Cuttack is the former capital and the largest city of the state of Orissa, India. It is the headquarters of Cuttack district and is located about 28 km to the north east of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. It is the judicial capital of Orissa as the Orissa High Court is located here.The name of the city is an anglicised form of Kataka that literally means The Fort, a reference to the ancient Barabati Fort around which the city developed.
The city is spread across an area of 398 km2 (154 sq mi) and is situated at the beginning of the Mahanadi River delta. The city consists of 54 wards; in south it starts from Phulnakhara to Salipur, and in east it begins from Bidyadharpur to Choudwar. The name Kataka is derived from Sanskrit, and means a military establishment/ camp/ bunker. The city was known as Bidanasi Katak (meaning Bidanasi Military Base) during the days when Barabati Fort was in existence. Bidanasi is now a ward in Cuttack city.
Cuttack is not different from other ancient cities in India, and for over a thousand years has seen the influx of every major religion in India. There are different religious establishments often been built within close proximity of each other.
Katak Chandi Temple- The temple of goddess Katak Chandi, is probably the most famous religious establishment of city. With Katak Chandi being worshipped as the main goddess, the temple has smaller temples of other Gods and goddesses within its small compound. Not far from this temple, is the Gada Chandi temple which inside the Barabati Fort. There is also temple of Lord Shiva on the banks of Mahanadi River, and near the fort, known as Gada Gadia temple.
Qadam-E-Rasool- The Qadam-E-Rasool is a monument of beauty built by Shujaddin Khan. At four corners of its high compound wall are four small yet strong towers constructed out of chiselled stone. It is adorned with four flat domes and pucca pavements from all direction of the grave yard to the main octagonal building with magnificent dome in the centre. It contains the foot print of the Prophet engraved in a circular stone. The dome outside is adorned with a golden pinnacle.
Juma Masjid- Juma, means Big, and this is the oldest, biggest, and the most beautiful masjid of Cuttack. It was built during the Mughal era. It possesses several rooms for visitors and students. Earlier there used to be a Madrasa in this mosque. However, since last 10 years, the Madrasa is shifted out of the mosque. The neighbourhoods surrounding the Juma Masjid are inhabited both by Hindus and Muslims, who live peacefully with perfect communal harmony.
Shahi Mosque- The Shahi mosque is situated inside the Barabati fort. It is structurally similar to the Ujale Khan mosque at Mohammadia Bazaar. All these mosques are adorned with beautiful domes on hexagonal base. Stones and tiles are used in construction of the mosque. It seems that during the British rule of Orissa, it was used as a magazine (storehouse) as it is apparent from the two Mehrabs on the flanks which are closed with bricks.
Dusshera, the festival of goddess Durga, is very popular in Cuttack. There are thousands of idols are worshipped in many streets and localities. In this city, Dussehra is famous for its Chandi o Sona Medhas, in which the idols are adorned with huge amounts of gold and silver, with localities trying to outsmart each other by constructing more attractive idols. Indeed, the whole city comes to a standstill on Astami, Navami and in Dashami burning of effigy of the demon Ravana (the eighth, ninth and tenth days of Dussehra) as people travel all over the city appreciating all the idols put forth by the neighbourhoods.
Kali puja, Just after Durga puja gets over, cuttackis gear up with all their vigour to celebrate Kali puja. On the auspicious day of Diwali amidst the bursting of firecrackers on the banks of Mahanadi (called Gadgadia ghat) people not only celebrate the victory of good over evil but also pay tribute to the goddess Kali.
Cuttack has a deer park, near Barabati Stadium, overseeing the beautiful Mahandi river. The park has about 60 deers. There are other city parks like CDA Sector-6 park, Khannagar park, Jobra park. Biju-Pattnaik park at Bidanasi (on the way to Dhabaleswar Temple) is quite a nice park for spending ones afternoons and evenings. Its also a popular destination for a mini-picnic.
Freedom Fighter's Memorial:
It was inaugurated by Honorable Chief Minister of Orissa Mr. Naveen Patnaik on January 23, 2010, on the occasion of Netaji Jayanti (Netaji Subas Chandra Bose Birthday). It is situated at the Old Jail complex (near Big Bazar), Dargha Bazar, Cuttack.
Cuttack takes pride in being the birthplace of the prominent Indian statesman, independence leader and freedom-fighter Subhas Chandra Bose. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose studied in an Anglo school till standard six which is now known as Stewart School and then shifted to Ravenshaw Collegiate school of Cuttack. The birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which is known as Janakinath Bhawan in Oriya Bazar has now been converted to a museum named Netaji Birth Place Museum where original letters written by Netaji along with other Netaji's important materials are exhibited.