The land of Odisha or former Kalinga has undergone several changes in terms of its boundaries since ancient ages. It was also known by different names like Odra Desha, Kalinga, Hirakhanda, Mahakantara or Utkala in different eras. Unlike other Ancient Kingdoms in India, Odisha for most part of the History remained a stable and major power till medieval era due to wide spread martial culture and prosperity brought by successive native ruling dynasties.

The year 1568 is considered a turning point in the history of Odisha. In 1568, Kalapahad invaded the state. This, aided by internal conflicts, led to a steady downfall of the state from which it did not recover.

Location of Odisha in India
Location of Odisha in India

Ancient period

Main article: Kalinga (historical region)

Kalinga Kingdom (c. 1100 – 261 BCE)

Main article: Kalinga (historical region)

According to political scientist Sudama Misra, the Kalinga janapada originally comprised the area covered by the Puri and Ganjam districts. Reference-Misra, Sudama (1973). Janapada state in ancient India. Vārāṇasī: Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.

Kalinga region in eastern Indian coast
Kalinga region in eastern Indian coast

Kalinga dynasty (I) (c. 1100 – 700 BCE)

Main article: Kalinga (Mahabharata)

According to Mahabharata and some Puranas, the prince 'Kalinga' founded the Kalinga Kingdom, in the current day region of coastal Odisha, including the North Sircars.[1][2]

According to political scientist Sudama Misra, the Kalinga janapada originally comprised the area covered by the Puri and Ganjam districts.

Reference-Sudama Misra (1973). Janapada state in ancient India. Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana. p. 78.

The Mahabharata also mentions one 'Srutayudha' as the king of the Kalinga kingdom, who joined the Kaurava camp.[3] In the Buddhist text, Mahagovinda Suttanta, Kalinga and its ruler, 'Sattabhu', have been mentioned.[4]

Known rulers are-

Kalinga dynasty (II) (c. 700 – 350 BCE)

This dynasty is mentioned in Chullakalinga Jataka and Kalingabodhi Jataka. The last ruler of First Kalinga dynasty is said to have broken away from the Danda kingdom along with the kings of Asmaka and Vidarbha as its feudal states, and established rule of Second Kalinga dynasty.

Known rulers are-
Other or late Kalinga rulers according to Dāṭhavaṃsa are-

This was probably another dynasty or late rulers of Second Kalinga dynasty, which is mentioned in Dāṭhavaṃsa.

Known rulers are-

Suryavamsha of Kalinga (c. 350 – 261 BCE)

Known rulers are-

His son, prince 'Soorudasaruna-Adeettiya' was exiled and as per Maldivian history, established the first kingdom Dheeva Maari and laid the foundation of the Adeetta dynasty.[5]

After Kalinga War (261 BCE), Kalinga Kingdom became a part of Mauryan Empire, after which Kalinga Kingdom was succeeded by Mahameghavahana Empire between 230–190 BCE which ruled till 350 CE.[7]

Kalinga under Magadha Empire (c. 345 – 225 BCE)

See also: Magadha and Magadha Empire

Under Nanda Empire (c. 345 – 322 BCE)

Main article: Nanda dynasty

Kalinga was believed to be briefly annexed by Mahapadma Nanda.

When Chandragupta Maurya rebelled against the Nandas, Kalingas broke away from the empire of Magadha.

Under Maurya Empire (c. 261 – 225 BCE)

Main article: Maurya Empire

Ashoka invaded Kalinga in 261 BCE. Kalinga broke away from the Mauryan empire during the rule of Dasharatha.

Maurya Empire at Ashoka's regin in 250 BCE
Maurya Empire at Ashoka's regin in 250 BCE

Mahameghavahana Empire (c. 225 BCE – 350 CE)

Main article: Mahameghavahana dynasty

Hātigumfā inscription of Emperor Kharavela at Udayagiri Hills.
Hātigumfā inscription of Emperor Kharavela at Udayagiri Hills.

