The history of Bhubaneswar exudes art, life and beliefs of different ancient civilizations that existed within the region, which explains why the city has been forever of enormous interest to the historians, epigraphists and archaeologists alike. The city was once home to more than 7000 shrines. However, today, only a small number of shrine remains. Bhubaneswar combined with Puri and Konark forms the famous 'golden triangle' of Orissa. Bhubaneswar's history can be broadly classified into two categories -- ancient and modern. According to a detailed historical study, the city was once home to the Chedi Kingdom before it became the backdrop for the famous Kalinga War during the Mauryan Empire. The city was restored to its former glory by the descendants of the Chedi family who recaptured the throne. However, in course of time, the region was subjugated by powerful Mughal and Maratha rulers before it was restored as a part of the Bengal Presidency. Read the article to know more about Bhubaneswar's history.
The history of Bhubaneswar takes you back to the 2nd century BC to the Chedi dynasty. The rulers of the Chedi dynasty were the first to establish their kingdom in Sisupalgarh where Bhubaneswar is presently located. Although the city was founded by the Chedi kings, it remained unknown to the world for a long time. It was only in the 3rd century BC that the place rose to prominence. It was during this period that the famous Kalinga War took place between the Mauryan Empire and the state of Kalinga. Chedi Empire was almost on the verge of decline when King Kharavela of the Chedi dynasty reinstated Kalinga back to its former glory, post the Kalinga war. Kharavela was a patron of architecture, religion and economics. During his period, several temples were built and trade routes were established to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sumatra, Bali and many other nations. Just like Ashoka who adopted Buddhism, Kharavela embraced Jainism. That is why most of the structural designs that you see in this region seems to be inspired from the Jain style of architecture. Udayagiri and Khandagiri Cave and Hathigumpha inscription are some of the best examples of the structural work of the bygone Chedi era. In the following years, the city became a big-name for its innumerable shrines and was soubriqueted as 'the temple city'.
During the medieval period, Bhubaneswar saw the dominance of various religious sects. With the introduction of Jainism and Buddhism in the province, the city became deeply involved in matters of philosophy. However, with time, the principles of Jainism and Buddhism began to fade and gave way to Brahmanism and Vaishnavism in the region. It was during this time, when Bhubaneswar reached the pinnacle of its religious status. During the 7th and the 12th century, the city rose to prominence because of its carvings, sculptures and architectural designs. With the invasion of the Mughal rulers in the 15th century on the eastern side of the continent, many of these magnificent sandstone compositions were destroyed and plundered.
During the 16th century, the province was repressed by the mighty rulers belonging to the Mughal dynasty. The Hindu rulers proved to be submissive and failed to overthrow the Muslim rule in the district. The advent of the next century brought about the dominance of the Maratha Empire in the country. Parts of coastal Orissa were predominately captured and ruled by them. In the 18th century, the place was overpowered by the British East Indian Company. With the entire region falling into the hands of the English, the state of Orissa, otherwise known as Odisha, underwent some administrative changes. In 1936, the place became a separate entity and Cuttack became the capital of Orissa.
With Cuttack being the capital of the state, the province was subjected to many natural calamities and also suffered from space restrictions, which in turn hampered the growth and development of the city. As a result, the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar in the year 1948, just after India gained its independence from the British. Otto H. Konigsberger, a German architect, was invited to plan the new city of Bhubaneswar. On 13th April 1948, the new city of Bhubaneswar was officially declared as the new capital of Orissa. Just like Jamshedpur and Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar was also planned to provide new and improved amenities to its people.