Present state of Odisha has a coastline of 480 kms starting from Balasore on the North to Ganjam on the South. Ancient Odisha, then known as Kalinga and Utkala, had a bigger coastline extending from Tamralipti to Kalingapatnam of the present states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh respectively . Many monuments are located on this vast coastline or very close to the coastline which includes forts, temples, sculptures and remains of old port area.
Some of these monuments not only acted as landmarks for navigation but also were places of rituals related to boat making tradition as well as sea voyage. The forts on the coastline or nearer to the sea-shore acted as strongholds for maritime trade and related activities. There were also later trade centres of European travellers like the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Danish, the French and the British. The European sailors referred to the temples of Jagannath at Puri and Sun temple at Konark as White pagoda and Black pagoda respectively.