History of Odisha

The name of Odisha is derived from Sanskrit Odra Vishaya or "Odra Desa. The Ancient Odra desa or Ordesa was limited to the valley of Mahanadi and to the lower course of Subarnarekha River. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapur. Bounded on the west by Gondwana, on the north by the wild hill states of Jaspur and Singhbhum, on the east by the sea and on the South by Ganjam, Odisha has a legendary history.

A major turning point in World History took place in Odisha . The famous Kalinga war that made Emperor Asoka give up war and embrace Buddhism, was fought in Odisha in 261 B.C. After the war he championed the cause of budhisim and played a major role in taking the religion to distant shores such as Thailand and Cambodia.

Historically it was a part of the ancient Kalinga of Mahabharata fame. It was a home of many powerful kings and kingdoms. It has rich history of art, architecture, culture and religion that has drawn attention from all over the world.

Stages of Historical Developments in Odisha

261 BC to 49 BC
1st Century AD to 736 AD
Medieval I (931 AD to 1467 AD)
Medieval II (1567 to 1764)
Modern up to 1948
History after 1948
261 BC to 49 BC
261 BC: Odisha's past focuses with the war of Kalinga in which the people of Kalinga had a bloodshed war with Ashoka, the powerful Mouryan emperor from Magadha. The bloody carnage left Ashoka with such a bitter taste in his mouth that he turned his back on violence forever and embraced the Budhism. Budhism spreads under his patronage and becomes one of the major religions.

177 BC: Coronation of king Kharavela.

232 BC: Ashoka dies. The Mauryan Empire lasts up to 185 BC.

1st Century BC: Kalinga drifts out of the Mauryan rules under the first Chedi King Mahameghavahan in the early part of the 1st Century BC.

49 BC: The third Chedi king Kharavela comes to power, and conducts extensive military campaigns. The greatness of his power is felt from the eastern coast to western coast of India and from Mathura in the North to the Pandya kingdom in the south. Jainism flourishes under him.

1st Century AD to 736 AD
2nd Century AD: Early in the 2nd Century AD Kalinga is occupied by the Satabahana King Goutamiputra Satakarni from the west (Nasik), and continues to remain under the Satabahanas probably upto the rule of Yajansri Satakarni (AD 174-202).

3rd century AD: After the death of Yajansri Satakami (202 AD), some minor dynasties like the Kusanas of North India, the foreign Indo- Scythian Murundas, and thereafter the Nagas are believed to have ruled in the land until the time of Samudragupta's south India campaign.

350 AD: Samudragupta of Magadha sets out on his campaign of the south and conquers parts of Kalinga.

350-498 AD: Soon after the invasion of Samudragupta to new ruling power called Marathas raises its hand (from modern Parlakhemundi) and continues to rule over Kalinga till 498 AD.

500 AD: The reign of first group of the eastern Gangas begins.

6-7 Century BC: A new dynasty called Sailodbhava raises its hand in the coastal region of Odisha extending from Mahanadi in the North to the Mahedragiri in the South. It is during the region of the Saillodhavas that Kalingas overseas trade flourishes largely with the rulers bunching their colonial adventure in the Suvarnadweepa i.e., modern Myanmar.

621 AD

Harshavardhana of Thaneswar (Modern Haryana) invades Utkal and occupies till Chilika Lake. Budhism gets a renewal in 630 AD.
Huen Tsang visited Odisha
647 AD: The last Hindu emperor of India Harshavardhana dies.

736 AD: Bhuama era begins with the region Unmattasimha alias Sivakardeva who occupies the Saillodhava Kingdom. The Bhuamas give patronage to Budhism. The dynasty is marked by a few illustrious women rulers like Tribhubana Mahadevi and Dandi Mahadevi.

Medieval I (931 AD to 1467 AD)
931 AD: The reign of Somavamsis begins. Somavamsi continue to raid till 1110 AD. Temple building activities reach a considerable degree of perfection during the reign of the Somavamsi with Bhubaneswar as the chief center. Somavamsi King Mahasivagupta Yayat II comes to the throne, and with him begins the most brilliant epoch in the history of Odisha. Yayat II unites Kalinga, Kangoda, Utkal and Koshala in the imperial tradition of Kharavela. He is believed to have constructed 38 temples for Lord Jagannath at Puri. He is also known to have laid the foundation of the famous Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar.

