Jagannath temple in Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal
Location in Odisha, India
|• Collector & District Magistrate||Dr. Brundha D, IAS|
|• Superintendent of Police||Shri Prateek Singh, IPS|
|• MP of Kandhamal||Smt. Pratyusha Rajeshwari Devi, (BJD)|
|• Total||8,021 km2 (3,097 sq mi)|
|Elevation||700 m (2,300 ft)|
|• Density||91/km2 (240/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Sex ratio||0.964 ♂/♀|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Kandhamal|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||3|
|Precipitation||1,587 millimetres (62.5 in)|
|Avg. summer temperature||40 °C (104 °F)|
|Avg. winter temperature||5 °C (41 °F)|
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The Kandhamal district was created on 1 January 1994 from the former Boudh-Kandhmal district as a result of district reorganization in the state of Odisha. Before that the district was known as Phulbani. It is a tribal-dominated district, where a majority of the people belong to the Kondh (Kandha) tribe.
The district lies between 83.30° E to 84-48° E longitude and 19-34° N to 20-54° latitude. The district headquarters is Phulbani, located in the central part of the district. The other popular[clarification needed] locations are Baliguda, G. Udayagiri, Tikabali and Raikia.
The territory is rural, with a number of waterfalls, springs, hill stations, and historical and archaeological places.
- Area: 8,021 km²
- Altitude: 300 to 1100 meter
- Rainfall: 1,597 millimetres (62.9 in)
- Climate: Minimum temperature (December) 1 °C (34 °F); maximum temperature (May) 35 °C (95 °F)
A majority of the land area of the district (71%) is forests, and 12% of the land is cultivable. The road connectivity with other districts is poor. Kandhamal is one of the poorest districts in Orissa, ranking 29th out of 30 districts by the Human Development Index.
According to the 2011 census Kandhamal district has a population of 731,952, roughly equal to the nation of Guyana or the US state of Alaska. This gives it a ranking of 497th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 91 inhabitants per square kilometre (240/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 12.92%. Kandhamal has a sex ratio of 1037 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 65.12%.
Most inhabitants belong to the Kandha (Kondhs) tribes, following various religious faiths, who are said to be "proud and aggressive", in the words of a district official. The Kondhs hold 77% of the cultivable land.
Rice is the primary staple food and crop of Kandhamal district. In recent years residents have focused on horticulture, sericulture, floriculture and other agricultural activities apart from rice. The district is full of flora and fauna. A wide variety of wildflowers like orchids are found in the dense forests of the district. Mango, mahula (mahua), Indian gooseberry (amla), kendu, meswak and jackfruit are also found in abundance in the wilderness. Bamboo and Thysanolaena (broom grass) are collected from the forests of Kandhamal and used or sold. A special pulse known as kandula is native to this district; the Kondh people mostly cultivate it in the hilly forests. The organic turmeric cultivated in this district is popularly known as 'Kandhamal Haladi' and is renowned for its purity. An organization called Kasam promotes turmeric cultivation in the district. In some areas ginger is also cultivated along with turmeric.
The people of Kandhamal celebrate many religious festivals from their tribal culture as well as many Odiya festivals. The Danda Nach is celebrated in the district mainly by the Kondh tribals, following their traditional religion. They observe this for thirteen days in the Hindu month of Chaitra. People go fasting for all the thirteen days who viewed for the particular boon or for grace from the goddess Kaali. The festival starts on the first of April and closes on the thirteenth day. The closing ceremony is called Meru. Kondhas consume the first mango of the season, only after it has been offered to the goddess Kaali on the evening of Meru.
In the month of January, Kondhs perform worship rituals after harvesting in the villages as per their own convenience. This puja is called Sisaa Laka. In the month of March they perform puja to get blessings from Darni Penu (the village deity) and Saru Penu (a mountain deity) to collect the mahula flower and green mangoes as well as the forest products. After offering to the deity, they collect the product to use as food, etc.
In the month of April/May they offer the mohula flower in the form of cakes to the village deity; this is called Maranga Laka. On special occasions Kedu Laka is done depending on the requirement of the mother earth, which is decided by the village priest, locally called Kuta Gatanju. Kedu Laka is one of the main occasions among the Kandha tribes in Raikia block; they do Kedu Laka to eat mangoes of the village.
