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Nabarangpur district
—  District  —
Location in Odisha, India
Coordinates: 19°14′N 82°33′E / 19.23, 82.55Coordinates: 19°14′N 82°33′E / 19.23, 82.55
Country  India
State Odisha
Headquarters Nabarangpur
 • Collector Sibabrata Dash
 • Total 5,294 km2 (2,044 sq mi)
Elevation 195 m (640 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 1,018,171
 • Density 192/km2 (500/sq mi)
 • Official Oriya, Hindi, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 764 xxx
Vehicle registration OD-24
Sex ratio 1.007 /
Lok Sabha constituency Nabarangpur
Climate Aw (Köppen)
Precipitation 1,691 millimetres (66.6 in)
Avg. summer temperature 40 °C (104 °F)
Avg. winter temperature 12 °C (54 °F)

Nabarangpur District, also known as Nabarangapur District and Nawarangpur District, is a district of Odisha, India. The city of Nabarangpur is the district headquarters. Most of its population is tribal, and most of the land is forested. Situated in the southwest corner of Odisha, it borders Koraput District. Nabarangpur district is situated at 19.14’ latitude and 82.32’ longitude at an average elevation of 1,876 feet (572 m).


Nabarangpur district was created on 2 October 1992 out of a previous subdivision of Koraput District. Until then Koraput District had been the second largest district in India. The history of Nabarangpur is inextricably interlinked with that of Koraput District, with which it shares its language, lifestyle, heritage, flora and fauna and climate.

Koraput belonged to the Atavikas, a feudatory of the powerful Kalinga Empire (Ancient Odisha) who valiantly fought the Kalinga War in the 3rd century BCE. Kalinga regained its former glory during the Mahameghabahan Dynasty in the first century BCE. The third king of this dynasty Kharavela made the Kalinga empire and the Atavika land was very strong under his rule. The successive dynasties – the Satavahanas (2nd century CE), Ikshvakus (3rd century CE) had headquarters at Pushkari, near the modern town of Umerkote. The Kesaribeda excavations bear testimony to the rule of King Bhabadatta Varma and King Arathapati. The inscriptions of Podagarh refer to king Skandavarma. The overlord Nala kings are traced to the kings who ruled from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Their rapid growth landed them in the Oriya regions of Bastar and Koraput. Around the 10th century CE a Nala king Bhimesen was ruling over a region now located in Koraput and Ganjam District.

The Koraput area including present-day Narabangpur District was a small principality of Tri Kalinga under the Ganga era of the 5th century CE. The patches of Utkala, Kalinga and Kosala were brought under the control of the Ganga kings of Odisha. This dynasty became prominent during the 11th century CE with the rise of Somanakshi. Their suzerainty extended from the modern Sambalpur, Sonepur to the Bastar and Koraput regions and they enjoyed control until the beginning of the 14th century CE.

The Matsya family ruling over the Oddadi region of modern Jeypore dominated the next generation. The best known kings included Bhanudeva and Narasingha Dev, as is known from the Oriya inscription of Simhachalam in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.

The next dynasty belonged to the Sailavansis, who ruled over Vindhya during the 14th century CE. The earliest king Ganga Raju was ruling over Nandapur, a former capital of the Maharaja of Jeypore. Nandapur is famous for the throne of 32 steps erected in the line of king Vikramaditya of Ujjain. Jainism and Shaktism grew side by side in the kingdom of Nandapur.

The last king of Sailavansa, Pratap Ganga Raju was succeeded by Vinayak Dev of Surya Vansa which lasted until the time of the British Empire. Vinayak Dev was said to be married to the daughter of the last ruler of Silavansi Paratap Ganga Raju. He and his six succeeding generation of kings had only one son each and on advice from astrologers the headquarters of the kingdom was switched from Nandapur to Jeypore.

During the Anglo-French conflict, Vikram Dev I (1758–1781 CE) was successful in driving out the French from Malkangiri area and the Marathas from the Umerkote belt. They were succeeded by the brave Oriya king Ramachandra Dev II (1781–1825) while his other two sons Jagannath and Narasingh Dev were placed in charge of Nabarangpur and Gudari regions. Jagannath Dev’s son Arjun Dev and Narasingha Dev’s son Chaitanya Dev were issueless. Hence, Nabarangpur and Gudari were remerged to Jeypore kingdom.