Mahamegha Vahana was the founder of the Kalingan Chedi or Cheti Dynasty.[8][9] The names of Sobhanaraja, Chandraja, Ksemaraja also appear in context.[10] But, Kharavela is the most well known among them. The exact relation between Mahamegha Vahana and Kharavela is not known.[8]

It is not known that, if Vakadeva was a successor or predecessor of Kharavela.[11] From the inscriptions and coins discovered at Guntupalli and Velpuru, Andhra Pradesh, we know of a series of rulers with the suffix Sada who were possibly distant successors of Kharavela.[12]

Murunda dynasty (150 – 250 CE)

Main article: Murunda dynasty

Satavahana Empire (c. 78 – 200 CE)

Main article: Satavahana dynasty

Gautamiputra Satakarni is known to have invaded Kalinga during his reign.[17]

Pre-classical period

Naga dynasty of Vindhyatabi (225–360)

Main article: Nagas of Vindhyatabi

An inscription dating from 3rd to 4th century found in Asanpat village in Keonjhar revealed the existence of this dynasty.[18]

Parvatadvarka dynasty (360–400)

Main article: Parvatadvaraka dynasty

During the same period as the Nalas, the region around modern-day Kalahandi was ruled by them. Not much is known about them.[17]

Kings mentioned in Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa

Main articles: Raghuvamsha and Kalidasa

Gupta Empire (335–550)

Main article: Gupta Empire

Gupta Empire 320–600 CE
Gupta Empire 320–600 CE

Samudragupta invaded Kalinga during his reign in c.350.[17] By c.571, most of Kalinga had broken away from the Gupta empire.[19]

Nala dynasty (400–740)

Main article: Nala dynasty

Nalas and Kalinga, with their other contemporaries, c. 375 CE
Nalas and Kalinga, with their other contemporaries, c. 375 CE

For some time in 4th century, the southern Odisha region around modern-day Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri and undivided Bastar, was ruled by the Nalas.[17]

Rajarsitulyakula (4th–6th century CE)

Main article: Rajarsitulyakula

The later half of the 4th century, this dynasty was established in the South Kosala region.[17]

Sharabhapuriya dynasty (475–590)

Main article: Sharabhapuriya dynasty

Not much is known about this dynasty. Everything known about them, comes from the inscriptions on copper plates and coins. They may or may not have also been known as the Amararyakula dynasty.[20] This dynasty is supposed to have started by one Sarabha, who may have been a feudal chief under the Guptas. They ruled over the modern-day region of Raipur, Bilaspur and Kalahandi.[20]

Mathara dynasty (4th–5th century CE)

Main article: Mathara dynasty

The Mathara dynasty ruled during the 4th and the 5th centuries. The Mathara rulers include:[21]

Vishnukundina Empire (420–555)

Main article: Vishnukundina Empire

Anantasaktivarman lost southern part of his kingdom to Madhava Varma II and the Matharas never recovered it.[17] [[File:Vishnukundina Empire map.png |thumb|Vishnukundina Empire at its height]]

Indra Bhattaraka Varma possibly lost his Kalinga holdings to one Adiraja Indra, who possibly was Indravarma I of East Ganga Dynasty.[17][22]

Vigraha dynasty (575–630)

They ruled the region called South Tosali, around modern-day Puri and Ganjam, during second half of 6th century.

Mudgalas dynasty (580–620)

They ruled the region of North Toshali, the river Mahanadi served as the border between North and South Toshali. In 603 CE, they captured South Toshali from the Vigrahas.

Durjaya dynasty (620–680)

Main article: Durjaya

In mid-6th century CE, a chief, Ranadurjaya, established himself in South Kalinga.[23] Prithivimaharaja probably defeated the Mudgalas by his time.[17]

Post-classical period

Gauda Kingdom

Shashanka invaded and possibly occupied northern parts of Kalinga during his reign around c. 615.[17][19]

Shailodbhava dynasty

Main article: Shailodbhava dynasty

They ruled from the region ranging from coastal Orissa to Mahanadi and to Mahendragiri in Paralakhemundi. This region was called the Kangoda mandala.[citation needed] Sailobhava, the founder of dynasty, is said to have born of a rock, hence the name Shailodbhava.[24] Sailobhava was the adopted son of one Pulindasena, who was possibly a chieftain. They were possibly the subordinates of Shashanka during Madhavaraja II, then they later rebelled.[17][25]


Harsha invaded Kalinga and Kangoda, soon after the death Pulakesi II in 642 CE. Madhavaraja II was the vassal of Harsha until the death of later in 647 CE.[17]

Bhaumakara dynasty

Main article: Bhauma-Kara dynasty

The Bhauma or Bhauma-Kara Dynasty lasted from c. 736 CE to c. 940 CE.[26] They mostly controlled the coastal areas of Kalinga. But by c.850 CE, they controlled most of modern Orissa. The later part of their reign was disturbed by rebellions from the Bhanja dynasty of the Sonepur and Boudh region.[27]

The mandala states

Between the 8th and 11th centuries, Orissa was divided into mandalas which were feudal states ruled by chieftains.[citation needed] These chieftains swore allegiance to the Bhaumakaras. This period saw the rise of the Bhanja dynasty.[28][29][30][31][32][33]

Bhanjas of Khinjali mandala

Early Bhanjas of Khinjali mandala
Baudh Bhanjas of Khinjali mandala
Later Bhanjas of Khinjali mandala

Bhanjas of Khijjinga mandala

Sulkis of Kodalaka Mandala

Kodalaka refers to the modern-day district of Dhenkanal.

Later, the mandala was divided into two parts, Yamagartta Mandala and Airavatta Mandala. The Bhaumas allowed the Tunga and the Nandodbhava families to rule over Yamagartta Mandala and Airavatta Mandala respectively.

Tungas of Yamagartta Mandala

The Mandala refers to the northern part of modern Dhenkanal district. Jayasimha was ruler of the mandala before the Tungas, he was not a member of the Tunga dynasty.

It is not clearly known if Apsara Deva belonged to the Tunga family or not.

Nandodbhavas of Airavatta Mandala

This region extended over the territory comprising southern part of Dhenkanal district, some western portion of Cuttack district and almost the entire Nayagarh district.

Mayuras of Banei Mandala

This region roughly comprised the modern-day Banei sub-division and parts of Panposh subdivision of Sundergarh district.

Gangas of Svetaka Mandala

The capital of Svetaka known as Svetakapura has been identified with modern Chikiti.

Somvanshi (Keshari) dynasty

Main article: Somavamshi dynasty

The Soma or Kesari Dynasty originates in South Kosala, but by the reign of Yayati I, they controlled most of modern Orissa.[36]

Janmejaya, the predecessor of Karnadeva and the son of Janmejaya II,[citation needed] was not considered a ruler by his successors, as he captured the throne in a violent coup and soon-after lost it.[37]

Chindaka Naga dynasty

Main article: Chindaka Naga

The Chindaka Nagas are believed by certain historians to have arrived in the Chakrakota Mandala region (Bastar and Koraput) with the expedition of Rajendra Chola. The Telugu Chodas who invaded the region later, settled as their feudal rulers. This dynasty continued to rule the region till the thirteenth century with not many details known about their rulers excepting a few.[38]

Eastern Ganga dynasty

Narasimhadeva I built the Konark temple
Narasimhadeva I built the Konark temple

Indravarman I is earliest known independent king of the dynasty. He is known from the Jirjingi copper plate grant.[17][22]

Gudari Kataka Eastern Ganga rulers

According to Gangavansucharitam written in sixteenth or seventeenth century, Bhanu Deva IV also known as Kajjala Bhanu founded a new small princedom in southern Odisha at Gudari in modern Rayagada district after he was toppled from power by his general Kapilendra Deva.[39]

