About Odisha Culture, Tradition and Arts

Art Culture & Tradition Of Odisha

Odisha Culture is one of the most assorted and brilliant throughout India. Odisha supports rich cultural heritage with historical memorials, archaeological sites, traditional arts, sculpture, dance, and music. Every time Odisha attracts a large number of scholars and tourists. 

If we go to the history of Odisha, it had a continuous tradition of “Dharmik Religions” such as Hinduism, Jainism & Buddhism. Buddhism concept came from Ashoka’s conquest of Kalinga (Odisha), and this made several Stupas and the busiest learning centers in Odisha. 

Currently, the majority of people of Odisha are Hindus. There is a lot of rich cultural heritage in the state that owes the Hindu faith. Saint Bhima Bhoi, Sarala Das who was the translator of the epic Mahabharata in Odia, Jayadeva was the author of the Gita Govinda. 

During the old-age times, the Kalinga country was untouched by the clout of Brahmanical culture. However, by the 15th century, the region was affected by the Brahmanical traditions and the predominant social customs slowly began to change. Read more about Odisha here.

Jagannath Temple

Shri Jagannath Temple is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India. The main deity of this temple is Lord Jagannath. We can say Jagannath Temple itself is a culture of Odisha.

The temple is built by king Anangabhimadeva III of the Ganga dynasty. As per historians says that the construction of this temple began during king Chodagangadeva, who is known as the founder of the dynasty. 

Jagannath Temple Sunset
Jagannath Temple

Jagannath Temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra (Chariot festival). This temple is sacred to every Hindu people, especially for Vaishnava traditions. 

Mahaprasad – The Superfood

There is another reason the temple is famous for and that is the Chappan Bhog (Mahaprssad) the holiest superfood. Mahaprasad is known as the largest platter on the earth. It consists of 56 food items popularly known as “Chappan Bhog”. 

Chappan bhog is offered to Lord Jagannath every day. If it’s a sunny, rainy, or foggy day, the food is offered with every single food item on the platter without any fail.

Mahaprasad Of Jagannath Temple

Isn’t it insane? What will you call this? A miracle? Yes, indeed it is. It happens only in the holy land of Lord Jagannath, where the divinity is expressed and experienced at its best.

This superfood is cooked inside the temple’s kitchen, the largest kitchen in the world. Randhashala (temple’s kitchen) accommodates 100s of priests who cook the Mahaprasad in 1000s of earthen pots. Lakhs of devotees partake of it on an everyday basis.

The architecture of Odisha Temples

Odisha architecture style is the style of Hindu architecture. It shows the ancient Kalinga is previously known as Utkal at present it is the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Odisha contains some of the finest ancient Indian architecture. 

After the Gupta period, the temples of Odisha were free-standing structures. Other Hindu hegemony inspired Odisha’s architecture to get in the spirit of creating its own style of temple. The period was from the 6th century A.D to 16th century A.D.

Architecture Of Odisha Konark
Kalinga Architecture

The temple architecture of Odisha developed over a long period of time. Temples in Odisha are based on certain principles of stability and take their signal from the human body. 

Basically, the structure is divided into three parts, the Lower Limb, the Body part, and the Mastak (Head Part). According to temple architecture, each part is given different treatment from starting to the final ornamentation.

Language Of Odisha

Odisha is one of the most beautiful states in India, which is full of natural beauty. The people of this state are very congenial and welcome the guests with open arms. The official language of Odisha is Odia, which is spoken by the majority (84%) of the population.

The other major languages spoken in the state are Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Telugu. The English language is spoken only by a few literate people in Odisha. Odia language has 3 different forms they are, Standard Odia language, Major dialects, and Minor literary(Tribal forms).

From the above three forms of Odia language, standard Odia language is proper Odia language and it is spoken in most of the districts. Major dialects, the language used in remote districts of Odisha. And minor dialects are the language spoken by the tribal peoples of Odisha.


Odia literature begins with the development of Charya Sahitya, then the literature started by Mahayana Buddhist poets. That literature was specifically written named “Sandhya Bhasha” and the poets like Luipa, Kanhupa are from the territory of Odisha.

Sarala Das

One of the great poets of Odisha the famous Sarala Das who wrote the Mahabharata, which was not the exact translation from Sanskrit to Odia but a full description of details. Odisha literature was developing under local leaders and then after it grows with the arrival of the British. 

The first Odia magazine was Bodha Dayini, which was published in 1861. Then after the first Odia newspaper, Utkala Dipika was published in 1866.

Art & Craft Of Odisha

Odisha is well known for its excellent art. It is also called the land of Art. It is the treasure of elegant handicrafts as well as traditional art forms. Handicrafts of Odisha always retained their traditional value with the charm of their own. 

