The kingdom of the Bhaumakaras who ruled in the coastal region of Odisha in the first half of the 8th century AD was known as Tosali. The whole empire was divided into two kingdoms such as: North and South Tosali, popularly known as Uttara Tosali and Dakshina Tosali with the river Mahanadi as the dividing line.
Tosali might be a derivative of Tosali to worship which had flourished in the time of Mahavira and Asoka. The Puranas mention the town as Tosala. Jain Mahavira had visited the city during his life. In the Buddhist literature the place finds mention as Amita Tosala.
The Jaina text Avasyaka Niryukti mentions about this land as follows: “Lord Mahavira, in the eleventh year of his monkship, came to Tosali where he was taken to be a robber and hit hard. From here, the venerable teacher went to Masoli, where too he was taken to be a robber, was arrested and brought to the king’s court, but was released as the king was a friend of Mahavir’s father. On his return jurney from Masoli Mahavira again came to Tosali. Here, again, he was caused great troubles and was on the point of being hanged when he was rescued through the timely interference of the Tosali-Kshatriyas.
In Asoka’s inscription at Dhauli, Tosali has found mention as a city which has been identified by some scholars with modern Sisupalagarh, but Tosali or Tosala as the name of a territory also occurs in the subsequent literature and epigraphic records. In the Gandavyuha, a part of the Buddhist Avatamsaka, there is the mention of a country named Amita Tosala, the chief city of which was Tosala.
Sambhuyasa of the Maudgalya dynasty was the ruller of Uttara Tosali in the 6th century AD. The earliest reference to Dakshina Tosali we have been found from the Kanasa Plate of Loka Vigraha of Vigraha dynasty. According to sources there was stiff rivalry between Sambhuyasa and Loka Vigraha. They fought each other frequently. River Mahanadi was their common boundary.
According to NK Sahu the Northern (Uttara) Tosali comprised of modern districts of Mayurbhanja, Balesore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Midnapore and some portion of cuttack district with capital at Viraja, modern Jajpur.
The South (Dakshina) Tosali comprised the modern districts of Puri, Ganjam, Khurda, Jagatsingpur and parts of cuttack district.
During the Harshvardhan Sasanka of Bengal occupied the Midnapore division of Tosali then known as Dandabhukti. After the death of Sasanka Harshvardhana Occupied the area.
Later in 8th century the Bhaumakaras united the Uttara and Dakshina Tosali and made their kingdom with capital at Guhadevapataka or Guhesvarapataka was situated near modern Jajpur town of the Jajpur district. Later during the time of Somavamsis these region was called Utkala.