37] In the 4th Century CE, Vyaghraraja was ruling over Mahakantara comprising Kalahandi, undivided Koraput and Bastar region.[38] Asurgarh was capital of Mahakantara.[39]

Hatigumpha Inscription of Emperor Kharavela, Udaygiri

On the other hand in the 3rd century BCE, in the eastern part of Odisha, Kalinga flourished as a powerful empire under the Jaina emperor, Kharavela.[30] He ruled all the way down south to include parts of the Tamil country. He built the superb monastic caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves. Subsequently, the region was ruled under various monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Shashanka. It also was a part of Harsha's empire. In 795 CE, the king Jajati Kesari I of Kesari or Soma dynasty of Kosala united Kosala and Utkala into a single empire. He is also supposed to have built the first Jagannath Temple at Puri,[40] although the current structure of the temple is entirely different and was built by Kings Choda Gangadeva and Ananga Bhimadeva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the 12th century. The famous Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar was started by Keshari dynasty king Jajati Keshari III and completed by his son Lalatendu Keshari in the 10th century. King Narasimha Dev is reputed to have built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple. Although now largely in ruins, the temple may have once rivalled the Taj Mahal in splendor. Orissa was conquered by Raja Raja Chola I and Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the early 11th century.[41][42]

Odisha resisted several Muslim attacks until 1568, when was conqurered by Sultanate of Bengal. The Mughals conquered Coastal Odisha in 1576.[43] The last Hindu Emperor of Odisha, Gajapati Mukunda Deva, was defeated and was killed in the battle of Gohiratikiri. The coastal plain of Odisha from Medinipur to Rajahmundry came under Mughal rule, which was broadly divided into six parts as Jaleswar Sarkar, Bhadrak Sarkar, Cuttack Sarkar, Chicacole (Srikakulam) Sarkar, Kalinga Dandapat and Rajamundry Sarkar or Godavari Province. Odisha's Central, Northern, Western and Southern hilly areas were ruled independently by Hindu kings. The Nizam of Hyderabad occupied the area between Rajahmundry to Srikakulam in the 16th century. Medinipur was attached to Bengal province in the 18th century. The remaining parts of Coastal Odisha, were subsequently ceded to the Maratha Empire in 1751.

The British occupied the Northern Circars comprising the southern coast of Odisha as a result of the Carnatic Wars in the early 1760s and incorporated them into the Madras Presidency gradually.[44] In 1803, the British under the British East India Company annexed the Maratha province of Odisha after the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The northern and western districts of Odisha were incorporated into Bengal Presidency. Following famine and floods in 1866, large-scale irrigation projects were undertaken in the last half of the 19th century. The coastal section was separated from Bengal and made into Bihar and Orissa Province in 1912, in response to local agitation for a separate state for the Oriya-speaking people. In 1903, the Utkal Sammilani organization was founded[45] with 62 “permanent members”[46] who campaigned for the unification of the state of Odisha.[47] In 1936, Bihar and Odisha were split into separate provinces. Thus after a long period of struggle the Oriya people got re-united after centuries of political separation. On 1 April 1936, the new province of Odisha came into existence on linguistic basis during the British rule in India with Sir John Austin Hubback as the first Governor. A long cherished dream of Oriya people leaders such as Madhusudan Das and others came true. The district of Ganjam was transferred from Madras Presidency to the new province of Odisha on 1 April 1936. From that time onwards people of Odisha celebrate the 1 April as Utkal Divas or Odisha Day.

Following Indian independence, the area of Odisha was almost doubled, and the population increased by a third, by the addition of 24 former princely states. In 1950, Odisha became a constituent state in the Union of India.


Main article: Geography of Odisha

Bhubaneswar is the capital of Odisha. Bhubaneswar is 22 km (14 mi) from Cuttack, the former capital of Odisha. With the rapid expansion of the two cities and better road connectivity, they are almost conjoined and considered as twin cities. The city of Puri is about 60 km (37 mi) south from Bhubaneswar and lies on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Puri is considered a holy city and the abode of the deity Lord Jagannath. It is one of the Char Dhams (four holy places) of Hinduism. The world-famous Ratha Yatra or "Chariot Festival" or "Car Festival" is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Ashadha (mid-June to mid-July) in Puri.

