Odissi traces its origins to the ritual dances performed in the temples of ancient India, known as ‘Odro’ that is now referred to as “Odissi”. This Indian classical dance form belongs to the eastern state of India “Odisha”. The antiquity of Odissi has been traced to early sculptures found in the Rani Gumpha caves at Udaygiri in Odisha dating back to the 2nd century BCE. Odissi is the oldest and most graceful classical dance form rooted in rituals and tradition.
As in other parts of India, in Odisha also dance came to be closely connected with religion. The dance was considered as a mode of worship where dancers and musicians were dedicated to deities. The present day Odissi dance is closely related to the tradition of dance ritual in the temple of Lord Jagannath. It is generally agreed that Chodaganga Deva established the Devadasi tradition in Jagannath temple in the 12thcentury AD.