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Odisha Maritime Museum : Witnessing The Rich Maritime History of Odisha

The maritime history of Odisha is rich, precious and contended. It also carries a great sign of heritage and significance. Odisha was once connected with its overseas trade partners through the sea route. Merchants used to voyage long to sell many items from here. 

Millennium city Cuttack has a number of attractions to offer. The silver city is not only famous for its silver filigree work, Durga Puja celebration, but also well known for its royal history and heritage. One such building carrying rich maritime historical significance is present in Cuttack, The Maritime Museum. Located across the river bank of ever flowing river Mahanadi, the museum leaves the visitor amazed. 

Muaeum front
courtesy Wikipedia

The Odisha State Maritime Museum, which has been set up at this Jobra Workshop, has to offer the visitor a glimpse of the rich maritime history of Odisha. It takes you through a journey of ancient sea voyage along with the Sadhabas. It tells about how boats were used for the purpose of trade during ancient as well as the British period. 

It also shows through visuals, the age old navigation systems and its evolution over time. The addition of the 3D shows along with the aquarium section to the museum is a huge draw especially for the kids.

A Brief History About The Museum

The museum is actually the remains of the part of a project that  took place in 1869 by G.H Faulkner, an Engineer with the British PWD department. The museum was constructed in an approach to remember the great maritime history of Odisha. The project catered to the requirement of maintenance and repairing of vessels and ships for three provinces of Bihar, Bengal and Odisha under the Bengal Presidency of British India.

courtesy Odisha State Maritime Museum

In 1866, Odisha faced a severe famine, known as Na Anka Durviksha. The British administration took the pledge to excavate the Taladanda Canal and other projects to fix the problems caused by the drought. 

The workshop was used for the manufacturing of boats, it also looked after the inland waterways, irrigation projects and distribution of water.

The Maritime Museum was built to showcase the significance and importance of ancient voyage trading of Odisha. 

Young merchants (Sadhaba Pua as known by tradition) in ancient times had to sail on high seas. 

Location Of The Museum

The river Mahanadi is the largest river of the state of Odisha. During the colonial period, the river was used for various maritime activities. Cuttack Maritime Museum is set up on the banks of river Mahanadi over four acres of land. 

The workshop built initially in the year 1869 was finally converted into the present day Odisha State Maritime Museum in the year 2013.

The museum is located on the banks of River Mahanadi. It is adjacent to the Jobra Barrage. The huge area with grass lawn makes it a perfect place for visiting with family. Kids will surely enjoy the museum.

What Are The Attractions Of The Museum? 

  • The museum has 13 amazing galleries that showcase maritime traditions, vessels, boats and other related artefacts from the ancient age to the colonial era.
  • A library with more than 1000 books and journals has been included for researchers in the museum
  • It also has attractive galleries along with its ancillary components, as required in a modern museum
Jobra workshop machinery
Jobra workshop machinery (courtesy Odisha State Maritime Museum)
Jobra aquarium
Jobra aquarium (courtesy Still Water Aquatics)
  • The museum offers a splendid look at the ancient voyages from the coast of Odisha to Java, Sumatra, Bali
  • There are fantastic clay postures depicting the step by step procedure of how boats were made during ancient times. 
  • The machinery demos  including all types of lathe, drilling, milling, slotting and shaping machines.
  • An aquarium with different types of the marine fishes and turtles to see in it. 
  • Collection of gallery of different types of boats, ships which were used in ancient times in Odisha.
  • A large garden full of greenery to roam and take snaps. 
  • It also has a great 4D theater where documentaries are often shown on maritime history of maritime. 
  • The chief attractions are the wooden boat replicas, the huge boat shed and the lathe which was the largest in Asia during its time.
  • You can also have a walk along the banks of river Mahanadi just across the street. 

Why Should You Visit Once?

The museum has a collection of all types of machines with real looking statues. The decorum of the place is neat and fascinating. The big grass lawn present inside just gives a good feel. The view of the river Mahanadi on the other side is really amazing. The adventure of watching films inside the 4SFX hall will be memorable.

Summarising, The Maritime Museum of Cuttack is one of the finest places to visit both to have quality time as well as to gain knowledge about history. 

Carved stone panel showing ocean voyage
courtesy Bhuban Patra (Twitter)

There are many people who are not aware of the museum. This is due to lack of advertisements about Odisha’s tourism sector. The museum not only witnesses the history of maritime in Odisha but also takes pride in being one of its kind. Efforts should be taken to popularize the museum globally. 

How To Reach At The Museum 

Maritime museum is at a fair distance 29 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar. 

The very nearest Railway Station is Cuttack. The nearest airport to reach is Bhubaneswar. Cabs, Auto Rickshaws and private vehicles are easily available for reaching the museum. 

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