Panoramic View of Hirakud Dam at Sambalpur

The Chota Nagpur plateau occupies the western and northern portions of the state, while along the coast are fertile alluvial plains and the valleys of the Mahanadi, Brahmani, and Baitarani rivers, which fall into the Bay of Bengal. These alluvial plains are home to intensive rice cultivation. The Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Asia's largest rice research institute, is situated along the bank of Mahanadi in Cuttack. One of the major nesting grounds for the olive ridley sea turtles can be found in the beaches of Odisha: in Devi, Gahirmatha and Rushikulya, which are known to be the nesting sites for the Lepidochelys olivacea Indian Ocean population. In 2007, around 130,000 turtles nested on the beaches of Gahirmatha. The shoreline is their mating site and has attracted scientific communities for research and studies.

Rivers in Odisha are:

Although most of Odisha's forest cover has been denuded lately, one of the greatest attractions of Odisha is its still vast expanses of unspoiled natural landscape that offer a protected natural habitat to the state’s incredible wildlife. There are many wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. The Simlipal National Park Tiger Reserve is a huge expanse of lush green forest with waterfalls, inhabited by tigers, elephants, and other wildlife. The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary has been protecting estuarine crocodiles since 1975.

Chilika Lake, a brackish water coastal lake on the Bay of Bengal, south of the mouth of the Mahanadi river, is the largest coastal lake in India and the second largest in the world. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. It is protected by the Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, which harbours over 160 migratory and resident species of birds. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. It also has the small area of Satpada, which is a safe sanctuary for the lesser known and endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins.

The highest mountain peak in the state is Deomali (1672 m), which is in Koraput district in southern Odisha. It is part of the Chandragiri-Pottangi mountain system. Location: 18°40'3"N 82°58'59"E.[48]


There are 30 districts in Odisha— 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.

These 30 districts have been placed under three different divisions for smoothing the governance. The divisions are North, South and Central. Each division consists of 10 districts. Its administrative head is the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) and the Police Head is Inspector-general of police (IGP).

Division wise list of Districts:

North DivisionCentral DivisionSouth Division

Each district is governed by a District Collector (District Magistrate), appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Odisha Administrative Service. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and thereafter into Blocks. Blocks consists of Panchayats(village councils) and town municipalities.

The capital and largest city of the state is Bhubaneswar. The other major cities are Cuttack, Brahmapur, Puri, Balasore, Rourkela, and Sambalpur.

Sex RatioDensity
0–6 years
Literacy rate

Government and politics[edit]

Main article: Government of Odisha
Secretariat of Odisha

Odisha is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature the state shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. There are two branches of government. The legislature, the Odisha Legislative Assembly, consists of elected members and special office bearers such as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, that are elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The judiciary is composed of the Odisha High Court, located at Cuttack and a system of lower courts. Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, although the titular head of government is the Governor of Odisha. The Governor is the head of state appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or coalition with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor, and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly is unicameral with 147 Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs, including one nominated from the Anglo-Indian community. Terms of office run for 5 years, unless the Assembly is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs. The state contributes 21 seats to Lok Sabha and 10 seats to Rajya Sabha of the Indian Parliament.[49]

The main players in the Politics in Odisha are the Biju Janata Dal, the Indian National Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party. Following the Odisha State Assembly Election in 2014, the Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal stayed in power for the fourth consecutive term.


Macro-economic trend[edit]

Odisha is speedily growing economic wise as it has a large amount of growth rates in gross state domestic products as shown in the reports by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Odisha's growth rate of the state is above the national average.[50] This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product of Odisha at market prices estimated by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian rupees.

