Orissa, officially spelled Odisha, is a state of India, located on the South east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 261 BCE. The modern state of Orissa was established on April 1, 1936, as a province in British India and consisted predominantly of Oriya speakers. April 1 is therefore celebrated as Utkala Dibasa (foundation day of Orissa). Cuttack remained the capital of the state for over eight centuries until April 13, 1948 when Bhubaneswar was officially declared as the new capital of Orissa, and still is the present capital of this state.
Orissa is the 9th largest state by area in India, and the 11th largest by population. Oriya (officially spelled Odia) is the official and most widely spoken language, spoken by three quarters of the population. Orissa has a relatively unindented coastline (about 480 km long) and lacked good ports, except for the deepwater facility at Paradip, until the recent launch of the Dhamara Port. The narrow, level coastal strip, including the Mahanadi river delta supports the bulk of the population.