History of Orissa, also known as Odisha, is very interesting, the land was once known as Kalinga. Kalinga is historically very important for Kalinga war that led to change of the Mauryan ruler Ashoka abandon everything and embrace Buddhism. The kingdom was involved in trade through sea routes. Some of the Ashokan edicts found at Dhauli, near Bhubaneswar, reflect his change of heart and concern for the suffering masses. Soon after the death of Ashoka Buddhism in Orissa declined and Jainism had the sway under the mighty arm of Kharvela until Buddhism again became a popular faith in 2nd century B. C. Under Kharvela Orissa attained new heights in art, culture trade and commerce. It was he who built the famous monastic caves Udayagiri and Khandagiri.
The Muslim dynasty influenced Orissa during the 13th and 14th century. It lasted till the death of Aurangzeb. In 1823, Orissa was divided into the three districts of Cuttack, Balasore and Puri, and a number of native tributary states. History of Orissa is the base of the future of the state. Orissa was administered as part of the Bengal Presidency. Following famine and floods in 1866, large scale irrigation projects were undertaken in the last half of the 19th century. Orissa has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three great religious traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has been further enriched by Islam and Christianity. Adivasi culture is an integral part of modern Oriya culture.
Orissa is located on the eastern coast of India. Orissa was separated from Bihar and came into existence on 1 April 1936. Orissa can be divided into three major parts, the coastal plains, the middle mountainous country and the northwestern plateau. Orissa has many rivers, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and hills. The important peaks are Meghasan, Gandhamardan, Deomali, Sinkram, Malaygiri, Mankadnacha, Panchadhara, Srungaraj, Mahendragiri, Nimnagiri and Bakasham. Out of the total area of Orissa, a little more than twenty percent is covered by forests of various Types. There is the sah, rosewood, ghambari, rosewood and haldi. Growth of the jungles about for a widespread habitat for various species of wild animals. Tigers, leopards wolves are found in almost all distrIcts. As far as climate is concerned, Orissa experiences a typical tropical climate. The state is very hot in summers and pleasant during the winter season. There are mainly three seasons summer, rainy and winter.
Orissa is the land of temples, fairs and festivals golden beaches, and a world known pilgrimage centre. Orissa is blessed with some distinctive features which makes it a Golden Beach worth watching place. Through out the state scattered several holy places. There are several beautiful beaches located towards the Far East. Important tourist destinations in the state include Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Konark and Cuttack.
Beaches and Waterfalls:
The southwest of Orissa lies alongside of Bay of Bengal. The shoreline is provided with a number of exotic beaches that are a sore house of great leisure. These beaches are always hot tourists spot and often crowded. Some popular beaches are Puri Beach, Konark Beach, Gopalpur and Chandipur Beach. Another beauty not to miss is the waterfalls. At several destinations in the state are situated some picturesque waterfalls that outline the over head cliffs and sky. Badaghagra Falls, Barehipani, Joranda Falls, Harishankar Falls, Khanduala Falls, Hatipathar Falls are the popular waterfalls to visit.
Wildlife in Orissa:
Orissa Wild life Orissa is covered by dense forests. Approximately 38 percent of the land comes under forests, which harbours numerous species of flora and fauna. The state is home to rare breed of white tigers. Popular wildlife sanctuaries are to be visited.
How to reach Orissa:
By Air: The most convenient access into Orissa is a flight to Bhubaneswar. Indian Airlines has flights from Hyderabad, Nagpur, Calcutta, Delhi, Raipur, Varanasi, Mumbai and Chennai.
By Rail: Train connections from all parts of the country exist, but are usually long and the non – availability of air-conditioned class travel is a constraint.
By Road: Once in Bhubaneswar, road travel is the best option, to visit the other attractions in Orissa.