Industrial growth[edit]

Odisha has abundant natural resources and a large coastline. Odisha has emerged as the most preferred destination for overseas investors with investment proposals.[51] It contains a fifth of India's coal, a quarter of its iron ore, a third of its bauxite reserves and most of the chromite. Rourkela Steel Plant[52] was the first integrated steel plant in the public sector in India, built with collaboration of Germany. It is the home to public sector enterprises like HAL, Sunabeda (Koraput), NAL (Anugul in Angul District, Damanjodi in Koraput). Odisha receives unprecedented investments in steel, aluminium, power, refineries and ports. India's topmost IT consulting firms, including Mahindra Satyam, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), MindTree Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Infosys have large branches in Odisha. IBM, Syntel and Wipro are setting up development centres in Odisha. So far, two of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Odisha, for example, National Aluminium (2005 gross income INR.51,162 million) and Tata Sponge Iron (2005 gross income INR.2,044 million).

Odisha is notable as one of the first Indian states to have tackled its structural problems during the post-1994 Indian economic reforms. Odisha was also the first state in India to begin to privatise its electricity transmission and distribution businesses. Between 1994 and 2000 Odisha's former state electricity board (SEB) was restructured to form Gridco. This corporation was then divided into Transco and a collection of distribution companies. Attempts were then made to sell the distribution companies to the private sector. Like many other states, in 1996 Odisha was losing over 50% of the electricity it was delivering. The scale and importance of these reforms is notable and an important milestone in India's dramatic economic development.

Recently the number of companies who have signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to set up steel plants in the state has gone up to 50, including POSCO of South Korea which has agreed to construct a mammoth $12 billion steel plant near Paradip port, named POSCO India. It would be the largest single investment in India's history. Arcelor-Mittal has also announced plans to invest in another mega steel project amounting to $10 billion. Russian major Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Company (MMK) plans to set up a 10 MT steel plant in Odisha, too. The state is attracting an unprecedented amount of investment in aluminium, coal-based power plants, petrochemicals, and information technology as well. In power generation, Reliance Power (Anil Ambani Group) is putting up the world's largest power plant with an investment of US $13 billion at Hirma in Jharsuguda district.[53] Vedanta Resources’ 1.4 million tonne alumina project in Kalahandi district is the largest investment in aluminium. Vedanta has also announced a $3.2 billion huge private University project on the lines of major American universities, which is unprecedented in the history of education in India. Bandhabahal is a major area of open cast coal mines.

The central government has agreed to accord SEZ (Special Economic Zone) status to eight sites in Odisha, among which are Infocity at Bhubaneshwar and Paradip. But all these plans are facing massive resistance from the people of the state who mainly depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

In the year 2009 Odisha was the second top domestic investment destination with Gujarat first and Andhra Pradesh in third place according to an analysis of ASSOCHAM Investment Meter (AIM) study on corporate investments. Odisha's share was 12.6 percent in total investment in the country. It received investment proposal worth INR. 2,00,846 crore during the last year. Steel and power were among the sectors which attracted maximum investments in the state.[54]

Flood and cyclone are the major hurdles in Odisha's development as the important districts are situated near to the Bay of Bengal. In the five-year period between 2004 and 2005 and 2008–09, Odisha's GDP has grown by a stunning 8.74% way beyond the definition of 7% growth. It should be noted that the all-India growth during this period was 8.49%. In this period, Odisha was the fourth fastest growing state, just behind Gujarat, Bihar, Uttarakhand.

Infrastructure development[edit]

Night View of Paradip Port at Paradip, Odisha, India

Paradip Port on the Bay of Bengal is one of the major port on the east coast of India, the coastal towns of Dhamra and Gopalpur are also two of the other ports in Odisha. The government of India has selected the coastal region of Odisha, stretching from Paradip in the north to Gopalpur in the south, to be developed into one of five or six Special Economic Regions (SERs) of the country. The government of India and the state government of Odisha are working together to erect world-class infrastructure in this region to match that of Rotterdam, Houston, and Pudong. This is aimed at further private investment in petrochemicals, steel, and manufacturing. A recent Morgan Stanley report forecasts that Odisha would be flooded with massive investments for manufacturing related activities in the same manner that Bangalore had attracted software investment in the 1990s. The scale of the investments in Odisha would, however, be much higher.

