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The Glories of Orissa
Orissa is known as Utkala. It is situated between the Rusi-kulya
River and the Mahanadi River. Previously it was known as Udradesh.
In the Skanda Purana the glories of Utkala have been de¬scribed. Located at the bank of the South Ocean, Utkala is su¬premely purifying. There are many temples and tirdias all over this state. People living in Utkala are exemplary in sad-achar, good be¬havior. The brahmanas there are always engaged in studying scrip¬tures and performing yajna. At the beginning of the creation, yajna and the study of the Vedas started from Utakala. This state is known as the ocean of eighteen varieties of knowledge. By the order of Lord Narayana, Lamxi Devi resides in every house in Orissa. People of this state are very humble and shy in their nature. They are free from disease and mental problems. They serve their parents very sincerely. They are very truthful and de¬voted to Lord Vishnu. The people of Utkala enjoy helping others and performing welfare works. Greed, wickedness and cheating are absent here.
Once upon a time, the people of Utkala were blessed with long life. Ladies were very chaste to their husbands, religious, beau¬tiful, humble and well-behaved. They were always wearing nice cloth and decorated themselves with valuable ornaments. Kshatriyas were engaged in their swadharma (own dharma) of protecting people in general. They were very charitable and ex¬pert in fighting. They used to arrange yajnas in with provisions of giving plenty of dakshina (donations). Their yajna fire never extin¬guished. When guests came to the house of an Utkala kshattiya, they would be offered gifts beyond their desire. Vaisyas were nicely engaged in cultivation, trade and cow protection. They were always pleasing God, guru and the brahma-nas by their devotion and opulence. If a beggar went to the house of an Utkala vaisya, he would collect so much alms that he need not go to another house to beg.
The sudras of Utakala were very expert in singing, kala (art) and silpa (architecture). They were very good orators. Reli¬gious and charitable, they served brahmanas by their mind, words, activities and wealth. Even varna-sankars were engaged in dharma according to their status. In previous times, there were no anomalies in the appear¬ance of the seasons. There was no untimely rain. Rain water never destroyed the crops. Wind never gave trouble to the people, and no one suffered from hunger. Whatever was available on earth was available in Utakala.