History of the state:
History of Orissa, which acquired indelible fame and glory under its past names, ‘Kalinga’ and ‘Utkal’, dates back to very remote antiquity. The State was known, far and wide, for the heroic deeds, maritime trade and over-sea expansion of its people. They were pioneer founders of Indian colonies across the oceans. Splendid glimpses of its remarkable past are found in many epics including Mahabharat. Buddhist and Jain literature also have rich descriptions of bravery, patriotism and generosity of the people of ancient Kalinga.
It is the soil of Orissa and supremely courageous sacrifices of its people that turned a merciless, atrocious, and barbaric Chandasoka to Dharmasoka amid the Kalinga war in 261 B.C. It is here in this soil; Asoka abandoned his expansionism and war adventures, took asylum in Buddhism and ultimately became its great defender and propagator. Kalinga was a vast and prosperous empire during the time of Kharavela who was a great patron of Jainism. Both Buddhism and Jainism survived and flourished simultaneously for a pretty long time in the ancient Orissa. The Oriyas were famous for their handlooms, silk fabrics, trade and commerce, etc. and were particularly known for seafaring and marine trade with oversea countries like Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaya, etc. From third century B.C. till the last day of the reign of Mukunda Dev, who was the last Hindu monarch, Orissa had a prosperous independent status and all round developments. During the time of Ganga Kings South-Western Bengal was within Orissa Empire. The Jagannath temple at Puri and the Sun temple at Konark were built during this dynasty which continue to remind the Oriyas of their past brilliant incredible sculptures and architectures. During the time of Surya Dynasty, that followed Ganga Dynasty, an extensive empire was established, the border of which touched the mid-stream of the Bhagirathi in the North and the Cauveri in the South. Miseries of Orissa started in 1568 A.D. when it lost its independence and was annexed to Bengal by its Afgan ruler Sulaiman. Subsequently, in 1576 the Mughals gained sovereignty over the territory.