The Odissi Kendra, a pioneer Institution for imparting training in Odissi dance, undoubtedly owes its existence to Guru Hare Krishna Behera, who has been involved in the teaching of this dance form ever since 1960 in various organisations in the capital. In 1964, Shri Behera started a School 'Nritya Niketan' for teaching Odissi, perhaps first of its kind in Delhi. However, it was only in 1971 that Guru Behera conceived the idea of developing an exclusive centre promoting Odissi dance in the Capital - a dance form which had hitherto not received adequate attention. The idea was to establish a premier Institution to cater to the needs of lovers of this classical dance form, and thus he temporarily opened a School at Shanker Market (Connaught Place), IPTA, Delhi. Around 1976, Guruji met Shri R. C. Das and together they laid the foundation for the development of this art through 'Kalinga Cultural Society'. The first performance by the students was staged in May 1977. However, within a year, the society was renamed 'Odissi Kendra'. With the encouragement and active support of well-wishers like Shri Rais Mirza, Smt. M. Shankar, Shri Nitish Chakravarty, Shri D. R. Sen and Shri K. C. Gupta, the Kendra came into formal existence as a registered society in Delhi in 1981.

Ever since then, the Odissi Kendra has been growing multidimensionally and has attracted students from all parts of the country. The Odissi Kendra has been largely responsible for propagating Odissi dance in the Capital, where the awareness and popularity of this dance form is now quite noticeable. Today, the Odissi Kendra has emerged as a foremost cultural institution in the nation's Capital and earned a special place in the cultural milieu of Delhi. The students of Odissi Kendra have been giving memorable performances in the country as well as abroad. A number of foreigners are also being trained in this dance form.

Presently, the Kendra is getting financial assistance from Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development to carry on its activities. We continue however to strongly feel the need to have our own building. However, if the present response is any indication, the Kendra has every reason to look forward to a still brighter future, through the patronage and help from the various academies, government institutions, societies and art lovers.