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Map of Odisha (Source: India-WRIS)



Orissa was known as Kalinga in ancient days. Another ancient name of this region was Utkal. It is widely known as the land of Lord Jagannath. Emperor Ashok conquer Kalinga and Kalinga war (3rd century B.C.) struck Ashok with remorse. Kharavela emerged as a powerful ruler of this state in 2nd century B.C. After his death Orissa passed into obscurity. In 4th century A.D. Gupta ruler Samudragupta invaded Orissa and extended his kingdom upto this state. In 610 AD, Orissa came under the sway of King Sasanka. After that Kanuj ruler Harshavardhan ruled this state. Thereafter several Oriya dynasties ruled this state one after another like Ganga Dynasty in 7th century AD. In 795 AD, Mahashivagupta Yajati II came to the throne and with him began the most brilliant epoch in the history of Orissa. He united Kalinga, Kangoda, Utkal and Koshala in the imperial tradition of Kharavela. Ganga king Narasingha Dev builted the unique Sun Temple of Konark. During and after the thirteenth century Muslim rulers of Delhi tried to make incursions into Orissa mostly through their representatives in Bengal but the Orissa rulers resisted their aggression. Only later did the rulers and the Mughal emperors succeed in their efforts. From mid-16th century to 1592 Orissa was ruled by five Muslim kings successively. With the decline of Mughals, the Marathas occupied Orissa. Ultimately, the British took over the state from the Marathas although a number of indigenous princely states continued to function in some parts of Orissa. There were as many as 26 of such states in Orissa. In 1936 British was made Orissa into a separate province. After independence Sardar Patel, the architect of Indian unity, brought about the merger of the Orissa princely states with the Union of India. In January 1949, princely states of Orissa completely merged with state.


Orissa the tenth largest state in terms of area in the Indian Union is located in the northeastern Indian peninsula. This state is bounded on north by Bihar, on west by Madhya Pradesh, on northeast by West Bengal and on south by Bay of Bengal. Geographically this state may be divided into four distinct parts - the northern plateau, central river basin, eastern hills and coastal plains. Topographically, Orissa is a composite state consisting of hill tracts and the coastal belt. Orissa is a state full of rivers. The main rivers of this state are Mahanadi, Baitarani, Brahamani. Subarnarekha, Rashikulya, Budhabalanga, Vamsadhara and Nagavali. The rivers have deposited a lot of silt and enlarged the area. Besides, these rivers there is big lake Chilka. About 30% of the area in this state is under forest. The state has an equable climate, neither too hot nor too cold. The coastal areas of the state benefit by the sea breezes blowing from the Bay of Bengal. Most of the rainfall brings by the southwest monsoon (June to September), although some rainfall also comes to its account from northeast monsoon (October to November). The state is sometime victim of cyclonic storms.


Situated on the coast along the Bay of Bengal, Orissa stands for its ancient glory and modern endeavour. Endowed with nature's bounty, a 482 km stretch of coastline with virgin beaches, serpentine rivers, mighty waterfalls, forest-clad blue hills of Eastern Ghats with rich wild life, Orissa is dotted with exquisite temples, historic monuments as well as pieces of modern engineering feat. The land, while retaining its pristine glory, also offers the visitors modern amenities. The State of Orissa is like a bridge between northern and southern halves of India, representing multifaceted synthesis. Bhubaneshwar is the state capital.


Orissa, on the eastern sea board of India, enjoys a tropical monsoon type of climate like most other parts of the country. Its annual average rainfall is about 1500 mm. There are three major seasons viz. summer (March to June), monsoon (July to September) and winter (October to February). The annual cyclones from the Bay of Bengal influence it and bring copious rain with two seasonal peaks, July-August and October-November.

Water Resources

Orissa is one of the few states in the country, which is endowed with abundant water It is blessed with excessive network of rivers and streams. Mahanadi and Subarnarekha are major rivers.


  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Mines & Minerals


Agriculture dominates the state's economy. Near about 64% of the people depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Rice is the principal crop and rice is the staple food of the Oriyas but its cultivation has to be made more productive as the output per hectare is below the national average. About 63% of the total cultivable area is under rice production and rice constitutes 79% of the total food crops. Another important food crops are pulses and oil seeds like mustard, seasamum, rapeseeds, linseed, groundnuts etc. Sugarcane is the major cash crop though some amount of jute is produced in some districts like Cuttack, Baleswar etc. Efforts are also on to step up the output of tea, coffee, rubber, cashew nuts and spices. Coconuts are also being produced in this state.Fishing is an important activity of this state. Large quantity of sea fish and inland water fish are produced by this state.


The Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation Limited (IPICOL), Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDCOL) and Orissa State Electronics Development Corporation (OSEDC) are the three nodal agencies for promotion of large and medium scale industries in the state.

Mines & Minerals

Orissa has rich mineral base. Important minerals are iron ore, coal, manganese, chromite, dolomite, fireclay and china clay, graphite, kyanite, bauxite, copper, lead, asbestos and mica. Most of these minerals occur in Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sudergarh and Sambalpur districts. Iron ore found in this region is very good quality, chromite is abundant, coal and manganese are of low grades. There is a public sector steel plant in Rourkella and a number of public and private sector factories producing aluminum, cement, ferro manganese etc.


  • Irrigation
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Education
  • Telecommunication


Irrigation has made considerable progress in the state. Hirakud was the symbol of India's achievements. The cultivated land which can be supplied water from canals, lift irrigation and pump sets.



Important railway stations are Puri, Khurdah road, Bhadrak, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkella etc.


Bhubaneswar airport is connected with Delhi, Varanasi, Calcutta, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai by regular scheduled service.


Paradeep was declared as a major port in 1966 while the Gopalpur port has been declared as a minor port in 1987. The improvement of Gopalpur to an all weather port is in progress. The State government has decided to build a Mega Port at Dhamara by private investment. Bahabalpur has been declared as a minor port in 1991.


Orissa is a tourist dream. It has the beaches like Puri, Gopalpur, where tourists can relax and enjoy sunbathing and surfing. Bhubaneswar is a famous city of temple. Lingaraj temple is only one of the hundreds of temples in the city. Puri is famous for Jagannath Dev temple. World famous Sun temple of Konark stands majestically on the sea. The wheel with nine spokes is the main attraction of this temple. Nandankanan is one of the major national parks in the country. This is famous for Royal Bengal Tiger. Other important tourist places are Chilika Lake, Dhauli Buddhist Temple, Udaygiri-Khandagiri ancient caves, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Saptasajya scenic view of hill-beds, Simlipal National Park, Hirakud Dam, Duduma Water Falls, Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary, Hari Shankar, Nrusinghanath, Taratarini, Taptapani, Bhitor Kanika, Bhimkunda, Kapilash etc.

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