Of all the fascinating tales attached to Odisha’s glorious past and history, one gripping account has to be the way its capital got relocated. How Bhubaneswar became the capital of Odisha when Cuttack was originally the place where all cultural and political activities were undertaken, is still an interesting story for many!
Between the wake of Odias’ movement for a separate province and after its victory, the idea of Odisha’s new capital initially got mooted. Back in 1933, the Odisha Administrative Committee suggested to retain the provincial capital of Cuttack. Although this opinion won approval from a lot of people, it also inflamed many! Among the loudest naysayers were the people and politicians from Southern Odisha and others who wanted Puri or any alternative district as their capital.
Following numerous bitter-sweet discussions in 1937, Chaudwar-Cuttack got proposed for setting up the capital.
However this motion did not implement properly, mainly for lack of funds and also due to less political will. Exchange of views continued further which led to the post Second World War reconstruction committee propose Bhubaneswar as a nice capital site. But it was ideally because of Harekrushna Mahtab’s efforts in 1945 which championed in getting approval in Bhubaneswar’s favour!
Though this has been the nitty-gritty, we here get you some more pressing reasons which influenced Bhubaneswar to replace Cuttack as Odisha’s ultimate capital!
Congested Cuttack, Spacious Bhubaneswar
One of the primary reasons of the shift was Cuttack’s congestion for accommodating a provincial capital. Also the city’s expansion appeared less promising including the very fact that a bridge on Mahanadi connecting Cuttack to Chaudwar could not get mobilised. Bhubaneswar, on the other hand was considered favourable owing to its sufficient space availability!
Bhubaneswar’s Remarkable History
Revered as a Temple City, Bhubaneswar also has some significant historical evidences which paved way for its crowning. Much has been known about Bhubaneswar as the capital of Emperor Kharvela besides holding great importance to Emperor Ashoka. That apart, the Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves, Dhauli Hills and other places marked the city’s ancient greatness!
Bhubaneswar’s Proximity To Cuttack
Relocating government operations and chambers, employees and officials, who were permanently settled in Cuttack was imperative. Thus ideally a city close to Cuttack should have justified the capital shift, and Bhubaneswar completely satisfied this factor! Another noteworthy feature was that all bridges between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar were likely to be completed before the construction of the proposed bridge on Mahanadi connecting Cuttack and Chaudwar.
Geographical Aspects And Infrastructure Of Bhubaneswar
With its pleasant climate, Bhubaneswar has always been a great city to dwell. In addition, land acquisition was also easy during those days as there were more barren lands and forests. Bhubaneswar even comprised of several buildings that were established by American troops during the Second World War, which would save a huge construction cost!
Once the decision was settled, Odisha hired Otto Koenigsberger, a German Jew and a famous town planner, who had fled from Nazi Germany to work for the capital construction. Finally on 13th April 1948 Bhubaneswar got formally inaugurated as Odisha’s capital and its cornerstone was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s then Prime Minister. Buildings, offices, institutions and amenities followed thereafter and Bhubaneswar has been flourishing ever since. Thus further talks of capital relocation were eventually laid to rest and Bhubaneswar was celebrated as Odisha’s capital forever!