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Official Website : http://kandhamal.nic.in

Headquarters : Phulbani
State : Odisha

Area in Sq Km (Census 2011)
Total : 8021
Rural : 7969.26
Urban : 51.74

Population (Census 2011)
Population : 733110
Rural : 660831
Urban : 72279
Male : 359945
Female : 373165
Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 males) : 1037
Density (Total, Persons per sq km) : 91

Official language : Odia and Kui (tribal language of Khonds)

Helplines :
Local Police Station 100
Elder Person Help Line 1090
Women Help Line 1091
Children Help Line 1098
Fire Help Line 101
Ambulance Help Line 108
Janani Ambulance Help Line 102
Traffic Help Line 1095
N.H.A.I. Help Line 1033

Population (Census 2010) :
The current world population is 7.6 billion (As of 1st July 2018)

Click on the following link to download district statistics as per NITI Ayog website

Brief About Kandhamal District
The ancient history of Kandhamal district may be traced back to the 3rd Century B.C. It finds mention as an unconquered Atavika country fields in the Kalinga Rock Edicts of the legendary Mauryan Emperor , Ashok . This mountainous Atavika rajya unquestionably encompassed the Kandhamal region.

Some historians are of the view that Mahakantar subdued by the Gupta Emperor, Samudragupta, in the 4th century A.D. , during his Dakshinapatha Campaign, included Kandhamal area and he led his victorious army to the south from Kosala and Kural through this district. He defeated some kings in Ganjam.

The present Kandhamal district is made up with some segments of three erstwhile principalities of Boudh, Ghumsar and Khemundi , reigned by the Bhanjas and the Gangas from ancient times. Their reign came to an end when the British came to this region in the nineteenth century

G.Udayagiri constituted the northern fringe of Ghumusara kingdom of the Bhanjas. They occupied this state in the 9th Century and continued to rule over it till 1835. Ganjam came under the Britishers in 1765. The Bhanjas could not put up with their interference and aggressive attitude from the very beginning and they raised the banner of revolt frequently against the British. The Kandhas and the Paikas forming the Ghumasar army waged relentless wars under the able leadership of Dohara Bissoyi from 1815 to 1835.

Deposing Dhananjay Bhanja for his habitual recalcitrance the British occupied Ghumusar on November 3,1835. Dhananjaya Bhanja died at G.Udayagiri in December of the same year as a fugitive.

Balliguda region was under the Gangas of Kandhamal, most probably from the 10th Century and the dynasty ruled over these hilly tracts till the 19th century. British captured this area in phases from 1830 to 1880 by subjugating some hill chiefs,who were the proteges of the Gangas.

Ghumusar and Balliguda regions were under the uninterrupted reign of the Bhanjas and Gangas, respectively, for about a millenium. But the Kandhamal area, which was part of Boudh, witnessed a chequered history during the same period.

The present Kandhamal sub-division was an integral part of Boudh from time immemorial till 1855. The earliest history of this area is gleaned from a number of copper-plate inscriptions issued by the kings of the early Bhanja dynasty, that reigned over Boudh and Kandhamal in the 8th and 9th Century. Their kingdom was known as Khinjali Mandala. From the 10th Century to the advent of British in this region, Boudh, including andhamal, has been governed in sucecession by the following royal dynasties: the Somavansis, the Chindak Nagas/Telugu Chodas, the Kalchuris and the Bhanjas. The history of Boudh-Kandhamal for 500 years prior to the coming of the British is however, still nebulous.

The Britishers launched a vigorous campaign in these hilly tracts with the objectives of annexing the areas to their empire and suppressing the abdominable practice of human sacrifice, then prevalent among the Kandhas. The Britishers encountered stiff resistance from the tribals for a prolonged period of 20 years from 1835 to 1855. As the Boudh Raja utterly failed to curb the horrendous ritual of the tribals, the British truncated a large area, where the Kandhas were predominant , from Boudh on February 15,1855 and named this newly annexed territory as Kandhamal.

After British conquest of Uttar Ghumasar (G.Udayagiri area) and Uttar Khemundi (Balliguda area) these territories were placed under the administration of the Collector of Ganjam district. These areas remained under the control and adminstration of the British until India attained her independence.

