Far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities along the river banks and serene surroundings, lives remnants of Odisha’s glorious tryst with Buddhism.
The contribution of Buddhism in shaping the cultural heritage of Odisha & the latter’s contribution in spreading the religion to Asian countries is a perfect example of symbiotic relationship.
During the 8th Century -10th Century AD under Bhaumakara dynasty rule, Buddhism was considered a state religion of Odisha.In fact it’s believed that the first disciples of Lord Buddha were Tapasu and Bhallika who hailed from the modern day city of Jajpur. Though Buddhism entered Odisha long before the Kalinga War it took wings in the region after the under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka.
Odisha’s most famous poet Jayadeva went on to describe Lord Buddha as one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu in the 12th century AD. The writings of fabled Chinese Traveler Hiuen T’sang just reinforces the glorious chapter of Buddhism in Odisha.
The influence of Buddhism can be found in the socio cultural life of the people of Odisha and rich depository of history is reflected in the Buddhist monuments of the state.