Geography of Odisha

Odisha is a state in the Republic of India. It is situated in the eastern part of the country. It is surrounded by West Bengal to the north-east and in the east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west and Andhra Pradesh to the south. The state has an area of 155,707 km2 and extends for 800 kilometres from north to south and 500 kilometres from east to west. Its coastline is 480 kilometres long. The state is divided into 30 districts which are further subdivided into 314 blocks.


Odisha's topography comprises fertile plains along the coast and forested highlands towards the interior. The Odia people are generally of Indo-Aryan stock. The state is mostly famous for lord Jagannath temple which is situated in puri.The Chota Nagpur plateau occupies the western and northern portions of the state, while along the coast are fertile alluvial plains and the valleys of the Mahanadi, Brahmani, and Baitarani rivers, which empty into the Bay of Bengal. These alluvial plains are home to intensive rice cultivation. A major nesting ground for the Olive Ridley sea turtles can be found in the beaches of Odisha; in Devi, Gahirmatha and Rushikulya are known nesting sites for the L. olivacea Indian Ocean population. In 2007, around 130,000 turtles nested on the beaches of Gahirmatha.Although much of Odisha's forest cover has been denuded lately, one of the greatest attractions of Odisha is its still vast expanses of unspoiled natural landscape that offer a protected yet natural habitat to the state’s incredible wildlife. There are many wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. The Simlipal National Park Tiger Reserve is a huge expanse of lush green forest with waterfalls, inhabited by tigers, elephants, and other wildlife. The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary has been protecting estuarine crocodiles since 1975.Chilka Lake, a brackish water coastal lake on the Bay of Bengal, south of the mouth of the Mahanadi River, is the largest coastal lake in India. It is protected by the Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary, which harbors over 150 migratory and resident species of birds.The highest mountain peak in the state is Deomali (1672 m), which is situated in Koraput district in southern Odisha. It is also one of the tallest peaks of the Eastern Ghats. Deomali is part of the Chandragiri-Pottangi mountain subsystem.


The state of Odisha extends from 17.49N latitude to 22.34N latitude and from 81.27E longitude to 87.29E longitude.

Physical divisions Physiography

On the basis of homogeneity, continuity and physiographical characteristics, Odisha has been divided into five major regions.
1- The coastal plains in the east
2- The middle mountainous and highlands region
3- The central plateaus
4- The western rolling uplands
5- The major flood plains

Odisha Coastal Plains

The Odisha Coastal Plains or Utkal Plains are the depositional landforms of recent origin and geologically belong to the Post-Tertiary Period. The 75 metre contourline delimits their western boundary and differentiates them from the Middle Mountainous Region. This region stretches from the West Bengal border, i.e. from the River Subarnarekha in the north to the River Rushikulya in the south. This region is the combination of several deltas of varied sizes and shapes formed by the major rivers of Odisha, such as the Subarnarekha, the Budhabalanga, the Baitarani, the Brahmani, the Mahanadi, and the Rushikulya. Therefore, the coastal plain of Odisha is called the "Hexadeltaic region" or the "Gift of Six Rivers". It stretches along the coast of the Bay of Bengal having the maximum width in the Middle Coastal Plain (the Mahanadi Delta), narrow in the Northern Coastal Plain (Balasore Plain) and narrowest in the Southern Coastal Plain (Ganjam Plain). The North Coastal Plain comprises the deltas of the Subarnarekha and the Budhabalanga rivers and bears evidences of marine transgressions. The Middle Coastal Plain comprises the compound deltas of the Baitarani, Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers and bears evidences of past 'back bays' and present lakes. The South Coastal Plain comprises the laccustrine plain of Chilika lake and the smaller delta of the Rushikulya River.

Middle Mountainous and Highlands Region

The region covers about three-fourth of the entire State. Geologically it is a part of the Indian Peninsula which was a part of the ancient landmass of Gondwanaland. The major rivers of Odisha with their tributaries have cut deep and narrow valleys. This region mostly comprises the hills and mountains of the Eastern Ghats which rise abruptly and steeply in the east and slope gently to a dissected plateau in the west running from north-west (Mayurbhanj) to south-west (Malkangiri). The Odisha highlands are also known as the Garhjat Hills. This region is well marked by a number of interfluves or watersheds. The Eastern Ghats is interrupted by a number of broad and narrow river valleys and flood plains. The average height of this region is about 900 metres above the mean seal level. The highest peak is Deomali.

