Orissa

Capital: Bhubaneswar
Area: 155.707 km²
Population: 39.858.000 (2008)
Altitude: 1000 m
Language Oriya, Hindi, Kui, Telugu, Santali, Urdu, Bengali, Ho, Munda, Kurukh, Savara, Gondi, Malto, Mundari, Kuwi, English
   

Orissa has a chequered history which has successfully assimilated and synthesised the best of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cultures. Orissa or Kalinga as it was then called was a settlement of non-Aryan and Aryan settlers. It was a formidable maritime empire with trading routes stretching up to Bali, Sumatra, Indonesia and Java. The key to international trade and immense wealth, it was coveted by many rulers. In fact, it was here that the famous Battle of Kalinga was fought in 261 BC, which made the great Mauryan Kshatriya (warrior caste) king Ashoka forsake war. He became a follower of Buddhism and spread the spirit of ahimsa and peace, the message of Buddhism, to Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) and the Far East, Exquisite remains of the Buddhist past still remain in the areas of Udaygiri, Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri. Kharavela, who came to power in Kalinga, around 1st Century BC, was a staunch follower of Jainism. It is to this period that Orissa owes its Jain art and architectural tradition.  

The sophisticated architectural style of the Jain Monastic caves at Udaygiri and Khandagiri are a story unto themselves. During the 7th to the 13th Century AD, Orissa flourished. Trade and commerce increased and along with it evolved its art and architecture. The style of Hindu temple construction, so unique to Orissa also developed around this time.

Bhubaneshwar the capital of Orissa (Bhuban being world and Iswar God) is a walk down centuries of temple architecture, With 600 temples still extant, temples are to this ancient city as forts are to Rajasthan. It is probably the only city in the world that enables an authentic over-view of the stages of development of Hindu religious architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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