The art and craft of Odisha made Odisha a huge market throughout the world due to dedicated artists. In between the varieties of work- Silver filigree, Stone Work, Brass, and Bell Metal Work, Horn Work, etc are the most popular crafts of Odisha.  

In Odisha, you can see the beautiful craftsmanship of Lord Jagannath temple, Konark Sun temple, Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar, and some other temples. If you will look at some handicrafts of Odisha, The appliqué works of Pipili, Pattachitras work Puri, silver filigree jewelry work Cuttack, Kataki and Ikat saree of Cuttack and Sambalpur, each work has its originality and charm. 

  • Silver Filigree Cuttack

Cuttack of Odisha is famous for silver filigree work. Silver ornaments especially silver earrings and brooches are very popular among Indian women. 

Silver Filigree
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The silver filigree work is of high quality, the standard is up to 90% pure. It can be categorized into many items. Ornamental items like bangles, earrings, Necklaces, Pendants are favorite among women. 

  • Horn Work

Horn work crafts of Odisha have been there around 1890. These horn works were practiced during the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb. When Maharaja found some unique characteristics of the horn and noticed the horn’s plasticity. Then he decided to make a team for horn crafts. 

  • Stone Carving

Stone and wood carvings have always treasured the glory of the land Odisha. Raghurajpur is a small village of Puri that has families that are dedicated to stone and wood carvings. 

Stone Craving Odisha
Stone Craving Odisha

They are doing the same for generations. Even they won national awards for this work. This village is declared as a heritage village because there are 100 families and 311 artisans living in this village.

Music & Dance Of Odisha

Odisha is the only state whose history starts with genuine documentary records of historic arts such as dances, combats, music, orchestras, festivals, and plays.

One of the foremost is puppet theatre: string and rod puppetry, and shadow puppetry. Three of the important solo performances are Galpasagara, the Kathakali, and the Harikatha. Dasaratha is a unique show involving two artists.

Chhau Nata is internationally known for its vivacity and colorful masks. The Danda Nata is devotional in form. Themes from Mahabharata find a place in Dwari Nata, a very popular theme.

Dance and music are also an important part of the cultural heritage of many Odias. Odisha music is known for its unique rhythm. The tribal dancers wear elaborate costumes when performing the dances.


Odisha has a rich heritage of music, which is a delight for all music lovers. Among all Odissi music is a piece of classical music that is very popular internationally. It has all elements such as Tala and Raga. Jayadeva was the first poet to compose musical lyrics. 

Odisha Music
 Image Courtesy: 
Odisha Links

Odisha music is categorized into 5 types

  1. Tribal music
  2. Folk music
  3. Light music
  4. Light-Classical music
  5. Classical music


  • Odissi

Classical dance Odissi is nothing but the divine love of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha, mostly drawn by the composition of notable Odiya poet Jayadev, who lives in the 12th century.

Odissi Dance
Odissi Dance Performance
  • Chhau

Another dance form that is famous is Chhau dance (or Chau dance), which is a form of tribal martial dance. Their Origin is in the Mayurbhanj princely state of Odisha and which seen in the Indian states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Odisha.

Basically, there are three subtypes of dance, these are mentioned in the original places where the subtype dance form is developed.

Chhau Dance
Chhau Dance

Seraikella Chau was developed in Seraikella, so this is called Seraikella Chau, Purulia Chau which developed in Purulia district of West Bengal, and Mayurbhanj Chau developed in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.

  • Dalkhai

Dalkhai is another most popular dance forms of Odisha. The main theme of this dance form is Radha and Krishna, Mahabharata, and Ramayana, etc. This dance form is performed in some festivals like Phagun pani, Nuakhai etc. Especially young women from some tribes of Sambalpur, Sundergarh practice in this dance. 

Dalkhai Dance Odisha
Dalkhai Dance

It is originated from the Sambalpur district of Odisha. That’s why this is the most popular dance forms of Western Odisha. The men shout the word “Dalkhai Bo” at the beginning and end of each stanza. That’s why this dance is known as Dalkhai dance. 

Traditions Of Odisha

Odisha’s unique culture is widely known as Jagannath Sanskruti which revolves around Lord Jagannath. Each and every festival is celebrated among all Odias with old customs and traditions. 

Wedding Tradition

Odia wedding ceremony performed by Odia Hindu people in the Indian state of Odisha. There are different rituals according to different castes. One unique thing about Odia’s wedding is that the bridegroom’s mother does not take part in the ceremony. 

Odisha Wedding
Odia Wedding

Odia’s marriage has three major rituals, Nirbandha (Engagement), Bahaghara (The wedding), and Chaturthi. Odia’s wedding continues to 8 days calls (Astamangala).

