Bargarh

BaragarhThe best period of the year to visit this place is between October to March. During this period the Dhanu Yatra Festival (World’s biggest open air theatre) is observed here.
Bargarh got the recognition of a district on 1st April 1993. This is one of the districts of western Odisha which is developed in agriculture, industry, and trade. Bargarh is known as a prosperous district as it holds the Hirakud Irrigation Project. Mahanadi, Jira, Jhanu are some of the rivers that flow through the district making it a heavenly place. Bargarh is rich with the resources like Sambalpuri handloom works cottage industry, Cement factory, Sugar factory and spinning mills. Bargarh is well known for its Dhanu Yatra and Bandha cottage industry.

The head-quarter of the district Bargarh is situated on the left bank of Jira river. The town Bargarh is on the NH-6. The original name of the place was “Baghar Kota” as known from an inscription of the 11th Century A.D. It was called “Bargarh” probably from the time of Balaram Dev, the Chauhan Raja of Sambalpur, who made for some time made it his headquarters and constructed a big fort for its protection. Narayan Singh, the last Chauhan Raja granted this place in “Maufi” (free hold) to 2 Brahmin brothers Krushna Dash and Narayan Dash, sons of Baluki Dash who was killed in action by the Gond rebels led by Baldia Ray and Mahapatra Ray. Another part of the district popularly known as “Borasambar” was formerly the headquarters of the Borasambar Zamindari extending over 2178 sq. km. Later, the headquarters of the Zamindari shifted to Padampur, one of the present sub-divisional headquarter. The Zamindar belongs to the Binjhal family and is called Pat-Bariha. The city of Bargarh is district headquarters.

The district has an area of 5832 sq km, and a population of 1,345,601, with a population density of 231 persons per km². The district was carved out of the erstwhile district of Sambalpur. All-season irrigation from Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi River makes the northern half of Bargarh District rich in agriculture, mostly rice.

The Bargarh district lies between 20° 43′ to 21° 41′ North latitude and 82° 39′ to 83° 58′ East longitude. It is bounded on the north by the State of Chhatisgarh and on the east by the district of Sambalpur, on the south lies the district of Balangir and Subarnapur and on the west the district of Nuapara.

