History of Gajapati District
Krishna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb, Maharaja of Paralakhemundi was the descendant of the historic dynasty of the Gajapati kings who ruled Orissa for more than seven centuries. During the regime of these kings, the boundaries of Orissa extended from Ganga in the north to Udoyagiri in Nellore District in the south. Parlakhemundi is an ancient town lying in the western corner of the southern portion of Ganjam District, and it is bounded in the west by the district of Vizagpatnam and on the north by the Eastern Ghats which are called Maliyas or tribal agencies. Gajapati district has been named after Maharaja Sri Krishna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb, ex-raja of Paralakhemundi estate, who is remembered for his contribution in formation of a separate Orissa province and inclusion of Paralakhemundi estate in Orissa. Gajapati District came into being with effect from 2nd October 1992. Prior to this it was a part (Sub-Division) of Ganjam District.
Geography of Gajapati District
Major part of Gajapati District has a hilly terrain and undulated topography, which is inhabited by the tribal people. The highest mountain of the district Mahendragiri lies at an altitude of 4,923 feet above the sea level. The soil quality is alluvial, brown, land Lateritic, clay loam, sandy loam and red soil. The geographical formation of the district is Alluvial, brown land Laterite, Newer Dolerites and Archon comprising igneous and metamorphic rocks. The main soil types are clay loam, sandy loam and red soil. The normal rainfall received in the district is 1403.30 mm. The soil and climate is suitable for plantation crops and there is a great potential of horticulture development in Gajapati District. More than 60 per cent of lands are situated in hilly terrain, which has been treated as high lands, mainly suited for horticulture plantation and other cultivable land belongs to the category of medium lands and low lands.
The 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 Tehsil. Vansadhara River and Mahendratanaya River are two important rivers of Gajapati District. River Vansadhara originated from Lanjigarh area of Kalahandi district and passes through Kashinagar block and flows southwards along the border of Gajapati District. Mahendratanaya River 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. Geography of Gajapati District also comprises huge forest land. The major forest products are Timber, Bamboo, Hill Broom, Patala Garuda, etc.
Culture of Gajapati District
Culture of Gajapati District is reflected from the socio-economic life and traditions of the native Saouras of the district. The Saouras are basically the hunter community. Horn Craft is the rich cultural heritage of the artisans of Maharana caste in Paralakhemundi of Gajapati district. Originally carpenters by birth and trade, they took to horn craft during the reign of Sri Krishna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deb, the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi. Gajapati District has a rich culture and heritage. Several festivals are celebrated here like Ratha Yatra (Car Festival) Dussehra, Thakurani Yatra and Pongal.
Economy of Gajapati District
Economy of Gajapati District is agrarian in character. The geography and the climate are favorable for production of crops like paddy, sugarcane, sunflower, oilseeds, etc. This town behaves as a nodal point for accumulation and marketing of such products. Except a few agro-processing units, there is no major industry in this district. However, some activities of cottage industries like Horn work, Jaikhadi bag, Cane and Bamboo work, Ganjappa Card and Pattachitra Mukha, Broom work and Siali leaf plate making and Tibetan Woolen Carpet contribute to the economy of the district.
Tourism in Gajapati District
The district offers several sightseeing options to the visitors. Tourism in Gajapati District means an enriching experience filled with adventure and serenity. Adarsh KrIshi Farm, B.N Palace, Serango, Gandahati, Mahendragiri, Chandragiri, Jeerango and Harabhangi are some of the main attractions of this district.
Gajapati District also has A proper educational system. As per the census report of 2001, the total population of this district is 5,18,837.