History of Odisha
The History of Odisha dates back to eternal past. The region of modern state of odisha in ancient period known by different names such as Kalinga, Utakala, Udra, Toshali, Kosala etc. In its saturation period its geographical extention spreads in South from Krishna river to Ganga river in North.
From the days of Mahabharat to till date the Odisha have been holding a special position in the political realm of India. We have been found frequent mention, the name Kalinga in mahabharata. Later the State got a prominent importance during the Mauryan period when the unconquered land of Kalinga was for the first time conquered by the last great Mauryan ruler Asoka. The Asoka’s invasion of Kalinga had far reach consequences, the cruel king (Chandasoka) converted to a faithfull king (Dharmasoka) after the war. Asoka embraced Buddhism and spread the message of love, non-violence and peace throughout the known world. Though Kalinga lost that war but the amount of bravery and solidarity it shown to the history, changed the world perception towards Kalinga.
During the rule of Chedi’s or Mahameghavahans kings, particularly Kharavela, Odisha regain its old glory which she lost after the Asokan invasion. The mighty Kharavela defeated all the major ruling dynasties of his times such as Sungas, Satavahans, Rashtrika, Bhojakas etc.. The reorganization of greater Kalinga state was also sttributed to his name. He brought all the peaty kings of different regions of Kalinga under his umbrella.
After Kharavela no significant ruler was able to establish a pan-Odishan empire and Odisha was break down into many small kingdoms. Among them few notable ones are Satavahanas, Murundas, Matharas, Nalas, Manas, Eastern Gangas (Not to confused with the imperial Gangas), Sailadbhabas and Somavamsis. During the period of Bhaumakaras and Somavamsis, the land of Odisha saw the upheaval of cultural renaissance. The temple architecture of Odisha created a landmark in the cultural history of India. The temple architecture of Odisha was known by a separate identity “Kalinga School Temple Architecture”. The Rajarani temple and and the grand Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar were marvelous specimen of Kalinga architecture of this period.
With Chodagangadeva of imperial Ganga dynasty in and aroud 11th century AD Odisha entered its classical age. When the rest of India, during this time sunjugated under Muslim rule one by one Odisha retain its independence as a unique and powerful state in Eastern India. This period saws the emergence of Jagannatha cult and odia language. The Ganga and the Suryavamsi rulers who were ruled in this period changed the regional nature of lard Jagannatha to a universal one. The powerful kings of ganga dynasty- Chadagangadeva, Anangabhimadeva, Narasinghadeva, Bhanudevaetc and the notable Suryavamsi kings- Kapilendradeva, Purusottamadeva etc. shaped the geographical and political Odisha and under their meaningful patronage Adi Sankaracharya, Sri Chaitanya, Panchasakha Poets, Sarala Das and Jayadeva shaped the cultural, religional and literary arena of Odisha. The two spendid temple architectural gems of the world. The lord Jagannatha temple and the Konark temple were constructed in this period.
In the later half of the 16th century, with the demise of the Suryavamsis and the defeat of the Chalukya king Mukundadeva from the hand of Afghan genral Suleiman Kirrani, downfall of Odisha began. Subsequently first the Afghans and later, the Mughals ruled the Odisha till the Marathas overthrown them in 1751 AD. They ruled nearly half a century. In this mean time another seat of power emerged in the arena of Political India who shadowed all the powers of India, the British. They conquered Odisha in 1803AD. From this date the modern period started in Odisha.
Brajabandhu Mahanta, MAH