Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bhubaneswar Wall Paintings - History of Orissa

The history of Orissa is over 3500 years old and has been mostly different from that of the rest of northers India.

In ancient times, it was known as Kalinga and was inhabited by a few large and prosperous tribes. As a major sea-faring nation, Kalinga had regular contacts with South and South East Asia. Merchants from Kalinga used to trade spices and other local products with other countries.

The Nanda Dynasty ruled over Kalinga from around 362 BC. Though Kalinga lost its independence, the Nanda rule brought prosperity to Kalinga through numerous developmental activities by the Nanda king.

In 261 BC, the Mayuran Emperor Ashoka invaded Kalinga. A fierce battle was raged at the banks of river Daya (now near to Bhubaneswar) which dragged over many days. The people of Kalinga resisted fearlessly, till their last resources were exhausted. There were a large number of soldiers slaughtered, from both armies, and the waters of river Daya was tinged red with the blood of the dead. At the end Ashoka won the war, but when he saw the devastation he had caused, it had a great impact on him. It led to the transformation of Ashoka, who was previously known as Chandashoka (the Cruel Ashoka), to be a kind and benevolent king known as Dharmashoka (the Pious Ashoka). He left the path of voilence and ensured good governance and ensured development in his empire.

That is what is depicted in the wall painting above which shows the armies fighting with the red tinged Daya river in the background and later Ashoka leaving the path of violence and embracing Buddhism by surrendering his sword to the Buddhist monks.

There's lot more on the history of Orissa. You can start from this Wikipedia article.

Back to the list of wall paintings in Bhubaneswar.


  1. I read your blog and found it very informative. The event blogs are striking enough to have a feel of the event, so, I would like to have a little chit-chat on your blogging interests. And even we are coming up with an event on startups on June 6th in Bangalore. So, can I have your contact details? Looking forward to hear from you.

    Link for the Event:

    Contact me:

  2. i love this blogs.. can i add this things in my site .. ?

  3. Hi Amaresh, If you wish to put links to these blog pages on your site, please go ahead.

  4. OK , Thanks a lot

  5. I once read a book that persons in Bali and even further in Pacific were from Orissa.

  6. Interesting thought they are many variants of the battle of Kalinga. One version even says that Emperor Ashoka was an incompetent general hence the huge casualties.

  7. I stayed in Naraj, near Cuttack before the cyclone when I was barely in Vth Standard...
    Loved the wall-paintings and thanks for the info... :)

    Indie :)


Thank you. I'm all ears!