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Culture of Orissa (Odisha)

If studies in ethnography generate curiosity in you, then Orissa might serve as the ideal case in point, simply because of the largest variety of tribal communities that it is home to. The tribals of Orissa are found in almost all the districts of the state, but their major concentration is in such places as Koraput, Raygada, Naurangpur, Malkangiri and Baudh. There are tribes that still hold on fast to their archaic mode of living, thus retaining their core culture and there are others who have learnt to match pace with the flow of time and development. It becomes really difficult for one to distinguish them from the agricultural community.

Orissa is largely rural and the traditional values that are still retained form an integral aspect of the Orissa culture. Orissa's strategic geographical location has engendered the assimilation of the culture of the Aryans and the Dravidians. The culture of Orissa can very well be described as an Indo-cultural synthesis.

Orissa art and craft constitutes a major portion of the culture of Orissa. The art of Orissa underwent myriad changes and is a product of a number of assimilations and imbibitions. Orissa is known for its sand arts, Patta Chitra, Palm Leaf Paintings, Jhoti, Chita and Muruja. The Orissan artists are unsurpassed in their skill.

Orissa boasts of a glorious tradition of dance and music. The figurines of dancers and musicians gracing the walls of the quaint temples in Orissa speak volumes about the rich musical heritage of the state. Odissi music is the classical art that has imbibed the elements common to the Hindustani and Karnatik music. The Odissi dance, Chhau Dance, Mahari dance, the jatra, pala and Daskarhia comprise of an inextricable part of the culture of Orissa.