Odisha (Orissa)


Odisha (previously known as Orissa) is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of ancient republican nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC, that led to a turning point in the Emperor’s life when deeply saddened by the bloodshed he embraced Buddhism in search of inner peace.The modern state of Odisha was established on 1 April 1936 as a province in British India, and consists, predominantly of Odia speakers. 1 April is therefore celebrated as Utkal Divas (Odisha Day).


There are 30 districts in Odisha—Angul, Boudh, Bhadrak, Bolangir, Bargarh, Baleswar, Cuttack, Debagarh, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Jharsuguda, Jajapur, Jagatsinghpur, Khordha, Kendujhar, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Kendrapara, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur,Nuapada, Nayagarh, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundargarh. Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Odisha Civil Service. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.

The capital and largest city of the state is Bhubaneswaris another name is temple city. Other major cities and towns in Odisha are Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore, Puri and Rourkela.


* Beleswar

* Bhubaneswar – state capital and transportation hub

* Brahmapur (previously Berhampore) – also known as Silk City

* Cuttack – the old capital of Orissa

* Koraput

* Kuruma

* Paradip – the port city

* Puri – famous for Jagganath temple and vibrant beach, and the most popular tourist destination in the state

* Rourkela – known for its steel and fertilizer plants

* Sambalpur – the biggest city in western Orissa

* Sunabeda – the Kasmir of Orissa

* Dhenkanal – the princely state


Temple towns

* Bhubaneswar

* Konark

* Puri

Sea beaches

* Chandipur

* Gopalpur-on-sea

* Puri

* Talasari

* Balasore

Other places of tourist interest

* Chilka Lake

* Keonjhar

* Simlipal


Orissa borders on the Bay of Bengal. The eastern part, close to the sea is more prosperous, with a lot of tourist locations and religious places. The western part is a hilly and forested area, generally drought prone. It is a predominantly tribal belt. However, the western part of the state contains enormous volumes of iron ore and other minerals that promises to herald a major industrialisation of the state.

It is a culturally rich state. The Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark golden triangle is the pride of the state.

Traditionally, Orissa descended from the historical kingdom of Kalinga. The script for the Oriya language derives from the Kalinga script which is one of the descendants of the Brahmi script.



Oriya is the local language but many people speak/understand some English, Hindi and Bengali, particularly in the tourist centres.

Get in

By train

There are regular trains from Delhi, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Chennai.

By plane

There is a airport in the heart of the city of Bhubaneswar with flights operated by all the major public and private airlines. It is well connected to other major destinations like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru (Bangalore).


Temples, sea beaches, geographical specialties like Chilka Lake, and wild life. you have time you can visit Shimilipal National Forest which is a paradise for nature lovers.


Orissa is well-known for handicrafts. Sambalpuri and Kataki sarees in handspun cotton and silk or tussar, have traditional Hindu and Buddhist designs on them. There is filigree work in silver that you will find in Kataka. You will also find fine tribal work in brass and other metal-wire. Pattachitra is traditional painting on palm-leaf or raw silk.



Eat the rasagullas from the dhabas or the little snack stores set in freeways, it comes in yellow white and brown color and are very delicious. Taste chena pod, another traditional sweet-meat from Orissa. If you enjoy spicy food and used to Indian cuisine, you can try out the local Oriya cuisin made out of Sea food (like Fish, tiger prawns and crab curry prepared with exotic spices). Its a foodie’s paradise.


Green coconut. Hard drinks are available in most towns.

Stay safe

The area is infested with mosquitoes and so carry mosquito repellent creams, mosquito repellent coils and take the doctor’s advice, in advance, about anti-malarial medicines. Its also not advisable to venture out late in the night in deserted places and sea beaches. Its better to have a local tourist guide with you for company.

The people of Orissa are known for their hospitality. It is largely peaceful( Till date, their has never been any large scale violence on communal grounds), and the society is very tolerant and accepting towards other cultures. However, the State, for reasons historical, economic and political,has remained isolated from the country’s mainstream and hence has not been able to take in it’s stride the tremendrous progress the Indian people have achieved in all spheres, including those the social sphere. The people, especially in the tribal western belt, remain extremely simple in their way of living, and are mostly unaware of the mannerisms of the urban world.


District(s)         30

Established       1 April 1936

Capital             Bhubaneswar

Largest city       Bhubaneswar

Governor          Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare

Chief Minister   Naveen Patnaik

Legislature (seats)         Unicameral (147)


• Density          36,706,920 (11th)

• 236 /km2 (611 /sq mi)

Language(s)      Odia

Time zone         IST (UTC+5:30)

Area     155,820 km2 (60,162 sq mi)

ISO 3166-2     IN-OR

Website            orissa.gov.in