There are very few places in India that are unique in their culture and heritage. The state of Odisha can be listed as one of them. With its rich tradition and immense natural wealth, Odisha, earlier known as Orissa, has been a treasure and pride of India. It is fondly called 'The Soul of India' and is a major tourist destination. Travellers come here from far and wide to enjoy the rich culture, traditions and heritage of this place.
Of the many attractions that line this state mention must be made of the few forts that are to be seen here. These old forts were built by the kings in order to protect their region and to ward off enemies. Today, they continue to recount stories of the past and to remind visitors of the power struggles that took place here. Here is a look at a few of the scenic forts of Odisha.
1. Barabati fort
Barabati Fort is a 14th century fort built by the Ganga dynasty near Cuttack in Odisha. The ruins of the fort remain with its moat, gate, and the earthen mound of the nine-storied palace, which evokes the memories of past days. Today it sits next to the Barabati Stadium which is the venue of various sporting events and cultural programs. Travellers coming here can explore the ruins of the fort and be amazed by the many battle scars that are still to be seen on the fort walls.
The entrance to the fort.
Photo Courtesy: RameshSharma1
2. Chudanga Gada Fort
The Chudanga Gada Fort was earlier known as Sarangagarh and is situated about 14 km north of Bhubaneswar in the village of Baranga. According to local stories, the fort was constructed by Lalatendu Kesari of Kesari dynasty when it was known as Sarangagarh. Later on Baraha Kesari renovated the fort, which was then captured by the Ganga king, Chodaganga Deva, after defeating Karna Deva, the last ruler of the Somavamsi dynasty in 1110 AD. Thereafter the fort of Sarangagada became known as Chudanga Gada. Travellers coming here can explore the remains of this fort and also learn more about the history of this place.
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3. Raibania Fort
Raibania Fort is a group of ancient forts in the Baleswar district of Odisha. This fort complex is considered as the biggest medieval fort of eastern India and was built during the Buddhist era in Odisha. There are 161 fort goddesses which are known as "Durga devata" or "Iṣṫa devata". Though only three forts have been recorded in the Ain-i-Akbari, in actual there are a total of four forts found here. According to local beliefs, the forts were destroyed after the Kalapahada kings invaded Utkala. Post-invasion remnants of the other forts except Raibania have been utilized for construction by the local landlords and villagers of the locality.
4. Sisupalgarh Fort
The remains of the ancient city Sisupalgarh have been discovered near Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Odisha. On the basis of the architectural pattern and artefacts discovered during the early excavations, it was concluded that this fort city flourished between 3rd century BC and 4th century AD. The fort is thus believed to have originated prior to the Mauryan empire. Sisupalgarh's defences are the best known of this period in India. Tourists coming here can visit the grand fort and marvel at its mega-structure.
Ruins of the Sisupalgarh Fort
Photo Courtesy: Psubhashish