Odisha , formerly Orissa, is an Indian state located in Eastern India. It is the 8th largest state by area, and the 11th largest by population. The state has the third largest population of Scheduled Tribes in India.It neighbours the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west, Andhra Pradesh to the south, and a very negligible border with Telangana to the southwest. Odisha has a coastline of 485 kilometres (301 mi) along the Bay of Bengal. The region is also known as Utkala and is mentioned in India's national anthem, 'Jana Gana Mana'. The language of Odisha is Odia, which is one of the Classical Languages of India.
The majority (almost 94%) of people in Odisha are Hindu and there is also a rich cultural heritage in the state. For example, Odisha is home to several Hindu figures. Sant Bhima Bhoi was a leader of the Mahima sect. Sarala Das, a Hindu Khandayat, was the translator of the epic Mahabharata into Odia. Chaitanya Das was a Buddhistic-Vaishnava and writer of the Nirguna Mahatmya. Jayadeva was the author of the Gita Govinda.
The Odisha Temple Authorisation Act of 1948 empowered the government of Odisha to open temples for all Hindus, including Dalits.
Odia is the official language of Odisha and is spoken by 81.32% of the population according to the 2011 census of India. It is also one of the classical languages of India. English is the official language of correspondence between state and the union of India. Spoken Odia is not homogeneous as one can find different dialects spoken across the state. Some of the major dialects found inside the state are Sambalpuri, Cuttacki, Puri, Baleswari, Ganjami, Desiya and Phulbani. In addition to Odia, significant population of people speaking other major Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and Bengali are also found in the state.
The different adibasi communities who mostly reside in Western Odisha have their own languages belonging to Austroasiatic and Dravidian family of languages. Some of these major adibasi languages are Santali, Kiu and Ho. Due to increasing contact with outsiders, migration and socioeconomic reasons many of these indigenous languages are slowly getting extinct or are on the verge of getting extinct.