Overview of Orissa

Orissa is a modern state of the Indian Union, and an ancient land, reflecting more than two-millennia-old cultural expressions, which are manifested not only in the majesty of its temple architecture, but also in its intricate handicrafts that have held generations in awe and wonder. The history of Orissa dates back to the Vedic age, but it came into prominence in the political map of ancient India in the aftermath of the infamous Kalinga war, whose devastating effects turned a ruthless warrior into a tireless reformer. Yes, then the region of modern Orissa was known as Kalinga, which till the Mauryan invasion of Ashoka, was an independent state uninfluenced by the Brahmannical influences, and unconquered by any paramount imperial power.

Presently the geography of Orissa, a modern state with an ancient soul, is spread across an area of 155,707 sq km. Its three main geographical features are the coastal plane, the middle mountains and the northwestern plateau. The state's coastline extends to 500 km and the state is rich with forests and hence, natural resources. Orissa also has a rich reservoir of minerals, which gives it no excuse for its rampant poverty.

The business and economy of Orissa is largely dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 65 percent of workforce of the state. However, handlooms and handicrafts sector, as well as tourism sector does hold get promise for Orissa. The state government is also extending support to these sectors, which has great revenue earning potential for the state.

The vibrant culture of Orissa is reflected in its colourful costumes, exotic dances, sumptuous cuisines and intricate handicrafts, all of which does play a great role in giving an impetus to the tourism of Orissa. The aesthetic expressions of the costumes of Orissa are highlighted in its handloom sarees, which are marked by exquisite embroidery works and eye-catching motifs. The lingering tastes of the cuisines of Orissa, with its delectable sea food dishes and desserts, may give you the extra push to abandon your lethargic self and visit Orissa for the nth time…the rest an exuberant bathing session in Puri, and an introspective puja at Jagannath Temple would do. An age-old but still now state of being would subconsciously sublimate into your being… and you would again embark on an adventure called Orissa, without you knowing.

Without experiencing a sublime Odissi performance, or getting enamoured by the animated movements of a Chau dance recital, your visit to Orissa would not be endowed with an holistic feel. For the dances of Orissa can transport you to another place and time. If you do not want only photographs and memories to connect you with your Orissa sojourn, then you have to a have a slice of Orissa adorning your drawing rooms. The best way to do so is by having Orissa handicraft/s as your mementos.

The handicrafts of Orissa take the form of metal works, wood works, silver filigree works, and textile works among others, and all of which are the product of continuation of aesthetic traditions across generations. These centuries-old wonderful traditions of livelihood also double up as works of art; embodying seminal appeal, and their intricate designs and artworks do not fail to mesmerize lives and generations together.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/14