History of Odisha
History of Orissa, which acquired indelible fame and glory under its past names, ‘Kalinga’ and ‘Utkal’, dates back to very remote antiquity. The State was known, far and wide, for the heroic deeds, maritime trade and over-sea expansion of its people. They were pioneer founders of Indian colonies across the oceans. Splendid glimpses of its remarkable past are found in many epics including Mahabharat. Buddhist and Jain literature also have rich descriptions of bravery, patriotism and generosity of the people of ancient Kalinga.It is the soil of Orissa and supremely courageous sacrifices of its people that turned a merciless, atrocious, and barbaric Chandasoka to Dharmasoka amid the Kalinga war in 261 B.C. It is here in this soil, Asoka abandoned his expansionism and war adventures, took asylum in Buddhism and ultimately became its great defender and propagator.
The Oriyas were famous for their handlooms, silk fabrics, trade and commerce, etc. and were particularly known for seafaring and marine trade with oversea countries like Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaya, etc. From third century B.C. till the last day of the reign of Mukunda Dev, who was the last Hindu monarch, Orissa had a prosperous independent status and all round developments. During the time of Ganga Kings South-Western Bengal was within Orissa empire. The Jagannath temple at Puri and the Sun temple at Konark were built during this dynasty which continue to remind the Oriyas of their past brilliant incredible sculptures and architectures. During the time of Surya Dynasty, that followed Ganga Dynasty, an extensive empire was established, the border of which touched the mid-stream of the Bhagirathi in the North and the Cauveri in the South.
Miseries of Orissa started in 1568 A.D. when it lost its independence and was annexed to Bengal by its Afgan ruler Sulaiman.
Subsequently, in 1576 the Mughals gained sovereignty over the territory. During Shahjahan’s time in 1633 A.D., a team of English merchants led by Cartwright came to Orissa for establishing trade relationship of the East India Company and with this, seed for future British rule in the province was sown. 1803 the English captured ‘Barbati Fort’ at Cuttack and laid foundation stone of a more tortuous British regime for the Oriyas.It is Lord Curzon who in 1912 strongly advocated in the House of Lords for early unification of the Oriya speaking tracts and declared that the Oriyas have been sacrificed without compensation as the “Oriyas are a non-agitating people”. After this in the same year a separate province ‘Bihar and Orissa’ was created through partition of Bengal presidency only and thus only a part of the Oriya speaking tract was unified and even all the Oriya speaking tracts of Bengal did not come under the new province.
Orissa became a separate province within British India with effect from 1st April, 1936, with only some parts of the Oriya speaking tracts, despite recommendations of the Montague Chelmsford Committee, 1918 for formation of homogenous administrative divisions based on language and race. At the time of formation of the new province several Oriya predominated areas were severed and the state is still continuing dismembered. Subsequently, after independence on the eve of abolition of the feudatory states, 25 such States joined Orissa and the State got its present shape and size. Thus, the glorious past of the ancient Kalinga was obliterated during the period that followed its loss of independence and the untiring and valiant Oriyas renowned for their patriotic sacrifices, and extensive maritime adventures turned into ‘a non-agitating people.
Culture of Odisha
Orissa has a rich cultural heritage, which is a harmonious blending of art, religion and philosophy interwoven around ‘Lord Purusottam Jagannath’ – the internationally famous Vaishnavite God at Puri. The State has splendid historical monuments depicting glamorous heroic deeds and cultural upheavals. Puri, popularly known as the ‘Jagannath Dham’ because of the sacred shrine of Lord Jagannath has a special place in the cultural history of the country. It is one of the four dhams of India i.e. place of principal preceptor of Hindu Religion and a cultural nerve centre. Both Vaishnavism and Shaivism flourished in the State.
The ‘Golden Triangle’ of Bhubaneswar,Puri and Konark has many magnificent and massive temples as examples of superb artistic, sculptural and architectural skill of the people of Orissa. The temple of Lord Lingaraj at Bhubaneswar is a centre of attraction for Shaivites. The Black pagoda at Konark is a charming epitome of architectural perfection and proof of superb creative genius of the Oriya people. The Jagannath Temple at Puri is a wonderful monument. These places along with many other such places have all along provided spiritual bliss as well as reawakening and have educated the people to follow a secular way of life.
Through centuries Odisha has retained its cultural identity within the mainstream of pan-Indian cultural. A land of rich and divers artistic achievements, Odisha’s art and culture are the products of long historical process in which the spiritual, philosophical and the human dimensions have merged to yield the finest effects of a cultured and civilized life. The cultural heritage of Odisha is reflected in its vibrant art forms. Culture imparts flavor and animation to the social and religious activities of the people. It flows as an undercurrent of inspiration below the surface of daily life and act as a powerful link in the chain of human fellowship and universal concord.
Orissa has a glorious tradition of music.The figures of dancers and musicians carved on ancient temple walls speak of Orissa’s rich musical heritage. There were saint-poets of Orissa who composed lyrical poems to be sung. Bards usually went from place to place singing these songs which were meant to propagate religious ideas in various religious. instructions …
Odisha is not only a land of magnificent monuments, golden beaches, precipitous waterfalls, sprawling lakes, healing hot springs, luxuriant forest, intricate handicraft etc. but also a land of colourful fairs and festivals. Every season in Orissa has a variety of occasions to celebrate. Many of the festivals are observed at more than one place on …