|Cuttack is the former capital of the state of Orissa, India. It is the headquarters of Cuttack district and is located about 20 km to the north east of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. The name of the city is an anglicised form of Kataka that literally means The Fort, a reference to the ancient Barabati Fort around which the city developed. The city is spread across an area of 398 km2 (154 sq mi) and is situated at the beginning of the Mahanadi river delta.Established in 989 AD, Cuttack was the seat of government in Orissa for close to a thousand years before its burgeoning size forced the creation of a new capital at Bhubaneswar in 1948. The two cities are collectively referred to as the twin cities today. Cuttack is famous for its unique silver filigree works and textiles of woven and also famous for Dussehra. Dussehra is famous for its silver and gold Medhas that one cannot get to see anywhere in India. The goddesses look very beautiful in their idols, which are adorned with huge amounts of gold and silver medhas. silk and cotton.HistoryEarly history of Cuttack is associated with the Keshari dynasty. As stated by the distinguished historian A. Stirling, present-day Cuttack was established as a military cantonment by king Nrupa Keshari of Keshari dynasty in 989 A.D. Stirling based his opinion on Madala Panji, a chronicle of Jagannath temple of Puri. The reign of Markata Keshari was distinguished for the stone embank built to protect the new capital from flood in 1002 A.D.
Historical evidence suggests Cuttack becoming capital of a Kingdom founded by Anangabhimadeva of Ganga dynasty in 1211 A.D. After the end of Ganga rule, Orissa passed to the hands of the Gajapati Kings (1435-1541 A.D.) of Solar dynasty under whom Cuttack continued to be the capital of Orissa. After the death of Mukunda deva, the last Hindu king of Orissa, Cuttack first came under Muslim rules and later undern Mughals.
By 1750, Cuttack came under Maratha rules 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 Orissa division in 1816. From 1948 onwards, when the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar, the city remained the administrative headquarters of Orissa.
Remnants of an old fort called Barabati Killa still exist in the heart of Cuttack with the moat around the fort. Nearby is a modern stadium called the Barabati Stadium, host to many national and international cricket matches.
The introduction of the Sharadiya Utsav tradition in the city dates back to the visit of Saint Chaitanya in 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.
Recent growth of the city has resulted in expansion across the river Kathjori and a newer township towards the head of the delta formed between the tributary Kathjori river and the main river Mahanadi has come up by the name of Markat Nagar(popularly known as CDA by the local residents) which is spread across 2000 acres. Cuttack is referred to as a city with Babaan Bazaar, Teppan Galee i.e. a city having 52 markets and 53 streets.
Its a place where culture and tradition is seen to have a great fusion. The sense to be born as “Katakis” have a great impact on the ideologies of the inhabbitants of cuttack no matter they stay in Cuttack or any part of the world. People of cuttack respect all religions ,and they don’t encourage racism based on religion.
Cultural and Religious aspects
Cuttack hosts Paramahansa Nath temple (near Biribati, 14 km away from the city center), the famous Katak Chandi Temple, Bhattarika Temple, Dhabaleswar temple, Panchamukhi Hanuman temple and the most oldest temple is Paramahansanatha others. The Barabati fort houses the Gada Chandi temple which is one of the oldest temples in Cuttack. The Dhabaleswar temple is located on an island in the river Mahanadi and is connected to the mainland by a long hanging bridge. The pillar less hanging bridge is unique of its kind in India.
Here is situated a holy historical Sikh shrine ‘The Gurdwara Daatan Sahib’. It is here that the first Sikh Guru, Shree Guru Nanak Dev halted on his way to Puri. It is believed that a tree branch planted by him after using it as a tooth cleaner still flourishes here, hence the name Daatan Sahib. Cuttack houses several churches that include holy rosary church, Oriya Baptist church etc.
Cuttack also hosts of various mosques namely,
Cuttack town enjoyed for a pretty long time the honour of being the seat of political authority of the Muslims in Orissa. During this period numerous Muslim monuments were built in Cuttack. The Qadam-E-Rasool is a monument of beauty built by Shujaddin Khan. At four corners of its high compound wall are four small yet strong towers constructed out of chiselled stone. It is adorned with four flat domes and pucca pavements from all direction of the grave yard to the main octagonal building with magnificent dome in the centre. It contains the foot print of the Prophet engraved in a circular stone. The dome outside is adorned with a golden pinnacle.
As the name suggests Juma, means Big, this masjid is the oldest, biggest, and the most beautiful masjid of Cuttack. It was built during the Mughal era. It possesses several rooms for visitors and students. Earlier there used to be a Madrasa in this mosque. However, since last 10 years, the Madrasa is shifted out of the mosque. The neighbourhoods surrounding the Juma Masjid are inhabited both by Hindus and Muslims, who live peacefully with perfect communal harmony.
The Shahi mosque is situated inside the Barabati fort. It is structurally similar to the Ujale Khan mosque at Mohammadia Bazaar. All these mosques are adorned with beautiful domes on hexagonal base. Stones and tiles are used in construction of the mosque. It seems that during the British rule of Orissa, it was used as a Magazine as it is apparent from the two Mehrabs on the flanks which are closed with bricks.
Cuttack, being the aesthetic capital of Orissa for a long period of time, celebrates all festivals from all religions with much fanfare and devotion.
Dusshera, the festival of goddess Durga, is very popular in Cuttack. Idols are worshipped in many streets and localities. In this city, Dussehra is famous for its Chandi 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. Indeed, the whole city comes to a standstill on Astami, Navami and in Dashami burning of effigy of the demon Ravana (the eighth, ninth and tenth days of Dussehra) as people travel all over the city appreciating all the idols put forth by the neighbourhoods.
Kali puja, Just after Durga puja gets over, cuttackis gear up with all their vigour to celebrate Kali puja.On the auspicious day of Diwali amidst the bursting of firecrackers on the banks of Mahanadi (called Gadgadia ghat) people not only celebrate the victory of good over evil but also pay tribute to the goddess Kali.
Bali Yatra,But the festival which Cuttackis look forward to most is the Bali Yatra. In olden times, merchants from Orissa used to trade with South-East Asian countries. And whatever items they brought from those places after trading Oriya goods used to be put up for sale in the capital city (which was then Cuttack). People from all over the state and beyond used to come to Cuttack to buy these items. Bali Yatra is the festival of continuing this ancient tradition. It is held every year in the month of November on the banks of the Mahanadi (“Bali Yatra” literally means a festival to celebtate the trade that the ancient Oriyas had with the island of Bali in the ancient days), where many stalls are set up selling both local and exotic goods. People from all over Orissa come to the Baliyatra to buy items, as was the custom back in those days.
Kartikeshwar puja: The organized puja committees incharge of carrying out the worship of the deity of Cuttack get ready for Kartikeswar Puja.Kartikeshwar is the eldest son of Lord Shiva. Nowhere else except Sabarimala is the Kartikeswar puja carried out with so much elan.
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 the city. All the other regular Indian festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Vasant Panchami, Holi, Id, Good Friday, Rath Yatra, Diwali, Christmas and the numerous Hindu festivals are also celebrated here