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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Garhjat is the hilly area of eastern plateau in Orissa. Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar areas come under Garhjat.



Many Gond tribes live in the Garhjat Hills of northern Orissa. Rourkela is an industrial city of Sundargarh district in Orissa state and is located in the Garhjat hills of eastern plateau between 20°-12’N and 84°-53’E at an altitude of 200 mt above sea level.

Maratha rule in Orissa

The Maratha administration of Orissa effectively began from the year 1751. Raghuji Bhonsle-I became the new master of the territory and a new system of government was put into operation. The Marathas divided Orissa into two broad political divisions passing under the more familiar terms as the Mughalbandi and the Garhjat. The Mughallbandi, comprising the coastal districts was divided into 150 Parganas and placed under 32 Revenue Commissioners or Amils. Each Pargana was divided into several Mahalas.

The Garhjat region covering the hill tracts of Orissa was allowed to be ruled by 24 tributary chiefs, who paid light tributes to the Maratha Government. The chiefs were bound by engagements which permitted them their autonomy. They administered their respective areas, maintained their forces and enjoyed princeship by status, but side by side, they had to respect the Maratha Raja of Nagpur as their overlord. Against possible rebellions from their side, the Marathas maintained a big force at Cuttack. In brief, the Marathas relation with the Orissa chiefs was more effective and purposive than that of the Mughals. [1]

The Feudatory State of Bamra, one of the satellite states of the Patna or Garhjat group of the lower Ganges, was founded in the middle 15th century. [2]

The state of Orissa, in east-central India along the Bay of Bengal, is another part of the Peninsular Shield., The section of Orissa seen from Landsat in Figure T-47.4 (index map to its right) consists of two physiographic areas-the Utkal Plain and the Garhjat Hills. The latter, mostly 1000 to 1200 m above sealevel, contains the Simlipal Massif, the Baitarani Uplands, and the Keonjhar Plateau. [3]

Tribal Uprising in the State of Gangpur Garhjat

The second half of 19th century was one of the most eventful periods in the history of modern Orissa and things were moving fastly for crystallizing movements of two distinct characters. While on one hand the movement for Oriya identity was taking a definite shape as a mark of protest against the high handedness of some domiciled non-oriya elites and their invasion on oriya language and culture, on the other hand, discontents smouldering among the people against the oppressive Garhjat administration was heading towards a conflagration. Gangpur, which was the fourth biggest of the eleven, 'A' class states of Orissa, experienced a violent uprising of the tribal peasants in the year 1897. It may be noted here that in the process of the integration of princely states, the present district of Sundargarh was formed with the merger of two states namely Bonai and Gangpur Garhjat States. The exploitation of the subjects in the erstwhile GangpurGarhjat were rooted in various types of feudal extractions like Bethi, Bethi, Magan, Rasad, Karchawl, in addition to the land revenue collected at exorbitant rates. [4]


  1. History of Orissa on Orissa Government Portal
  2. Archived article from the January 2001 issue of Princely States Report
  3. NASA
  4. Dr. Pravat K. MallickMadri Kalo and the First Tribal Uprising in the State of Gangpur Garhjat

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