As of July 2006, total planned investment in the state was $90 billion. This includes investment in research, education, hospitals, roads, ports, airports, and hotels. There are many multi-state irrigation projects in development, including the Godavari River Basin Irrigation Projects. 14 locations have been identified on Odisha's coast to be developed as ports: Gopalpur (Ganjam district), Bahuda Muhan (Sonepur) in Ganjam district, Palur (Ganjam), Bali Harchandi (Puri), Astaranga (Puri), Jatadhari Muhan (Jagatsinghpur), Barunei Muhan (Kendrapara), Dhamra (Bhadrak), Chudamani (Bhadrak), Inchuri (Balasore), Chandipur (Balasore), Bahabalpur (Balasore), Subarnarekha mouth (Kirtania) in Balasore district and Talsara (Balasore). Most of them have already been developing as ports in the public private partnership (PPP).[55][56][57]


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.[58]


Biju Patnaik International Airport

Odisha has 17 airstrips and 16 helipads.[59][60][61] The Government of Odisha have announced to develop 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.[62]



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.


Religion in Odisha[63]

According to the 2011 census of India, the total population of Odisha is 41,947,358, of which 21,201,678 (50.54%) are male and 20,745,680 (49.46%) are female, or 978 females per 1000 males. This represents a 13.97% increase over the population in 2001. The population density is 269 per km².

The dominant ethnic group is the Oriya people, and Oriya is the official language; it is spoken as a native language by 81.8% of the population.[64] Other linguistic minorities in the state are Bengali, Hindi, Telugu, Santali. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes form 16.53% and 22.13% of the state population, constituting 38.66% of the State population. Some of the important tribes are Santhal, Bonda, Munda, Oraon, Kandha, Mahali and Kora.

The literacy rate is 73%, with 82% of males and 64% of females being literate, according to the 2011 census.

The proportion of people living below the poverty line in 1999–2000 was 47.15% which is nearly double the all India average of 26.10%.

Data of 1996–2001 showed the life expectancy in the state was 61.64 years, higher than the national value of years. The state has a birth rate of 23.2 per 1,000 people per year, a death rate of 9.1 per 1,000 people per year, an infant mortality rate of 65 per 1000 live birth and a maternal mortality rate of 358 per 1,000,000 live births. Odisha has a Human Development Index of 0.579 in 2004.


Main article: Culture of Odisha

Oriya is the language spoken by the majority of the people of the state. English is widely used for official purpose and Oriya is used as regional language. Oriya belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family, and is closely related to Bengali and Assamese. A few tribal languages belonging to the Dravidian and Munda language families are spoken by the Adivasis of the state. The capital city of Bhubaneshwar is known for the exquisite temples that dot its landscape. The classical dance form Odissi originated in Odisha. Contemporary Odisha has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three great religious traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The culture of the Adivasis is an integral part of modern Oriya heritage.

Notable people[edit]


Main article: Oriya literature

The history of Oriya literature has been delineated by historians and linguists along the following stages: Old Oriya (900–1300 AD), Early Middle Oriya (1300–1500 AD), Middle Oriya (1500–1700 AD), Late Middle Oriya (1700 AD–1850 AD) and Modern Oriya (from 1850 AD to the present).


Main article: Odissi
Nandini Ghosal.jpg Sharmila Biswas, Odissi dancer.jpg

Odissi (Orissi) dance and music are classical art forms. Odissi is the oldest surviving dance form in India on the basis of archaeological evidence.[65] Odissi has a long, unbroken tradition of 2,000 years,[citation needed] and finds mention in the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni, possibly written circa 200 BC. However, the dance form nearly went extinct during the British period, only to be revived after India's independence by a few gurus.

The variety of dances includes Ghumura Dance, Chhau dance, Mahari dance, and Gotipua.


Main article: Odissi music

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.

Being a part of the rich culture of Odisha, its music is also as much charming and colourful. Odissi music is more than two thousand five hundred years old and comprises a number of categories. Of these, the five broad ones are Tribal Music, Folk Music, Light Music, Light-Classical Music and Classical Music. Anyone who is trying to understand the Culture of Odisha must take into account its music, which essentially forms a part of its legacy.