During the 20th century Ramachandra Dev IV (1920–31) was an honourable lieutenant in World War I. He was issueless and was succeeded by a benevolent, aged, scholar king Vikram Dev IV, the son of Krishna Chandra Dev. During this period the Boundary Commission headed by Sir O’Donnel was entrusted with the task of writing the different Oriya speaking tracts. The Commission went round Jeypore, Paralakhumendi, Ganjam, and Visakhapatnam before finalizing its decision. The state of Orissa was formed on 1 April 1936 with Koraput as one of the six districts. In 1951 Vikram Dev IV died at 82 and the Estate Abolition Act was passed the next year. The Estate of Jeypore was taken over by the Government of Odisha.

The district is currently a part of the Red Corridor.[1]

National movement[]

In the 1940s opposition to colonial rule gained momentum. Under the direction of local Indian National Congress leaders, the adivasis of what was then the undivided Koraput district rallied to the movement and suffered imprisonment. Mahatma Gandhi called the Quit India Movement in August, 1942 which found its echo in Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri. Tribal-dominated Nabarangpur District played an important role in this nation-wide movement. A tribal leader of Tentuligumma in Malkangiri subdivision was falsely implicated in a murder case when he was leading a non-violent procession. He was Laxman Nayak, a feared revolutionary of the time. Without a fair trial, he was hanged in Berhampur central jail on 29 August 1943.

On 24 August 1942, a gathering of about 6,000 people mostly adivasis under the leadership of Madhav Pradhani, of village Gummaguda, were proceeding to Dabugam to decide their future course of action following the arrest of the leaders of the district. The crowd was intercepted at a river bridge near Papadahandi. Unable to escape the unprovoked lathi charge and firing by the police, many jumped into the flooded river. Nineteen people were killed and many arrested. The Koraput jail was occupied at three to four times its capacity. The unhygienic condition of the jail and other harassment by officials took a toll of many activists. During the Quit India Movement many woman freedom fighters were raped by the police and forest personnel in the district. Some of them were murdered by the police, while others committed suicide.

The days of the independence struggle saw the new emergence of leaders: R.K. Biswasray, R.K. Sahu and Sadashiva Tripathy. Tripathy, from Nabarangpur town, went on to become the Chief Minister of Odisha.


The area of the district is 5294.5 km². Its boundary stretches in the north to Kalahandi District, west to Jagdalpur District in Chhatisgarh, east to Kalahandi and Rayagada District and south to Koraput District. The river Indravati forms the border between Nabarangpur and Koraput districts. The district capital Nabarangpur is located on the plateau about 2,000 ft (610 m) above sea level. In the north, the Panabeda area, recently renamed as Chandahandi is only 500 ft (150 m) above sea level and experiences similar climate and social life to that of the adjacent Kalahandi District. The rest of Nabarangpur district is mainly flat with a few pockets of low hills. The highest peak Podagarh, which has historical significance, reaches 3,050 ft (930 m). There are patches of thick forest mostly containing sal seeds and those provide sustenance to dependent villages.


Nabarangpur District (like neighbouring Koraput) experiences the first arrival of monsoon about ten days before the rest of Odisha. Unlike the rest of the state, where the monsoon arrives from the Bay of Bengal, Nabarangpur district receives the monsoon from the southwest, off the Arabian Sea. Nabarangpur District enjoys generous rainfall and droughts are extremely rare. The plateaus in particular remain cool throughout the year.


The Telen River which rises in the north of Nabarangpur District forms its geographical boundary with Kalahandi District and finally unites with a bigger Mahanadi River in Sonepur town. It is not perennial and dries up during the summer. The important river Indravati flows through Nabarangpur District and beyond until it mergers with the mighty Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. It runs through a total distance of about 530 km of which the Nabarangpur and Koraput district sections make up about 130 km. At Nabarangpur town the old girder bridge has been replaced by a new span. Before reaching Jagadalpur town in Chhatisgarh state, it is joined by another river Bhaskal that drains the north of Nabarangpur. During its flood the Indravati swells up to 450 ft (140 m) wide and 24 ft (7.3 m) deep. However, a dam built for hydroelectric power has considerably reduced its flow.