POPULATION BY SEX & CASTE
Place of Residence Sex Population Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes OBC/ General
Total Persons 1,346,336 260,719 260,691 824,926
Male 681,500 131,365 131,145 418,990
Female 664,836 129,354 129,546 405,936
Rural Persons 1,242,795 242,566 253,944 746,285
Male 627,986 122,194 127,702 378,090
Female 614,809 120,372 126,242 368,195
Urban Persons 103,541 18,153 6,747 78,641
Male 53,514 9,171 3,443 40,900
Female 50,027 8,982 3,304 37,741
  • Natural DivisionThe Bargarh district can be divided into 3 natural divisions, (1) Bargarh Plain (2) Borasambar (3) Ambabhona & Lakhanpur. The greater portion is an open plain of considerable fertility drained by the Danta and the Jira, the two tributaries of Mahanadi. To the North of this plain runs the Barapahar range of hills and to the South-west lies the valley of river Ong (Ang). The Bargarh plain is not a flat alluvial tract but an expanse of undulating country sloping down from the Barapahar hills in the North, to the Mahanadi valley in the East. It contains a good portion of the cultivated land of the district and its undulating character affords excellent scope for irrigation reservoirs. The soil is a mixture of sand and gravel as well as of clay. It’s a good rice soil and unlike the more fertile black cotton soil it grows few seeds and does not harbour dangerous insect pests. This tract is nowhere bare of vegetation and the villages are found embowered with mango groves.
    The Borasambar (Padampur) tract lies to the South-west of the Bargarh plain. It is bounded by the high hills on the North and South, and the intervening plain is drained by river Ong (Ang), the valley of which particularly in the eastern portion is best suited to agriculture. Its soil contains some river slit and enriched by hill drainage. The Ambabhona and Lakhanpur area is cut off from the rest of Bargarh plain by a long spur of the Barapahar hills running south-west for a distance of nearly 48 km. This hill forms a barrier to communication with the rest of the district. Ambabhona is a fairly level tract sloping down from the hills to the river Mahanadi and is under close cultivation. Lakhanpur is a wide valley sorrounded by forest clad hills and is also closely cultivated.
  • Hill SystemThe Barapahar (literaly, 12 hills) are the main hill range in the Bargarh district covering an area over 777 sq km and attaining a height of 2,267 feet at the peak of Debrigarh. Debrigarh is one of the few hills of the range offering level ground and good water supply near the summit. It is one of the best hill sites in the district suitable for health resort. The river Mahanadi formed a lake in geological times to the North of the range till in burst and the lake emptied. The Hirakud Dam (in Sambalpur district) has reconstructed the barrier and repeated the ancient lake.
    The second group of hills is the Gandhamardan range running along the Southern boundary of the ex-Zamindari of Borasambar, separating it from Bolangir district. The hill range rises to 2,000 to 3,000 feet in height and reaches its highest point (3,234 feet) in the peak of Nrushinghanath, one of the picturesque places in the district. Another range branches off to the west of Nrushinghanath running first North-south and then North-east near Jagdalpur, where it is broken by the Ong (Ang) river. Another range runs eastward to Tal and then to the North-east forming the boundary between the district and Raipur in Chhatisgarh.
  • River SystemThe major rivers in the district are tributaries of Mahanadi River. Jira and Jhaun rivers flow through the Bargarh district and join the river Mahanadi in the extreme south of the district. The Jira has main tributary, the Danta which joins it a few miles north of its confluence with the Mahanadi near the village Gandturum in Bheden.
    The other river that flows through the district is Ong (Ang) which rises in the Nuapara district and enters Borasambar (Padampur) at its extreme south-west corner. It flows through in a wide-semi-circle from west to east and leaves the district a few miles to the east of Gaisilat eventually joining the Mahanadi in the Subarnapur district.
  • Springs, Waterfalls and TanksThere are natural springs at Nrushinghanath at the foot of Gandhamardhan hills of Padampur subdivision forming streams flowing in cascades down the steep hill side. The waterfalls are called Kapil dhar, Bhim dhar and Chal dhar, which are considered to be very sacred. In the Barapahar hills there are a few springs notable among them is the one near the village Ghens.
    There are many tanks in the district, some of which serve the purpose of irrigation. Notable among them are the Victoria Sagar near Ghens, Yogimunda in Barpali and Ranisagar in Bijepur.
  • ClimateThe climate of this district is characterised by a very hot dry summer and well distributed rains in the South-west monsoon season. The cold season commences from November and lasts till the end of February. The hot season follows thereafter and continues till about the second week of June. the south-west monsoon season is from mid June to the end of September.
  • Airways:Bargarh lies along NH-6 connecting Kolkata to Mumbai. It is well connected with National Highways from the state capital Bhubaneswar (375km) and Raipur (225km) Madhya Pradesh. These two are incidentally the two nearest located airports with Boeing flights to major cities of India. Bargarh has direct train links with Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai.
  • Roadways:NH-6 linking Mumbai to Kolkata passes through Bargarh district covering 96.3 km.
  • Railways:Bargarh is very well connected by railways too. The South Eastern Railways runs through this district covering 46 km.

Where to stay?
The availability of accommodation at Bargarh is not of very high quality (star hotel), but good number of affordable hotels are available.

Different acts of the Puranic description are performed at their right places and the spectators move from place to place with the actors to see the performances. The drama and reality get inextricably fused. The festival continues for 7 to 11 days preceeding ‘Pausa Purnima’, the full-moon day of ‘Pausa’, which falls in December-January every year. The main attraction is ‘Kansa’ whose characterization dominates the festival despite people viewing him as a demon. The unique extravaganza boasts of a cast that involves virtually everyone in Bargarh.

Dhanu Yatra, Baisakh Mela of Nrusinghnath, Car Festival of Bhatli, Bali Yatra of Khuntpali, Sital Sasthi of Barpali, Faguna Mela of Bhatli, Maha Shiva Ratri of Kedarnath, Nuakhai (Nabarnna) are some of the important festivals celebrated here.