People Of Odisha

People Of Odisha (ଓଡ଼ିଆ), formerly spelled Oriya, also known by various names (Odia, Oriya, Odri, Utkaliya, and Kalingi), are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group from eastern India. They are the majority in the eastern coastal state of Odisha, with minorities in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Germany, and Australia. The vast majority of Odias are Hindus, and they are known for their tradition of Sun worship.

Odisha is home to some of India’s oldest sun temples, including Konark. There are small Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist minority groups. While the term ‘Odia’ is sometimes used to refer to any Odisha resident, it more specifically refers to the ethnic group that speaks Odia as their native language. Greek and Latin writers, such as Ptolemy and Pliny, refer to the Odra people as Oretes in their accounts.

People Of Odisha

People Of Odisha

The earliest Odias were known as Odra or Kalinga. Utkals is a later name. The word Odia appears in epics such as the Mahabharata. The Odrakas are mentioned as one of the peoples who fought in the Mahabharata, demonstrating their Aryan heritage. The Pali literature refers to them as Oddakas. Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder also mention the Oretas, who live along India’s east coast. The modern term Odia originated in the 15th century with medieval Muslim chroniclers and was later adopted by the Gajapati king.

Odias are distinguished by their ethnocultural customs and use of the Odia language. Odisha’s relative isolation and lack of discernible outside influence have helped to preserve a social and religious structure that has vanished in much of North India. The earliest Odias were known as Orda or Kalinga. Utkals is a later name.

People Of Odisha

Language and Literature

Odisha, one of India’s six classical languages, is spoken and used by approximately 55-60 million people in Odisha and surrounding areas. Odia has a common root with the Pali and Sabari languages, and it is the oldest and most vocabulary-rich of the four sister languages derived from the Sabari language, the others being Maithili, Bengali, and Assamese. Odia words can be found in Emperor Ashoka’s Jaugada inscriptions from the second century BC and Emperor Kharavela’s Khandagiri inscriptions from the first century BC.

In ancient times, the language was known as Odra Bibhasa or Odra Magadhi Apabrhamsa. It has been inscribed in ancient Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Odia scripts over the last two millennia. The Buddhist Charyapadas were written between the seventh and ninth centuries by Buddhists such as Rahula, Saraha, and Luipa. The literary traditions of the Odia language became prominent during the reigns of the Somavamshi and Eastern Ganga Dynasties.

Sarala Dasa, a poet, wrote the Mahabharata, Chandi Purana, and Vilanka Ramayana to praise the goddess Durga during the reign of emperor Kapilendra Deva Routray in the fourteenth century. Arjuna Dasa wrote Rama-bibaha, the first long poem in Odia. Panchasakha, Jagannatha Dasa, Balarama Dasa, Acyutananda, Yasovanta, and Ananta all made significant contributions to the Odia language during the Middle Ages.

Mughalbandi, or Kataki Odia, spoken in the Cuttack and Puri districts, is widely regarded as the standard dialect and the language of instruction and media. Odia is spoken in eight major forms throughout Odisha and surrounding areas, with an additional thirteen minor forms spoken by tribal and other groups. New literary traditions are emerging in the western Odia form of the language, also known as Kosli, with prominent poets and writers emerging, such as Haldar Nag.

Position of women in Odia society

Women’s positions in Odia society have always been highly valued. Aside from the historical depictions of queens surrounded by female bodyguards in temple arts, Odia women are accustomed to following traditional practices while also accepting modern culture by People Of Odisha. Odia culture distinguishes itself from other Indian cultures by celebrating female-centric festivals such as Raja, Khudrukuni Osa, Sudasa Brata, Kumar Purnima, and so on.

Remarkable Odia women such as Sarala Devi, Rama Devi, Kuntala Kumari Sabat, Malati Choudhury, Pravavati Devi, and Annapurna Devi played pivotal roles in India’s national and freedom movements. Nandini Satapathy became Odisha’s first female chief minister in 1973. The new generation of young women in Odisha pursues higher education and is career-oriented.

Type of Religion in Odisha

Odisha is one of India’s most religiously homogeneous states. More than 95% of the population follows Hinduism. The Jagannath sect’s practices are extremely popular in the state, and Puri’s annual Rath Yatra attracts pilgrims from all over India. Odias are Hindus who follow a variety of sects with historical roots. Before the rise of the Vaisnava sects, including the Purrushotam Jagannath cult in Odisha, Buddhism and Jainism were two of the most popular[clarification needed] religions.

According to Jainkhetra Samasa, the Jain tirthankar Prasvanth visited Kopatak, which is now Kupari in Baleswar district, as the guest of a person named Dhanya. According to the Kshetra Samasa, Parsvnath preached in Tamralipti (now Tamluk in Bengal), Kalinga. The national religion of ancient Odisha became Jainism during the reign of Emperor Karakandu in the seventh century B.C.