Nabarangpur District contains many ores including iron, chlorite, mica, quartz and so on. The Heeraput village near Umerkote contains a fair deposit of haematite and limonite, each of which is composed of about 60% iron. Similarly the Tentulikhunti area has a fairly large deposit of granites. The north of the district up to the border with Kalahandi District has rock beds covering layers of coarse white quartz.


In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Nabarangpur one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[2] It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[2]


According to the 2011 census Nabarangpur district has a population of 1,218,762,[3] roughly equal to the nation of Bahrain[4] or the US state of New Hampshire.[5] This gives it a ranking of 390th in India (out of a total of 640).[3] The district has a population density of 230 inhabitants per square kilometre (600 /sq mi) .[3] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 18.81%.[3] Nabarangapur has a sex ratio of 1018 females for every 1000 males,[3] and a literacy rate of 48.2%.[3]

The major language spoken in this region is Oriya. The inhabitants are mostly tribals. Rural people are now exposed to education and modern amenities. Encounter with the settled and urban population has changed their lifestyle to some extent but a few peoples including the Paraja, Kondhas and Gadava still live the indigenous lifestyle, relying on cultivation and forest products. These tribes speaks dialects of Oriya.

The religion of the district is composite. There are Hindus, Christians and Muslims. The tribals worship the Hindu gods. The Muslims, a small proportion of the population, are believed to be the descendants of soldiers from Golkonda who settled in the area and married Paraja women. The Christians are the outcome of missionary activity. During the British Raj, British and American missionaries established boarding schools, dispensaries and churches. Adherents of various Protestant denominations and Catholics live in the area. The Christian hospital of Nabarangpur town has been an attraction for patients from far-flung areas.

The other tribals living here are Bhumias and Dombs. The Dombs are widespread through the district and enjoy status next to Kondhas. They are weavers and drummers by profession and enjoy great influence over others. They are also engaged in cattle trade. The Mirganis appear to be a subcaste of the Dombs. They differ from the Oriya Dombs by not killing cattle for food but they partake of the beef of animals that die naturally. They claim to be superior to Oriya Dombs. They earn their livelihood by cultivation and weaving. In the upper rank of the social scale the Sankharies who work with lac, making baskets, chains and dolls from it. Malis originally grew and collected flowers for temple worship but have switched over to the cultivation of sugarcane, tobacco etc. on the banks of the Indravati River. Sundhis, an Oriya Baishya community are known for the distillation and selling of liquor. Tradition holds that they are the descendants of a Brahmin father and royal mother. They are usually rich and wealthy in status.



Chief among the Oriya Hindu festivals are Rath Yatra, Dassera (Dasahara) Holi and Mahasivaratri, which bring together town dwellers and hill tribes in celebration. Holi, the riotous festival of spring is celebrated over three days. While the first two days are spent on ceremonies, the third is mostly for young people that rejoice in sprinkling coloured liquid or smearing coloured power on one another. All differences of birth, caste, sex or even religious community melt away.

Rath Jatra is still a bigger festival though confined to a few townships or bigger panchayats. Effigies of the presiding deity Jagannath along with His elder brother and younger sister are moved away from the temple on a nine-day resort. Devotees pull them along a main route on a wooden chariot (or sometimes three chariots). The Bahuda Jatra or the return car festival marks the end of the annual carnival.

The temples of Jagannath are scattered throughout the district, the oldest being in Nabarangpur town. The temple has no outward trappings and looks like an old private quarter except for the Garuda stambha (pillar) on the front gate. Until the late 1980s only the single deity Jagannath was installed in the sanctuary. According to a legend, two other wooden idols of Balabhadra and the goddess Subhadra were seized by one ruler of Bastar region and installed at a temple in Jagadalpur while the idol of Jagannath miraculously slipped from the elephant's back along the way and was retrieved the next day. Now all three deities are worshipped from a huge pedestal. Fine wooden carvings cover every inch of the temple roof, depicting humans, animals, birds and flowers. Even a casual glimpse of erotica is considered to add awe to the spectable. What would elsewhere in the state be carved in stone is figured on a wooden surface in this remote region and well preserved with a coat of shining black paint.

