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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Kalahandi District Map

Kalahandi (कालाहांडी) is a district of Odisha in India.


Administrative divisions

Kalahandi has been divided into two sub-divisions namely Bhawanipatna subdivision and Dharamgarh subdivision and 13 blocks.

Blocks under Bhawanipatna subdivision are: Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Lanjigarh, Narla, Karlamunda, M. Rampur, and Thuamai Rampur.

Blocks under Dharamgarh Sub-Division are: Dharamgarh, Junagarh, Koksara, Jaipatna, Kalampur, and Golamunda.


Archaeological evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age human settlement has been recovered from the region.[1] Asurgarh offered an advanced, well civilised, cultured and urban human settlement about 2000 years ago in the region.[2]

In South Asia it is believed that the lands of Kalahandi district and Koraput district were the ancient places where people started cultivation of paddy. In ancient time it was known as Mahakantara (meaning great forest) and Karunda Mandal, which means treasure of precious stones like karandam (corundum/manik), garnet (red stone), beruz, neelam (sapphire/blue stone), and alexandrite, etc. Manikeswari (the goddess of Manikya or Karandam) is the clan deity of Kalahandi may also signify its historical name.

Despite its backwardness it is one of the rich regions in history, agriculture, forest resources, gemstone, bauxite, folk dance, folk music, folklore, handicrafts and arts.

The archaeological record of the Tel Valley reveals the presence of the primates in its zones during the Pleistocenephase. Paleolithic is being documented in Kalahandi, like Moter river basin in Dharamgarh region.[3] One of the largest size axe of late Stone Age culture has been recovered from Kalahandi.[4] Tel river civilisation put light towards a great civilisation existing in Kalahandi in the past that is recently getting explored.[5] The discovered archaeological wealth of Tel Valley suggest a well civilised, urbanised, cultured people inhabited on this land mass around 2000 years ago[6] and Asurgarh was its capital. Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar was part of Kantara referred in Ramayana and Mahabharata.[7]

In the 4th century BC Kalahandi region was known as Indravana from where precious gemstones and diamonds were collected for the imperial Maurya treasury.[8] During the period of Maurya emperor Ashoka, Kalahandi along with Koraput and Bastar region was called Atavi Land.[9] This land was unconquered as per Ashokan record.[10]

In the beginning of the Christian era probably it was known as Mahavana.[11] In the 4th century AD Vyaghraraja was ruling over Mahakantara comprising Kalahandi, undivided Koraput and Bastar region.[12] Asurgarh was capital of Mahakantara.[13] After Vyaghraraja, the Nala kings like Bhavadatta Varman, Arthapati and Skanda Varman ruled over south part of this region up to about 500, the territory was known as Nalavadi-visaya[14] and rest of Mahakantara, lower part of Tel river valley was ruled by king Tastikara and his scions, the kingdom was known as Parvatad-waraka, whose headquarters was Talabhamraka near Belkhandi.[15]

In the 6th century a new kingdom developed in the Kalahandi tract under King Tustikara, but very little is known about other kings of his family. Maraguda valley was identified as the capital of Sarabapuriyas.[16] During Sarabapuriyas in the 6th century, Kalahandi lost its political entities and merged with eastern part of South Kosal or Kosal.[17] But this was also for a short period as in succeeding phase it assumed a distinct name Trikalinga. By the 9th–10th centuries the region including Western Odisha, Kalahandi, Koraput and Bastar was known as Trikalinga.[18] The Somavamsi king Mahabhavagupta I Janmejaya (925 – 960) assumed the title Trikalingadhipati.[19] Trikalinga was short lived and Chindakangas carved out a new kingdom called Chakrakota Mandala or Bramarakota Mandala,[20] which later one expanded to whole Kalahandi and Koraput.

Kalahandi State

Kalahandi State, also known as Karond State,[21] was one of the princely states of India during the period of the British Raj. It was recognized as a state in 1874[22] and had its capital in Bhawanipatna. Its last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 1 January 1948. The present titular head of the state is Anant Pratap Deo who resides in the Kalahandi Palace in Bhawanipatna.