After the sowing of the crops, to appease the mother earth, puja is performed for good crops at the village deity by the priest called Jakera. This Puja is called Bora Laka. This puja is done in the month of September/October. In the month of November/December new crops are collected; chuda and rice are prepared and made into khiri (rice pudding), which is offered to the village deity, and the villagers eat the new harvest.
The major Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali, Rakshabandhan, Shivratri, Ram Navami and Janmashtami are celebrated by Kondhs and other Hindus in the district with equal fervor. The Hindu month of Kartik is considered sacred by tribal and other Hindu residents of the district; people observe fasting and stay away from non-vegetarian food and alcohol. Nowadays people celebrate the Savan (Shravan) month by offering their prayers to Shiva and carrying water to Shiv temples walking barefoot. During Rakshabandhan, village children organize a game called Gamhadiyan, where a small earthen pedestal is created and a string containing toffes is hung over it. Children jump over the pedestal to pluck and win the goodies from the string.
Many of the Khond tribal people converted to Protestant Christianity in the late 19th century, and they celebrate Christmas and Easter as well. Some of the Kondhs follow Islam and Eid; Ramzan and Muharram are also celebrated.
The Catholic Panos celebrate Christmas and Easter while the Hindu Panos celebrate all Hindu festivals. There are several Panos who have converted from Catholicism and Hinduism to Buddhism, especially in Raikia and Balliguda, and they celebrate Buddha Jayanti religious festivals.
Places of interest
Balaskumpa is a village in this south-east of Kandhmal (Phulbani) Sub-Division situated 20-25’N and 84-21’ at the confluence of two hilly streams, which combine to form the Pilla Salki river. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) from the Phulbani district headquarters, connected by a good road.
Belghar is situated at a height of more than 2,000 feet (609.6 metres) above the sea level in Balliguda sub-division. It is 70 km (43 mi) from Balliguda and 155 km from Phulbani. The area has a number of mountains, forest and wild animals, especially elephants. It has an Inspection Bungalow of Forest Department, which is built with wooden planks. It is lighted by solar power. Ushabali valley is near the village. Sometimes flocks of peacocks or wild elephants are seen by the roadside.
Chakapad is situated about 800 ft (243.84 m) from sea level in G. Udayagiri Tahasil. The historical Bhrutanga River originates here.
Another temple dedicated to Lord Anandeswar and Jogeswar (Siva) is located nearby; one big fair is held here on the Sivaratri day. The place is situated in the midst of thick forest.
Daringbadi is situated at a height of about 3,000 ft (914.4 m) above sea level in Balliguda sub-division. It is 105 km (65 mi) from Phulbani. It can be approached directly from Berhampur. The place is attractive in the summer season due to its low temperatures. Hill View point has been developed at Daringbadi, where visitors can view the valley. A tourist complex has been built at Daringibadi for accommodation of tourists. Coffee plantations attract visitors to Daringibadi all through the year.
Dungi is about 45 km from Phulbani, situated on Phulbani-Berhampur road in G. Udayagiri Tehsil. This is the only archaeological site in Kandhamal district. There was one Buddha Vihar of the 11th century; since it was ruined, Siva temples have come up on the site, excavated during construction of new temples, and are kept in the temple premises. One Buddha statue has been shifted from the nearby area to the Odisha State Museum, Bhubaneswar.
Jalespeta is a valley about 127 km from Phulbani, situated near Tumudibandh. It is the site of a Shiva temple located right between the hilly river rock bed. The banks of the tiny river surprisingly have white sand, which is very rare for this place. This part of the state usually doesn't have such clear white sand, which is common in coastal region river banks and sea shores.
Kalinga Valley (Kalinga Ghaats) is located 48 km away from Phulbani, the district headquarters on the Phulbani – Berhampur National Highway. The valley is famous for silviculture garden and medicinal plant cultivation. The silviculture garden has rubber trees and human-thick bamboo plants.
Ludu is located about 100 km (62 mi) from Balliguda in Kotagarh Block and 185 km from Phulbani. It is situated in dense forest inhabited by wild elephants. One fair-weather road leads to the side via Subarngiri. There is a 100-foot (30.5 m) high waterfall.
Mandasaru Kuti is located about 100 km from Phulbani in the Raikia Block. There is an old church on the outskirts of the village, surrounded by mountains. There is a mountain gorge nearby.
