Located on the eastern coast of the country, Orissa is part of the poorest Indian regions. It is inhabited by many tribes who have retained their traditional arts and crafts despite the Mughal and British rulers. Orissa was the cradle of many religions, seeing the advent of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, which, despite their differences, are part of the great pantheistic religions of India. The area of Orissa is bordered by the Bay of Bengal to the east, Bihar and West Bengal to the north, west Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in the southern part. The area owns 90% of the Indian reserves of chromium, 70% of the bauxite and 24% of those of coal. One of the classical Indian dance styles, Odissi, originated in Orissa.
In 1999, Orissa has experienced a cyclone, which killed 20 000 people and killed 700 000 head of livestock, damaging an impressive number of 90 million trees and 20 million homes, as well as 5 million farms and 1.2 million hectares of crops, which were completely destroyed. Like many other rulers before him, the legendary Emperor Ashoka, in the third century BC, failed to rule the Kalinga kingdom, which lies on the land of modern state of Orissa. The local legend says that Ashoka was so tormented by the remorse for the cruel facts of his soldiers that went to the Buddhist religion of peace. However, he failed to obey many of the existing small and independent principalities at that time. The muslimsdid not achieve this either, although from the seventh century onwards they were in control over large areas of India, through a system of governors.
Finally, Orissa came under the colonial rule of the British Empire. The English were interested mainly in the maritime trade and coastal plain, whereas the inland area was abandoned to the mercy of local lords. In 1936, Orissa became a separate province whose capital was firstly established at Cuttack. Since 1950, this honor belonged to the Bhubaneswar city. Nowadays in Orissa there are 62 ethnic groups, whose villages are scattered in places far from the main routes. The inhabitants of these settlements are living mostly from agriculture. Some of them have left their native places to work in the mining industry, which plays an important role in this state. Orissa occupies a prominent place in India in terms of extraction of chromium, manganese, dolomite and graphite.