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Utkala Kingdom was located in the northern and eastern portion of the modern-day Indian state of Odisha. This kingdom was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, with the names Utkala, Utpala, and Okkal. It is mentioned in India's national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.
Early Sanskrit Literature
The early medieval literature says in Sanskrit "उत्कृष्ट कलायाः देशः यः सः उत्कलः " Meaning the land having excellent opulence of artists and art is called Utkala(Kala=Art,Utkrishta=Excellent);land of Utkrishta=Excellent-Kala=Art.
References in Mahabharata
The Dasarnas, the Mekalas (a kingdom to the west of Utkala) and the Utkalas were mentioned as kingdoms of Bharata Varsha (Ancient India) (6:9). Utkalas were mentioned as taking part in the Kurukshetra War siding with the Kauravas. Many Mekalas and Utkalas, and Kalingas, and Nishadas, and Tamraliptakas, advanced against Nakula, showering their shafts and lances, desirous of slaying him (8:22).
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