Kandhamal remained a Tahasil from 1855 to 1891 and it was adminstered by a Tahasildar under the direct control and supervision of the superintendent of the Tributary mahals of Cuttack. In 1891, it was upgraded to sub-division and tagged with Anugul district. When the new provience of Orissa was formed in 1936, and Ganjam was merged with Orisaa, from the Madras presidency, Kandhamal became a sub-division of Ganjam. In the wake of the amalgamation of the princely states with Orissa in January 1948, Boudh and Kandhamal constituted the new district of Boudh-Kandhamal, with its headquarters at Phulbani. Balliguda sub-division was added to Boudh-Kandhamal district on 1.1.1949. With the secession of Boudh from Phulbani district as a separate district only Balliguda and Kandhamal sub-divisions remained with Phulbani district, which was later rechristened as Kandhamal in June,1994.

Kandha Tribes : The word Kandha is spelt variously which are synomanous such as Kond,Khond, Kandha. But they identify themselves as Kuilaku or Kuinga. The language they speak as Kui, which has no script.

The Kandhas are identify from their names. Some writers have attempted to traceout the Telegu derivation from the word Konda means feels. Those living on the hill tops are named as Kandha. It is a fact that the kandha like to leave in hill tops and their subject people the Panos liked to leave beneath their settlement. The common surnames of Kandhas are Pradhan, Mallick, Konhar, Majhi. And those worship deities have surnames like Dehury, Jharkar, Jani etc. According to the 1991 census the ST population of the district is 2.81 lakhs which constitutes 51.5% of the total population.

Ethnographic Records : Different views have been given by different authorities about identity of Kandhas.

Dalton describe the Kandhas as tall as average Hindus and much darker in complexion.
McPherson described the Kandhas as faithful to friends, devoted to their chiefs, resolute, brave, hospitable, Laborious.
The Kandhas have their loyalty to their erstwhile feudatory chiefs in Orissa and elsewhere. They are treated as valiant worriers and discharged their services very faithfully to their rulers. They offered their valuable services at the time of freedom movement .To name a few among them are Chakara Bisoyi and Dohra Bisoyi.

Types of Kandhas : According to the area of habitation Kandhas are classified into three classes viz.

Malua or Dongoria
The Kutia Kondhas are found mainly in Kotgarh,Tumudibandh and Belgarh area of Balliguda Sub-division. The Dongoria or Malua live in high lands of hilly area in the district. The Desia or Oriya Kandhas live in plain areas with the non-tribal.

Dresses, food habits and houses : The dress of the Kandhas is very simple.

The men wear a long and narrow cloth which passed round the waste and between the legs, the ends of this cloth are brightly colored and hang down behind like a tall. The Kandha men used to have long hair which they fastened in front by knot, in which they invariably stuck cigars, comb, metal pins etc.
The women wear two clothes, one around waist and another for upper portion of the body. The Kutia Kandha women wear only one loin cloth. Thy have intense love for ornaments and wear gold and silver necklaces, ear-rings, nose-rings and heir ornaments. Colored beads generally used as necklaces. They borne the entire rim of the ear with silver rings. They tattoo their faces before marriage. The Kutia Kandha women don't have tattoo on their faces. Most of the old customs among the Kandhas are now fast disappearing.

Food Habits

Kandhas ear rice with boiled green leaves and vegetables,. They use scoop made of laves for taking food, use peja (gruel of rice) as a sick diet. They are very fond of meat on social and religious functions, but don't take beef, fish is taken when available.
They smoke and chew tabacco leaves. Both men and women consume excessively Salapa and Mohua liquor on all occasions.


Houses made up of wooden walls(planks) and bamboo splits with a thatching of forest grass and leaves. Generally neat and tidy but lacks ventilation. Domestic animals and residents are all huddled in two or three rooms. Doors are made up of bamboo splits designed artistically.

Rituals in the Society
Child Birth : The pollution in connection with child birth ends on the fifth day. On that day father of the child sacrifices a fowl and offers cooked meat, rice and liquor to the ancestors so that no ill may befall the child. Some house holds perform this ceremony on the 7th day. After one month hair on the head of child shaved off and a feast is given to the neighbors.
Death : The dead bodied are burnt except the case of pregnant women where the dead bodies buried. On the following day priest purified all the people who attended the funeral by sprinkling some oil over their heads with a small broom made up of twigs or blade of grass. After a few days they renew all the earth vessels and perform a sacrifice giving a feast to neighbors and relatives.

