The history of Odisha , ancient Kalinga has been shaped by major political events and the religions that flourished over the centuries. The Kalinga war which silenced Asoka’s war drums forever is the sheet anchor of Odisha’s history . The succeeding Odishan king Kharavela , who came to power during the second half of the 1st century BC was a Jain who furthered the religion’s cause . After him a succession of dynasties began with the Sailodbhavas , followed by the Bhauma-karas and Somavamsis, and ended with the great Ganga family , which came to power in the 12th century.
The period between 7th to 12th Century saw the rise of Odisha as a center of outstanding artistic expression, commerce, pilgrimage and civilization. The art of temple building became increasingly refined during these centuries, developing a unique and exquisite Odishan style.
The major crafts of Odisha are dependent on the various religious and social ceremonies mostly linked to Lord Jagannath. The tradition of painting patachitra was first used to decorate unfinished idols. Shola pith was used to decorate the idols of the trinity – Lord Jagannath , Subhadra and Balbhadra. Both crafts owe their origin to the worship of Lord Jagannath . In the late 16th century Odisha was annexed to the Mughal empire resulting in a confluence of different cultures. Ganjifa , the Mughal playing cards became Indiannized and silver filigree was introduced here . In recent years local materials like sikki grass , straw , coir and cowdung have been transformed into decorative projects.
Buddhism , Jainism , tribal beliefs and the various sects and cults which were later woven together into Hinduism all existed in Odisha at different times. This resulted in the totally Odishan deity of Lord Jagannath . Odisha’s varied tribal population in the western districts are a repository of living crafts visible through their system of weekly markets.