Pakadajhar is about 30 km from Phulbani town near the village Sudrukumpa, situated on Phulbani-Boudh road in Phulbani Tahasil. The Pakdajhar waterfall is 60 feet high, and is nestled in the natural forest. There is a single road leading to the site from Sudrukumpa. With recent development of the destinations, a lot of tourists visit the place for picnics from early November to the end of February.
Putudi is 18 km from Phulbani town with a waterfall of 100 feet (30 m) height, situated in the dense forest. One good road leads to the site. The waterfall is on the river Salunki.
Rushimal is situated about 50 km from Daringibadi, near the village Tamangi in Hattimunda G. P. A group of hills known as Rushimal hills are the origin of the river Rushikulya. At the source there is a small reservoir known as “Rushikunda”, and above the hilltop a cave known as “Rushigumpha”.
Urmagada is 17 km from Phulbani town on Phulbani-Gochhapada road in Phulbani Tahasil. The waterfall is 50 feet high, situated in a dense forest. One fair-weather road leads to the site.
Kotagarh is located in Kandhamal district about 120 km from Phulabani and 54 km from Baliguda. In the Kotagarh block there is a 375 m waterfall. Maa Bhabani Temple is in Keshragu, 2 km from Kotagarh (Bighna). Kotagarh also has a wildlife sanctuary with elephants, tigers, nilgai, wild boar, chital and antelopes. Along with a variety of reptiles and mammals, the sanctuary has an aviary as well. The aviary has red jungle fowl, peafowl, peacocks and a wide variety of wild birds.
By road, Kandhamal can be approached from Sambalpur via Boudh (170 km, 106 miles) and Berhampur (165 km) as well as from Bhubaneshwar via Nayagarh (210 km, 130 miles). It is 170 km (110 mi) away from Bolangir.
While there are no dedicated tourist buses to the places of interest in the district, taxis may be hired at Phulbani or Balliguda. There is no railway route in the district.
There are fourteen hospitals:
- District Headquarters Hospital, Phulbani
- Sub Divisional Hospital, Balliguda
- Community Health Centre, Subarnagiri
- Community Health Centre, Tumudibandha
- Community Health Centre, Barakhama
- Community Health Centre, Daringbadi
- Community Health Centre, K.Nuagaon
- Community Health Centre, Raikia
- Community Health Centre, G.Udayagiri
- Community Health Centre, Brahamanpad
- Community Health Centre, Tikabali
- Community Health Centre, Gumagarh
- Community Health Centre, Phiringia
- Community Health Centre, Khajuripada
Vidhan sabha constituencies
|No.||Constituency||Reservation||Extent of the Assembly Constituency (Blocks)||Member of 14th Assembly||Party|
|82||Baliguda||ST||Baliguda, K. Nuagam, Kotagarh, Tumudibandh||Sri Rajeeb Patra||BJD|
|83||G. Udayagiri||ST||Raikia, Daringbadi, G. Udayatiri, Tikabali, G. Udayatiri (NAC)||Jacob Pradhan||INC|
|84||Phulbani||ST||Chakapada, Phulbani, Khajuripada, Phiringia, Phulbani (NAC)||Dugni Kanhar||BJD|
Communal unrest and insurgency
On 25 December 2007, ethnic conflict broke out between Khond tribals and Pana Scheduled Caste people.
On 23 August 2008, Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati - a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad - was murdered by Maoist gunmen along with four others, including a boy. Maoist rebels took responsibility for the multiple murders. This led to large-scale riots between the indigenous ethnic Kandha tribe and the Scheduled Caste Pano communities. The underlying causes are complex and cross political and religious boundaries. Land encroachment, perceived or otherwise, being a particular source of tension between the communities, the clash was predominantly ethnic, but assumed communal overtones despite the fact that in addition to Hindu Kondhs, even Protestant Christian Kondhs were fighting against the Catholic Panos. In April 2010, a special "fast track" court in Phulbani convicted 105 people. Ten people were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
It is currently a part of the Red Corridor of India, an area with significant Maoist insurgency activity. Suspected Maoist rebels detonated a roadside land mine on 27 November 2010, blowing up an ambulance. A patient, a paramedic, and the vehicle's driver were killed.
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- Official website
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