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Hinduism in Orissa

The religion of Aryans, known as Sanatana Dharma, originated in the vedas & spread to Orissa, which, in due course of time came to be held in high reverence as the land of the Gods or Deva Bhumi. In around 5th century BC, the Nandas stabilized brahminic settlements in the coastal region of the State.

The thirteenth Ashokan edict shows that before the invasion of Kalinga by Ashoka & his conversion to Buddhism, Brahminism had spread swiftly to Orissa. It continued to hold its power till the reign of Kharvela who was a Jain king & had propagated that religion as is seen from the Hatigumpha inscription.

These ancient religions of Orissa, Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism seems to have co-existed peacefully with varying fortunes. It is interesting to know that the royal ceremonies of Ashoka & Kharvela were performed according to Vedic rites although there were Buddhist & Jain respectively.

The revival of Vedic religion after the waning of Buddhism & Jainism brought in wide assimilative powers for it and as a result Bhagavala, Bagavata, Shaiva, Sakata, Soura religious sects. All unfolded Hinduism & the deities like Vasudeva, Narayana, Shiva, Shakti Surya were included in its pantheon.

Brahminism seems to have flourished in Orissa under the Maratha rulers between the 4th & 5th century AD. The Sailodbhava rukers made arrangements for the study of Vedic wisdom & an Aswamedha sacrifice was performed by Madhav Varman. In the time of Keshari rulers, Shaivism gained importance. Yajati Keshari, to preserve the sancity & purity of Brahminism, brought Aryan Brahmins from Kanauj & settled then in Jajpur, which became a famous site for the performance of ancestral funeral rites.

Hinduism Jainism Buddhism Islam Christian
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