Oriya people

Oriya People

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Oriya people

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The Oriyas , ), are an ethnic group of eastern India and of eastern Indo-Aryan stock. They constitute a majority in the eastern coastal state of Odisha, with minority populations in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The vast majority of the Oriyas are Hindus and are known for their history of Sun worship. Orissa is home to some of the oldest Sun temples in India, including Konark. There are small Christian and Muslim minorities.

The term 'Oriya', while generally used today to refer to any inhabitant of Orissa, actual refers to the ethnic group of the same name. Orissa marks the south eastern frontier of Aryan expansion and is therefore also home to a large tribal population who have Dravidian origins. While many of them have adopted the Odia language, they still maintain a very distinct identity and there is no discernible admixture between them and the Oriyas.

The Oriyas are distinguished by their religious customs as well as the use of the Oriya language. Orissa's relative isolation and the lack of any discernible outside influence has contributed towards preserving a socio-religious setup that has disappeared from most of North India. Orissa was first conquered by the Mauryan Empire around 250 BC. The resulting bloodshed was the catalyst that led to the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka eschewing warfare and converting to Buddhism. It remained an independent regional power for more than a thousand years thereafter when it began to undergo a slow decline. It was...
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