Cuttack, the former capital and one of the oldest cities of Orissa is the administrative headquarters of the district. The town is situated at the apex of the delta formed by the rivers Mahanadi in the North and Kathajodi in the South. It serves as a convenient base for touring the various places of interest in the district.
Stone Revetment of Cuttack :
The river banks of Cuttack are protected by stone revetment, a great engineering marvel of the 11th century A.D. and a remarkable example of ancient technological skill of Orissa.
Madhusmruti, the 'Karma Bhumi' or residence of Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das, is located at Cuttack. Madhusudan Das lived in this place from 1892 to 1934, till his death. Presently the building is used as the administrative block of the S.B. Women's College.
The building has two floors with a portico on the eastern side. One wooden staircase is found on the left of the verandah abutting the portico leading to the 1st floor. There is a balcony found on the north side supported with iron pillars and iron parapet. There is another wooden staircase found on the western side of the building. There are ten rooms and a big hall found in the ground floor whereas there are eight rooms of varying sizes found on the first floor along with an open terrace, above the big hall found in the ground floor.
Madhusudan Das was born in 1848 at Satyabhamapur village of Cuttack district. He had his early education in the village, Cuttack Zilla School and Calcutta University. He was the first Graduate of Orissa from Calcutta University in 1870. He did his M.A. and Law Degree later and he was a flourishing lawyer in the Patna High Court.
Inside two bigger rooms located on the western side of the 1st floor are found the articles and objects used by Late Madhusudan Das, during his residence at this place. These material objects include photographs, paper manuscripts, earthenware, textiles, wooden objects, clay objects, glass painting and other ethnographic materials. Some of these have been placed inside showcases and the rest are placed on tables, bedsteads, beds and wooden benches.
It is said about Late Madhusudan Das, that he was born as a man but died as an institution.
SWARAJYA ASHRAM- the Freedom Fighters Centre
The Swarajya Ashram is located on the Kathajodi river front. It is an old building and it has historical significance and importance for its association with the Freedom Movement in Orissa and the Congress party and well known leaders of Orissa in the Freedom Movement. The original building is found at the centre, built in two storied during the colonial period. There is another two storied block behind the building. It is a protected monument under the State Archaeology.
The ruins of Barabati Fort with its moat and gate and the excavated palace complex and base of the Ganga period temple lie on the bank of the river Mahanadi as the silent witness of the vicissitudes of Orissan history. This historical fort has been the capital of ancient and medieval Orissa and the famous Ganga kings like Anangabhima III, Narasimha I, Kapilendradeva, Purushottamadeva and Prataparudradeva had ruled their vast empire from this place. It is a protected monument under the Arachaeological Survey of India.
Temple of Cuttack Chandi :
Being the shrine of the presiding deity of the city, the temple of Cuttack Chandi is normally visited by every Hindu visitor.
Cuttack town enjoyed for a pretty long time the honour of being the seat of Political authority of the Muslims in Orissa. During the period numerous Muslim monuments have built at Cuttack. The Qadam-I-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.
The Shahi Mosque is situated inside the Barabati Fort. In structure it is similar to the Ujale Khan Mosque at Mohammadia Bazar. All these Mosque 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 aparent from the two Mehrabs on the flanks which are closed with bricks.
A small school established in 1841 was raised to the status of a college with Intermediate classes, affiliated to Calcutta University. In 1875, largely through the efforts of Mr. T.E. Ravenshaw, the then Commissioner of Orissa, it became a full fledged first grade college. The Ravenshaw College building is highly impressive and shows the influence Colonial architecture.
NETAJI BIRTH PLACE MUSEUM
The name of Netajee Subhash Chandra Bose fills every Indian with pride and with emotions of patriotism. Everyone acknowledges that he was a great leader, who changed the course of history of India.
In the struggle of India's Independence against the British, his Contribution has been unique. He sacrificed his everything to attain independence and even today is a source of inspiration to the Indian people.
Janakinath Bhawan, the ancestral house of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, is located at Oriya Bazar in Cuttack city of Orissa. Subhas Bose was born in this house on 23.1.1897 and spent his early childhood at Cuttack. He lived in this house with a large family of eight brothers and six sisters. His father Janakinath Bose was a lawyer by profession and a man of repute during his time. Subhas Bose passed Entrance examination from Ravenshaw Collegiate School in 1913 and thereafter went to Calcutta to pursue higher studies.
The house complex consists of an old two storeyed L-shaped building with the main block running from West to East. There is a small temple on the back of the building on east side. Another row of houses is located close to the eastern boundary wall, which was used as the stable. There used to be a garden on the north side of the building with an open courtyard on the south of the main building. Each floor has four living rooms. Each floor had running long verandahs in front of the living rooms with openings on south side. There had been additions and alterations in later times in the complex.
With financial assistance from the Deptt. of Culture, Govt. of India, the Janakinath Bhawan has been now converted into the Netaji Birth Place Museum of National standard with change of the present ambience into that of late 19th and early 20th century. The livings rooms have been converted into galleries displaying the different stages of life and activities of this great personality of our country through photographs. The other important exhibits in the Museum include old furnitures, house hold articles, documents, books and other objects of use found in the house and collected from various sources.
