Cuttack District is one of the oldest Districts of Odisha. It is an important city and District headquarter. It is known as the business capital of Odisha. The word Cuttack derives its name from the anglicised sanskrit word Kataka, which has two meanings-one being military camp and the other being the seat of government, protected by the army. Literally, it also means the fort, referring to the ancient Barabati Fort, around which the city developed. This city takes pride in the fact that it had been the capital of Odisha, before its shifting to Bhubaneswar, the new capital. Cuttack is also known as the Millennium City as well as the Silver City due to its history of 1000 years and famous silver filigree works. It is also the birth place of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Cuttack city is flanked by Mahanadi river on the north and Kathajodi river on the south. Covering a geographical area of 3932 sq kms, the District is highly populated. The District experiences tropical climate, with the summer being hot and the winter cold. Rainfall is generally heavy during the monsoons, which occur during the months of July and August.
The earliest written history of Cuttack may go back to the Keshari dynasty. As stated by the distinguished historian Andrew Stirling, present-day Cuttack was established as a military cantonment by king Nrupa Keshari of Keshari dynasty in 989 CE. Stirling based his opinion on the Madala Panji, a chronicle of the Jagannath temple of Puri. The reign of Maharaja Markata Keshari was distinguished for the stone embank built to protect the new capital from flood in 1002 CE. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests Cuttack becoming capital of a kingdom founded by Raja Anangabhimadeva III of Ganga dynasty in 1211 CE. After the end of Ganga rule, Odisha passed to the hands of the Suryavamsi Gajapati dynasty (1434–1541 CE) under whom Cuttack continued to be the capital of Odisha. After the death of Raja Mukunda deva, the last Hindu king of Orissa, Cuttack first came under Muslim rule and later under Mughals, who made Cuttack the seat of the new Orissa Subah (imperial top-level province) under Shah Jahan. By 1750, Cuttack came under Maratha rule and it grew fast as a business centre being the convenient point of contact between the Marathas of Nagpur and the English merchants of Bengal. It was occupied by the British in 1803 and later became the capital of Odisha division in 1816. From 1948 onwards, when the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar, the city remained the administrative headquarters for the state of Odisha. The introduction of the Sharadiya Utsav tradition in the city dates back to the visit of Saint Chaitanya in the 16th century when the consecration of the idol of Durga by using the mask pattern was conducted in his presence at Binod Behari Devi Mandap. The remains of the old moated Barabati Fort still exist in the heart of Cuttack.
Cuttack is best known as a City of Brotherhood or Bhai-Chara where people of all religious communities have been residing for centuries in harmony and co-operation. Known for its Durga Puja celebrations, the city offers immense shopping facilities. Silk and cotton being the major textiles of the region, Cuttack takes good care of your shopping spree. It is famous for its Dussehra celebrations across India only after Kolkata. It is also famous for "Dahibara", a local delicacy made using black gram and potato curry and also for "Chhena poda" and "Rasagola."
With limited industrialization, the people of this District depend upon agriculture as their main source of livelihood, with about 76 percentage of the population being dependent on it. Agriculture in this District is sustained by the numerous rivers and canals flowing through it. Rice, pulses, oil seeds, jute, sugarcane, coconut and turmeric are the major crops grown here. Among other industries, the District has a rich tradition of handicraft and cottage industries. The District is famous for its silver filigree works. Horn works, Patta Chitra, Dokra Casting, Terra Cota, Wood Carving, Art Leather and Brass/Bell Metal works are also quite evolved here. The District also generates substantial revenues from the exports of these handicraft products. The presence of a number of handicraft cooperatives and handicraft training institutes gives a boost to this handicraft industry. Many enterprises are also in the pipeline, prominent among them being Odisha Cement Ltd, Tata Power, Visa Power, Nilachal Power, Arati Steel etc.
