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History of Odisha

Medieval History

According to the Puranas Kalinga is known to be a powerful kingdom as early as the time of the Kurukshetra battle. Mahapadmananda conquered and instituted Kalinga to his extensive empire. Although Kalinga lost her independence, she became economically prosperous under the Nanda rule. The last Nanda king was overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of Maurya rule in Magadha. Kalinga under the Mauryan.

The Reign of Ashoka

The son of Vindusara – Ashoka The Great…. who invaded Kalinga in 261 B.C. and succeeded in occupying Kalinga. The Kalinga War was one of the most dreadful and ponderous nature taking the lives of as many as 1,00,000 people. 1,50,000 were taken as prisoner of war, while about the same number died as a consequences of the war. Ashoka could not the bear the horrendous slaughter caused by the war and therefore took up the path of non-violence and become the follower of Buddhism. Ashoka tried to placate the unconquered Atavika people and desired to conquer their heart by love. That was the principle of Dharmavijaya and was followed by Asoka after the Kalinga War. Kalinga became one of the administrative provisions in the empire of Magadha with headquarters of a Kumara (Viceroy) located at Tosali.

Asoka believed in generous administration and a well organized government. Buddhism spared over Kalinga and was accepted as a state religion. Ashoka also took a great deal of interest in developing the art of stone masonry, edicts were engraved on the Dhauli and Jaugada rocks to teach the religious principles to the people. Asoka died in 232 B.C. and the Maurya empire lasted up to 185 B.C.

Mahameghavahana Kharavela

In the second half of the 1st century BC, the third ruler of this dynasty was Kahravela. The Hatigumpha inscription in Udayagiri near Bhubaneswar purveys detailed accounts about the life and flourishing of Kharavela kingdom. On the premature death of Kharavela’s father, he took up the administration and become the most successful ruler of his times.

The Hatigumpha inscription records the work of Kharavela up to his thirteenth ruling year after that records are not available. He was probably succeeded by his son Kudepasiri. It is known from some recently discovered inscriptions of Guntupalli and Velpuru in Andhra Pradesh that the Mahameghavahana dynasty continued to rule over Kalinga and Mahishaka up to the 1st century AD.

The Satavahanas and the Murundas

The Satavahana king Goutamiputra Satakarni ruled Kalinga early in the second century. According to some scholars, Mahrarja Rajadhiraja Dharmadamadhara’s gold coin was found from Sisupalgarh excavation who is considered as a Jaina king belonging to Murunda family which ruled over parts of Bihar and Odisha. The Bhadrak stone inscription of Maharaja Ganabhadra datable to the third century AD also indicates the rule of the Murundas in Odisha.
Thereafter the Murundas of Kalinga were conquered by the rising Naga dynasties of Kausambi, Ahichhatra, Padmavati and Vindhyatavi.

The Durjayas

About the middle of the sixth century A.D. a chief named Ranadurjaya established his rule in South Kalinga with Pishtapura as his capital. The Mudgalas of Tosali were conquered by the Durjaya king Prithvimaharaja. The kingdom was subsequently destroyed by Sasanka who was ruling in some parts of Odisha.

The Upcoming Of The Mandala States

Some semi-independent province known as the Mandalas developed in between the kingdom of Bhaumas and the Somavamsis remained faithfulness to the Bhauma rulers. The ruling dynasties of those Mandalas were (1) the Bhanjas of Khinjali Mandala (2) the Bhanjas of Khijjinga Mandala (3) the Sulkis of Kodalaka Mandala (4) the Tungas of Yamagartta Mandala (5) the Nandodbhavas of Airavatta Mandala (6) the Mayuras of Banei Mandala and (7) and Gangas of Svetaka Mandala.

The Royal Gangas

The Eastern Gangas who started their rule in Kalinga about the end of the 5th century AD continued as a small power till the time of Vajrahasta V who came to the throne in 1038 A.D.


Mukundadeva came to the throne in 1559 by betrayal and slaughter. He belonged to the Chalukya family. In 1560 Sultan Ghiyasuddin Jallal Shah of Bengal invaded Odisha and marched up to Jajpur. Mukundadeva defeated him and drove him out of Odisha. During that time Akbar was planning to conquer Bengal and made alliance with Mukundadeva for that purpose. In 1567 when Akbar was busy in the invasion of Chitor, Sultan Karrani invaded Odisha. The Mughal Governor of Bihar, Munim Khan became nonchalant and Mukundadeva confronted the invasion of Bengal single-handed. He was defeated by the Sultan Karrani and took refuge in the fort of Kotsima, where Sultan Karrani tormented him. Mukundadeva made a treaty with Suleiman Karranim and fought against Ramachandra Bhanja where he lost his life at the hands of Ramachandra Bhanja. Later on Ramachandra was also defeated and killed by Bayazid and Odisha was conquered by the Afghans of Bengal in 1568 AD.

Since 1568 up To Independence

The year 1568 is considered as an important state in the history of Odisha that can be divided into the glorious era — gratifying past and the dark, obscure period which was ahead. Odisha maintained her political vigor with successive powerful ruling dynasties and made a distinction of her own within the wider intricacy of Indian civilization. In the fields of art, architecture, religion, philosophy and literature, ancient Odisha made notable achievements.