In the ancient times, there were poets who wrote the lyrics of poems and songs that were sung to rouse the religious feelings of people. It was by the eleventh century that the music of Odisha, in the form of Triswari, Chatuhswari, and Panchaswari, underwent transformation and was converted into the classical style.

Folk Musics like Jhumar, Yogi Gita, Kendara Gita, Dhuduki Badya, Prahallad Natak, Palla, Sankirtan, Mogal Tamasa, Gitinatya, Kandhei Nacha, Kela Nacha, Ghoda Nacha, Danda Nacha and Daskathia are popular in Odisha. Almost every tribal group has their own unique distinct songs and dance styles in Odisha.

Structural art[edit]

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 and erotic sculpture, while the 'Sambalpuri textiles' equals it in its artistic grandeur. The sari of Odisha is much in demand throughout the entire world. The different colours 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 colours 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[edit]

Panoramic View of Sand Sculpture made by Sudarshan Patnaik

A unique type of art form was developed at Puri, but it has spread all over the world. To carve a sand sculpture, the raw material is clean and fine-grained sand mixed with water. With the help of this type of sand and by the magic of fingers, an artist can carve a beautiful and attractive sculpture on the beach. Sudarshan Pattnaik is one of the major world-class artists in this sculpture.[citation needed]

Although not historically proved, there is a story in the Oriya myths regarding the origin of sand sculpture: "Poet Balaram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayan was a great devotee of Jagannath. Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot of Jagannath to offer his prayer. He wasn't allowed by the priests of the chariot to climb it and was also insulted by them. With great frustration and humiliation he came to the beach (Mahodadhi) and carved statues of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the golden sand.


Gita Govinda Manuscript

The majority (over 94%[63]) of people in the state of Odisha are Hindu and there is also a rich cultural heritage in the state. For example, Odisha is home to several Hindu figures. Sant Bhima Bhoi was a leader of the Mahima sect movement. Sarala Das, an adivasi, was the translator of the epic Mahabharata in Oriya. Chaitanya Das was a Buddhistic-Vaishnava and writer of the Nirguna Mahatmya. Jayadeva was the author of the Gita Govinda.

The Odisha Temple Authorisation Act of 1948 empowered the Government of Odisha to have Hindu temples open for all Hindus including the Harijans.[66]

Perhaps the oldest scripture of Odisha is the Madala Panji from the Puri Temple believed from 1042 AD. Famous Hindu Oriyan scripture includes the 16th century Bhagabata of Jagannatha Dasa.[67] In the modern times Madhusudan Rao was a major Oriya writer, who was a Brahmo Samajist and shaped modern Oriya literature at the turn of the 20th century.[68]

Christians in Odisha account for about 2.4% of the population while Oriya Muslims account for 2.1% as per census figures of 2001. The Sikh, Buddhist and Jain communities together account for 0.1% of the population[63]


Main article: Cinema of Odisha

The cinema of Odisha is famous throughout India and growing every year by a large margin as people are liking Ollywood movies now. After the first Oriya film Sita Bibaha in 1936, only two films were produced till 1951. A joint consortium of landlords and businessmen who collected funds after 1948 produced those two movies. Sita Bibaha was directed by Mohan Sunder Dev Goswami and was released in Laxmi Theatre, Puri. The 1951 production Roles to Eight was the first Oriya film with an English name. It was released after 15 years after Sita Bibaha. It was the fourth Oriya film produced by Ratikanta Padhi. The eleventh Oriya film Sri Lokenath was the first Oriya film that got a National Award in 1960; it was directed by Prafulla Sengupta.

One of the major trailblazers and pioneers of the Oriya film industry were Gour Prasad Ghose and his wife, Parbati Ghose. They introduced and mastered innovative ways of technical storytelling. Over the years, some of their most notable films such as Maa and Kaa brought them national fame and numerous awards, including many National and lifetime achievement awards for their contribution to cinema as directors, producers and actors.