Dussera (Dasahara) is a ten-day Hindu festival, in which the goddess Durga, epitome of power and energy, motherhood of the whole universe, is worshipped. The Maharaja of Jeypore used this occasion for the concourse of his subjects. Deities from various areas, towns and villages, are symbolically brought through decorated large bamboo poles to the accompaniment of beating drums and sounds of other musical instruments. The cultivators, for whom the harvest time is still a month or so away, are all in jubilant mood. On the day of Vijaya Dasami, special elaborate offerings are made to the Deity which includes the age-old practice of animal sacrifice of appeasing the Goddess, the destroyer of demonical forces. People are always in their colorful best costume and rejoice in the grand occasion.

Maa Bhandargharani of Nabarangpur is the presiding deity of the locality. The name signifies the preserver of wealth and protector of lives. She is also worshipped in nearby villages. Tuesday and Saturday are marked for special worship. Devotees throng the temple precincts on every conceivable occasion to seek blessings.

Maa Pendrani of Umerkote is born out of a legend. A small village Pendra (Pendrahandi) near Umerkote worshipped a pure soul Pendrani, a young married woman who was a victim of the secret jealousy of her own brothers. As the story goes, her husband was overtly pampered by her parents who made him stay in their household with no work to bother about. The four brothers out of sheer jealousy conspired and succeeded in killing her innocent husband (Pendara) and buried him in their field. When Pendrani became aware of what had happened she jumped into her husband’s funeral pyre and died in its flames. Days later her spirit was believed to roam about the villages helping those who trusted her supernatural transformation. The local college is named after her.

Maha Shivaratri attracts devotees of all social classes. Mahadev, the God of gods, is the central figure of worship. It is believed that he saved the whole of creation by drinking the deadly venom spat out by the legendary serpent Vasuki. The legendary serpent was used by gods on one side and demons on the other for churning out the ocean to obtain the elixir of immortality. The nectar was brought from the depth of the ocean, but along with it came the poison, vomited by an exhausted Vasuki. Only the God of gods had the power to contain it from spreading and causing universal death. The lord was propitiated to devour it on the day, famed later as Maha Shivaratri, and the entire world was saved. Papadahandi temple is a pilgrim centre to celebrate such occasion.

Festivals of other communities are also celebrated. The Moharram of the Muslims is a day of prayer and remembrance. Huge processions are taken round the township and mass prayers are held at mosques. Intercommunity greetings are exchanged. Christmas Day marks the beginning of a long festival running up to New Years Day. Christians of all hues celebrate the day at home, churches and outdoors. Members of other communities also join in to mark communal concord.

Flora and fauna[]

The flora of Nabarangpur District is northern in character but has some affinity with southern India. Sal and bamboo are the two species commonly seen in the whole region. Paddy cultivation has systematically depleted the green patches and upset the scenic beauty of the district. Still the reserved forests and the protected hills, afford some pleasure of living close to nature.

Among the wild animals there were the panther, leopard, tiger, hyena, jackal and wild dogs. Even the latter are now scarce due to human intrusion into their habitat. Wild Asian Water buffalo, black bear, even gaur were found in the Umerkote region. The black bucks which were common in the Chandahandi area are nowhere seen now. Spotted deer, sambar and barking deer were a common sight in the district before Independence. Common crocodile are occasionally spotted in the Indravati River. Peafowl, red junglefowl and grey junglefowl are fairly often found, as are also the green pigeon and duck. However, there has been much extinction in recent years.


  1. ^ "83 districts under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme". IntelliBriefs. 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  2. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme". National Institute of Rural Development. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  4. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. "Bahrain 1,214,705 July 2011 est." 
  5. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. "New Hampshire 1,316,470" 

External links[]

Template:Nabarangpur district

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