Central Plateaus

The plateaus are mostly eroded plateaus forming the western slopes of the Eastern Ghats with elevation varying from 305–610 metres. There are two broad plateaus in Odisha : (i) the Panposh – Keonjhar -Pallahara plateau comprises the Upper Baitarani catchment basin (ii) the Nabrangpur – Jeypore plateau comprises the Sabari basin

Western Rolling Uplands

These are lower in elevation than the plateaus having heights varying from 153 metres to 305 metres.


Orissa's forests are vast. Out of the total geographical area of 155,707 km2, the State records 52,472 km2 (~33%) as some version of forest.
Northern Tropical Semi-evergreen Forests: These occur in the lower hills and valleys above 600 m elevation in the forest divisions of Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Athgarh, Puri, Nayagarh, Parlakhemudi, Koraput and Kalahandi.
Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests (Also known as Monsoon Forests): These occur in the lower elevations in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts.
Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests: They occur in the drier central and western areas in parts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Khariar, Deogarh and Gobindpur divisions.
Tidal Mangrove Forests: These are limited in extent, scattered and confined to the sea-coast, especially in BhitarKanika and the Mahanadi delta.

Rivers River Mahanadi

It is the major river of Odisha and the sixth largest river in India. It originates from the sihawa hills of the Bastar Plateau in Raipur district of [Chhattishgarh]. It is about 857 km long (494 km in Odisha) and its catchment area spreads over 141,600 km2. (65,580 km².) in Odisha. The river carries on an average about 92,600 million m of water.

River Kathajodi

Around Naraj Bridge which is approx. 10 km from Cuttack City there are following villages:- Naraja Marthapur (Local Railway Station), Godi Sahi, Sandhapur, Bidyadharapur, Nua Sahi & Ratagarh. All these villages are rich in ancient heritage. Ratagarh, there is an ancient Shiva Temple of Chola Dynasty. It is approximately 15 km from the City of Bhubaneswar and approximately 6 km from Nandan Kanan, the Zoological Park. A canal arises from the Main Mahanadi river at Naraj Bridge is running besides which is the main source of water system. In Ratagarh there are 3-4 small hills which connects to the Chandaka-Damapada elephant reservoir. The main cultivation of the people of these villages are paddy besides vegetales also. The railway line running between the above villages connects Bhubaneswar with Talcher, the thermal power station, Sambalpur, Athagarh and then run into the states of Madhya Pradesh.

The Brahmani

It is the second largest river in Odisha. It originates as two major rivers like the Sankh and the Koel from the Chota Nagpur Plateau of Bihar and both join at Veda Vyasa near Rourkela of Sundargarh district of Odisha forming the major River Brahmani. It flows through the Eastern Ghats in Sundargarh, Deogarh, Kendujhar, Dhenkanal, Bhadrak and Jajpur districts into the Coastal Plains and enters into the Bay of Bengal along with a combined mouth with the Baitarani known as the Dhamara. The Brahmani is 799 km long (541 km In Odisha) and its catchment area spreads over 39,033 km2 in Odisha).

The Baitarani

It originates from the Gonasika hills of the Kendujhar district. It is 365 km long and its catchment area spread over 12,790 km2. It entres into the Bay of Bengal after joining of the Brahmani at Dhamara mouth near Chandbali, Bhadrak.

The Subarnarekha

It originates from the Chhotanagpur plateau of Bihar. It is 433 km (70 km in Odisha) and has a catchment area of 19,500 km (3,200 km in Odisha) with a mean annual flow of 7,900 million.

The Budhabalanga

It originates from the easterns slopes of the Similipal massif. It is about 175 km long having a total catchment area of 4840 km2 with an annual flow of 2177 million. It is major tributaries are the Sone, the Gangadhar, the Catra etc.

The Rushikulya

It originates from the Rushimala hills of the Eastern Ghats in Kandhamal district. It is 165 km long with 8900 km2 of catchment areas. Its tributaries are the Baghua the Dhanei Badanadi etc. It has no delta at its mouth.

