During the Mughal era, there were many Muslim armies which attacked the Hindu temples in the region of Deccan Plateau, which included Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha. The attacks inflicted by Muslim armies in the temples and monasteries of Odisha and other institutions in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent post 12th century not only saw plunder of these ancient sites but these raids also negatively affected the development of all art forms and freedom of artists. There was a sudden decline in the culture and tradition of Odisha.
One such incident was the invasion of Odisha by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1360-1361 CE), that witnessed the destruction of several temples including the Jagannath Temple in Puri which included damage and destruction of the dance halls and the dancing statues. The art forms declined during such period, and whatever little survived, especially as court entertainments, was due to the patronage of some generous rulers. The Mughal and Sultanate period saw the temple dancers entertaining the family and courts of the Sultans and becoming some concubines of the royals.
Odissi had expanded during the seventeenth century under the rule of Raja Ramachandradeva. Athletics and Akhanda (martial arts) were included, and boys or youths were trained in this dance form, which traditionally was performed by women. This development led the boys and youths of Odissi called Gotipuas to get an opportunity to train since an early age and prepare for the military to combat foreign invasions. Ragini Devi states that according to historical records, the 14th century Raja of Khurda promoted the Gotipuas tradition.
The 18th century saw the emergence of the rule of colonial, followed by the establishment of British colonial rule in the 19th century. Such developments saw the decline of various classical dance forms, including Odissi. Eventually, social and economic conditions associated with Devadasi culture added with contempt and despicable attitude from the Christian missionaries and British officials. Furthermore, the Christian missionaries launched an anti-dance movement in 1892 to stop such practice. The Madras Presidency under the British colonial government even banned the custom of dancing in Hindu temples in 1910. The dancers were not only subjected to disgrace but were also suppressed economically by pressurising their patrons to cease financial support.
Later, there was a revival of Odissi as the people did not like the ‘anti-dance movement’ by the colonial rule during the twentieth century. Then an effort was made to revive the culture and tradition of Odisha.