Agriculture is main occupation. 70% of the land are unproductive. People are still practising primitive method of cultivation i.e. shifting cultivation. Turmeric, Ginger, Arrowroot and other spices are main produce of the land.
Collection of Minor Forest Produce(MFP).
Dance :

Dhangeda - Dhangedi : Otherwise known as Loar-Enda dance performed by Kutia and Kandha. They use silver coin chains, bangles and a musical instrument known as Dheka for performance. Dadra is the tal of the song.

Krahenda : A hunting and warrior dance popular among SC. Drums and flutes are the instruments used. This dance is in its vanishing stage.

Singha Badya : observed among SC people of Balliguda Sub-Division. ASSART, a voluntary organisation, of G.Udaygiri has retained this dance form.

Danda Nata : Usually performed by the Ghasis(SC) of Balliguda, Tikaballi and Chakapad area in the month of Chaitra and Baisakh.
Fair and Festival :

Mati Puja : Observed in the month of Baisakh(April-May) for worshiping earth goddess for good crops.
Kandula Jatra : Observed in Balliguda in the Month of April.
Balli Jatra : Observed in Tumudibandh.
Makara Jatra : Observed in K. Nuagam in January.
Rhas Jatra : Observed at Kellapada (Phiringia) in March
Kali Puja : Observed at Nuapadar(Phiringia) in November.
Dashera Puja : Observed at Balaskumpa in October.
Rama Lila Jatra : Observed at Bisipada(Phulbani) in April.
Siva Ratri : Observed at Birupakhsya Temple at Chakappad in February.
Ratha Yatra : Observed at Balliguda and Phulbani in July.
Thakurani Jatra : Observed at Phulbani in April-May in alternate year with Berhempur.
Laxmi Puja : Observed at Sankarakhole in September.
Danda Jatra : Observed throughout the district in the month of March and April.
Baruni jatra : Observed in Rushimal Hills(origin of Rishikulya River) of Daringbadi in March.
Kendu Jatra : Observed among Kandhas to please the earth goddess in March-April. Animal sacrifice has been done during the Jatra.
Art and Craft :

Dokra Art : Made up off brass made by Ghasis(SC) people in Barakhama of Balliguda block and in Tudubali of Tikabali Block. However artisans of Barakhama have been making these of superior quality.

Terracota Art : Its in Ratanga of Phiringia block. But yet to be developed.

Cane & bamboo Craft : Cane work found in Tumudibandh and bamboo work found throught the district. The artisans of these group are financed by DWACRA(DRDA) and PAHAD(NGO) of Sudrukumpa financed by NABARD.

Stone Craft: Found in Pusangia in Balliguda block. They prepare tribal ornaments made of stones.

Weaving : Handloom weaving commonly practised in the district. Mostly Panos(SC) have taken up this as source of livelihood. They , generally, produce cheap and coarse clothes for sale to local people. Godabisha near G.Udaygiri is noted for production of diamond pattern bedsheets.
Lacquer & Wooden Comb : This craft has been developed by a set of SC& ST families of G.Udygiri. The main raw materials used for this are lac and bamboo which are availbale in local forest. They are being financed by Block. However demand for this comb is diminishing among tribals.

Applique Works : Some artisans of G.Udaygiri are doing this work.

Archaeological Sites : here are so many evidences of Buddhism in this district. One Budha Statue from Dungi near Tikabali has been shifted to Orissa State Museum. The site is reach with archeological remaining to be explored. Its is believed to be a site of 8th/9th AD and was a Buddhist Site during the reign of Bhoumkars. Latter it has been changed to a Siava Site during the patronage of next rulers of Somavamsis. Now there are Siva temple found in the premises. The main Siva temple standing on the pedestal of ancient structures. Some ancient structures are fixed on the temple wall. There were found debris of monastic pillars, similar to the pillars found at Boudh. The amalakis are also found and usually used for decorative purpose. Distinct mounds are found in the premises. One of the mound was excavated by a private person for construction of one temple from which a lot of archeological remaining have come up, but those were damaged by the unskilled laborers. It proves that the Siva temple were build on the mound areas with old materials those were available on the spot. The site needs immediate attention for preservation and systematic excavation of the site. This may reveal past history of the district.

