Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Katak" --- Cuttack

Where do I start? I am confused may be lost. Readers forgive me if I appear to be lost somewhere in middle.

I came to cuttack to stay for a longer time in 1997, may be July or August. At that time my father had got a transfer from Munger to Cuttack. First few days, we stayed with one of my father's friend. It was the State Bank Colony near Shelter Chhak. And my journey with Cuttack, thus started. As me and my brothers got admission to DAV, my family chose to stay in Abhinav Bidanasi (CDA colony). Eventually, we all liked the place so very much that, my father decided to settle down in Cuttack than in Bhubaneswar.

Before coming to Cuttack we all had a view that Cuttack has only galis(narrow and clumsy roads). It is no better than Bhubaneswar. Well, Abhinav Bidanasi(CDA colony) transformed our view altogether. Unlike the old city of cuttack, there are few places where Cuttack is expanding and these are planned. And most importantly, Cuttack has everything that you need at about 2kms of your reach. Unlike Bhubaneswar where you need a bike to get your basic necessities. These were the things for which we all decided to settle here.

I have no other way feel for Bhubaneswar or any other place, now I don't even feel them as two different cities. Yes, its true when you settle down somewhere or stay for about a yr or more at a place, the feeling of "Its mine" automatically comes. I feel the same attachment for all those places where I have been with my family. I still feel my longing for Munger and Jamalpur, though I know that I will hardly visit them again in my life.

Cuttack is where my family unites each year from 1997. So, the attachment is much more with it than with any other place. This attachment only drove me to write about it first over any other place.

Cuttack the former capital of Orissa, a more than thousand year old city. Yes, the clumsy and narrow roads taking you to Sahi's is what the eternal part of Cuttack.

Now, lets start with the name of Cuttack. Katak is the only name which when reversed pronounced the same. The word means Army cantonment and the capital city. Thus, the name itself justifies it.

According to history, the city was named Abhinav Baranasi meaning new type of Varanasi. As Varanasi is situated between Varuna and Assi rivers, Katak is situated between River Mahanadi and Kathajodi. Thus, it derives it name as Abhinav Baranasi. Well, for all those non Oriya friends, in Odiya both 'Ba' and 'Va' are pronounced the same. So, instead of Varanasi it becomes Baranasi.

Cuttack became the Capital city of Orissa after 10th century in period of Somavaransi dynasty. Cuttack rapidly got its importance after the Chodagangadeva rule during 12th Century AD. The formation of Barabati Fort took place during this period by the Ganga ruler Anagavimadeva III. The remains of the Barabati fort is visible near Barabati Stadium. The gate of Fort can be seen that lies few metres apart from Barabati Stadium. The reminance of the nine storied fort is present near the Mahanadi river.

Then, Cuttack passed on to the hand of Mughuls and then to Maratha's. From then on this city flourished as the trade and commerce head of the state. The Stone Embankment of Cuttack by Baimundi in 11th century is an wonderful example of engineering technique applied to stop the water from Mahanadi to enter inside the city.

At present, you can see the Army cantonment and district magistrate and other high official residency inside the Barabati fort. One part of it is used every year for the famous Bali yatra ceremony. Unlike other parts,this place still remains to be silent and cool place of Cuttack.

Now, that you know little about the history of Cuttack let me take my privilege to make you know about the deity of Cuttack. The Cuttack Chandi temple that lies near about 1km from Barabati fort, with Maa Chandi as the presiding deity of Cuttack city. This is one of the oldest and most famous temple of Cuttack.

Cuttack is birth place of many freedom fighter, the most famous of them being Subhas Chandra Bose. He was born in Odiya Bazar Cuttack and studied in Ravensaw Collegiate school. The house of Subhas Chandra Bose is now converted into a Museum.

Now,let me tell you about some of the festivals for which Cuttack is renown. Cuttack celebrates the Durga Puja with most number of Durga Pandals after Kolkata. The main attraction here is the Pandal being decorated with Gold and Silver. Cuttack is worldwide known for its silver filigree work. Cuttack exports the silver filigree jewellery and articles. And Durga Puja remains the main show of this art. The artisans engage them self much ahead  of Durga puja in preparation of the silver and gold decorations. This way, they showcase their art and receive order from not only Orissa but other states and countries. Every year the number of Pandals cross 150 and most famous of these Pandals remain Chandni Chowk, Alisha Bazar, Sheik Bazar and Choudhury Bazar. Thousands of crowd each year flung to the city to have a glance of the most pump and show way of celebrating Durga Puja.

The next major attraction is Bali Yatra, which starts on Karthik Purnima during the month of November. This Mela is set up in remembrance of the yatra done by our ancestors to Bali, Sumatra and Java islands of Malaysia for trade. They used to sell the articles that they brought from these Islands on there return. On this day, people take a bath in river Mahanadi and float a paper boat, early in the morning. The Mela is an exhibition of art and crafts. It stretches from Barabati Stadium to the river Mahanadi in one side. And the other part remains inside the river basin. People visit here to taste the thunka puri, dahibara aloo dam and other eateries. The trade of household commodities is in large.

The most famous eatable remains the Dahi Bara and Aloo Dam, which is combination of three things, namely, the Curd Vada, the Dam Aloo and the Ghuguni prepared with yellow matar. The chatpatta tangy and spicy taste is unique and this remains the most famous and lovable food of Cuttack. In addition to this, the Chats and Gup Chup are widely available and loved. Apart from this the Chhenna Poda, Rasagola remains the most loved desert of Cuttack.

Still after writing this long passage,I feel I have not written completely. May be I am forgetting to add some more. Well, as my journey and understanding goes, I will portray it hence forth. But, yes with this I am going to put an end for today.


  1. You know i would prefer reading about ur experiences in this city and what makes it special for you......i mean common EVERYONE SLEPT IN THE HISTORY CLASSES!

  2. Oh really, I thought you loved History few days back... Is not it dear? Anyway, all my experience of Cuttack is something that I made with you... So, I am leaving this task for you to complete.... I know if you happen to write that it will be much much better than mine... So, my dear you write it...And yes I will definitely think and will soon write about my experiences... Keep commenting... Right now you are the best critic I have... :)

  3. this one is really gud.. which gives a lot knowledge of one of the cities of our orissa..
    i didnt knew abt tthis...nd truly speakin its grt 2 know abt cuttak....
    grt, superb nd grt work

  4. I still love history and my comment was just in general sense otherwise i loved it....and yes about me writing this i would definitely do so ...but i would always want to read yours...:)

  5. grt nd suberb work...this one is really gud...

  6. Ok Lulu I will definitely write my experiences and I have already written few which involves Cuttack.... I guess I have labeled them as My thoughts... :)

    Thanks Tutu... I will try to put in as many good information I have... :)


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