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Orissa used to belong to a kingdom called Kalinga. Kalinga was a very well known nation who had control over most of the sea routes located in the Bay of Bengal. The kingdom was very involved in trade through these sea routes. Most people dont know about the past glory however history of Orissa itself makes it Great.
The state is rich in flora and fauna and historical sites dating back to the Stone Age. Sites like Bhitarkanika, Chilika, Nandankanan, Gopalpur and Simlipal are areas of great biological diversity.
There is no best part of the year however if you are planning to come in summer you can go to the east coast where there are lost of beaches and relax. If you are planning to visit the temples, Spring would be the best time. And if you are planning to explore the tribal life any time is great. Any period would just be wonderful.