Orissa is an attractive treasure house of cultures and customs, religions and traditions, languages and literature, art and architecture, scenic beauties and wildlife. Situated on the eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, Orissa stands for its ancient glory and modern endeavour.
Location: 17o.49’ & 22o.34’ North Latitude and 81o.29’ & 87o.29’ East Longitude
Located on the eastern coast of India bordering West Bengal & Jharkhand in the north, Chhatisgarh in the west, Andhra Pradesh in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east.
Area :1,55,707 sq.kms (4.74% of India’s land mass)
Geography of Odisha
The eye-catching beauty of this land is enhanced by the diversity of the natural regions. Odisha is divided into five natural regions: the coastal plains, the rolling uplands ,the plateaus, and the hills and mountains.
- The long coastline of 480 kms boasts of the coastal plains (up to 75 m. in elevation above mean sea level) formed by the fluvial deposits of the six major rivers-Mahanadi,Budhabalanga,Brahmani.They constitute a perennially green belt of fertile land and are known as the ‘granary’ of Odisha.
- The river valley and flood plains are also the creations of the major rivers.The rolling uplands have an undulating topography with their elevation varying between 100m and 300m above mean sea level .Situated in the sea mountainous zones, they have a bed of hard soil and patches of forest growth to cover them partially .They also offer good opportunity for paddy cultivations in the wet areas.
- The plateaus including the subdued ones are the old peninsular table lands locked in the hilly regions, with their elevation varying between 305 and 610 meters above mean sea level. The topography is flat, but is monotony is relieved by the interruption of river valleys. Through insignificant from the point of view of agriculture, the plateaus are of considerable importance in respect of mineral and forest resources. The importance plateaus are: the Keonjhar-pan posh plateau, the Upper Vansadhara plateau and the Nowrangpur-Jeypore plateau.
- The mountains portions of Odisha, which are also forested ,cover about three-fourths of its total areas and are inhabited mainly by the tribal populations .Geologically, Odisha is an ancient landmass constituting rocks of both old and new origins; for, geologists consider some mountains of the state as belonging to the pre-Cambrian Age and the others to the Gondwana period. The mountains of Odisha comprise mostly the Eastern Ghats and run almost parallel to the east coast. They very in elevation from 300m to 1200m in the southern part, and appear like scattered series of steep ridges by the river valleys.
Climate of Odisha
Odisha enjoys a tropical climate .Its climate is influenced by the southwest monsoon and the retreating northeast monsoon.The climate is characterized by high temperature from March to May and high rainfall from June to September. Major source of Rainfall is the south west monsoon. The state also receives a small quantity of rain from the retreating monsoon in the month of October-November when occasional cyclonic storms are also experienced. Although rainfall is widespread during the monsoons. Some local variations are experienced due to topography. The annual average rainfall is 1482mm. Out of which 76percent is received from June to September. July is the rainiest month while January is the driest month.
The mean annual temperature of Odisha is influenced by its latitude, elevation and proximity to the sea. The Western districts experience higher temperature. Koraput, Kondhamal and Keonjhar districts experience 3 degree C-4 degree C or lower temperature in the morning for many days during the winter months. Below freezing temperatures are also experienced in isolated hill locations like Tinadiha in Similipal Hills, Daringibadi in Kondhamal district.
The low temperatures in coastal districts are usually between 12 Degree C – 14Degree C. Maximum humidity is 86% during July-August. However, the best Period to visit Odisha is from October to March.
Fauna & Flora of Odisha
Owing to its salubrious climate, the state of Orissa has 33% of its land covered by forests. Commonly classified into two categories namely tropical moist deciduous and tropical dry deciduous, these forests are the store houses of Bamboo, Teak, Rosewood, Sal, Piasal, Sanghvan and Haldi. The hills, plateaus and isolated areas of the northeastern part of the state are covered by the tropical moist deciduous forests whereas the second types of the forests are located in the southwest region of the state. The forest area of the state is approximately 30 percent of the geographical area.The diversified ecological riches and environment situation provide with excellent habitat for a very and diversified fauna .
A vast variety of other plants like Reserpine, Quinine, Ephedrine, Cocain, Emetin, Digitonin, Diogenin, Curcuma Angusifolia and many more are also found in the state.
Home to a variety of wild animals, the state has declared considerable tracts of land as areas protected for these animals only. Not only this, the state also has the distinction of possessing 3 mass nesting beaches of endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtles which makes it the largest nesting ground of the species.
Right from tigers, leopards and elephants, peacocks, jungle fowls and wild ducks to even Irrawady dolphins; all can be seen cradled adoringly in the lap of the state of Orissa. Apart form these, Wild Buffaloes, Capped Langur, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Gaur, Slow Loris, Barking and Spotted Deer, Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Turtle, Monitor Lizard, Python, Sambar, Pangolin, Crocodile and Four Horned Antelope also find shelter in the forests of the state.
Not only the animals, but the birds are also a very important constituent of the fauna of Orissa. With its lakes inviting huge numbers of migratory birds each year, the state is a real paradise of the bird lovers. Grey Hornbill, Indian Pied Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Trogon, Red Jungle Fowl, Hill Mynah, Peafowl and Alexandrine Parakeet can be seen here along with some of the beautiful resident birds.