Opposite to the Dungi Siba temple two other images are found surrounded by thick bushes. One of the two images is a female Goddess and other is an attendant. Both the images are badly defaced.

An inscription found in on a rock at Amlapani in Katringia GP of Phulbani block on the way leading to Katramal(picnic spot). This spot signifies the movement of monk community, although there is a mark of overlapping of Buddhism and Saivasim, is general and common feature of Orissa and in Buddhist settlements.

The route that passes through Kalinga and Phulbani was very ancient and was popular with the monk community and traders of ancient and mediaeval period. The route served mostly for the transportation from coastal Orissa to Central India. Huen Tsang also said to have passed this route. Hence the geographical location of Dungi as such afforded every possibility of a monk settlement. And hence a centre for worship being a monastery and a resting place for the traders.

Near Chakapad, a mound known as "Chakalati" exists and the name Brahmanapada also in someway related to this site. But due to some circumstantial incongruity, the monk community left the place and the site passed into oblivion.

The district of Kandhamal is bestowed with the beauty of nature. It has wild life, scenic beauty, healthy climate, and serpentine ghat roads for the tourists who need to relax and unwind. It has attractions, like panoramic coffee gardens, pine jungles,Ghat roads, hills and water falls, virigin forest and typical tribal village life. Almost 66% of the land area of the district is covered with dense forest and towering mountains which provide shelter to the inhabitants like Kondhas, classified under the ancient Gondid race of proto Austroloid group, rich in green meadows at the attitude of 2000 ft to 3000 ft, the terraced vallyes thronged with these colorful tribals in their natural heritage, dancing and sporting has its own appeal.  Kandhamal is also famous for handicrafts such as Dokra, Terra-Cotta,  Cane and Bamboo works.

The region is proud of its rich cultural heritage. Mauryan Emperor Ashoka mentioned in Jaugada (Ganjam) edict about the people of this hill tract as Atavikas who practised their own religion. The ghat tract of Kandhamal "Kalinga" was known to the travellers of Medieval history. The tract was used for the transportation of salt to the central India. Again the route running through Daringibadi was known in history as Great Military road discovered by Britishers who happened to come over Daringibadi for pleasure trips to enjoy the natural beauty and cool climate during summer.


The district head quarters is a place to relax in and marvel at the natural beauty. It is sorrounded by hills. The Pillasalunki river flows on its three side and the town is just on the grove of sal trees. One can enjoy l view of the town from Bhetkhol and Brahamani-Devi hill top, which present an ambience of hill towns of lower Himalayas. Other attractions of the town are its weekly Hata, Jaganath and Narayani Temple. A  morning walk on the main road and visit to the river side in the afternoon is a wonderful experience.

Putudi Water Fall
Putudi is a place of natural beauty where river Salunki falls from the height of 60ft. forming an enchanting ambience. The roaring sound of the fall with dense forest all around creates a thrilling sensation. It is 15 kms from Phulbani town.

The beautiful place in the lap of nature is famous for the Goddess 'BARALA DEVI' who is believed to be the saviour of the world. The people of this area visit the Goddess frequently on many occasions particularly on Dashahara. Dashahara Puja is celebrated with great pomp and show.. Pillasalunki Dam site which is an ideal and charming place for picnic and sight seing is only 3 kms from this spot. This spot is a good place to relax and unwind. Balaskumpa is about 15 kms from Phulbani and linked with good motorable road.

The abode of Lord Birupakshya, on the bank of river Burtunga, commands a panoramic view of nature. This place is famous as an important centre of Saivism. Lord Siva is worshipped here as Birupakshya, Anandeswara and Jageswara with great veneration and reverence in three different magnificent temples. The striking features of this place is that the trees around it and siva linga inside, lean towards south. The festivals like Sivaratri,Sitalsasthi and Rasha Purnima . are celebrated here . Chakapad is a village having regular bus communication with Phulbani via Tikabali. . It is about 55 km from Phulbani.