Secondary Board High School, Ravenshaw University, SCB Medical College, Madhusudan Law College are some of the premier educational institutions of the District. It has also a number of technical institutes like Bhubanananda Odisha School of Engineering (BOSE), IPSAR, Institute of Textile Technology (ITT), National Law University (NLU) , Shri Shri University, National Rice Research Institute (CRRI), National Institute of Rehabilitation and Training (NIRTAR), Regional Spinal Injury Centre (RSIC) and Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Research Centre (AHRCRC) are the pioneer research institutes functioning here. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Das, Karma Veera Gouri Shankar Ray, Dr. Radhanath Rath, Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab, Biju patnaik, Pyarimohan Acharya are some of the prominent personalities this District. As per 2011 Census, total population of the district is 2624470 which consists of 1352760 (Male) and 1271710 (Female). The population density of the district is 667 per Sq. Km. and the Literacy Rate is 85.5 per cent. Sex ratio of the district is 940 female per 1000 male.
The Barbati Fort in Cuttack in Oddisa is a well known fort with carved gateway. It is about 8km away from the city. It is a 14th century fort build during the Ganga dynasty. The fort is situated on the river Mahanadi. The fort is situated at such a calculated place that it provides a beautiful and spectacular view of the modern Cuttack city. It is the earthen mound of the 9 storeyed palace. The monument was built with fortification to protect from enemy attacks. In present days a nearby Barbati stadium is build for cultural and various sports events. There is also a temple dedicated to Katak Chandi. The fort covers an area of about 102 acres, brings charm to the city and depicts its glorious history.
The Katak Chandi Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Chandi, the presiding deity of Cuttack,Odisha. The temple is located nearby the banks of the Mahanadi River. It is famous for the annual Durga Puja and Kali Puja festivals. The Durga Puja festivities are prominent in Maa Katak Chandi temple which takes place for 16 days stating from dark fortnight of Ashwina Krishna Ashtami till Ashwina shukla navami and Vijayadashami.The goddess popularly called as Maa Katak Chandi, sits and rules on the heart of the ancient city. She has four hands holding Paasha(noose) ,Ankusha(goad),gestures dispelling fear(Abhaya),and granting boon(Varada). She is worshiped as Bhuvaneshvari (the queen of universe) by Sevayatas belonging to Utkala Brahmins everyday. Maa Chandi is worshipped in various incarnations of Durga during the puja. In Cuttack, people strongly believe Maa Cuttack Chandi as 'The Living Goddess'.
The great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose was born in Cuttack. His parental home, Janakinath Bhawanis situated in the Oriya Bazar. Netaji spent his childhood at his ancestral home. Now the home has been converted into a Museum which is known as Netaji Birth Place Museum. The museum is an L-shaped building and has a temple at the backside courtyard. The house was reconstructed and was announced as a museum officially in 2007.This beautifully converted museum boasts a unique assortment of antiques, books, documents, articles, and other belongings of Netaji. These assortments are collected from various sources. Moreover, there are also 22 handwritten letters by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose for his family and also to other leaders. The museum also includes a horse cart that belonged to his family and also used by other leaders as well. The birthday of Netaji is celebrated with great pomp and show on 23 January at this museum.
Dhabaleswar Temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. It is situated at a distance of 27 km from the city of Cuttack, in the exotic island of Lord Dhabaleshwar. The temple, located in an island on River Mahanadi, is embellished with stone carvings that date back to the early 10th and 11th century. The present-day temple was renovated and repaired by Bhubaneshwar. A big fair is held on the Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi of the month Kartika called bada-OSHA the name of dhabaleshwar dhabala or white + eeswar or god is attributed to a miracle performed by Lord Shiva once a thief stole a black bull calf from a village and fled to a Shiva temple. The present temple was made by bir Kishore , ruler of khurda. Being situated on an island, the temple can be reached by boats leaving from ferries in or near Cuttack. There is also a foot bridge which devotees or visitors can use on paying a nominal fee. The serene ambiance, in which the temple is situated, inspires spiritual feeling among one and all.
