Cuttack Knowledge Guide


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.


Pilgrimage sites


Durga Puja: Cuttack is famous throughout the nation for its Durga puja celebrations. Nearly 200 earthen idols of Goddess Durga are prepared by the different Puja Committees of the city to worship Goddess Durga The speciality Cuttack Durga Puja are its Chandi o Suna Medhas, in which the idols are adorned with huge amounts of gold and silver, with localities trying to outsmart each other by constructing more attractive idols. Cuttack celebrates Durga Puja with full energy on Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and on Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra by burning an effigy of the demon Ravana. People from all of Odisha and nearby states visit Cuttack during this period observe the famous festival. Boita Bandana: This festival is celebrated on the last day of the holy Hindu month of Kartik. On this auspicious day people flow miniature boitas or model boats in the Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers to pay homage to the ancient merchants of Kalinga Kingdom. This day also marks the beginning of Bali Jatra. This festival is similar to the Masakapan Ke Tukad festival of Bali, and to the Loi Krathong festival of Thailand, both of which involve ritualistic floating of model boats around the same time of year Bali Jatra: The festival which the people of Cuttack await the most is the Bali Jatra. Bali Yatra is supposedly the second largest trade festival in Asia and the largest in India. The name Bali Jatra literally means A Voyage to Bali. In olden times, merchants used to trade with South-East Asian Island Countries of Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo. Whatever items they brought from those places after trading Oriya goods used to be put up for sale in the capital (which was then Cuttack). People from all over the state and beyond used to come to Cuttack to buy these items. Bali Jatra is the festival of continuing this ancient tradition. It is held every year in November on the banks of the Mahanadi. Many stalls are set up selling both local and exotic goods. People from all over Odisha come to the Bali Jatra to buy items, as was the custom back in those days. Kali puja: This festival is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali and is celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month of Kartik. It coincides with the pan-Indian festival of Diwali amidst the bursting of firecrackers. Kartikeshwar Puja: The puja in Cuttack is organized by the puja committees of Cuttack. This festival is observed to worship Kartikeya, the eldest son of Lord Shiva. Nowhere else except Sabarimala is the Kartikeswar puja carried out with so much elan. Bada Osha: This is unique to Dhabaleswar Temple. Special Bhoga namely Gaja and Tarana are prepared on this day for the worshippers. Mana Basa was unique of Cuttack Odisha later celebrated by east Odisha, west Odisha is worship to goddes Laxmi . Kite flying is also celebrated with much enthusiasm and energy in the city. Kite-flying culminates with the Makar Sankranti, with kite-flying competitions being held all over. Cuttack is the first city in the Eastern India to introduce kite-flying.All the other regular Indian festivals like Ratha Yatra, Raja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vasant Panchami, Holi, Diwali, Chhath, Eid, Good Friday, Christmas, and the numerous festivals are celebrated here.


Cuttack is the street food capital of Odisha. It is famous for its Dahibara Aloodam, a local delicacy made using black gram (a cousin of the mung bean) and potato curry.Chhena poda and Rasagulla from Salepur by Bikalananda Kar are local desserts made of unripened curd cheese made from buffalo or cow milk. Apart from Dahibara Aloodam: Chaat, Puchuka (panipuri) and samosas rule the streets. The city has major food joints like Chandini Chowk, Bidanasi, Stadium Road, Buxi Bazar, Dolamundai, Choudhary Bazar, etc. Thunka puri is a famous delicacy available only during Baliyatra. Traditional Oriya food such as Dahi-Pakhal (rice soaked in water with yogurt and seasonings) is considered a body coolant, accompanied by Badi chura or saga are consumed during the months of April–June. Due to the quantity of Muslim households in the city, traditional Islamic and Mughlai cuisines like Biriyani, Tandoor and Sheer kurma are also popular among the denizens. Due to its close proximity to Paradip and Mahanadi catchment area, Cuttack is one of the major producer and consumer of fish. Fish curry is a popular dish among Odia households.