Dhenkanal district is situated on the Cuttack Sambalpur Road (NH-42). It is bounded by the Keonjhar District in North, Cuttack district in South, Jajpur in the East and Angul in the West.
It is commonly believed that it owes its name to a Savara chief called Dhenka who formerly ruled over in this tract.
This district is a centre of religions movement called “Mahima Dharma “since last 100 years or more and spread over through out the Indian Union. The religious movement in the medieval period also touched to this district. The famous “Kapilas Hill” which is popularly known as the “Kailash” of Utkal is also in this district. Lord Chandrasekhar Mahadev temple is set up at the top of the hill. The climate of this district is generally hot with high humidity during April and May and cold during December and January. The monsoon generally breaks during the month of June. Most part of this district are covered with dense forest and a long range of hills. Therefore this district is called as the “Home of elephants and tigers for the country”.
Dhenkanal district is one of the centrally located districts in Orissa. It lies between Longitude: 85° 58′ to 86° 2′ East and Latitude : 20° 29′ to 21° 11′ North.
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- AirwaysThe nearest airport for approaching the places of interest in the district of Dhenkanal is at Bhubaneswar (99 km) which is connected with Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Nagpur by Boeing flights.
- RailwaysDhenkanal railway station is an important railway line for travelers from Howrah to Chennai.
- RoadwaysDhenkanal is 99 km from Bhubaneswar on NH-42. Regular bus services connect Dhenkanal with Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Raipur, etc.
Where to Stay?
Dhenkanal district is very much nearer to the Capital of Odisha (Bhubaneswar) i.e. 90 kilometers and it is also nearer to West Bengal. There are good numbers of good hotels present in the district. The accommodations available in the district are affordable by any class of travelers, because of their reasonable rate.
- Gajalaxmi PujaGajaLaxmi Puja in Dhenkanal enjoys a special place in the cultural map of Odisha. Every year this festival begins from Kumara Purnima and continues for eleven days. This is the longest festival of the district.Kumar Purnima is the full-moon day in the month of September-October. This autumn festival is one of the most popular and important festival of Odisha. ‘Kumar’ or ‘Kartikeya’, the handsome son of Shiva was born on this day. He also became the ‘God of war’. As young girls always wish for a handsome husband, they propitiate Kumar who was most handsome among the Gods. But, peculiarly enough there is no ritual for the God; instead the Moon is worshipped. In the early morning the girls after their bath wear new garments and make food-offerings to the Sun. They observe fasting for the day. In the evening, when the moon rises they again make food offerings of a special variety and take it after the rituals are over. It is a festival of rejoicing for the girls. Gajalaxmi Puja is also observed as the birthday of Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Therefore, many people worship the Goddess at their homes and keep themselves awake by playing Pasha (Chess), and other indoor games. Significantly it suggests that those who wish to acquire wealth should always be vigilant at night. It is for this reason the owl, a bird that sleeps in the day and comes out only at night.
- Mahashivaratri at KapilasKapilas is the abode of Lord Chandrasekhar which is one of the famous tourist spot of Odisha. Every year during Mahashiva Ratri ‘Jagar Yatra’ is observed here. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale and large numbers of devotees, pilgrims flock from different corners of Odisha gather on the Kapilas Hill top to celebrate this puja with grandeur. They worship Chandrasekhar with devotion & austerity. After ‘Shodasa Upachar’ when the ‘Mahadeep’ is taken to the top of the temple the spiritual emotion of the ‘devotees’ reaches at the highest point. Such is the devotion of the people that they come from far and wide places and climb 1353 steps or walk through the ‘Barabanki’ to offer their prayers.
- Agni Utsava & Agni PurnimaIt falls on the last day of Odia month of Magha. This is a social festival. People of Odisha make farewell to the winter by making fire ceremony in each village of the state. A large gathering in the said festival is made at Joranda Gadi of Dhenkanal district where huge quanta of Ghees are offered to the Akhanda Dipa.
- Joranda MelaPopularly known as Mahima Mela, it is celebrated at Joranda in Dhenkanal district on Magha Purnima day. People from far and near congregate here and a big fair takes place for four days. The surging multitude of Mahima Sanyasis worship Mahima Gosain’s Samadhi Pitha on this occasion. It is during this period that the initiation for promoting Bairagi to Apara Sanyasi (superior caste of disciples in Mahima Sect) takes place.
- Dussehra FestivalDushera festival holds a special place in the culture of Dhenkanal district. The festival is celebrated in the Kamakhyanagar town with lots of jubilation. The main deity worshiped during this festival is ‘Maa Durga’. The whole town dazzles with the lights and decorative items. It gives the people of Dhenkanal immense joy to celebrate this festival with lots of lights sparkling in the whole city. The festival is celebrated for 4 days. Immersion of idols takes place on the day after ‘Vijaya Dashami’. The special significance on the immersion day is ‘Ravana Podi’. All the idols of different markets join in ‘Melana Padia’ and the statue of Ravana is set on fire.
- Bullock Festival of BhubanBullock festival of Bhuban holds a significant place for Dhenkanal district. Bullock is the most ancient means of transport and communication. In the olden days the merchants specially the ‘Thorias’ or the salt merchants used bullocks to carry their loads. Traveling to different business points of India with this beast of burden was easy for them. The bullock festival is the best example of gracing the old heritage and to remind people of the importance of bullock in rural as well as as agrarian society. Since the bullocks endow a special place they are decorated with ornaments, beads, bells, colourful velvet saddles brought out in a grand procession. Racing competition is held among the bullocks & prizes are awarded to the owners.
The market of Dhenkanal is very famous for wonderful Dhokra work. This exquisite craft is much admired for its antiquated look. These products are cast in brass by lost-wax-process and display an intriguing wire work finish. Elephants, horses, lamps, jewellery boxes with the distinct look give that regal air when arranged in the drawing room. They can be brought in shops at reasonable prices but you have to bargian hard, besides these Dhokra work there we find everything in every reasonable price.
- Handicraft and Cottage IndustriesVarious kinds of handicraft products have been preserved and residing in the district of Dhenkanal. The crafts and skills have been preserved by the communication of the district. Local skilled workers, artisans in different packets of the district are engaged in production of various types of handicraft items. Crafts like, Dhokra casting, brass & bell metal, horn works, wood carving, stone carving, bamboo work, soft toys, woolen carpet, etc are very famous here.
Dhenkanal which is called a “Tourist Paradise” by the people of Odisha, is surrounded by mountains and beautiful natural sceneries. Its ancient temples on the hilltops are an added attraction for the religious people.
Dhenkanal is the gateway to one of the most ancient forest covers of Odisha. It brings to mind images of lush countryside dotted with ponds, filled with fish. Places and innumerable temples resign only to break the monotony of tourists. Along with this, there is also a cluster of temples and archaeological remains.