The same year, Prasant Nanda won a National Award as best actor for Nua Bou, his debut film. The name of Prasant Nanda always comes up when dealing with the Oriya film industry. He was present in Oriya films since 1939, but he became active only after 1976. Nanda served Ollywood as an actor, director, screenplay writer, lyricist and even as a playback singer. Such a versatile genius is quite rare in Indian cinema history. Nanda alone carried Oriya films into the national honour list by winning National Awards three times in 1960, 1966 and 1969 for his acting in Nua Bou, Matira Manisha and Adina Megha.

Uttam Mohanty, whose debut film Abhiman won accolades all over, is now the veteran actor of the Oriya film industry. His wife Aparajita Mohanty is a renowned actress. Sarat Pujari was one of the most popular actors of the 1960s. His popular films are Nua Bou, Jeevan Sathi, Sadhana, Manika Jodi, Naba Janma, Matira Manisa, Arundhati, Ghara Sansara, Bhookha, etc. His films portrayed the general condition of the state of Odisha with a strong social message. Sarat Pujari is a prominent figure. Apart from being an actor, he was also a successful director and an academician. He continues to act in a few select films; he is enjoying his retired life and writes columns in the newspapers as his hobby. Raju Mishra is another rising star in Oriya film industry. He is an international award-winning photographer, director, choreographer and lyricist of Ollywood. Other well-known actors are Bijay Mohanty, Sriram Panda, Mihir Das, Siddhanta Mahapatra, Mahasweta Ray, Tandra Ray and Anubhav Mohanty.


Main article: Oriya cuisine
Pahala Rasgullas (Bhubaneswar)

Odisha has culinary tradition spanning centuries. The kitchen of the famous Jagannath Temple, Puri 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.[69][70] Rasgulla originated from Odisha and became famous throughout the world.[71][72][73] The well-known rice pudding, kheeri (kheer) that is relished all over India, also originated in Puri two thousand years ago.[citation needed] Chhenapoda is also a major Odisha sweet cuisine originated in Nayagarh[citation needed], it is made by caramelising cottage cheese with sugar, cardamom and other ingredients and then burning it over a chula (wood-burning clay hearths). Chhena Jheeli and malpua are other famous sweet deserts. One of the most famous delicacies of Odisha is Kakara Peetha (made of sooji or finely grained wheat) especially with coconut filling sauteed with pepper, cardamom, sugar and ghee and sometimes cottage cheese (chhena). Its one of the major delicacy during the festival occasions. Arisha is another delicacy. The sweet aroma of powdered rice and Gud being deep fried in Ghee is mesmerising. Poda Pitha, Haladi Patra Pitha (enduri pitha), Manda Pitha, Chitou Pitha are more examples of Oriya specialitites. Mudhi (puffed rice) is an integral part of every Oriya household. Baripada is famous for its Mudhi. Mudhi serves the purpose of an instant snacks. It perfectly blends with any thing. Be it Chenachur (mix salty fried snacks), milk, tea, curries, peanuts or mango pulp.

Pakhala, a dish made of rice, water, and yoghurt, that is fermented overnight, is very popular in summer, particularly in the rural areas. Oriyas are very fond of sweets and no Oriya repast is considered complete without some dessert at the end. A typical meal in Odisha consists of a main course and dessert. Typically breads are served as the main course for breakfast, whereas rice is eaten with lentils (dals) during lunch and dinner. The main course also includes one or more curries, vegetables and pickles. Given the fondness for sweet foods, the dessert course may include generous portions of more than a single item. Oriya desserts are made from a variety of ingredients, with milk, chhena (a form of ricotta cheese), coconut, rice, and wheat flour being the most common.

Also one of the most famous veg dishes are Dalma (made of lentils and vegetables boiled together and then fried with other spices) and Santula. Even the former Indian president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam introduced these into the Rashtrapati Bhavan Menu. Ghanta and Posta curries are also some of the signature dishes.

Odisha food habit is pretty balanced between the non-vegetarian and vegetarian habits. Due to its vast shoreline and number of rivers flowing across, fish is a very important part of the diet. Odisha also expertises in sea food cuisines like Prawn and Crab. The famous Chilika Lake is particularly famous for offering excellent sea food cuisines.[citation needed]

Odisha's food habit is actually the boundary between the South Indian food habit and the North Indian food habits. One can easily find Dosas, Vadas and idlis being served as breakfast and snacks which are typically south Indian food and also can find Poori- Chole, Samosa's (locally called Singada), and other north Indian delicacies in the menu.

