Odisha formerly known as Kalinga is a state that constitutes an integral part of the rich and vast legacy of Indian culture and history. It is located on the Bay of Bengal in the eastern part of India. Odisha is a hub of exquisite cuisine and also beholds the key to resplendent flora and fauna from Royal Bengal tigers to dolphins Odisha has it all. However, most common folks of India are still oblivious to the plethora of the historical, lingual, economic, cultural heritage of Odisha besides the renowned Jagannath Temple in Puri which indeed is the sacred pilgrimage that draws lakhs of devotees all over the world.

So let’s dig and discover some lesser known facts about Odisha:

1. The historical frenzies of Odisha

It is Kalinga where the infamous and the bloodiest war between Mauryan Empire and Kalingans was fought. After this battle, the chivalry and the battle skills of Kalinga warriors was sworn to be as magnificent as the Spartans. However it was after this crude annexation that Ashoka gave up war and preached peace and Buddhism and led to the establishment of “Shanti Stupa or Dhauligiri” also known as “Peace Pagoda” located in Bhubaneshwar.

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2. Mayurbhanj granite pluton

Odisha is a very ancient state as the oldest rock dated as back as 3 billion years old has been found in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.

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3. Origin of Paik Rebellion

An armed rebellion against the British East India Company,
the Paika Rebellion also known as the Sepoy Mutiny also was fought in Odisha in 1817.

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4. The magnificent Konark Temple

Konark Temple also known as the Black Pagoda or the Sun Temple was built in 13th century by king Narasimhadeva. The temple is designed in the shape of an enormous chariot with 7 horses 12 pairs of wheels carrying the Sun God. The wheels can be used to precisely count the accurate time of the day.

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5. The leaning temple of Huma

Located in Huma on the banks of Mahanadi river south of Sambalpur is one of the only two leaning temples in the world. It is also famous for a special kind of reddish fish called Kudo which is thought to be sacred belonging of Lord Vimaleshwar worshipped in the temple and hence its fishing is prohibited.

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6. Hanuman Vatika

The Hanuman Vatika located in Rourkela spreads over 12 acres is the Asia’s tallest Hanuman statue measuring 74 feet and attracts more than 10,000 devotees per day.

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7. The World-Famous Jagannath Temple of Puri

Last but not the least in the Jagannath Temple, Puri which is said to be the only temple where the deities are carved out of wood, has the largest kitchen where 64 dishes are cooked every day called the “ANNA BHOGA”. It is one of the char dhams in India and only pilgrimage where Folk, Shaiva, Sakta and Vaishnava cult are worshiped together.

The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival.

Also read- 12 Mysterious Facts About Puri’s Jagannath Temple Which Will Amaze You

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8. Nandankanan Zoological Park

The Nandankanan is a zoolological and a sprawling botanical park located in the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar known for unique white tigers, snakes, leopards and jaguars, ostriches, owls, zebras, kangaroos, peacocks, crocodiles and turtles, falcons, water animals and lion safaris. It is said to have 67 kinds of mammals and 81 species of birds.

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9. Gahirmatha Beach, world’s largest known rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtle

Odisha is the largest nesting ground of the turtles in the whole world. These Olive Ridley turtles migrate all the way from the coastal water of Sri Lanka to Gahirmatha in Odisha.

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10. Chilika lake, a brackish water lagoon

The brackish water of Chilika Lake is the abode of the critically endangered Irrawady Dolphins. It is also well-known for the flocks of migratory birds that migrate each year during the winter.

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11. Bhitarkanika National Park, home to Crocodiles

The Bhitarakanika National Park is the home to the largest salt water crocodiles in the world. The only two white crocodile species are also found here. It ranks the second largest mangrove forest in India after the Sundarbans.

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12. Red crabs on Talsari beach

The Red Ghost crab is exclusively found in Talasari beach of Balasore after Christmas Island of Austarlia.

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13. Rourkela Steel Plant

The Rourkela steel plant is the first integrated steel plant in public sector in India founded in 1955. It is operated by Steel Authority of India.

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14. Pattachitra, traditional, cloth-based scroll painting

The villagers of Raghurajpur village are the guards of 900 year old craft of “patachitra” i.e. the art of painting in cloth. Their specialty lies in making their own paints and brushes and grasping inspiration from the Indian mythology itself.

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15. Origin of Sambalpuri saree

The sambalpuri saree started winning acclaim since the time, the late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi was seen wearing them. The sarees are known for tie-dye art also knows as “bandhakala” or Sambalpuri “ikkat”.

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16. Dhanu jatra, world’s largest open air theater

The Dhanu Jatra is celebrated in the small town Bargarh is the time of festivity when the entire town turns into Mathura Empire; an open air stage where an interactive skit based on Lord Krishna and Kansa is performed.

Spread around the Bargarh municipality across a 6km radius area, it is considered as world’s largest open air theater.

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17. The Ratha Yatra

One of the most extravagant festivals of Odisha where three wooden chariots are built to carry the deities of Jagannath Temple. This festival at its sheer peak can be seen in Puri.

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18. Raja(rojo)Parba

It is a three-day festival sheerly dedicated to girls. The girls clad in finely dresses, enjoy card games, swing rides, paan and pitha.

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19. Odia, a language in myriad forms

There are several ways in which Odia is spoken in the state including Kataki, Sambalpuri, Kosali, Singhbhumi, Ganjami, Desia, Phulbani, Midnapori, Barhampuri etc.

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20. Odisha’s extravagant cuisine

Pakhala is exclusively the most famous food in Odisha especially in the summers. Be it an elite or a farmer, from dhabas to restaurants there isn’t a single place in Odisha where this famous dish is not served. The Dahibara aloodum of Cuttack served with ghughuni, spice and curd water is the famous street food.

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The mudhi-mansa or the puffed rice and mutton combination is famous in Baripada for its tantalizing taste.

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Rasabali is the sweet delicacy of Odisha soaked in thick flavored milk is indigenous to Kendrapada. The Pahala rossogalla, the chhenna jhilli of Nimapada are other famous sweet dishes famous in Odisha.

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Arisa Pitha is a rice pancake which can be made either out of jaggery/brown sugar and white sugar as well. It is mainly a festival delicacy.

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21. Wheeler Island, India’s most advanced missile testing site

Now famously known as Dr. Abdul Kalam Island located in the Bay of Bengal. The Integrated Test Range missile testing facility is located on the island. It is the missile test facility for most missiles of India where missiles like Agni, Akash, Astra, BrahMos, Nirbhay, Prahar, Prithvi, Shurya have been tested.

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Also read- There Is A Place In Odisha Where It Snows. Yes You Hear That Right