1803 is the foundation year of the Cuttack district under the Bengal Presidency of the British India. It was the capital of Odisha with Cuttack Commissioner as the head of the British Government. The district has contributed liberally to Odisha’s who’s who list. It is one of the three districts that formed Odisha, viz., Cuttack, Puri and Balasore. Always known for its complexity, Cuttack was divided into four districts on 1st April in 1993. The rest while subdivisions of Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara are now separate districts.
Cuttack is a city of thousand years old flanked between river Mahanadi and Kathajodi. The District of Cuttack is named after the Principal town as well as the head quarter of the district of the same name. The word Cuttack is an anglicized form of the Sanskrit word ‘KATAKA’ that assumes two different meanings namely “military camp” and secondly, the fort of capital on the seat of the Government protected by the army.
The city however, attended glory early in the 12<>supth century as the Capital of imperial Gangas whose empire stretches from the river Ganges in the north to the river Godavari in the south. This Capital town continued to prosper during the rule of the successive dynasties, except for a brief period of unrest when in mid-fourteenth century, Firoz Shah Tughluq invaded Odisha and let loose on orgy of vandalism, looting and destruction. After the death of Mukunda Deva, the last Hindu king of Odisha , the suzerainty of Cuttack passed on the hands of Muslims and Mughals.
This is one of Odisha’s oldest cities and was the State capital till 1950, before being shifted to Bhubaneswar. The present capital is only 35 kms towards south. Cuttack is popularly known for its traditional values and rich cultural heritage. It is also famous for silk adn cotton textiles, horn and brasswares. The exquisite, delicate silver filigree work and casting of metal sculptures of Cuttack are world famous. The sights to see here include the ruins of a 14th century Barabati Fort. Kadam Rasool, located in the centre of the city, is a sacred 18th century shrine that is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. It contains the footprint of the Prophet Mohammed. There is an 11th century stone Revetment on the Kathajodi river, which protects the city from seasonal floods. It’s a remarkable example of ancient technological skill of Odisha.
Cuttack is the centre of the Odisha canal system, which is used for transport and irrigation. Nearby are the delta of the Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers. Inland the region is hilly, and a third river, the Baitarani, also traverses the area. Entrance to the rivers is impeded by silting and sandbars. The principal agricultural produce of the district is rice. The chief industrial products of the city are silver filigree work and leather. Many educational institutions are here, including a medical school, a school of engineering, and Ravenshaw College.
How to reach there?
Airways:The nearest airport from Cuttack is Bhubaneswar, which is around 29 kms away. Flights to other important cities in India can be taken from here.
Railways:Cuttack is an important station on the Kolkata-Chennai main railway line and connected to Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai through regular trains.
Roadways:NH-5 passes through Cuttack and makes it the most accessible city of Odisha. The city is connected by road with Bhubaneswar, Puri, and other important cities of the State.
Fairs and Festivals
Bali Yatra:Baliyatra is the festival of remembering the ancient tradition of trade between Odisha and Java, Bali and Sumatra , held on Mahanadi river bank at Cuttack on the fullmoon day of Kartik(considered highly auspicious for taking a voyage to distant lands) to commemorate the glorious past of commercial voyages to the islands of Bali. Odisha’s ancient maritime linkages with Bali are celebrated in this unusual festival. Tiny boats made of either paper or barks of banana tree, lit with clay lamps are floated in rivers and tanks all over the State. Karthik Purnima was considered as the most auspicious day by the traders (Sadhabas) of Odisha to venture in their huge boats called Boita, on journeys to distant lands like the islands of Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Tourism of Odisha offers tours to Odisha during the Bali Yatra fair and festival so that you can get a glimpse of Odisha’s rich cultural history.
Durga Puja:Dussehra is the festival of Goddess Durga. Durga Puja (September-October) symbolises the commemoration of good over evil. Life comes to a stand-still in the city of Cuttack as crowds pour over the Puja Mandaps to enjoy the festivities. On the day succeeding ‘Vijaya Dasami’, the last day of Dussehra, hundreds of images of the Goddess are carried aloft through streets to be immersed, after nine days of celebrations, in the river Kathajodi. In Cuttack, the celebration of Durga Puja ( Dussehra ) is particularly vibrant with the images of the Goddess being dressed most exquisitely and finally being carried in a colourful procession for immersion in the river. The religious aspect is just one facet of the celebration, the city’s best theatrical companies put up plays, shops offer special discounts on everything from clothing to food.
Raja Sankranti:Raja Sankranti (Swing festival) or “Mithuna Sankranti” is the first day of the month of ‘Asadha’ from, which the season of rain starts. It inaugurates and welcomes the agricultural year all over Odisha, which marks through biological symbolism, the moistening of the summer parched soil with the first showers of the monsoon, thus making it ready for productivity. All nights ‘Yatra’ performances or ‘Gotipua’ dances are arranged in prosperous villages where they can afford the professional groups. Enthusiastic amateurs also arrange plays and other kinds of entertainment. A special variety of cake is prepared out of ingredients like rice-powder, molasses, coconut, camphor, ghee etc. known as “Poda Pitha” (burnt cake). The size of the cake varies according to the number of family members. Cakes are also exchanged among relatives and friends. Young girls do not take rice during the three-day festival and sustain only with this type of cake, fried-rice (‘Mudhi’) and vegetable curry.