Barapali is a town as well as a notified area committee situated in the administrative district of Bargarh in the state of Orissa in eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. The district headquarters are located in the city of Bargarh. The district of Bargarh is the western most district of Orissa. It is surrounded by the state of Chhatisgarh in the north, Sambalpur in the east; Balangir and Subarnapur are in south, and Nuapara in the west. The total area of the district is 5837 square Kms. The total population is 1,345,601, while the population density of the district is 231 persons per square km. The Bargarh district was formed from the former district of Sambalpur. The Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi River provides irrigation all through the year making the northern half of the Bargarh District rich in agriculture. The main crop grown is rice.
A distinctive feature of the district is a ten day long open- stage drama, Dhanuyatra, based on the life and times of Lord Krishna, terminating in the death of King Kansa. The district is also well-known for its centuries` old handloom industry manufacturing a characteristic textile form called Sambalpuri. The main language of the people is Sambalpuri, a dialect of Oriya. There is a temple at Nrusinghnath constructed in the 13th century, where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in a feline incarnation. This is a unique feature of the temple.
As per the 2001 India census, Barapali has a population of 19,154. Males and females respectively constitute 51% and 49% of the population. Barapali has a mean literacy rate of 66%, higher than the nationwide average of 59.5%. 59% of the males and 41% of the females are literate. 12% of the population consists of children below six years of age.