History: Kalahandi was the largest of the 26 Feudatory states of Odisha. According to local tradition, the state originated with Raja Raghunath Sai of the Naga dynasty who traced descent from the Nagabanshis of Chotanagpur[23] of Eastern India, beginning to rule the Kalahandi area in 1005 CE.[24][25][26] As per the traditional records preserved in Kalahandi Darbar, the Nagas succeeded the Gangas in Kalahandi when the last Ganga Governor of Kalahandi, Jagannath Deo's only daughter was married to Raghunath Sai, a prince of the Naga clan. However, historians have disputed the early date for the establishment of Naga dynasty rule in Kalahandi but most agree the Nagas succeeded the Gangas as the feudatories in the region during the 15th century taking advantage of the weakness of the central authority as the power of the Eastern Ganga dynasty started to decline in Odisha.[27]Hence the state's coat of arms had two cobras facing each other.[28] and the presiding deity of the dynasty is Goddess Manikeswari.[29][30]

In August 1947 Kalahandi became part of the Eastern States Union, an entity that was formed in Rajpur and that gathered most of the princely states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh. The Eastern States Union was dissolved in 1948.[31] The formerly princely state's territory is now within Kalahandi District.

List of rulers: The rulers of Kalahandi princely state were granted a hereditary salute of 9 guns by the British.[32]Rulers of the Naga dynasty of Kalahandi are–

  • Raghunath Sai (1005–1040)
  • Pratap Narayan Deo (1040–1072)
  • Birabar Deo (1072–1108)
  • Jugasai Deo I (1108–1142)
  • Udenarayan Deo (1142–1173)
  • Harichandra Deo (1173–1201)
  • Ramachandra Deo (1201–1234)
  • Gopinath Deo (1234–1271)
  • Balabhadra Deo (1271–1306
  • Raghuraj Deo (1306–1337)
  • Rai Singh Deo I (1337–1366)
  • Haria Deo (1366–1400)
  • Jugasai Deo II (1400–1436)
  • Pratap Narayan Deo II (1436–1468)
  • Hari Rudra Deo (1468–1496)
  • Anku Deo (1496–1528)
  • Pratap Deo (1528–1564)
  • Raghunath Deo (1564–1594)
  • Biswambhar Deo (1594–1627)
  • Rai Singh Deo II (1627–1658)
  • Dusmant Deo (1658–1693)
  • Jugasai Deo III (1693–1721)
  • Khadag Rai Deo (1721–1747)
  • Rai Singh Deo III (1747–1771)
  • Purusottam Deo (1771–1796)
  • Jugasai Dei IV (1796–1831)
  • Fateh Narayan Deo (1831–1853)
  • Udit Pratap Deo I (1853–1881)
  • Raghu Keshari De (1894–1897)
  • Court of Wards (1897–1917)
  • Brajamohan Deo (1917–1939)
  • Pratap Keshari Deo (1939–1947)
  • Pratap Keshari Deo (1948 – 8 October 2001) - (Titular)
  • Udit Pratap Deo II (8 October 2001 – 2 November 2019) - (Titular)
  • Anant Pratap Deo (2 November 2019 – current) - (Titular)

Naga dynasty of Kalahandi

The Naga dynasty started ruling Kalahandi in 1006. The Nagas of Kalahandi are the only dynasty in Odisha having a record of thousand years (1050–1948). During the 12th century Chakrakota Mandal was incorporated with the Ganga realm of Kalinga, and renamed "Kamala Mandala",[33] thus Kalahandi region became part of Kalinga as a feudatory of the Eastern Gangas under Nagas rules and continued till the 14th century. After 14th century Nagas owed allegiance from Eastern Gangas to the Suryavamsi Gajapatis. This territory assumed independence after the downfall of the Gajapatis of Odisha in 1568.

According to tradition the Kalahandi kingdom commanded sovereign power over eighteen garbs. It was occupied by the Bhonslas of Nagpur in the middle of the 18th century but still it was a Gadajat under Nagas rule. In 1853 the Nagpur state lapsed to the British Crown as Raghujee III died without an heir. Then Kalahandi became a princely state under British and known as Karonda Mandal. Maharaja Pratap Keshari Deo, the Ex-Maharaja of Kalahandi, in one of his articles expressed his view that the historical significance of naming Kalahandi as Karunda Mandala is based on the availability of Corundum in this region. Manikeswari (the goddess of Manikya), the clan deity of the Naga kings of Kalahandi may have also necessitated the adoption of the name.

