Gajapati district has been named after Maharaja Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb, the Ex-Raja Sahib of Paralakhemundi estate (the first Prime Minister of Odisha State), who is remembered for his contribution in formation of a separate Odisha province and inclusion of Paralakhemundi estate in Odisha.
Gajapati district came into being with effect from 2nd October 1992. Prior to this it was a part of Ganjam district. While Ganjam is well developed, well connected with road and rail facilities, industrially and agriculturally prosperous district the Gajapati district continue to be an under developed mountainous region, pre dominated by tribal people with low literacy rate and with very low standard of living of majority of people.
Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deo, Maharaja of Paralakhemundi was the direct descendant of the historic dynasty of the Gajapati kings ruled Odisha for more than seven centuries. During the reign of these kings, the boundaries of Odisha extended from the Ganga in the North to Udayagiri in Nellore district in the South. Kolahomee, one of the sons of Kapilendra Deo, the Gajapati king of Odisha in the later half of the 15th Century came to this part of Paralakhemundi (then in Ganjam district) and founded the Raj family of Paralakhemundi.
This district lies between 18 °45′ East to 19 °40′ West Latitude and 85 °48′ North to 84 °27′ South Longitude. Ganjam district binds this district on the East, Rayagada district on the West, Phulbani districts on the North and Andhra Pradesh on the South.
- Climate & RainfalAtmospheric temperature varies between 16 to 48 °Celsius. The normal rainfall received in the district is 1323.55 mm.
- Mineral ResourceThe mountains contain no exploitable mineral of economic value. However, the major economic minerals in the district are granite decorative stones found in some part of the Paralakhemundi Tahasil.
- Water ResourcesThe river Vansadhara and Mahendratanaya are two important rivers of Gajapati district. The river Vansadhara originated from Lanjigarh area of Kalahandi district and passes through Kashinagar block and flows southwards along the border of line of Gajapati district. The river Mahendratanaya has originated from the Mahendragiri range and flows in the westward direction through Rayagada block and then to southward direction through Gosani block. Another river Badanadi flows through western part of Mohona block. There are 171 M.I Projects & 162 L.I Projects in this district. There is excellent scope for tank and reservoir fishery and scientific fish farming.
Out of total forest area of 2,351.11 sq.km., 446.12 sq. km. are reserve forest. The major forest products are Timber, Bamboo, Hill Broom, Patala Garuda, Soap nut, Marsinga leaf, Dhatuki flowers, Kochila seeds, Genduli gum, Siali leaves and Kathalai etc.
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There is no major rail/road communication to this district. One narrow gauge railway route from Naupada (Andhra Pradesh) to Gunupur (Rayagada district of Odisha) constructed in the year 1889 by the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi. It covers 93 km of the district.
Where to stay?
A large number of good and reasonable hotels are available in the district.
Gajapati district has a rich culture and heritage. Almost all the streets of Paralakhemundi have public library, Matha/Temple of God & Goddess. A number of festivals are being organized in the district each year. The famous among those are Rath Yatra (Car Festival) (during Asadha Sukla Dwitiya) at Parlakhemundi, Kasinagar, Jeerango, Narayanpur, Mohana, Chandragiri, R. Udayagiri, Ramagiri, Chelligoda, Mandal Sahi, Jeerango, Rayagada, Garabandha and Gurandi. Dusherra, Kumar Purnima (during Aswina), Thakurani Yatra (during Chaitra), Pongal (Bhogi & Makar) (during Magha) are celebrated here with much pomp & gaiety.
Horn Craft is the rich cultural heritage of the artisans of Maharana caste in Paralakhemundi, Gajapati district of Odisha. Originally carpenters by birth and trade, they took to horn craft during the reign of Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb, the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi. Rao Sahib K.V.Appa Rao is acclaimed as the father of horn craft in its present form.
Pata Chitra of Gajapati District is also famous for its contribution towards arts and Pattachitra. Sri Hari Krushna Maharana (Mahapatra), a great artist/painter is regarded as the father of Pattachitra of Parlakhemundi.