Rasagola of Cuttack(Salepur) is famous in Odisha and neighbouring states. One of the best combination of both the North and South of India is Dahibara-Aludum-Ghuguni especially in the city of Cuttack. Dahibara (vadaa dipped and soaked in curd), aludum (a spicy curry made from potato) and Ghuguni (chickpea curry) really go well together and is one of the best fusion of the Indian recipes.

Lord Jagannath's Chappan Bhog of Jagannath Temple, Puri


Main article: Education in Odisha
Panoramic View of Ravenshaw University, Cuttack

The ruins of a major ancient university and center of Buddhist learning, Ratnagiri(Puphagiri), were recently discovered in the Jajpur district of Odisha. Scholars from far away lands, such as Greece,[citation needed] Persia and China used to study philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and science at this famed university. Taxila, Nalanda and Ratnagiri are among the oldest universities in the world. The ruins of Ratnagiri University have not been fully excavated yet.

Educational Institutions

Entry to various institutes of higher education especially into engineering degrees is through a centralised Odisha Joint Entrance Examination, conducted by the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT), Rourkela, since 2003, where seats are provided according to order of merit.[74]


Main article: Tourism in Odisha

Odisha is mainly known for its rich culture and the humongous number of ancient temples. The temples of Odisha conform to the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture, with distinctive features specific to this region. The best known of these are the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple, Puri and the Konark Sun Temple. The temples of Odisha exhibit a majestic grandeur. An Oriya temple (Deula) usually consists of a sanctum, one or several front porches (Jagamohana) usually with pyramidal roofs, a dancing hall (Nata Mandira) and a hall of offerings (Bhog Mandira).

The Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar boasts of a 150-foot (46 m) high deula while the Jagannath Temple, Puri is about 200 feet (61 m) high and it dominates the skyline of the town. Only a portion of the Konark Sun Temple, the largest of the temples of the Holy Golden Triangle exists today, and it is still staggering in size. It stands out as a masterpiece in Odisha architecture. Odisha is also well known for its Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destinations. North-east of Cuttack, about 10 km (6 mi) from Bhubaneswar, there are Buddhist relics and ruins at the three hilltop complexes of Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, which still bear witness to Buddhism's fruitful tryst with this region until well into the 13th century and there is Dhauli with a large statue of Buddha which brings international Buddhist tourists to Odisha.

Odisha's varying topography – from the wooded Eastern Ghats to the fertile river basin – has proven ideal for evolution of compact and unique ecosystems. Thereby creating such treasure troves of flora and fauna that even seem inviting to many migratory species of birds and reptiles. Bhitarkanika National Park is famous for its second largest mangrove ecosystem. The bird sanctuary in Chilika Lake (Asia's largest brackish water lake) and the tiger reserve and waterfalls in Simlipal National Park are integral part of any eco tourism in Odisha, arranged by Odisha Tourism.[75]

The Gharial Sanctuary at Tikarpada and the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles in Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary also feature on the list of avid nature watchers. The city wildlife sanctuaries of Chandaka and Nandankanan Zoological Park are must visit sites for the lessons they teach is conservation and revitalisation of species from the brink of extinction. Odisha is blessed with around 500 km (311 mi) long coastline and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake, not only provides a haven for millions of birds, but is also one of the few places in India where one can view dolphins. The lush green forest cover of Odisha plays host to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the famed Royal Bengal Tiger. Amidst the picturesque hills and valleys nestle a number of breathtaking waterfalls and rivulets that attract visitors from all over. Odisha beaches include Chandipur Beach, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Konark Beach, Astaranga Beach, Talsari Beach, Pata Sonapur Beach, Satpada Beach, Baleshwar Beach, Paradeep Beach, Satabhaya Beach, Gahirmatha Beach, Puri Beach, Ramachandi Beach, Malud Beach, Baliharachandi Beach etc. [76]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]