The Bahuda

It originates from the Ramgiri hills of the Eastern Ghats in Gajapati districts and joins the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh. Its length 73 km having a catchment area of 1250 km2.

The Vanshadhara

It originates from the Flanks of the Durgakangar hills (Lingaraj hills) of the Eastern Ghats in Kalahandi districts. It is 230 km long out of which only 150 km in Odisha. It entres into the Bay of Bengal at Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. It has a catchment area of 11500 km2.

The Nagavali

It originates from the Bijipur Hills of the Eastern Ghats near Lanji Garah. It is 210 km long out of which 100 km is in Odisha. It has a total catchment area of about 9410 km2.

The Salandi

It originates from the Meghasani Hills of the Similipal Massif in Keonjhar district. It is 144 km long with a catchment areas of 1793 km2.

The Indravati

It originates from the Eastern Ghats in Kalahandi districts. It is 530 km long with a catchment area of 41700 km2 as a tributary it flows into the Godavari river.

The Kolab

It originates from the Sinkaran hills of the Eastern Ghats in Koraput districts. It has catchment areas of 20400 km2. Tel River: It is one of the largest river of Odisha originating in Nabaramgpur district and touching Chhattisgarh, Kalahandi, Balangir, Sonepur districts of Odisha and finally falling in Mahanadi.


There are a number of Mountain springs and hotspring in Odisha. The Badaghagara and Sanaghagara in Keonjhar district, Saptasajya in Denkanal district, Chandikhole in Jajpur district, Barunei in Khorda district, Taptapani, Narayani and Nirmalajhar in Ganjam district, the Patalaganga in Kalahandi district, Nursinghanath in Bargarh district ,Harisankar of Balangir district of odisha , Deulajhari hot spring in Angul district, Tarabolo hot spring a part of Nayagadh district ,75 km from Bhubaneswar and Atri hot spring a sulfur spring in a small village of Khurda district, 42 km far from Bhubaneswar.

Waterfalls Barehipani

Odisha’s pride among all the reserved forests, Similipal Tiger Reserve, has got this stepped waterfall which descends from the Meghasani hills in Mayurbhanj district. It is the highest waterfall of the state coming down from a height of 400 metres. Barehipani’s beauty from the viewpoint on the other side of the hill is a thing to marvel.


Similipal is also home to Joranda waterfall (150 metres) amidst the rich Sal vegetation. The tall trees around the fall create a wonderful ambience.


Devkund Waterfall, in periphery of Similipal Tiger Reserve, has a series of beautiful waterfalls and the holy shrine of Goddess Ambika. It is situated at a distance of 65 kms from Baripada and 140 kms from Chandipur.


This beautiful Khandadhar waterfall in the mineral-rich forests of Sundargarh district descends from a height of 225 metres and is the second highest waterfall in the state. The magnificent view of the cascading waters also make for a good picnic spot and the entire area is a treasure trove of rare medicinal plants. Khandadhar is 114 kms from the steel township of Rourkela.

Badaghagra and Sanghagra

Part of the Ghagra river, a tributary of Baitarani, the waterfall is 10 kms away from Keonjhar town. The 60 metres fall is also near the Sanghagra falls (30 metres), lying 5 kms from the district headquarters town. These two falls are popular picnic spots near Keonjhar town.


On the southern side of Gandhamardan hills, Harishankar shines with a series of beautiful waterfalls cascading on the hill slopes and the last one provides a water slide to the amusement of bathers. An added advantage to the two places of Nrusimhanath and Harishankar is the 16 kms trekking route by which travellers can go from Harishankar to Nrusimhanath and vice-versa.


The southern-most district of the state, Malkangiri, has got this beautiful waterfall besides several marvellous lakes spread across the region. The fall is situated 70 kms from Jeypore town. Duduma waterfall descends from a height of 155 metres and feeds water to Machhakunda Dam.


The Chilika Lake is brackish water lagoon located in the southern part of the Odisha coastal plain. It is India's largest coastal lagoon. It's area varies 780 km2 and 144 km2; during the two monsoon months it is 71 km long and 32 km wide. It salinity decreases to a minimum during the monsoon. However, in winter, due to the overflow of the tidal water through the narrow opening from the Bay of Bengal, it is maximum. It is famous for large number of Migratory birds during winter.