After Indian independence in 1947, Kalahandi joined India on 1 January 1948. On 1 November 1949, Patna Balangir district and Subarnapur district together constituted a separate district and the Nuapada sub-division of Sambalpur was added to the Kalahandi district. In 1967, Kashipur block of Kalahandi district was transferred to Rayagada division for administrative purpose. In 1993, Raja Ravi Gupta along with his siblings and prajaa reinvented Nuapada. Nuapada sub-division was carved out as a separate district, but Kalahandi (Lok Sabha constituency) continues to constitute present Kalahandi district and Nuapada district together.

Jat Gotras Namesake

  • Sinder - Sinder Jharan (Waterfalls) : Sinder is a beautiful and very attractive waterfall and picnic spot. It is situated in Balangi village panchayat. Balangi is a small Village/hamlet in Thuamul Ram Pur Tehsil in Kalahandi District of Odisha State, India. It is located 63 KM towards South from District head quarters Bhawanipatna. 14 KM from Thuamul Ram Pur. 371 KM from State capital Bhubaneswar.[34]



  1. B.Mishra, J. Bengal Art, Vol.9&10, 2004–2005, 383–410
  2. P.Mohanty, B. Mishra, Op. Cit,2000; C.R. Mishra, S. Pradhan, op. cit. 1989–1990, Infra, F.N.79
  3. R.P. Prusty, 1992, Paleolithic Vestiges from Kalahandi, Odisha Historical Research Journal, XXXVII, no.1-5, pp.55–66, Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar
  4. P. Mohanty, B. Mishra, Op. Cit,2001, p.47
  5. "A tale of Tel valley civilization uncovered". The New Indian Express.
  6. P.Mohanty, B. Mishra, Op. Cit,2000; C.R. Mishra, S. Pradhan, op. cit. 1989–1990, Infra, F.N.79
  7. Mahabharata (II.28.10)/2-32-14a)
  8. Proceedings, Indian History Congress, 1947, 10th session, 178
  9. Rayachoudhury, H. C. (1923). Political History of Ancient India. Calcutta University. p. 538.
  10. B. Mishra, op.cit., 2003–2004
  11. N. K. Sahu, 1964, op. cit.
  12. N. K. Sahu, op.cit., 1964, p.200
  13. ibid.7
  14. N. K. Sahu, Utkal University, History of Orissa, 433
  15. S.P.Tiwari, Comprehensive History of Orissa, 95–96
  16. J. P. Singh Deo, op.cit.
  17. J. P. Singh Deo, op.cit.
  18. M.N.Das(Ed)Sidelight on History and Culture of Orissa, 36
  19. Orissa District Gazetteers, Kalahandi, 46–49
  20. Orissa District Gazetteers, Kalahandi,p.47
  21. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Kalahandi" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 637.
  22. Indian Princely States
  23. ODISHA DISTRICT GAZETTEERS KALAHANDI (PDF), GAD, Govt of Odisha, 1988, p. 53
  24. ODISHA DISTRICT GAZETTEERS KALAHANDI (PDF), GAD, Govt of Odisha, 1988, pp. 53–71
  25. J. P Singh Deo, History and Culture of Kalahandi: Political Scenario of Kalahandi, Feb 2010, page: 41-43
  26. "Kalahandi". Archived from the original on 23 September 2010.
  27. J. P Singh Deo, History and Culture of Kalahandi: Political Scenario of Kalahandi, Feb 2010, page: 41-43
  28. Malleson, G. B. An historical sketch of the native states of India, London 1875, Reprint Delhi 1984
  29. Uma Shankar Kar (September 2009), Goddesses Manikesvari and Lankesvari (PDF), Orissa Review
  30. Biswajit Pradhan (2001), "The History of Naga Cult and Naga Festivals in Orissa", Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Indian History Congress, 62: 149–159, JSTOR 44155757
  31. Sadhna Sharma ed. States Politics in India, 1995, p. 273
  32. Princely States of India
  33. Orissa District Gazetteers, Kalahandi,p.41
  34. https://www.onefivenine.com/india/villages/Kalahandi/Thuamul-Ram-Pur/Balangi#google_vignette

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