Orissa is a state of the indian Union located along the eastern coast of the peninsula.Its territory formed a part of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga of Mahabharat fame. Ashok, the Mauryan king of Magadh, invaded kalinga in 261 BC and this event has gone down history as the Kalinga war, causing a greater change in the heart of ashok, than in his empire. This was last war fought by him after which he became a great champion of Buddhism and upheld the values of peace and non-violence. By the final reckoning, therefor, it was the conqueror who was conquered in the famous kalinga war.
The ancient state rose to prominence as a kingdom under kharavela, a great conqueror and patron of jainism, in the second half of the 1st century B.C. other great rulers were the kings of the kesari dynasty and the eastern ganga dynasty who were also great builders.The Kalinga school of architecture flourished from the 7th to the 13th century A.D. The most important monuments of this period can be seen in and around bhubaneswar and puri.The Lingaraj Temple (Bhubaneswar),the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and the Sun Temple (Konark) are some of the finest temples of this period. Few temples can compete with the beauty of the sculptures of Orissan temples.
Today orissa offers not only nature in all its glory with its beaches, rivers, waterfalls, hills, forests, wildlife and tribal life, but also a great tradition of architecture, monuments and sculptural atr. Some of these monuments date back to the 3rd century B.C. and are well preserved and are intact to this day.In fact, the entire length and breadth of the state is dotted with 4,000 monuments and archaeological sites. They include early jaina caves and temples , Buddhist monasteries (viharas),domed structures (chaityas) and pillars (stupas), hindu temples, mosques,churches, ancient and medieval forts, palaces and colonial architecture. For details visit orissa tourism