The Declining Phase of Odisha

Not very late internal disorder, wars and invasions altogether were the main cause to bring about the downfall of mediaeval Odisha. Odisha was one of the last of the Indian territories to surrender to the Muslims rule. The Muslim ruler of Bengal, Suleiman Karrani succeeded in vanquishing the land of Odisha in 1568, ending thereby the independence of this powerful Hindu kingdom.

The Rulers of Afghan

Odisha came under the rule of the Afghans with the victory of Karrani in Odisha. But fortunately the new rulers could not establish their authority in the effective manner. Suleiman Karrani died in 1572. Daud Karrani, his younger brother took up the throne as the ruler of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. During this time Mughal Emperor Akbar whose aim was to extend his empire, had his eyes over the state for the long time as he got the opportunity he fought a battle and captured Odisha. There started the rule of Mughals Empire in Odisha.

The Glorious Phase of Mughal Rule

Mughals could never had a very strong footing on the land of Odisha due to its terrain. Akbar was contented that the territory of Odisha is added into its province. Thus, in most parts of Odisha, local rulers enjoyed their autonomous authority and semi-independent status. Akbar, true to his liberal policies and principles, even paid respect to Raja Ramachandra Deva-I of Khordha, authorizing him to enjoy the courtly position of a subordinate king.
Odisha constituted into a separate province in 1607and Cuttack was declared its capital during the rule of Akbar’s son Jahangir and his successors. Odisha enjoyed this status till the end of the rule of the Great Mughals.

Odisha was ruled by Mughals for about two centuries, but there was no endeavor on their part to convert the people to Islam. When the Mughal Empire began to decay, the Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, Aliverdi Khan, became independent. The Marathas played a major role in declining of the Mughal Empire. There started a conflict between Aliverdi and the Marathas, which finally ended in the Maratha acquisition of Odisha.

Marathas Brought Great Development To The Region

The Maratha administration of Odisha functionally began from the year 1751. Maratha brought lot of developments into the region. They encouraged pilgrimage to Odisha from other parts of India, due to the increasing esteem and fame of the Jagannath Temple. The great festivals of Puri received sufficient patronage. Marathas aslo had a great role in the boosting up of Oriya literature. It made a rapid progress– the Kavya and Padya literature, prose and biographical literature, Puranic and historical writings, besides devotional poetry, made immense advancement.
But this glorious phase of Maratha rule could only lasted for not more then half a century. There rises the British power in the region.

Finally Odisha Came In The Hands Of British Rule

In 1633, the British setup a trade centre at Hariharpur, one of the first of their settlements in India. Their subsequent establishment at Baleshwar on river Burhabalanga and at Pipili on river Subarnarekha grew into booming trade centres.

After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Buxar in 1764 the craving of the British Empire reached its heights, and they wanted to acquire as much of Indian territories as possible. With all means of hook and crook slowly and steadily they started capturing the territories of Indian sub-continent and Odisha being so near to Bengal was never a hassle. The treaty of Deogarh, signed on 17 December 1803, ended the Maratha rule and Odisha was under the regime of British Rule.

Odisha in fact had been much deformed and reduced in size and population when the British rule began. There left only the three coastal districts – Baleshwar, Cuttack and Puri.

Great Odisha Famine

The indications of famine were quite prominent since October,1865. It was a complete default of the British Government to realize the urgency of the situation. The government was even fail to meet the food demand, that led to a mortality of one million. Nearly one man in every three in Odisha died in the famine. Odisha took time to recover from the effects of the Great Famine. Thereafter British were compelled to pay some focus towards the development of the affected region.

Freedom Struggle In Odisha

The Indian National Congress was born in 1885, the Odisha was all ready for taking up a initiative in the advancing of the Congress beliefs and programs.

Odisha marched on the path of freedom struggle with the rest of India for national independence. With the active participation of Oriya inhabitants, started the struggle of freedom movement in a daring spirit. The current of the Non-Co-operation Movement swept over Odisha. Gandhiji’s visit to Odisha in 1921 was a major success as he got the tremendous response for his struggle from all sections of the people. The message touched the hearts of the rural mass as well as the elite of Odisha. Many of the renowned lawyers gave up their legal profession — Gopabandhu Choudhury, Surendra Nath Das and Muhammed Hanif gave up their government jobs. Pandit Nilakantha Das left the job of Calcutta University to serve in a national school. Odisha national movement was further strengthened by the visit of other great leaders like, Motital Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose in 1922.

As the ultimate effort of the National Congress to secure the complete independence, the Quit India Movement was started in August 1942, Odisha had an active role in this revolution. The revolution in Odisha arose in the hearts of poor and common people who required no leadership to rise, but occupied an impulsive determination to take part in revolution.

With the coming of the independence in August 1947 the issue of the merger of the states was taken up immediately, for which the grounds had long been prepared by the Praja Mandal Movements.
With the merger of the states, the new Odisha became nearly twice as big in size, and with the addition of 50 per cent more people to its existing population, it became one of the major territories of the Indian sub-continent. Today Odisha has far reached its goals, treasuring immense resources of unlimited minerals, dense forests, fertile lands and numerous rivers.

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