Odisha (or Orissa): The area that is now Orissa was previously called Kalinga, and it was the Battle in Kalinga where allegedly 160,000 people were killed that made Emperor Ashoka foreswore war. The Emperor’s conquest of Kalinga, which involved great carnage, captivity and misery of the people, was the turning-point of his life, who henceforward, gave up his ambition of “Dig-Vijaya” (military conquest) in favor of “Dharma-Vijaya” (spiritual conquest). Previously a Jain, he converted to became a Buddhist.

Orissa’s primary attractions are the temples in the capital Bhubaneswar, the long sandy beach at Puri, the Sun Temple at Konark and Simlipal and Nandankanan sanctuaries of Cuttack. The renowned Jagannatha temple dominates the landscape at Puri as does the Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar.

Most of the temples in Orissa are of an architectural design that's a sub-style of the Nagara-style of north Indian temples. It's a combination of what's known as rekha (a sanctum with curvilinear spire, called a deula) and pidha (square front porch with pyramidal roof). This design is predominantly associated with Shiva, Surya, and Vishnu temples.

Orissa is known for her handicrafts also which include ikat woven fabric and pata chitras with themes from nature and religious legends. The Odissi dance, pride of Odia culture, is the oldest surviving dance form of India. Over 62 distinct tribal groups live in Orissa, each one with its own culture and traditions different from the other.

Chilka Lake is the largest water body in Asia with an area of 916 sq km.

Orissa beaches are popular not just for humans but aquatic animals as well with nesting beaches for the rare Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, and the world's largest nesting ground of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.

The Leaning Temple of Huma, situated near Sambalpur, is the only leaning temple in the world.