Forts of Orissa
I was born in Cuttack and brought up in various villages, towns and cities across the state of Orissa. I loved every bit of my life in the state. When I moved out of the state for higher education and work thereafter, I felt alienated. There always was a difficulty in explaining people about Orissa. First few days and months it was a big shock for me. But later I started realizing the fact that Orissa has been a tranquil state which lived in itself. For various reasons it never was a point of discussion for the people outside.
Then I started to think of the Oriyan entities which people could easily associate them with. One of them is the Lord Jagannath. I spoke about How Lord Jagannath is being considered one of the best known Oriya brands in one of my blogs. Another entity or subject people could recognize was “Kalinga”: Yes the ancient name of Orissa. The name was pretty power punched and signified the state which was primarily a state of warriors.
In one of the instances, someone asked me “If Kalinga was a warrior state, why don’t you have ruins of forts and castles?”. In most of the other states in India which had a prolific history of warriors and heroes have many such ruins to its credit. Some of the names that come first are Rajasthan and Maharashtra. This question remained in me for quite sometime. Couple of days back it just sparked in my mind again and I thought I should as one of my very good friends – Google. I Googled and found some great insight into the history of the state and its fortresses.
The fort of Barabati, was the last greatest citadel of the monarchs of Orissa. This fort in its ruins slowly crumbling into dust carrying with it a testimony to a grand artistic and architectural vision. It certainly was one of the greatest achievement of the Orissan architecture who otherwise were famous for the magnificent temples and places of worship like Puri, Bhubaneswar and Konark. The history of Barabati is closely associated with the history of Cuttack, which was the Capital of Kalinga empire for ages.
Orissa is well-known for its ancient beautiful structures. Kalinga had a long temple and Fort-building tradition since the 3rd Century B.C. Over centuries, many forts rose to fame and disappeared in the passage of time leaving the proof of a remarkable history. Constant attack from the enemies and the internal conflict between the monarchs left these fortresses bite the dust. Abul Fazal, the Minister of Akbar (16th Century), during his tour to Orissa mentioned clearly that Orissa was full of forts, and each of five divisions (called Sarkars) had forts with well-garrisoned and trained armies. In one of the books named “Prachina Utkala”, there are mentions of more than 50 forts and fortresses in Kalinga. Some of these forts appear to have been erected during Mughal and Maratha period but mast of them belonged to the independent Gajapatis of Orissa.
Is it not great to know such beautiful facts about the state? It really had a glorious past. Internet has given us another chance to know and learn more about our state. I learnt so much thanks to some articles published online. Special thanks to an article written by one Dr. H. C. Das. Salute to you sir.