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State's Pride

State Animal: Sambar

The Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolour) is the most widely spread deer species in the world, covering many countries in Asia. It is one of the larger members of the deer family & largest deer of India. Some males are known to weigh up to 300 kgs and can grow to a height ranging from 135 - 150 cms at the shoulder. Their population is large and spread to almost every corner of India. The species found in central India appears to be larger than those found in other regions. The male members of this species have antlers that can grow to a length of 90 - 95cms, with a record finding of one that measured 127 cms! These animals have a life expectancy ranging between 16 - 20 years. They are the favourite prey species of the tiger. A large sambar can feed a tiger for up to 4 days.

'Sambar' is widely distributed in the State and found in all types of forests. Comparatively it is slow moving animal and hence become an easy prey for predators.

State Tree: Ashwatth (Ficus religiosa)

Ficusreligiosa, locally called 'Aswasttha' or 'Osta' is a large dry-deciduous or semi-evergreen tree up to 30 metres tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 3 metres. The leaves are cordate in shape with a distinctive extended drip tip; they are 10-17 cm long and 8-12 cm broad, with a 6-10 cm petiole. The fruits are small figs 1-1.5 cm in diameter, green ripening to purple.

The tree is attached with religious sentiments of people of Odisha and not felled by people. It is also commonly found in religious places like temple in association with other trees having such religious sentiments.

State Bird: Blue Jay

The blue jay is commonly known as Roller under the family Coraciidae. India is famous for a single type of blue jay which is popularly called "Indian Roller Bird". In Hindi its popular name is " Nilkanth " or "Sabzak". This is an attractive Oxford-and-Cambridge blue bird about the size of a pigeon. They are believed to be near relatives of bee-eaters and kingfishers. They are strongly-built and jay- like. They are characterized by a big head, heavy bill, rufous brown breast, pale blue abdomen and blunt tail. The tail is square. The dark and pale blue colours in the wings show up as brilliant shining bands in flight. Blue jay prefers open cultivated green country and avoids dense forests.

Culturally, people of Odisha consider the sight of this bird auspicious and hence wish the sight of the bird when starting work for day.

State Flower: Ashoka

'Ashoka' tree with its rich red blossoms: "shines like a young warrior bathed in the sanguine shower of furious fight". Its orange red blossoms are used for religious offerings. It has medicinal values and its buds are used in ayurvedic formulation for curing gynaecological disorder. The tree is found mention in the epic 'The Ramayana'. Sita was kept in the 'AshokaVana' (Groves of Ashoka trees) in Lanka after being adducted by Ravana.

'Ashoka' is a rain-forest tree. Its original distribution was in the central areas of the Deccan plateau, as well as the middle section of the Western Ghats in the western coastal zone of the Indian subcontinent. The ashoka is prized for its beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers. It is a handsome, small, erect evergreen tree, with deep green leaves growing in dense clusters. Its flowering season is around February to April. The ashoka flowers come in heavy, lush bunches. They are bright orange-yellow in color, turning red before wilting.