The tropical state of Orissa lies along the eastern seaboard of India, south of Bengal. The main attractions of the state are the temples of Bhubaneswar, the long sandy beach at Puri, and the great Sun Temple at Konark. These three sites make a convenient and compact triangle for tourists visiting the state.

The Giant Wheel, Konark

The Giant Wheel

The recorded history of Orissa begins with the conquest of Kalinga (Orissa), by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BC. The battle that led to this conquest, left Ashoka so full of remorse, that he converted to Buddhism, and adopted non-violence for the rest of his life. Jainism also flourished in the state, and it was only in the 7th century AD, that Hinduism started holding sway in Orissa. Under the Kesari and Ganga kings, the Orissan culture spread far and wide, and numerous Hindu temples were built in the state. Orissa managed to defy the Mughal rulers in Delhi, until the region was finally annexed to the Mughal kingdom in the 16th century. With the decline of the Mughals, the Marathas occupied Orissa. They continued to rule the state, till the British took over in 1803.

Bhubaneshwar is the state capital, and is famous for the Lingaraj temple, while Puri is renowned for the temple of Lord Jagannath and the beautiful seabeach. The Sun Temple at Konark, also known as the Black Pagoda, showcases exquisite statues engraved in stone. Nandan Kannan contains a zoological park, the habitat of the rare white tiger. Chilka lake is renowned for its population of migratory birds, and is also a scenic spot. Other places of tourist interest in the state include the Dhauli Buddhist temple, Udaigiri-Khandgiri ancient caves, Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri images and caves, Duduma waterfall, Gopalpur seabeach, and the Hirakud dam.

Puri beach

Puri Beach

Orissa is predominantly rural, with fertile green coastal plains, rising to the hills of the Eastern Ghats. Orissa's economy is largely based on agriculture, which provides 80 percent of rural employment. The state is also a big exporter of iron ore.

The pace of industrial progress in Orissa has quickened in recent years. Emphasis is being given to leather, ferro alloys, electronics, iron industries and production of tea, coffee, rubber, cashew nuts, spices, plastic and production of energy. Agro-based industries, minerals, steel and mine industries also occupy a place of prominence in the state's economy.

Bhubaneshwar Chilika Cuttack Gopalpur
Konark Puri Similipal Nandan Kannan