History of Cuttack

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The District of Cuttack is named after the principal town as well as the head quarter of the district of the same name. The word Cuttack is an anglicized form of the Sanskrit word KATAKA that assumes two different meanings namely “military camp” and secondly, the capital fort of the Government protected by the army.

Cuttack which is one of the oldest cities of India and was the capital city of Odisha for almost nine centuries was built as a military cantonment in 989 A.D. by the king Nrupendra Keshari as stated by the distinguished historian Stirling. He based his opinion upon the Madalapanji, a chronicle of the Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri. The city however, attained glory early in the 12th century as the Capital of Imperial Gangas whose empire streched from the river Ganges in the north to the river Godavari in the south. This Capital town continued to prosper during the rule of the successive dynasties, except for a brief period of unrest when in mid-fourteenth century Firoz Shah Tughluq invaded Odisha and let loose on orgy of vandalism, looting and destruction. After the death of Mukunda Deva, the last Hindu king of Odisha, the suzerainty of Cuttack passed on to the hands of Mughals.

By 1750, Cuttack was under Maratha rule and grew fast as a business center, being a convenient point of contact between Marathas of Nagpur and the English merchants of Bengal. It was occupied by the British in 1803 and became the capital of the Odisha Division in 1816. From then onward till 1948 when, the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar, the city remained as the administrative headquarters of Odisha.

Location: Cuttack is the administrative headquarters of the district and is situated over a land formed by the river Mahanadi and Kathojodi at their points of bifurcation in 20° 29 ″ North latitude and 85° 52″ East longitude.

The railway line of the B.N.R.(now Eastern Coast Railway) was constructed through the coastal region of Odisha as a post famine measure and it was opened in the year 1819. It connects Cuttack directly with Madras and Calcutta and provides enormous opportunities for trade and inland communication.

Like Rome, Cuttack also was not built in a day, History has witnessed the past of this ancient city, the stories of rise and fall of its several empires and dynasties. The Cuttack Municipality was constituted in 1876 with 30 members (24 elected, 4 ex-officio and 2 nominated by the Govt). The Municipal Board took charge of lighting the town, providing drinking water facilities, medical services and public utility at primary stage. The municipality also took charge of a few mileage of road and it worked, although under great restriction, to develop Cuttack in to a modern town.

During the medieval period typically characterized by the Mughals and the Marathas rule the education in Odisha was neglected. However, there was a great change in education in Odisha vis-a-vis Cuttack during the period of British occupation of Odisha, and especially during post-Macaulay and missionaries initiatives phase.

The missionaries at first laboured hard to open up schools to impart education, but their attempts were not so successful until 1838 when the Govt seriously thought of opening Modern schools in Odisha. In 1841, the first Govt. English school was opened up in Cuttack and it slowly progressed as the High English School of Cuttack until the great famine of 1865-66. After the famine, the then Commissioner T.E. Ravenshaw gave sympathetic attention to the institution and it was by his determined effort that this school was converted into a college with intermediate teaching in 1868. Ten years after that, it rose to a first grade college with degree classes and it was named after Mr. Ravenshaw I.C.S., the Commissioner Cuttack.

The Odisha Medical School was established in 1875 following the establishment of the Cuttack General Hospital in 1874. In 1923 two new educational institutions were established in Cuttack: one is the Cuttack training college for training the secondary school teachers and the other The School of Engineering, developed out of the Old Survey School, separated from Ravenshaw College in 1915.

Cuttack has all along been enjoying the unique privilege of being the administrative and the commercial nerve center of Odisha Division till 1936, and even with the formation of the province of Odisha during that year, it continued to be the Head Quarters of the new province. The historic Lalbag palace which was being occupied by the Commissioners, became The Government House. It has been described by late R.C.Dutta, I.C.S. Commissioner of Odisha as the best commissioner's residence in so far as the natural setting is concerned.

The city is reputed all over the country for its exquisite and delicate filigree works, its artistic horn works and colourful textiles. The Barabati stadium erected in the famous Killa maidan near the Barabati fort is considered to be next in size and magnificence only to those in Bombay and Delhi over the whole of India. The High Court Building on the Kathojodi river bank is another impressive structure in the city.

History of District and Different dynasties

Cuttack was the capital city of Odisha for a long period of more than 1000 years. The kings of Ganga Bansha (1112-1435 AD) to 1436 AD to 1540 AD and Bhoi Bansha 1542 AD to 1560 AD and last independent ruler Mukunda Dev (1560 to 1568 AD) ruled Cuttack.

According to Udra Rastra Raj Bansabali, Katak was founded by king Nrupakeshari of Keshari dynasty. Some historians accepts this, as legendary. However Ananga Bhima Dev (3rd ) of Ganga dynasty really founded Cuttack. Katak was the capital city of Utkal (Odisha) which stretched from Ganga to Godavari. In 1568 AD, Mukunda Dev, the last independent ruler of Odisha fought bravely but lost the war to Kalapahad, the Afgan ruler.

After the end of Afgan rule in 1576 A.D., the Mughals started their rule in Odisha. They ruled till 1707 AD. The Nawab of Bengal Alibardi Khan ruled Odisha From 1707 AD. From 1751 AD to 1803, the Maharattas ruled Odisha from Cuttack. However in October 14th, 1803 the English Colonel Harcourt defeated Maharattas and occupied Barabati Fort.

During English rule Cuttack witnessed a lot of changes in political scenerio and socio-economic upheavals. Though Odisha became a separate State, Cuttack continued as the capital till 1957. Then the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar.