Odisha has been the locale for many important happenings in history. Known as ‘Kalinga’ in the pages of history, it has a bottomless pool of awe-inspiring facts and trivia.
1. Kalinga War
Kalinga War resulted in the propagation of world’s first ever missionary activities. Buddhist monks were instrumental in tending to the wounded and the dead after the war. It witnessed the conversion of king Ashoka to Buddhism and transformation from Chandasoka to Dharmasoka. It was from the Kalinga seaport of Tamralipiti, that Ashoka sent his daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon to preach Buddhism. Kalinga war was thus a milestone in history for mankind’s search for peace and brotherhood.
2. False Point
The oldest lighthouse of Odisha is False Point, which was installed in the eastern coast of India, 45 kms away from the Kendrapara district. The village Batighara (meaning lighthouse in Odia) is named after the lighthouse and is situated on the opposite bank of river Kharinasi. It is believed that in the olden days, it was known as Kaudia Dweep and was the hunting ground of the kings of Kujanga. The construction of the lighthouse started on 6 December, 1836 and was completed on 16 October 1837. A plaque at the lighthouse informs that the first light was lighted on 1 March 1838.
3. Odia, the language
Odia has been recognized as the first language from the Indo-Aryan linguistic group. The case for making it a classical language was also premised on the fact that it has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali and Telugu. The criteria for declaring a language as classical mandates high antiquity of its early texts/ recorded history over a period of 1,500-2,000 years, a body of ancient literature/texts which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers and a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
4. Shakti Peetha
Odisha has two shakti peethas; one being the famous Maa Bimla temple (Paada Khanda), situated inside the Puri Jagannath temple. The goddess is worshipped as the peaceful avatar of Goddess Shakti and the food offered to Lord Jagannath does not become the Mahaprasad until it is offered to Maa Bimala.
The Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda) temple is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of the Mother Goddess and is one of the four major ancient Tantra Peethas. This famous temple is situated on the Kumari hills at the bank of the river Rushikulya near Berhampur in Ganjam district of Odisha.
5. Similipal National Park
Similipal National Park situated in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha and has the highest number of exquisite and exotic orchids growing in the forests there. Orchids are known as Malagna in Odia and Similipal is a treasure trove of these lovely flowers. Out of the 130 species, more than 93 varieties are found here and two are of native origin!