Each morning the sun breaks over the Konark temple, bringing to life one of the most beautiful states of India- Orissa. The Sun Temple, also known as the black pagoda, was constructed in the 13th century AD. It was conceived as a celestial chariot of the Sun God, drawn on 12 pairs of elaborately ornated wheels, driven by seven spirited horses.
The temple, in its exceptional sense of proportion and its near perfect execution of postures of the icons, reflects the aesthetic and architectural vision of the people of the land. Blessed with the creativity of thousands of artists who have given expression to the miles of unspoilt coastline, lakes, ancient monuments, temples through their artisanship, Orissa is a land of plenty.
The beauty of Orissa unravels like a story through its monuments, landscape and the history. Kalinga, as Orissa was known in ancient times, remained unconquered till King Ashoka captured this state. Shattered by the bloodshed, he denounced the world to follow the path of Buddhism. Today, a sense of calmness and peace winds through the air, like the notes of a flute, filling one with joy.
Orissa has preserved its past in about 500 exquisitely carved temples and monuments. Pilgrims looking for peace and happiness throng Bhubaneshwar and Puri. The annual rath yatra has for years attracted devotees from India and abroad. Konark or the Black Pagoda, with its gorgeous Sun temple, is famous for the beautiful and quite explicit erotic imagery. Lake Chilika is an attraction not only to the tourists but also to the migratory birds. This lake is a treasure house of aquatic flora and fauna.
Odissi, the dance tradition with its origins in Orissa is well known for its beauty, elegance and grace. The intricate mime and rhythm blend giving birth to numerous graceful expressions.
The fabulous handicrafts and paintings add colour to simple life style of people in Orissa. The most popular crafts Patta-Chitra and palm-leaf etching serve as souvenirs from the state. The silver filigree and Applique are distinct art forms of great detail holding the onlooker in awe. The artists of Orissa still live and work in remote tribal habitations, small villages, and traditional pilgrimage towns throughout the state. It is in these little nooks and corners of the state that traditions thrives and flourishes to its full extent.