(born during 1670 (opinions differ between 1670 and 1688) at Kullada, Ghumusara, a princely state in Odisha and died during 1740 (again opinions differ)) was considered as the greatest poet of Odia Literature and was awarded the title "Kavi-Samrata" (also given as Kabi) – "The Emperor of the Poets". Born in a royal family, Upendra Bhanja had never eyed for throne. His first wife was the sister of the king of Nayagarh and the daughter of the king of Banapur was his second wife, who was an erudite princess and gave Upendra Bhanja poetical inspiration in an abundant measure. His grand father King Dhananjaya Bhanja was a great poet and wrote Raghunath Bilash (The Ramayana), Ratna Manjari (a poetical romance) etc., which provided models to Upendrabhanja for writing. But unlike his grandfather, he preferred his entire life to poetry rather than to ruling over a kingdom. He had a thorough training in Sanskrit classical literature and mastered Sanskrit dictionaries such as Amar-Kosha, Trikanda Kosha and Medini-Kosha. He even wrote a dictionary Geetabhidhana for helping poets.
Upendra Bhanja wrote in the last decade of seventeenth and the early decades of eighteenth century and championed a style of poetry called 'Reeti' and 'Deena' in Sanskrit poetics. Though many poets in the seventeenth and eighteenth centaurs write in reeti style, Upendra Bhanja is decided by the greatest of them all. Whether it is shringara, viraha, bhakti or karuna rasa, Upendra Bhanja is the poet of unsurpassed rhetorical excellence. We may venture to say that, apart from Sanskrit, no other language has a poet to compare with him.Upendra Bhanja had practiced his great poetic talents in using "upama","aLankara", "rasas"in all his Kavyas.
The greatness of Upendra Bhanja was in his "Alankara" use such as: Anuprasa, Jamak, etc. The style of presenting facts with comparable factors (upama) is very distinguishable in his
“Vidaish bilasha” is the pioneer work of Upendra Bhanja as declared by the poet."Rasika Harabali" was written on the basis of his own experience at the early part of his young life.His contemporary poet of Bhakta Kavi, Dina Krushna Das as described in his work “Kala Koutuka”.The socio-cultural way of contemporary Odias are vividly described in his literature .Upendra Bhanja is not only eminent poet of odisha but also his writings will be explained through all classical contemporary music systems of India.
Though he had a poetic excellence, his Kavyas have made some critiques irritated for the sexuality he used in his imagery descriptions.During the beginning of modern period or age of Radhanath, Upendra Bhanja was criticized by some modernist for the obscenity in his Kavyas. There was a war of words between two literary periodicals The Indradhanu and The Bijuli. The two periodicals kept their support in favour of two poets Kabisamrat Upendra Bhanja and Radhanath Ray. It was also a war between conservatives and modernist in Odia Literature.Upendra Bhanja was also criticized for his obscure words. Once a modern poet Guru Prasad (See Odia literature) wrote "Upendra Bhanja means a woman and a Dictionary".
But above all the role of Upendra Bhanja can not be denied during the Riti Yuga period of Odia Litearature.