Daringbadi, a vast area at the height of about 3000ft above sea level is an ideal summer resort which is popularly named as 'Kashmir of Orissa'. The place is gifted with natural bounties such as pine jungles, coffee gardens and beautiful valleys. . It is the only place in Orissa which experiences snow fall during Winter. The journey from the plains to the hills of Daringbadi is an experience in itself . This pretty hill station is 100 kms from Phulbani and 50 kms from Balliguda.The resting places are P.W.D. Inspection Bunglow and a Revenue I.B. A Tourist Bunglow is also under construction.

Gifted with ample scenic beauty, Belghar presents a panoramic view of lush and rolling hills. It is inhabited by Kutia Kondha tribe, who follow the age old tradition of food gathering and hut dwelling. They are very friendly and hospitable. More to be seen and encountered is the wild life especially elephants. . Belghar, a hamlet situated about 2555ft above the sea level is very much suitable for adventurous trekking to the nearby hills. Nearby Kotagarh sanctury is popularl with tourist who wish to enjoy the wild unspoilt environment. . Belghar is 165kms from Phulbani and 70 kms from Balliguda. It is. connected with good motorable road. Thee is a forest rest house and a tourist bunglow is coming up. This area is also famous for cane works.


A place of natural beauty with a waterfall and pond where one can play with fibres amidst dense forest.It is an ideal place for picnic. The spot is 35 kms from Phulbani

This is a waterfall, with a height of 30ms near Sudrukumpa on Panisal- Baghiapada forest road . The spot is 18kms from Phulbani and 3 kms from Sudrukumpa .

The palce is famous for its towering zig-zag Ghat road with scenic beauty. The 11 kms long Ghat road starting from Kalinga is a picturesque and charming place. The nearby Silviculture Forest Reaserch Station is an added attraction. It is an ideal picnic spot on the Phulbani- Berhampur road & 50kms from Phulbani. A PWD I.B. is available for accomodation .

Ludu Water Fall
This enchanting waterfall is situated at Jakesi, near Subarnagiri  G.P.in Kotogarh Block. It is linked with a motorable road to kotagarh.It is 165kms from Phulbani and an ideal place for picnic & trekking.

Wearing centre at shainipadar(Phulbani town).
Terra cotta and Bamboo Handicrafts at Sudrukumpa .
Terra cotta Handicrafts at Ratang.
Cane works at Tumudibandha .
Dokra at Barakhama (Balliguda Block) & Tudubali, (Tikabali Block).
Stone made Ornament(Necklace) & Utensil at Pusangia (Balliguda Block).
Diamond Pattern Bed Sheet at Gadabisha (G.Udayagiri Block).
Applique Works at G.Udayagiri.

The horrific ritual of human sacrifice practiced by the Kandhas upto the middle of the 19th century has been an indelible blot on the community. But the way they offered dogged resistance to the British for several decades, not withstanding their deprivation , they amply deserve kudos for their valiant fight.

The tribals played a stellar role in the Khurda Rebellion commanded by Buxi Jagabandhu against the British in 1817. There had been a smouldering discontent against British rule in the coastal areas of Orissa for several years, on the grounds of agrarian ,economic and political issues. It was a band of 400 Kandhas of Ghumusar, who sparked off the conflagration by entering the Khurda region to fight. Buxi Jagabandhu and his army joined there, and the revolt soon spread to Khurda, Tangi, Gopa, Bolagarh, Banapur, Pipili, Nayagarh and other places. They captured Puri in April 1817 and proclaimed restoration of the authority of the King, who had been deposed by the British. The revolt was so widespread and strident that the British considered their position in Orissa perilous. But gradually the rebellion fell through. Buxi Jagabandhu took shelter in Ghumusar and Boudh for some years from May 1818. The Rajas of Boudh, Ghumusar, Nayagarh and Dasapalla supported him and the Kandhas of these areas gave him protection till he surrendered in 1825.

