Being an ancient cultural centre of India and home to large tribal population, Orissa tourism is characterized by cultural and tribal tours. The following description throws light on the salient aspects of Orissa like history, destinations, monuments, culture, tribal diversity etc; and ultimately serves as Orissa travel guide.
The state of Orissa is predominantly rural. It has an area of 1,55,842 sq kms. Its capital is Bhubaneshwar and the main language spoken here is Oriya. Orissa is famous for its temples. This state lies along the eastern coast of India and south of West Bengal. Temple towns of Puri, Bhubaneshwar and the Sun Temple of Konark are major and prominent tourist destinations. Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark collectively form a triangle and this is known as Golden Triangle of the East.
Orissa was known as Kalinga in ancient literature and scriptures. Kalinga was in the past was defeated by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BC. This war was so fierce that the bloodshed of this battle transformed Ashoka to convert himself to Buddhism and spread Buddhism far and wide.
Under Kesari and Ganga dynasties, Orissa culture flourished and many temples were built, some of which survive even today. During the 16th century, this region finally fell to the Mughals when many of Bhubaneshwar's temples were razed and destroyed.
The main occupation of the people here is Agriculture. Paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coconuts etc are harvested here. Mining is also a prominent industry in Orissa, as it is a minerals-rich state.
Twenty two percent of the total population of the state consists of tribals.Orissa has many distinct tribal groups of aboriginal people who date prior to the Aryanization. Prominent among these tribes are the Bondas, Juangs, the Santhals, the Parajas, Godabs, the Koyas and the Kondhs. Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Koraput districts are having the highest density of tribal people. Thanks to the British efforts that the Kondhs have now substituted human sacrifices with animal sacrifices during their ceremonies. The Bondas are known as "naked people" for their wild ways and for the dormitories where young men and women are encouraged to meet for night-time fun and frolics.