The Kalinga Jina asana was established, and the idol of Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, also known as the “Kalinga Jina,” served as the kingdom’s national symbol. Emperor Mahmeghvahana Kharavela was also a devout Jain and a religiously tolerant ruler who reclaimed and restored the Kalinga Jina, which had been taken away as a victory token by the Magadhan king, Mahapadma Nanda.

Buddhism was also a popular religion in Odisha until the late Bhaumakar dynasty’s reign. Remarkable archaeological discoveries, such as those made in Dhauli, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, and Puspagiri across the state, have revealed previously unknown details about Odisha’s Buddhist past. Even today, we can see the Buddhist influence on the Odia people’s sociocultural traditions. Though the majority of Buddhist shrines remain undiscovered and buried, Buddhist literature describes the Odia people’s history extensively.

The Buddha’s tooth relic was first hosted in ancient Odisha by the People Of Odisha, where King Brahmadutta built a beautiful shrine in his Kalinga capital Dantapura (assumed to be Puri). Successive dynasties in ancient Odisha’s Kalinga or Tri Kalinga region governed all existing religions with Vedic roots in a tolerant and secular manner. This created a peaceful and secure environment in which all religious ideologies could flourish for over three thousand years.

King Indrabhuti, the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism, was born in Odisha, as were prominent monks Saraha, Luipa, and Lakshminara, as well as Buddhist mythology characters Tapassu and Bahalika.

Hindu sects such as Shaiva and Saktism are also the oldest Hindu belief systems in Odisha, with many royal dynasties dedicating remarkable[clarification needed] temples and declaring them the state religion during their reign. The Shaivaite sect dominates the Lingaraja temple and other temples in Bhubaneswar, whereas prominent goddess temples such as Samleswari, Tara-Tarini, Mangala, Budhi Thakurani, Tarini, Kichekeswari, and Manikeswari throughout Odisha are dedicated to the Sakti and Tantric cults.

The Odia culture is now primarily reflected in the spread of Vaishnavite Jagannath culture around the world, and the deity Jagannath himself is deeply ingrained in every Odia household tradition, culture, and religious belief today. There are historical references to wooden idols of Hindu deities being worshiped as a specific trend in the Kalinga region long before the king, Choda Ganga Deva, built the Puri Jagannath temple in the 12th century.

Recently converted Christians are commonly found among tribal people, particularly in the interior districts of Boudh and Kandhamal. Muslims account for approximately 2% of the population, with the majority being descendants of migrants from North India and elsewhere. Minority Muslim populations are concentrated in the districts of Bhadrak, Kendrapada, and Cuttack.

Art and Entertainment

Odissi is one of India’s classical dances. The applique work from Pipili (a small village) and the Sambalpuri saree are noteworthy. Silver filigree work from Cuttack and Pattachitra from Raghurajpur are authentic representations of ancient Indian art and culture. Odias was the master of swords, and they practiced a form of martial arts known as “Paika Akhada”. The ancient temple art of the Odias is a powerful and silent testament to the evolution of the Odissi classical dance form over time.

The Bargarh district’s Dhanujatra, which is also thought to be the world’s largest open-air theater performance, Pala and Daskathia, Jatra or Odia Opera, and so on are some of the traditional forms of entertainment for the masses that continue to exist today. Modern Odia television shows and movies are well-liked by a large portion of the Odia middle class, and they are evolving at a rapid pace with innovative presentation methods.

Music and dance

Odissi music has a long history, as does the classical Odissi dance. The intellectual community of the state is currently lobbying for Odissi music to be recognized as a classical form of music by India’s Cultural Ministry. Aside from Classical Odissi dance, there are some other notable cultural and folk dance forms of the Odia people that have evolved at various stages over time.

Cuisine of Odisha

Odia cuisine reflects the state’s location. Many Odia dishes are mistakenly identified as Bengali in the rest of India. The Cuisine is primarily based on seafood and sweets by the people of Odisha. Rice is a staple cereal that is consumed throughout the day. People of Odisha make Rasagolla, Rasabali, Chhena Poda, Chhena kheeri, Chhena jalebi, Chenna Jhilli, Chhenagaja, Khira Sagara, Dalma, and Pakhala are some of the most popular Odia dishes.

Machha Besara (fish in mustard gravy), Mansha Tarkari (mutton curry), and seafood dishes such as Chingudi Tarakari (prawn curry) and Kankada Tarakari (crab curry). A typical Odia meal consists of Pakhala (watered rice), Badhi Chura, Saga Bhaja (spinach fry), Macha Bhaja, Chuin Bhaja, and so on. Pithas, or country cakes, are an essential part of Odia’s traditional lifestyle. Any Odia festival is incomplete without a variety of Pitha, which originated in Odia culture and is popular in neighboring states.

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