About Odisha - History Geography Language Culture Festivals

History of Odisha
"Odisha" is derived from the Prakrit word "Odda Visaya". Kalinga, present day Odisha, has got its name mentioned in epics like Mahabharata, Vayu Purana and Mahagovinda Suttanta. Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty conquered Kalinga in Kalinga War and later converted into Buddhism. On the bases of language Bihar and Orissa Province was formed on 1st April 1912. Bihar and Orissa were split on 1st April 1936 into two separate provinces. Finally state of Orissa was formed on 15th December 1947 and Bhubaneswar was made its capital city in 1948. Orissa got its name changed to Odisha and its language from Oriya to Odia in 2011.

Geography of Odisha
Odisha is located on the eastern part of India. It is surrounded by West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Bay of Bengal is on the east of the state. Odisha is spread in an area of 155707 sq kms making the 9th largest state in the country. It has a coastline of approximately 450 kms. Approximately 30% of Odisha’s area is covered by forest. Three fourth of the state is covered in mountain range and six major rivers are flowing in the state.

Government and Administration of Odisha
For administration purpose Odisha is divided into three divisions and 30 districts. The major political parties in the state are Biju Janata Dal, the Indian National Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party. Odisha legislative assembly consists of 147 seats. Odisha contributes 21members to the Indian Assembly in which three and five are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively. Odisha High Court takes care of Jurisdiction in the state and is located in Cuttack.

Language and Culture of Odisha
Sand sculpture is very famous on the beaches at Puri. It is shaped by fingers mixing fine-grained sand is and water. Triswari, Chatuhswari, and Panchaswari are the classical music forms in the state. Dhuduki Badya, Prahallad Natak, Palla, yogi Gita, Kendara Gita are some of the folk music of the state. Odissi music is a combination of Chitrapada, Dhruvapada, Panchal and Chitrakala. Chhau dance is tribal martial dance attributed to origins in Mayurbhanj. Odissi is the oldest surviving dance form in India. Gotipua and Mahari Dance are the important dance forms in the state in which later have many conditions. Pattachitra painting is one of the famous arts in the state. Rasagolla, one of the popular desserts in India, originated in the state. Oriya is widely spoken followed by Urdu, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and English.

Educational Status of Odisha
Taxila, Nalanda and Ratnagiri are among the oldest universities in the world. Many scholars from different countries used to come here to study philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and science. The ruins of Ratnagiri University have not been fully excavated yet. Literacy rate of Odisha is 73.5%. 10 years of primary education is mandatory in the state. Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) is one of the premier institutions in Asia for rice research. Utkal University was the first university to start in Odisha and seventeenth oldest in India. They are many prominent colleges in the state like IIT, NIT, NIFT etc.

Economy of Odisha
Odisha is having a steady economic growth. Odisha has abundant natural resources and a large coastline which attracting many foreign investors. Odisha contains one fifth of India's coal, one fourth of its iron ore, one third of its bauxite reserves and maximum share of the chromite. Odisha was the first state in India to privatize its electricity transmission and distribution businesses. Nearly 50 companies have signed MoU with the state government to start steel plants in the state. SEZ status of eight sites in the state is agreed by the Indian Government.

Tourism of Odisha
Odisha is known for its enormous number of ancient temples. Lingaraja Temple, Jagannath Temple, and the Konark Sun Temple are the famous ancient temples in the state. Odisha is also well known for its Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destinations. Largest statue of Buddha is located in Dhauli which is attracting international Buddhist tourists to Odisha. Daringbadi is a hill station in the Kandhamal district which is known as "Kashmir of Odisha". Chilika Lake is the Asia’s largest brackish water lake. It houses many birds and it is one of the rare places in India where you can see dolphins.

Festivals Celebrated in Odisha
Ekamra Utsav is a ten day festival, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kalinga Mahotsav is one of the famous festivals in the state. It encourages people to follow peace and calm. Rath Yatra is one of the prominent festivals in the state. Chaitya Parva, Konark Dance Festival, Parab Tribal Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Rajarani Music Festival are some of the famous festivals in the state. Apart from these all the major festivals in India are celebrated.

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