Anshupa is a sweet water lake (Horse Paw Shaped) located in Athagarh of Cuttack district. It is 3 km long and 1.5 km wide. Sara is another sweet water lake located near Puri. It is 5 km long and 3 km wide.

Kanjia lake is another sweet water lake with about 134 acres (0.54 km2) of area located in Nandankanan of Cuttack district near Bhubaneswar.

Indravati Reservoir: Originating near Thuamul-Rampur, the river Indravati makes its winding course through dense forests and sunkissed valleys till she halts at Khatiguda, 20 km from Nowrangpur, to form a reservoir in the hands of modern sculptors. The vast blue expanse guarded by green capped soaring hills makes this lake a delightful sight - a lifetime memory.

Tampara is another sweet water lake located alongside the town of Chatrapur. It is 4 km long and 0.5 km wide. It is feed by the back water of Rushikulya river in monsoon season, and the water remains over the year suitable for Boating, Kayak, Sailing and many other advanture activity. Its currently maintained by Odisha Tourism.

Hirakud Dam: Artificial Lake in Sambalpur and Jharsuguda largest artificial lake in Asia.

Sorada Reservoir: About 80 km from Berhampur, Sorada holds in its bosom a reservoir amidst uncommon scenic charm. Popularly known as Sorada Ghai, it blends itself beautifully into an enchanting picnic spot.

Kolab Dam: Artificial Lake in Koraput. And khandadhar at Rourkela.


The state is dotted with several small and medium towns and cities. At the turn of the 20th century, however the role of industry in Odisha increased substantially, leading to a population move into urban areas. There are a number of major cities in Odisha that deserve a special visit. Each of the cities enjoys its own distinctive identity and individuality in terms of the spell it casts on the visitors.

Bhubaneswar (The Temple City)

Bhubaneswar is the capital of the Indian state of Odisha. The ancient city of Bhubaneswar is also known as the Temple City of eastern India. Bhubaneswar, derived its name from Tribhubaneswar, which literally means the Lord of the Three World (Tribhuban), which refers to Shiva. It is also known as Mandiramalini (The Temple City) also as Ekamra Kshetra and Kalinga Nagari.It is the largest city in Odisha and is a centre of economic and religious importance in Eastern India.

Cuttack (The Silver City)

Cuttack is the former capital and the second largest city of Odisha is also the headquarters of the Cuttack district. The word Cuttack derives its name from the anglicized sanskrit word Kataka which literally means The Fort, referring to the ancient Barabati Fort, around which the city developed. This city takes pride in the fact that it had been the capital of Odisha, before its shifting to Bhubaneswar.

Rourkela (The Steel City)

Rourkela is one of the beautiful and the fourth largest city of Odisha after Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur is situated about 340 kilometres north of state capital Bhubaneswar. The city is surrounded by a range of hills and encircled by rivers. The name "Rourkela" means "Our Village" in the local dialect of Sadri language spoken by the tribals here.

Balasore (The Sand City)

The beautiful sand city Balasore is situated in Balasore district of Odisha, about 194 kms north of the State capital Bhubaneswar, near the southeastern coast of India. It is the headquarter of Balasore district. Balasore came to be known from the Persian word "Bala-e-sore" which means Town in the sea. The town is also known as sand city for its proximity to wonderful beaches. It is best known for Chandipur beach.

Sambalpur (The Hand Loom City)

The biggest city in western Odisha Sambalpur is situated in Sambalpur district, about 325 kms West of the State capital Bhubaneswar. It is the headquater of Sambalpur district and the second largest city by population in Western Odisha. Sambalpur was established in the year 1528 by Raja Balaram Dev. It is situated in the bank of river Mahanadi and is enriched with natural surroundings.

Brahmapur (The Silk City)

The Silk city Brahmapur is located in the eastern coastline of Ganjam district of Odisha, about 169 kilometres south of the state capital Bhubaneswar. It is one of the oldest and largest cities of Odisha and mainly a trading centre for Southern Odisha. The name Berhampur is an anglicized form of "Brahmapur" which etymologically means "The Abode of Brahma, the Creator". The city is famous for its intricately designed silk sarees called Brahmapuri Patta, Bomokei Patta, handloom cloth and jewellery shops.

Quick Query

Put your Ad here.