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Orissa

C, Ashoka the Mauryan king invaded Kalinga. The widespread destruction and savagery that characterised the war made the war-mongering monarch turn to Buddhism and the path of peace.
In the 1st century B.C. Orissa became a powerful country under its ruler Kharavela. With the death of Kharavela, Orissa passed into obscurity.
In the mid-9th century, the eastern Gangas emerged as the foremost power in the region. The greatest of the Ganga rulers was Anantavarman Chodaganga whose dominion extended from the Ganga to the Godavari.
Early in the 12th century he built the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri. A later ruler, Narasimha Deva I, built the Sun temple at Konarak.
The last Ganga king, Bhanudeva III was overthrown by his minister, Kapilendra, founder of the Suryavamsa Dynasty.
Orissa came under Mughal jurisdiction in 1568. In 1765, the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II granted the British the right to collect revenue from Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
Eventually the British occupied Orissa. From the 19th century onwards, leaders of Orissa waged a
prolonged and persistent agitation to unite the many Oriya-speaking areas lying in different provinces. Finally the province of Orissa was created on 1 April, 1936.
After independence on 19 August 1949, the princely states were also merged with Orissa, and the modern state of Orissa came into being.

The temples of Orissa have always been famous.
Bhubaneshwar, the capital, is studded with temples. The Lingaraj temple was built in the 7th century AD.
Puri, on the coast, is one of the four holy pilgrimage sites in India. Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are the presiding deities of the Jagannath temple, one of Orissa's more prominent landmarks. In Konark is the Sun temple, or the "Black Pagoda". The temple was conceived as a giant celestial chariot with twenty-four carved wheels drawn by seven horses.
Odissi, Orissa's traditional dance form, is well known for its grace, elegance and beauty. There are several other traditional and tribal dances of great skill and artistic excellence, like the Chhau Nacha of Mayurbhanj district.
Orissa's coastline is dotted with several beaches. Puri is the most popular, but there are equally outstanding ones at Chandipur, Konark, Chandeshwar and Gopalpur-on-Sea.
Orissa also draws several wildlife enthusiasts. The Nandankanan Biological Park, famous for its white tigers and the Chandaka elephant reserve lie near Bhubaneshwar.
Chilika is the largest brackish water lake in the country and attracts a large number of migratory birds. A large population of Gangetic dolphins also inhabits the lake.
Dola, as Holi is popularly called, is one of the most colourful festivals of Orissa. Sitalasasthi is observed to mark the marriage of Shiva with Parvati. But the grandest of all festivals is the Rath Yatra or the Car Festival, celebrated around the months of June or July. Ardent devotees carry the idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings to the Gundicha Mandir. To commemorate the glorious past, when people of Orissa sailed on commercial voyages to the Indonesian islands, a big fair called Bali Yatra is held on the banks of the Mahanadi at Cuttack in November.


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