A Library is being organized where books published on Netaji in any language and any place are being gradually collected.
Interesting collections in the Museum include 22 original letters written by Netaji from Geneva, Milan in Italy, Shillong, Mandalay Jail, Rangoon Jail in Myanmar, Presidency Jail, Alipore New Central Jail in Calcutta and Berlin to his parents and family members. The other exhibits of importance are the old household furnitures, books on Veda, Upanisad, Epics, Jurisprudence and Law.
There is proposal to have an open air auditorium on the South West side of the courtyard along with laying out a formal garden on the north side of the building so that the place becomes a place of tourist importance and perpetuate the memory of this great son of soil.
Handicrafts of the Region :
For shopping and souvenirs, Cuttack is one of the best places in Orissa. The famous silver filigree works with intricate interwoven wires, horn and brass products, tie and dye textiles of Maniabandha and Sambalpur, applique works of Pipli in exquisite cloth designs and the stone works of Puri are preferred most by the tourists.
Fairs and Festivals of the region :
Places around Cuttack :
- Durga Puja - Cuttack - September - October
- Bali Jatra - Cuttack - November - December
Choudwar(10 km by road,5 km by water)* :
Choudwar, a growing industrial area was once the capital of Somakuli Keshari Kings of Orissa. Eight prominent Siva pithas were established by the Keshari dynasty in the vicinity of Choudwar which is now in ruins. Tradition records that it was the capital of Virat, the brother-in-law of Kichaka. The five Pandava brothers with their consort Draupadi took shelter in Choudwar in their secret exile.
Chhatia (30 km)* :
Popularly known as Chhatiabata, Chhatia is a sacred place of pilgrimage. The shrine of Lord Jagannath at Chhatia is a modern piece of Orissan temple architecture. Nearby one can find the archaeological remains of Amaravati-Kataka, one of the five important forts of Chodaganga Deva. Amaravati with the backdrop of the hill "Dhania" presents an attractive sight.
Naraj (15 km)* :
A picturesque scenic spot, Naraj was a famous seat for Buddhist culture and learning. The scenic view of the river Mahanadi at the origin of its branch Kathajodi is simply bewitching.
Chandikhol (40 km)* :
Chandikhol in the lap of thickly wooded hills and by the side of a perennial stream is an extremely ideal picnic spot. The Ashram of Baba Bhairavananda is an added attraction of the place.
Adjacent to Chandikhol, Mahavinayak enshrines the five god heads in one Lingam. It is a place of worship for Ganapati.
Dhabaleswar (35 km)*:
A small island in the Mahanadi, the temple of Dhabaleswar is situated on a hillock. Though a new structure, sculptures of 10 / 11th century A.D. are found in the temple premises.
Niali-Madhava (47 km)*:
Niali is famous for the shrine of Sovaneswar. There is an archaeological sculpture shed here.
8 km from Niali is Madhava, a small village where is enshrined the lovely image of Madhava. It is also a beautiful picnic spot.
Bhattarika (108 km)* :
This place is famous for the shrine of goddess Bhattarika, often crowded by pilgrims and picnickers.
Ansupa (70 km)*:
Ansupa, the small but picturesque lake holds a prominent position in the tourist map of Orissa and offers an asylum to the migratory birds in winter. The play of the shadow of Saranda mountain and surrounding bamboo and mango groves on the rippling waters of Ansupa make it a real thing of beauty. One can have a boat journey or go for fishing in the lake.
Ansupa is 70 km from Cuttack and 20 km from Raja-Athagarh station, connected with regular bus service.
Kendrapara (65 km)*:
Known as "Tulasi Kshetra", Kendrapara is famous for the temple of Lord Baladeva. A grand car festival is held here annually which draws a mammoth crowd.
Jajpur (92 km)*:
Otherwise known as Vaitarani Tirtha, Jajpur with Goddess Viraja (Durga) as its presiding deity is one of the sacred places of pilgrimage in Orissa. The place has its
unique importance in India as Navigaya Kshetra where pinda is offered for the satisfaction of the ancestors. The shrine of Sweta Varaha (the white boar incarnation of Vishnu) along with hundreds of other shrines here made Jajpur a Tirtha par excellence. The "Dasasvamedha Ghat", the flight of steps leading to the Vaitarani where the ten horse sacrifices were performed is a great sanctified spot for the Hindus.
Paradeep (94 km)*:
Paradeep, a major sea port of India for trade activities with a fine sea beach and a marine drive is an enjoyable tourist resort attracting large number of visitors from far and wide.
Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri,Udayagiri (55 km - 70 km)* :
These three hills comprise a remarkable buddhist complex. Hieun-T'sang, the Chinese pilgrim found it to be the seat of a flourishing
Buddhist University called "Puspagiri". Extensive ruins of brick pagodas, sculptured stone portals and esoteric Buddhist images testifying its ancient glory have been unearthed.
Ratnagiri is the gem of this complex. The magnificently carved door jambs of the Vihar and superbly finished Buddha images form perhaps the greatest concentration of Buddhist sculpture of the post-Gupta period.
Ratnagiri is 70 km, Lalitgiri is 55 km and Udayagiri is 60 km from Cuttack.