Balasore or Baleshwar is a city in the state of Odisha, about 194 kilometres (121 mi) north of the state capital Bhubaneswar and 152 kilometres (94 mi) from Kolkata, in eastern India. It is the largest city of northern Odisha and the administrative headquarters of Balasore district. It is best known for Chandipur beach. The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program's Integrated Test Range is located 18 km south of Balasore.
Baleshwar district was part of the ancient Kalinga kingdom which later became a territory of Utkal, till the death of Mukunda Dev. It was annexed by the Mughal Empire in 1568 and remained as a part of their suzerainty up until the 1700s.The British East India Company (EIC) established a factory at Balasore in 1633. In 1719, the Trieste Company merchants established a trading post there.As Calcutta rose in importance, Balasore became the center for river pilot services for vessels seeking to ascend the Hooghli River.The Marathas then occupied this part of Odisha and it became a part of the dominion of the Bhonsle Maratha Rajas of Nagpur. They ceded this part through the Treaty of Deogaon in 1803 and it became a part of Bengal Presidency until 1912.Balasore as a separate district was created in October 1828 under the Bengal Presidency. On 7 November 1845, all of Danish India was sold to the British to form a part of British India.With the creation of Bihar Province, Odisha, along with Balasore district, was transferred from Bengal to Bihar. But with the creation of Odisha as a separate state on 1 April 1936, Balasore became an integral part of Odisha State. The national movement of independence surged ahead with the visit of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921. Similarly Praja Andolan was initiated against the ruler of Nilagiri State. The state of Nilagiri merged with state of Odisha in January 1948 and became a part of Balasore district. On 3 April 1993, Bhadrak sub-division became a separate district and from this day Balasore remans a district of Odisha with two Sub-divisions namely Balasore and Nilagiri having eight Tehsils, namely Balasore, Soro, Simulia, Nilagiri, Jaleswar, Basta, Baliapal and Remuna and 12 blocks namely Bhograi, Jaleswar, Baliapal, Basta, Balasore, Remuna, Nilagiri, Oupada, Khaira, Soro and Bahanaga. The name of the district is being derived from the name of the town.Balasore is where the famous freedom fighter Jatindranath Mukherjee, also known as Bagha Jatin, was injured and died fighting the British.
Balasore culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, and music . The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other cities. Balasore residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Muharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Rajaa and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular festivals in the city. The akhada Arts Festival during durga puja is a unique culture of Balasore.
Durga puja, the festival of goddess Durga, is very popular in Balasore. Idols are worshipped in many streets and localities. In this city, Durga puja is famous for its idols, with localities trying to outsmart each other by constructing more attractive idols. Indeed, the whole city comes to a standstill on Astami, Navami and on Dashami burning of effigy of the demon Ravana (the eighth, ninth and tenth days of Durga puja) as people travel all over the city appreciating all the idols put forth by the neighbourhoods.Kali Puja, Just after Durga puja gets over, Balasore gear up with all their vigour to celebrate Kali puja. On the auspicious day of Diwali amidst the bursting of firecrackers.Kartikeshwar puja: Kartikeshwar is the eldest son of Lord Shiva.Kite flying is also celebrated with much enthusiasm and energy in the city. Kite-flying culminates with the Makar Sankranti, with kite-flying competitions being held all over the city.All the other regular Indian festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Vasant Panchami, Holi, Id, Good Friday, Rath Yatra, Diwali, Christmas and the numerous Hindu festivals are also celebrated.According to 2011 Indian Census, Balasore (municipality + overgrowth) had a total population of 144,373, of which 73,721 were males and 70,652 were females. Population within the age group of 0 to 6 years was 14,773. The total number of literates in Balasore was 113,418, which constituted 78.6% of the population with male literacy of 81.7% and female literacy of 75.3%. The effective literacy rate of 7+ population of Balasore was 87.5%, of which male literacy rate was 91.0% and female literacy rate was 83.8%. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population was 15,812 and 9,291 respectively. Balasore had 30460 households in 2011.
The official language of Balasore is Odia which is also the language of the majority. It is followed by Urdu, Bengali, Santali, Hindi.
Balasore is the main city in the District of Balasore. The district has four major revenue sources – industries, agriculture, fishing and tourism with its base in Chandipur.Many small and large scale industries are located both within the city limits as well as the outskirts. Balasore Alloys Limited,Emami Paper Mills,Oriplast, and Birla Tyres are some of the major industries based in Balasore. It is one of the richest cities of Odisha. The main markets of Balasore are Nua Bazar, Motiganj, FM Square, Vivekanand Marg, Station Square, ITI Chakh, Kachehri Road, Town Hall and Nua Shahi.
