Cuttack, the oldest city in Orissa, is located at 20°5' N and 85°83' E, close to the east coast of India. The city spread over 398 square kilometers has an average elevation of 36 meters.
The city is located at the mouth of the Mahanadi river delta and is surrounded by the Mahanadi River and its tributary Kathjori River. Because of its proximity to the coast, Cuttack has a tropical climate. The temperatures touch 40°C in summer and fall to 10°C in winter. Cyclones and thunder showers are common in monsoon months of July and August.

Cuttack, named for the 'kataka' or fort in Sanskrit, referred to the ancient Barabati Fort around the area of the city. Although historically Cuttack was the seat of the government in Orissa, it relinquished the position to Bhubaneshwar after the new city was created close to it, a few kilometers down south. Today Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, are together called the twin cities in the state.

Cuttack lies on the route of the National Highway 5 and is connected to Chennai and Kolkata. There is no Airport in the city; the closest airport is at Bhubaneswar, 30 kilometers away. However, Cuttack is well connected by rail at it falls on the mail line of the Eastern Railways. There are direct trains from Cuttack to Kolkata and Chennai.

The city is also the headquarters of Cuttack district and has a total population of 606,007. The city is one of the most densely populated areas in the state. Cuttack today is one of the most industrialized cities in the state and is also the financial capital of the state. It has one of the highest literacy levels in the state with many colleges and schools located in the city. The Ravenshaw College established in 1875 is the most famous. Oriya is the language spoken, though Telugu is also spoken as a large population of immigrants resides in the city.

Cuttack is famous for its silver filigree work and textiles, specially the cotton saris. The Dussehra and Durga Puja celebrations in the city are magnificent and are probably one of the biggest in the eastern region. Another popular festival is the Balijatra.

During Indian independence, Cuttack was in the fore front of the Indian freedom movement. Some of the eminent personalities of the city include the Late Shri Madhusudan Das, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who was born in the city. His ancestral house, now converted into a museum, lies in the heart of the city. A two-storey colonial building called Swarajya Ashram, associated with the Indian Freedom Movement, is now a protected structure.

As the city is one of the oldest in the country, it has many ancient structures and monuments worth a visit. Some of the famous ones are the ruins of the Barabati Fort- a protected monument today- which lies on the banks of the Kathjori River, and the temple of Cuttack Chandi, the presiding deity of the city. Within the Barabati Fort are two Muslim monuments- the Qadam-I-Rasool and the Shahi Mosque. Around the Kathjori river front is an 11th century stone embankment which is today one of the tourist attractions of the city.

Last Updated on 09 November 2012