Clothing Of Odisha

The clothing of Odisha shows the ancient heritage of the state. Odisha people preserve their traditions and culture. 

The traditional clothes of Odia men are Dhoti and Kurta, whereas women of Odisha prefer Saree. There is a large variety of saree made by Handlooms of Odisha available in different places of Odisha.

Odisha Handlooms
Odisha Handloom

Manibandha saree, Sambalpuri Pata Saree, Berhampur Pata Saree, Puri Patachitra Saree are really popular in India. Currently, people of Odisha prefer western clothes.

Religion Of Odisha

Odisha is known as one of the most religiously homogeneous states of India. In Odisha more than 95% of people following Hinduism. This is due to the specific Lord Jagannath culture followed by Hindus of Odisha people. You can see every year Lord Jagannath’s Rath yatra draws a lot of pilgrims from across India. 

After Hinduism in Odisha, Buddhism and Jainism are the other two important religions. During the emperor Karakandu in 7th century BC, Jainism was the national religion. AT that time the Kalinga Jina was the national symbol of the kingdom. 

Buddhism was also a religion of the Odisha region until the late Bhaumakar dynasty’s rule. You can find some remarkable archeological sites like Dhauli, Lalitagiri, Khandagiri, etc. Even you can feel the Buddhism impact on the people of Odisha.  

Festivals Of Odisha

Odisha is called a land of cultural heritage that celebrates various festivals sound the year. The festivals in Odisha marked by large gatherings, huge processions, and vibrant. That’s why we called in Odia “Bara mase tera parba”(ବାର ମାସେ ତେର ପର୍ବ ) it means 13 festivals in 12 months. 

People think that Odisha is only famous for Ratha Yatra, in real the state does celebrate a lot of festivals. Some famous festivals of Odisha are:

  • Puri Ratha Yatra

This festival is celebrated annually on Asadha Sukla Pakhya Dwitiya. This festival remembers Lord Jagannath’s annual visit to  Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple which is called (Aunt’s Home) near Saradha Bali Puri.

In this Ratha Yatra the deities Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra (Lord Jagannath’s Elder Brother), younger sister Devi Subhadra with Sudarshan are taken outside with a huge procession and placed inside the Ratha (The Chariot) which are already prepared outside of the Jagannath Temple. This Procession is called Pahandi. Read more.

  • Pana Sankranti

Maha Vishuva Sankranti sparks the beginning of the Hindu Solar Calendar in Odisha and is celebrated as the Oriya New Year. April 14th is the date that has been chosen for this year’s Maha Vishuva Sankranti.

This day is also celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. It is reserved for visits to the temple, especially in Puri at the Sri Jagannath Temple. Pana is a special drink concocted from water, milk, curds, fruits, and sugar that is prepared during this day. Read more. 

  • Raja Parba

Raja Parba (Raja Festival) is a three days long festival celebrated across the whole of Odisha. The 2nd day of this festival signifies the start of the rainy season. 

Each year it comes in mid-June (14th, 15th, 16th), the 1st day of this festival called Pahili Raja, 2nd day is called as Raja Sankranti, 3rd day is called Bhu daaha. The day after the 3rd day called Vasumati snana. That day women’s baths the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi (Earth) with turmeric paste and adore etc.  Read more.

Cuisines Of Odisha

In east India, Odisha is well known for its awesome food and unique cooking style. Odisha is a rice producer and most people eat rice. Most Odisha cuisines are prepared with vegetables, Lentils, pulses, dairy products, and seafood as well.

Odisha Cuisines
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People of Odisha loves to eat less spicy and less oily food, besides that every cuisine load with great taste and flavors. Two types of rice are being eaten by Odisha people, Sundried and parboiled. Most people of Odisha prefer parboiled rice to eat on a regular basis. Read more authentic cuisines of Odisha here.

Odia Cinema(Ollywood)

The Odia film industry is also known as Ollywood, is the Odia language-based Indian film industry. Odia’s filmography’s first production was a talkie. The first Odia talkie Sita Bibaha was made by Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami in 1936. The pace of Odia film production in the initial years was very slow. After Sita Bibaha, only two films were produced until 1951.

Odia Movie
Old Ollywood Movie

Uttam Mohanty, Bijay Mohanty, Sriram Panda, Prasant Nanda were very successful actors in the ’90s.  Siddhanta Mahapatra, a new generation star, is also successful at that time. Aparajita, Maheswata Ray are some successful actress of ’80-’90s. 

Odia Movie 2020
New Odia Movie

Nowadays in 2020–2021 Anubhab Mohanty, Babusan Mohanty, Arindam Ray, Akash Das Nayak are some famous actors in Ollywood for their action and romantic movies. In actress Elina Samatray, Archita Sahu, Barsa Priyadarshini is famous among Ollywood industry.

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