Please could you give us a glimpse of the culture of Odisha
Surendra Kumar Patra: Odisha, a state located in eastern India, has a long coastline and this led to sea trade and cultural ties with South-East Asian countries in ancient and medieval times. There are broad rivers as well that helped inland transportation and trade. Ancient Odia culture was influenced by the presence of Buddhism patronized by King Ashoka in the third century BC and spread to other places from here. Its culture was subsequently influenced by Jainism for some period during the rule of Emperor Kharavela from the first century BC; however, the impact of Buddhism was quite visible.
Hinduism became predominant from the seventh century AD. The faith in Lord Jagannath and rituals performed at the 12th century Shri Jagannath temple at Puri have deeply influenced different aspects of Odia culture, from literature to food and textiles. The prevalence of Hinduism is epitomised in the spectacular 13th century Sun Temple at Konark; it is designed as a monumental chariot of God Surya, the Sun God, and is a masterpiece of stone architecture.
Odisha has thirty districts and has several indigenous communities, each of which has its distinct culture, living in different parts of the state since ancient times. Odia, a classical language, written in Odia script, is spoken here. All these aspects of the state’s history find connection with traditional textiles. Today weavers weave textiles for deities; for personal traditional attire such as sarees; and yardage for varied purposes from garments to home furnishings.
Image: Nabakothi saree. Image above: single ikat saree from Nuapatna
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