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Orissa Tourism - Culture of Orissa


Overview of Culture of Odisha

Awe- inspiring and Enthralling

Pulsating with the sprit of Indian Culture and located in the central part of India, Odisha is like a bridge between the northern and southern halves of the country. Known as Kalinga, Utkala or Odra and Koshala during various periods, Odisha has a chequered history of successive rules of different dynasties and assimilation and synthesization of the best of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu cultures and also Mahima Cult. It was a formidable maritime empire with overseas trading routes stretching up to Indonesia.

Ancient Odisha was a confluence of myriad racial streams. History tells us that the original inhabitants of the land belonged to Sabara tribe which had a distinct civilization of its own. When the Aryans entered Odisha from the north-east, there was conflict between the two civilizations at the initial stage but in course of time by mutual give and take, there was a cultural amalgamation.

Flowing through the arteries of Odisha is the living and continuing culture of India... its varied expressions and its rich variety. The very stones speak of the unique history of the nation. The temple-culture condenses the quintessence of India. Whether it is the sacred environs of Puri Jagannath temple, or the eroticism of Konark's Sun temple, the wondrous caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri or the mystical monasteries of Buddhism, the paintings of folklore or the handloom weaver's magic... Odisha speaks eloquently of a living past continuing present and prospective future.

The word Odia is an anglicized version of Odia which itself is a modern name for the Odra or Udra tribes that once inhabited the central belt of modern Odisha. Odisha has also been the home of the erstwhile Kalinga and Utkal tribes that played a particularly prominent role in shaping the region's history and culture, and one of the earliest references to the same appears in the writings of Vedic chroniclers. In the 6th C. BC, Vedic Sutrakara Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as being beyond the Vedic fold, indicating that Brahminical influences had not yet touched the land. Unlike some other parts of India, tribal customs and traditions played a significant role in shaping political structures and cultural practices right up to the 15th C. when Brahminical influences triumphed over competing traditions and caste differentiation began to inhibit social mobility and erode what had survived of the ancient republican tradition.

A warm welcome awaits you in Odisha, which possesses varied and fascinating cultural roots aptly represented by the famous Sun Temple at Konark and the revered Jagannath Temple at Puri. Home to sixty-two tribes, Odisha has long been a favorite, not just among tourists, but also among the academics. Odissi dance, handlooms and exquisite handicrafts impart a unique cultural identity to this land; one that has charmed in the past and will continue to enthrall visitors in the future not only from India, but from the world over.