In an effort to bring industry, trade and commerce to a common meaningful platform, the Confederation of Indian Industry, with local chambers like North Orissa Chamber of Commerce and Industry,serve as an interface to fight for the rights and issues concerning the industrial scenario so as to contribute to the development of the state as a whole. Members from both public and private sectors work closely with the government for the expansion of business opportunities, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness and to work on policy issues. Located in Januganj, Balasore, NOCCI is essentially a business park with a massive exhibition hall, a separate residential block with hotel and restaurant facilities and an extended building called the industry facilitation center specifically for industrial training. NOCCI comprises about 100 member units and six affiliated associations of the industrial units.
NOCCI is instrumental in the promoting the initiative of the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (GoI) through a scheme of Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation.
The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program's Integrated Test Range is located 18 km south of Balasore. The Defence Research and Development Organisation developed many different missiles such as Nag, Brahmos, Agni Missile among others here
Balasore is the main education hub of Northern Odisha with many Engineering Schools and the famous Fakir Mohan University, named after the renowned novelist Fakir Mohan Senapati, who hails from this town of Odisha. A government medical college is under construction which will be opened from 2018 academic year. It will boost the medical facility in Balasore and northern Odisha.
The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar which is 200 km from Balasore. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata is 232 km from Balasore.
Balasore railway station is an important station on the Howrah-Chennai main line of the South Eastern Railway. The distance to Kolkata is approximately 232 km, while the distance to Bhubaneswar is about 206 km. A branch line to Baripada starts from Rupsa, near Balasore. Balasore is connected to different parts of India through trains. There are frequent trains to Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati, Bangalore, Puri, Ernakulam.
Balasore has a well developed roadways. National Highway 5 and National Highway 60 pass through the city. A part of the Golden Quadrilateral project, this highway runs from Chennai to Kolkata. Intra-city transport comprises cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws. City bus services commenced in Balasore on 15 August 2017. The bus terminus is at Sahadev Khunta and thousands of private buses ply to hundreds of destinations everyday. Many luxurious A.C buses ply to Bhubneswar, Kolkata and other nearby cities daily.
Industrial and infrastructural development has boosted the healthcare market in Balasore and attracted healthcare corporate houses to set up base in the city. Balasore government hospital was the city's first hospital.
Cricket is the most popular sport in the city. The city is also represented by the Balasore Baghas in the Odisha Premier League. Apart from cricket, people here love the game of football, volleyball & other sports.
Balasore has several cinemas playing films in Odia, Hindi, and English languages.
Chandipur-on-sea is a seaside resort famous for its mile long beach. It is a unique beach – the tide comes to the shore only four times a day, at fixed intervals. At a distance of 30 km south-west is Panchalingeshwar, a temple and scenic spot high on a mountain. The presiding deity there, Shiva, cannot be seen. One has to touch and feel the statue as it is behind (submerged under) a waterfall. About 33 km south-west of Balasore, the town Santaragadia has the Biseswar temple situated on a hill. The town is surrounded by hills on all sides. Nearby is Khulia village, a settlement of aboriginals. Around 30 km south-east of Balasore is a port named Dhamra.
Khirachora Gopinatha Temple, situated at Remuna, approximately 7 km from the main town of Balasore, was built by King Langula Narasimha Dev, who also built the famous temple at Konark. Khirochora Gopinath Temple is notable for its mythological story about how it was built there. The prashad of Krishna – the khira – is famous. The Biranchinarayan Temple, Palia, AstaDurga, and Bhudhar Chandi are some other temples located in the region.
Jagannatha Temple, Remuna is a newly built temple in the area, the architecture of which is influenced by the famous Jagannatha Temple of Puri. It is the recent favourite tourist spot concerning the region.
There is a Jagannatha Temple in Nilagiri which is one of the prominent Jagannatha temples of Odisha. Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are worshipped here. Every year, Ratha Yatra is performed with all the deities.
Panchalingeswara Temple is a temple near a picnic spot in Baleswar which is located 30 km from Balasore.There is a state tourism Pantha Nivas in Panchalingeswara for tourists. Panchalingeswara is surrounded by hills and forests.
Bhujakhia Pir, situated at sunhat at the heart of the city is the tomb of Sufi saint Aasthana Sharif Hazrat Pir named as Bhujakhia Pir.The most interesting thing that both Muslim and Hindu jointly worship pir baba.
Baba Bhusandeswar Temple, is one of the largest Shiva Lingams in the World is in Bhograi village of Balasore district, Odisha.which is located 100 km from Balasore. The 12 feet long and 14 feet width lingam is carved out on a black granite and only half of the lingam is visible. The other half has remained buried for years. The diameter of the lingam is 12 feet and has three parts. The middle portion of the lingam is octagonal in shape, about 12 feet in diameter and nearly four feet in height. The Lingam slightly leans towards the right side.