Odisha is one of the 29 states of India, located in the east of India. It is surrounded by the states of West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west, Telangana to the south-west and Andhra Pradesh to the south.
Orissa is the 9th largest state by area in India, and the 11th largest by population. Oriya is the official and most widely spoken language, spoken by three quarters of the population. Orissa has a relatively unindented coastline and lacked good ports, except for the deepwater facility at Paradip, until the recent launch of the Dhamara Port.
It is also known as ‘the land of temples’ as there are a number of temples that are beautifully carved and are a proud testimony to the empires that were established here. The land is also famous for its cultural heritage. The major attraction here is the classical Odissi dance form. Odisha has more than just culture and tradition.
The main rivers are the Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Baitarani, Brahmani, Mahanadi, Rushikulya, and Vamsadhara. Orissa’s saltwater Chilika Lake is one of the largest lagoons in India. Notable mountain peaks include Mahendra Giri (4,924 feet [1,501 metres]), Malayagiri (3,894 feet [1,187 metres]), and Megasini (3,822 feet [1,165 metres]).
Orissa is also a home to the dozens of the religious places for pilgrimage in the country, the best reason for people to visit the state. The state capital Bhubaneswar houses ancient temples, including the famous Lingaraj Temple built in the medieval period. One of the four most celebrated religious centers of India Puri is also is a city of Odisha. Jagannath Puri temple, the foremost epicenter for the festival of the Rath Yatra, is situated in Puri.
Being a land of age-old and globally renowned temples and shrines, Odisha is also also known for fairs and festivals that are world famous and participated by people from all across the world. As the entire state (especially, Bhubaneswar, Cuttak, Puri, Konark, Jajpur, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri) is full of pilgrimages, festivals are organized for different religions.
The aboriginal tribes, the Buiyas and Gonds, originally inhabited Orissa. They confined themselves to the forest and hills when the Dravidian race settled here.
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The decline of Mughal power brought the influence of the Nawab of Hyderabad and then Marathas who ruled it until they ceded this territory to the East India Company in 1803 AD.