language of the state, spoken by the majority of the people is Oriya.
Oriya belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language
family, and is closely related to Bengali and Assamese. A few tribal
languages belonging to the Dravidian and Munda language families are
still spoken by the Adivasis (original inhabitants) of the state. The
state has a very opulent cultural heritage, one of the richest in
India. The capital city of Bhubaneswar is known for the exquisite
temples that dot its landscape.
The famous classical dance form, Odissi originated in Orissa.
Contemporary Orissa has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to
the intermingling of three great religious traditions - Hinduism,
Buddhism and Jainism. Orissa is also known as Odisha. The culture of
the Adivasis (the original inhabitants of India) is an integral part
of modern Orissan heritage.
Odissi or Orissi music is usually classified as a kind of Hindustani
classical music of northern India, although some aspects of Odissi are
quite distinct. Odissi has a long, unbroken tradition of 2,000 years,
and finds mention in the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni, possibly written
circa 200 BC. However, the dance form nearly went extinct during the
British period, only to be revived after India's independence by a few
proponents, such as Guru Deba Prasad Das, Guru Mayadhar Raut, Guru
Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Mahadev Rout, Guru Raghu Dutta, and Guru Kelu
Charan Mahapatra. Odissi classical dance is about the divine love of
Krishna and his consort Radha, mostly drawn from compositions by the
notable Oriya poet Jayadeva, who lived in the twelfth century AD.
Other cultural attractions include the Jagannatha Temple in Puri,
known for its annual Rath Yatra or Car Festival, the unique and
beautiful applique artwork of Pipili, silver filigree ornamental works
from Cuttack, the Patta chitras (palm leaf paintings), famous stone
utensils of Nilgiri (Balasore) and various tribal influenced cultures.
The Sun temple at Konark is famous for its architectural splendor.