Parlakhemundi Ganga rulers

Parlakhemundi state rulers were the direct descendants of the Eastern Ganga dynasty rulers of Odisha.[40][41]

Chikiti Ganga rulers

Historians conclude that the rulers of Chikiti were from the line of Ganga ruler Hastivarman.[42][43]

Naga dynasty of Kalahandi

Main article: Kalahandi State

Early Chauhan rulers

This Rajput dynasty had arrived from Mainpuri or Garh Sambhor amidst a conflict with the Muslim rulers of Delhi around 13th or 14th century. The founder Ramai Deva was still in the womb of his mother when his father was murdered by the Yavanas and she fled to the hilly and forest terrains of western Odisha to seek refuge. The early 17th-century works by the Poet Gangadhar Mishra (a descendant of the famous Sanskrit poet Sambhukara from Puri) known as Kosalananda and early 18th-century work by the Chauhan king Vaijala Deva known as Probodha Chandrika and Jayachandrika give detailed descriptions about their origins and foundation of the state first at Patna and then Sambalpur.[44]

Ramai Deva was first adopted by a local priest or Brahmin chief known as Chakradhara Panigrahi who provided shelter and refuge to his fleeing mother during her pregnancy. Ramai Deva later won over other local chiefs and established the Patna state. He married the daughter of the Eastern Ganga King Bhanudeva III

Patna (Bolangir)

Main article: Patna State


Main article: Sambalpur State

Medieval period

Gajapati Empire (Suryavamsa dynasty)

Govinda Vidyadhara, the general of Prataparudra, killed Prataparudra's remaining sons in c. 1541 and began the Bhoi dynasty.[45][37]

Early Bhoi dynasty

Bhoi dynasty was short-lived but during their reign, Orissa came into conflicts with the invaders from Golconda. After being deposed by Mukunda Deva, the dynasty shifts its power centre to Khurda where they continue as Rajas of Khurda.

Chalukya dynasty (Kalinga)

Mukunda Deva come to throne but his reign was cut short by the armies of Sulaiman Khan Karrani which were led by Kalapahad.

Post-medieval period

Karranis of Bengal

Instigated by Mukunda Deva's alliance with Akbar, Sulaiman's army led by Kalapahad invaded Orissa in 1568. The Karranis of Bengal had control over much of Northern Odisha coast above Cuttack, while the Bhoi dynasty established the Khurda Kingdom and the Garhjat Kings had control over much of the interior regions of Odisha.

In the Battle of Tukaroi, which took place in modern-day Balasore, Daud was defeated and retreated deep into Orissa. The battle led to the Treaty of Katak in which Daud ceded the whole of Bengal and Bihar, retaining only Odisha.[51] The treaty eventually failed after the death of Munim Khan (governor of Bengal and Bihar) who died at the age of 80. Sultan Daud Khan took the opportunity and invaded Bengal. This would lead to the Battle of Raj Mahal in 1576.[51][52][53]

Mughal Empire

Man Singh I attacked Nasir Khan when the later broke a treaty by attacking the temple town of Puri. Orissa was annexed into the Bengal subah (province).The Mughal rule was weak in the region, this allowed local chieftains to somewhat enjoy a semi-independence.[53]

Nawab of Bengal

By 1717, with the weakening of Mughal Empire following Mughal–Maratha Wars in which the Marathas became the dominant power in the subcontinent, the Bhoi dynasty of Khurda kingdom and the semi-autonomous Garhjat kings of Odisha became independent of the Mughal sovereign authority, while the Nawabs of Bengal retained control over the Northern coast of Odisha from Cuttack to Subarnarekha river until the region was finally conquered by the Maratha Empire starting from the invasion in 1741 by 1751.[53]

The Nawabs of Bengal controlled the controlled the Northern Odisha coast from Cuttack to Subarnarekha river which was conquered by the Marathas and eventually ceded following the peace treaty in 1751.[53]

