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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Cuttack

Cuttack sits at the apex of the Mahanadi Delta and about 15 miles north of Bhubaneshwar--twice that from Puri. The city is crowded just below between the fork of the Mahanadi, which makes the location less than ideal for expansion. Solution: in 1948 the capital of Orissa was moved from Cuttack to the new town of Bhubaneshwar.

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Peninsular India: Cuttack picture 1

Back in the days when Orissa and Bihar were a single province, Cuttack was the seat of the circuit court of the Patna High Court. From 1930, when Orissa became a province in its own right, it inherited what became and remains its High Court.

Peninsular India: Cuttack picture 2

Interior hall.

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From a subordinate building.

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It's early; the office hasn't opened yet.

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The judge's car, a fine old Ambassador.

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Corridor. The nizarat is the administrative office of the court.

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A still more minor judicial office, used for traffic offenses.

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It's in this building.

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Another Raj relic.

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The sign says "Old Medical Ward," but the building has a much longer history than that. It sits on the site of the Lalbagh Palace and was occupied for decades by British officers, including (after 1930) the Governor of Orissa.

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It's a busy place, now functioning as a hospital and postgraduate institute of pediatrics.

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We've come around to the back side of the hospital, which has this large circular bay whose view is now blocked by the main road.

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It's a nursery, full of cribs.

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Across the road, the mostly dry Kathjuri River, the right-branch of the Mahanadi.

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On the other side of the peninsula, and facing the left branch of the Mahanadi, the old Church of St. Michael and All the Angels is locked tight.

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The Cuttack Baptist church.

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Christ Collegiate School.

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In the hallway, a photo worth a thousand words.

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A local wedding hall.

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On the wall, another picture worth a thousand words.

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A later generation, not quite so toughened-up.

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And still later, Nandini Satpathy, a Communist-turned-Congress firebrand, long-serving member of the Orissa legislature, and twice chief minister of the state. She died at Cuttack in 2000.

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Cornerstone.

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Back in town: an old mansion.

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More typical buildings.

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Streetside business: bicycle repair.

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The city's Balu Bazaar is famous for silver filigree.

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Newer technologies have arrived.

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Newer dreams, too.


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