Ganjam district, including Ghumusar, came under the possession of the British in 1865. The Bhanja Kings of Ghumusor did not brook interference from the British officers in their adminstrative affairs. The kings and the people began to resent the exploitative and oppressive behaviour of the officers. There were rebellion against the British in 1766, 1778 and 1801. Dora Bissoi, commander of Ghumusar force, spearheaded the revolt, off and on, from 1815 to 1835. In all these revolts, the Kandhas of Ghumusar, including the Uttar Ghumusar area of G.Udayagiri, took a leading part. The refractory Bhanja Raja, Dhananjaya Bhanja, was dethroned and the principality was annexed to the British empire on November,3,1835. The deposed Raja and Dora Bissoi fled to Udayagiri area. Rebellion spread like wildfire in the entire Uttar Ghumusar region. The British army had to confront with fierce resistance everywhere. Meanwhile the king breathed his last on December 31, 1835. The rebellion was crushed by the British with utmost brutality, According to John Campbell, " The two years campaign was of unexampled severity" from the reports of G.E.Russel, special commissioner for Ghumusar, a ghastly fact is inferred. "Numbers of : konds were shot like wild beasts, some were seized and hung up on trees. Their villages were everywhere laid in ashes."

Dora Bissoi fled to Boudh Kandhamal area with some of his lieutenants. He surrendered in 1837 and the Raja of Anugul handed him over to the British. Dora Bissoi died in 1846 at Gooty,near Madras, where he was a prisoner.

The Kondhas of Boudh-kandhamal area rose up in arms against the invading British as their land and liberty were at stake. They also resented the interference of the British in their social and cultural activities and religious rituals. In Boudh-Kandhamal Nabaghana Kanhar of Ratabari rose in revolt against the king of Boudh and the British in 1835. The king of Anugul extended his support and cooperation. His two years revolt came to an end when he, due to conspiracy of Sam Bissoi, a British supporter, handed over to the British some Ghumusar insurgents, who had taken shelter under him. His two sons, Bira and Maheswar, surrendered. On account of the organisational skill of Dora bissoi and Nabaghan Kanhar, the uprising had assumed a gigantic proportion in the Kandha inhabited areas. Hence the British government had to requisition military forces from Madras, Nagpur and Bengal Divisions to quell the Kandha rising.

There was some semblance of peace and tranquility in the area for some years. But the Kandhas, under the inspiring leadership of Chakra Bissoi, Bira Konhar and Madhaba Kanhar, made brisk preparation from 1844 to wage rebellion against the British. The rebellion again erupted in 1846 in both Boudh-Kandhamal and Ghumusar regions. It also broke extensively in Angul, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Sonepur and Dasapalla. The rebellion was fierce and sporadic in nature and as the area of operation was the vast expanse of inhospitable Jungle terrain,the insurgents could sustain the rebellion for a protracted period of 10 years, even in the face of superior military strength of the British. The Kandha insurrection fizzled out by 1856. S.C.Macpherson, John Campbell, Mac Vicar and Mac Neil were the military officers of the British army who successfully put down the tribal insurgency and terminated the practice of human sacrifice ,Meriah in the local parlance.

During this period of turmoil two tribal strongholds, Anugul and Kandhamal, were annexed by British in 1847 and 1855 respectively to their empire.

The district "KANDHAMAL" has two sub-divisions, Phulbani and Balliguda. Phulbani sub-division forms a broken plateau of about 518 mtrs above sea level, gridlled almost continously by high ranges which cut it off from the sorrounding area. On the north-east and west thease ranges quite perceptibly rise abruptly from the plains of Boudh district while on the south they merge in the outlines of the Eastern Ghats of Balliguda Subdivision. The high plateau lying within thease ranges is broken up by numerous smaller ranges which form an endless series of valleys varying in size. Thick forest still covers much of these tracks and the villages lie in scattered clearings along the hill sides and in valleys below, while some are in almost inaccessible places on the top most summits of the hills. The whole of this Sub-division is4 a new work of hills and forests inter spread here and there with the small hamlets of the kondhas. This hilly tract is intersected in all directions by streams and torrent, which run dry after the cessation of the rains. The uplands and slopes leading down from the foot of the hills are utilised for growing dry crops periodically depending on the rain. The area of cultivated land is small. The Balliguda Sub-division is on the plateau and lies at height varying from 300 meters to 1100 meters above the mean sea level. The eastern side of the sub-division consists of wide well cultivated valleys. The southern portion are mountaineous, covered with dense forests infested with wild animals. The hills of this Sub-division are a part of the Eastern Ghats.