1038 AD: The eastern Ganga which was lying low since the end of 5th century AD came into prominence again with the rise of Vajrahasta V who defeated Somavamsi ruler Kama Deva and establishes the Ganga Supremacy over Kalinga.

1050 AD: The construction of Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar is finished by Lalatendu Keshari of the Soma Dynasty.

1078 AD: Chodaganga Dev of Ganga Dynasty comes to the throne.

1112 AD: Chodaganga Dev invades Utkal and brings it under his rule. A great champion of Vaishnavism, he is believed to have built the monument of Jagannath Temple at Puri. It was during the rule of Chodaganga Dev that the famous medieval saint Ramanujacharya is known to have visited Odisha

1115 AD: Construction of Lord Jagannath Temple started.

1147 AD: King Chodoganga Dev dies. About 15 kings rule the Ganga Empire after him.

1211 AD: Anangabhima Dev III ascends to the throne. He is believed to have finished the construction work of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri. Anangabhima Dev establishes a new city called Avinaba Bidanasi Katak (Modern Cuttack) at the bifurcation of the river Kathajodi and Mahanadi.

1234 AD-1245 AD: Langula Narasingh Dev built Sun Temple at Konark.

1238 AD: Anangabhima Dev dies in 1238 AD. His son Narshimha Dev comes to throne. He is reputed to have built the Temple for the Sun God at Konark.

1244 AD: King Narasimha Dev invades Bengal.

1361 AD: Sultan Firuz Shah Tugluq invades the Ganga Kingdom and occupies Avinaba Bidanasi Katak.

1435 AD -1467 AD

Kapilendra Dev founded Odisha Empire.
Oriya Mahabharat was written during this period.
Medieval II (1567 to 1764)
1567: Suleiman Karrani, the sultan of Bengal invades Odisha.

1568: Ramachandra Bhanja, the feudatory of Saranga Garh rises in rebellion and proclaims himself as the king. Mukunda Dev dies in a battle with Ramachandra Bhanj, Soon thereafter Ramachandra Bhanja also meets his defeat and died in the hands Bayazid, the son of Suleiman Karrani. He succeeded in conquering Odisha thereafter Afghan rule in Odisha began.

1590-1595: Odisha becomes an arena for the battles between the Mughals and the Afghans when the Afghans refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of the Mughals ruling over Delhi. The operation continues from 1590 to 1595 resulting to the complete defeat of Afghans.

1592 - 1751: Mughals rule in Odisha begins with the arrival of Raja Manasingh, Akbar's Rajput General, who destroyed the Afghans resistant. On the instruction of the Akbar, Odisha is divided into five sarkars: Jaleswar (including Medinapur), Bhadrak , Cuttack, Chika Khol, and Raj Mahendry Dandpat. Odisha is thus acquired for Mughal Empire and is governed as a part of the Bengal Subah for sometime. It is during the Mughal rule that the merchants carry on their brisk overseas trade & commerce and attract the attention of European traders.

1607: During the rule of Akbar's son & successor, Jahangir, Odisha constituted into a separate province, with Cuttack as capital and is placed under a subhedar.

1670: Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanj is believed to have been born around 1670.

1728: The Nizam of Hyderabad occupies the whole of Ganjam & Chikakol (Srikakulam) & declares them as the North Sarkar.

1751 - 1803: Maratha Administration of Odisha begins with Raghuji Bhonsla-I as the new chief of the territory. Marathas continue to rule till 1803, the year in which Odisha passes to the hands of the Maratha administration. Marathas rulers however patronized religion and religious institutions, thus making Odisha centre of attraction. Oriya literature also makes a rapid progress during the period.

1633: East India Company set up its trade centre at Hariharpur and Balasore.

1757 - 1764: After the battle of Plassey in 1757 & Buxar in 1764, the British Empire looks for acquiring more Indian territories. Odisha being the neighboring state of Bengal naturally comes to be included in their planning.

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  • This was my second trip with Odishavacations, and once again, it was pure pleasure. We had the most brilliant holiday, every thing about it was wonderful,Resort, the boat, the crew, the itinerary, all the people; thank you so much, I have not stopped recommending it.
    - Ram A

  • This was my second trip with Odishavacations, and once again, it was pure pleasure. We had the most brilliant holiday, every thing about it was wonderful,Resort, the boat, the crew, the itinerary, all the people; thank you so much, I have not stopped recommending it.
    - Mahesh J