Cuttack is located in the eastern Indian state of Orissa around 30 km off Bhubaneswar. The place extends from latitude 20°28¢ in the North to longitude 85°54¢ in the East. The city is well connected to other parts of Orissa and the country by the means of rail and road network.
The former capital of Orissa and the oldest city in the region, Cuttack today is a bustling commercial center. Situated on the delta formed by the Mahanadi and Kathjuri rivers, Cuttack assumed significance due to its strategic location. The warlike Keshari Dynasty founded a Kataka or "military camp," here in AD 989. The place was a major river crossing for the busy north-south land route as well as a nexus for the canals that connect the Orissa interior with the sea. The island proved an ideal platform from which to dominate the region's economy. In the 11th century, the Kesharis were again responsible for building the impressive granite embankment on the south bank of the island. Barabati Fort was added on the north bank in the 14th century. Two hundred years later, Orissa's last independent Hindu ruler, Mukunda Harichandan, built a much grander, nine-story palace on the same site. The Raja never had much of a chance to enjoy it however, as only eight years after his succession the Mughals and, soon after, the Afghans of Bengal, annexed the city.
Marathas took over Cuttack in the 18th century, and during this time, it expanded further. Lucrative trade with the British on the coast financed the construction of new temples and, thanks to a particularly liberal administration, of mosques for the city's sizeable Muslim minority. When the British finally merged the region's twenty-six princedoms, Cuttack was a logical choice as state capital, but for some geographical and climatic problems, the capital was transferred to Bhubaneswar after some time.