Maratha Empire

The Maratha Empire general, Raghoji I Bhonsle of the Nagpur kingdom led the Maratha expeditions in Bengal in 1741 which extended Maratha control over Odisha and signed a treaty with Alivardi Khan in 1751, ceding the perpetuity of Cuttack up to the river Suvarnarekha to the Marathas.[54][55][56][17]

Maratha administrators

Later Bhanj dynasty states


Main article: Mayurbhanj State


Main article: Keonjhar State


Main article: Nilgiri State


Main article: Baudh State

The Baudh princely state had gradually become a small state after it had ceded away large sways of territories in the west and south to the Chauhans of Sambalpur and Daspalla region in Nayagarh which became a separate Bhanja princely state later.[60]


Main article: Daspalla State

The Daspalla Bhanja state was established by Sal Bhanja from the territories gifted to his father Narayan Bhanja Deo by his brother, the ruler of Baudh.[61]

Nandapur-Jeyore rulers

Silavamshi rulers of Nandapur

Silavamshi rulers are said to be the descendants of the Saila Vanshi rulers from Nadivardhana region near today's Nagpur.[62]

Jeypore Estate

Main article: Jeypore Estate

The founder of Jeypore Suryavanshi dynasty married the daughter of the last Silavanshi ruler of Nandapur Pratap Ganga Raj and became an heir to the throne. With the decline of the Gajapati monarchs, the kingdom came under the influence of Golconda rulers and by 18th century due to conflicts, the region suffered major backlash on the northern and eastern parts as they came under the reign of Marathas and the independence of Vizianagaram rulers on the coast who became the founder of the Vizianagaram estate and the region eventually came under British rule.[63]

Later Chauhan rulers


Main article: Sonepur State

The territory of Sonepur was procured by the Chauhans of Sambalpur from the Bhanja kings of Baudh.


The third branch of Chauhan rulers descended in the line of Patna's Ramai Deva started their separate rule from Khariar in the seventeenth century.[64]

Later Bhoi dynasty


After 1576 following the wars between the Afghans and Mughals which ended with the victory of the Mughals, and with the advent of Mughal rule in Odisha in 1592, the centre of power of Bhoi dynasty had shifted from Cuttack to Khurda. They continue to remain as vassal of the Mughal empire from 1592 until 1717 and later under the Maratha empire from 1741 until they were eventually ceded to the British empire under the control of the British East India Company in 1803 following the Second Anglo-Maratha War with the signing of the Treaty of Deogaon.[65][66][67][68][69][70]

The Rajas of Khurda continued to rule the region well into the early 1800s but by then their power had diminished. Then the Raja of Khurda along with other local chieftain led a series of rebellions against the British which was suppressed in 1804 and the kingdom was annexed by the British. The Raja of Khurda was exiled but later reinstated and shifted to Puri in 1809.[72][73]


Main article: Puri Estate

British colonial period

Mukundeva Deva II was discontent under Maratha rule, so he agreed to help British troops to march through his territory without resistance.[65] In 1803, Maratha ceded Orissa to the British empire. The Rajas and other local chieftains lead a series of rebellions against the British. Notable among the rebellions is that of Surendra Sai.[17]

Odia speaking people at this time were placed in different provinces. Around 1870, a movement was started to unify the Oriya-speaking within a state. In 1936, the new state of Orissa was formed. About 25 princely states, remained independent but they were later integrated by 1947, except Saraikela, Kharsawan, Bastar, Parlakhemundi Zamindari (rest of today's Vijayanagaram).

See: List of Governors of Bihar and Orissa
See: Prime Minister of Orissa

Lieutenant Governors and Governors of Bihar and Orissa Province

Governors of Orissa Province

Prime Minister of Orissa Province

Post Independence

See: List of Governors of Odisha
See: List of Chief Ministers of Odisha

See also


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