The Odisha Maritime Museum spans across an area of more than four acres and was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on April 1, 2013. The museum has exhibits of the rich maritime historical records and traditions. In earlier days, the universal bodies such as sun, moon and stars were used for navigational purposes by the sailors. Later with the scientific developments, compass, and other tools were used by the navigators. The Odisha Maritime Museum has ancient artefacts which reveal the historical developments in maritime. There are ten galleries which display artefacts of Kalinga. In the introduction gallery, there are different images of boats and cargo vessels along with their descriptions. It also has an aquarium which contains a rich collection of the aquatic animals found in the sea water of Odisha. The complete process of boat making is demonstrated in one of the galleries. You will get to see exquisite exhibits which include sculptures, pottery, and other instrument.
Ratnagiri in Jajpur district of Odisha is often referred to as the 'Hill of Jewels'. This site is located on an isolated hillock of Assia Range between Birupa and Brahmani rivers. Many Buddhist remains, including a massive stupa (Maha Stupa), monasteries, temples and Buddhist antiquities―dating from 5th century to 13th century AD―have been excavated from this site. The ruins of the Maha Stupa can be seen atop the hill. The stupa, made of burnt bricks, is surrounded by votive stupas. Apparently, around 700 votive stupas have been found from this site during the course of excavations. A mound, locally called Ranipokhari or queen’s tank, is located to the north of Maha Stupa. The remains of two monasteries, lying side by side with a narrow passage in between can be seen here. Both the monasteries face the Maha Stupa. Also, antiquities including the stone and bronze images of the Buddha and a host of other divinities like Tara, Lokesvara, Vajrapani, Padmapani Aparajita, Heruka, Sambhara and Hariti have been found from the spot.
Lalitagiri (also known as Naltigiri) is a major Buddhist complex in the Indian state of Odisha comprising major stupas, 'esoteric' Buddha images, and monasteries (viharas), one of the oldest sites in the region. In 1937, the central government gave this place the status of a protected monument. The place constitutes stupas, monasteries, and Buddha images as its main attractions. It is said that Lalitgiri was a prime place of Tantric Buddhism. Some excavations were carried out at Lalitgiri in 1977 by Utkal University. However, the major excavation was carried out by Bhubaneswar Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India between 1985 and 1991 to find the Pushpagiri. Pushpagiri was mentioned in the writings of the Chinese traveller Xuanzang. From this excavation, a large stupa was recovered with two caskets with some relics. As per the archaeological experts, these are Buddha’s relics.
The shrine built by Nawab Shujauddin Khan in the year 1715, is a unique symbol of Hindu Muslim unity in the region which stood the test of time. Located in Jail Road, Cuttack, this beautiful structure is reminiscent of the famous Islamic monuments in the country. It spreads over an area of 57 acres and has a high compound wall with towers at each of the four corners. A large minaret in the centre of the dargah, bearing the crescent and the star, is complimented by nine small minarets that have been designed with wood carvings and lacquer craft. The Qadam-e-Rasool or the footprint of the Messenger has been placed inside a metal basin in the centre of the dargah, which also has a music gallery known as Nawabat Khana. There are three smaller mosques inside the shrine.
Ansupa Lake is one of the largest fresh water lake of Odisha situated in Banki, Cuttack. It was created by Mahanadi and got a shape like the hoof of a horse. It spreads over a vast area of 141 hectare, and surrounded by Saranda Hills in its length. It acts as a shelter for the migratory birds in the wintry weather season and is enclosed by bamboo tree greenery and mango trees. To visitor's delight, there is boating and fishing facilities in the Ansupa Lake. At the west side of the lake on the erstwhile Sarandha Garh, one alluring park has been built with boating facility. One can just sit in the park and relish the resplendent views of budding plants, gleaming water, gorgeous birds, and the lofty hills in the backdrop. The government has established three bamboo-made cottages offering the facility of night stays.