Cuttack is the largest city in the state of Orissa, India, jointly with apparently newly planned city Bhubaneswar. It is the headquarters of Cuttack district and lies about 30 km to the north east of Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Orissa. 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 195 km2 (75 sq mi) and is situated right in the centre of the Mahanadi delta.
Early history of Cuttack is associated with the Keshari dynasty. As stated by the distinguished historian A. Stirling, present-day Cuttack was established as a military cantonment by king Nrupa Keshari of Keshari dynasty in 989 A.D. Stirling based his opinion on Madala Panji, a chronicle of Jagannath temple of Puri. The reign of Markata Keshari was distinguished for the stone embank built to protect the new capital from flood in 1002 A.D.
Historical evidence suggests Cuttack becoming capital of a Kingdom founded by Anangabhimadeva of Ganga dynasty in 1211 A.D. After the end of Ganga rule, Orissa passed to the hands of the Gajapati Kings (1435-1541 A.D.) of Solar dynasty under whom Cuttack continued to be the capital of Orissa. After the death of Mukunda deva, the last Hindu king of Orissa, Cuttack first came under Muslim rules and later under Mughals.
By 1750, Cuttack came under Maratha rules and it grew fast as a business centre being the convenient point of contact between the Marathas of Nagpur and the English Merchants of Bengal. It was occupied by the British in 1803 and later became the capital of Orissa division in 1816. From 1948 onwards, when the capital was shifted to Bhubaneswar, the city remained the administrative headquarters of Orissa.
Remnants of an old fort called Barabati still exist in the heart of Cuttack with the moat around the fort. Nearby is a modern stadium called the Barabati Stadium, host to many national and international cricket matches. Recently the stadium was updated with floodlights and D/N matches are taking place. Recent growth of the city has resulted in expansion across the river Kathjori and a newer township towards the head of the delta formed between the tributary Kathjori river and the Mahanadi. Cuttack is referred to as a city with Babaan Bazaar, Teppan Galee i.e. a city having 52 markets and 53 streets.
Among the culinary delights unique to the Millenium City, none compare the famed Dahibara and Aludum, a spicy concoction of three basic dishes i.e., dahibara - vadas soaked in skim yoghurt, ghuguni - curried chickpeas and aludum - whole size potatoes immersed in fiery curry. All and sundry sample this traditional dish nearly every day and is a must on most tourists' itinerary. Other popular fast foods include Chat, Gup-chup (pani puri).
There are several nice restaurants in Cuttack that serve very good food at reasonable price. Some of the nice restaurants of Cuttack are situated near College square (close to Railway station).
Cuttack is the shopping hub of Orissa. The shopping places in the city are stocked with distinctive kinds of handicrafts and textiles. They have something or the other for everyone, be of any age group. Infact, there are so many things in Cuttack that are worth buying that you will be forced to think what to buy and what not to buy. The city is famous for its silver filigree work, which is used in making exquisite jewelry.
You can also check out other decorative items made of fine quality silver. For those who want to buy traditional fabrics, the best option is the Government-run state emporia, where one can see an amazing variety of cotton and silk fabrics. Lacquer work is also very much in demand in Cuttack. After applying several coats of lacquer, the surface of the material is embellished with delicate motifs, depicting different aspects of nature.