Rayagada is a municipality in Rayagada district in the Indian
state of Odisha. It is the administrative headquarters of
Rayagada district. As of 2001 India census, Rayagada had a
population of 57,732. There are various communities living in
Rayagada. This is a tribal inhabited district of Odisha. Due
to better communication with neighbour state Andhra Pradesh,
the Telugu population is significant. Sindhis, Gujaratis and
Marwaris who settled there a long time ago have become a
distinct identity of the place. Tribals too comprise a
significant population of the place. All the festivals
relating to these communities are celebrated with splendor and
fervour. The main language spoken here is Oriya, Telugu and
tribal languages like Soura and Kui.
Rayagada has good scenic beauty with rich greenery around.
Rayagada becomes a worth visit tourist destination of South
History of Rayagada
Rayagada was under Kalinga empire during the reign of Ashoka the
Great in the third century B.C. The hilly track between
Bansadhara and Nagabali was well-known for spices. The Rastriks
were defeated by Kharvela, the only Aryan Emperor of Kalinga
(ancient Odisha), during the Chawpagada battle.
During the rule of Gangavansi and Suryavanshi Kings in Odisha,
it was under feudatory chief of Kalinga-Utkala empire Dadarnab
Dev of Gudari Kataka. This region went to the Bahamanis when the
last Hindu Gajapati emperor of Odisha, Mukund Dev was defeated
at Gohera Tikiri in 1519. It came under the Nandapur Kingdom for
47 years. Biswambar Dev was defeated and killed by Hasin Khan of
Mughal Chicacole Sarkar rulers of Odisha, was perhaps the third
king installed at Rayagada.
The Sati Kunda Goddess Majhi Ghairani and the mudfort around it
speaks much about its evidence. In subsequent years it was under
Bobbili Tahasil of Vijayanagaram. During the English regime,
Rayagada came under Jeypore administration and later was part of
Koraput District. On 2 October 1992 Rayagda District was carved
out of the erstwhile Koraput district as part of the extension
plan of districts in the Odisha state.
Tribals of Rayagada
district has a major tribal population of 57.52%. All the 11
blocks of the district have been covered under tribal sub-plan
with three micro projects in operation for the pre-literate
indigenous tribal communities.
The district has been the homeland of various tribal communities
with their sub-tribes, who are found in different levels of
development depending upon their assimilation with the
mainstream or modern communities. In the ethno-cultural map of
Odisha, two tribes stand out quite prominently for their
education backwardness and continuing ethnic and cultural
identity, the Kandhas and the Souras.
The topography of Rayagada gives a prefect platform for the
tribals in sustaining their ethno-cultural identity in the
district. Forest area covers an extent of 4785.36 km2 out of
which 777.27 km˛ is Reserved forest.
Geography of Rayagada
Rayagada is a district of forests, water falls, meadows,
and terraced valleys, populated by many primitive tribal
groups. The scenic beauty and heritage on the land is an
The pattern of people living in the district show unity in
diversity of languages, culture, and races. The Scheduled
Tribes living in the district possess dissimilar economics
ranging from food gathering to settled cultivation. Their
languages/dialects, culture and societies show
inter-societal and -cultural variations because of the
Tourist attractions of Rayagada
Laxminarayan temple is at IMFA Factory, Therubali. The deities
Laxminarayan, Hanuman, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra
and Lord Siva are worshiped by thousands devotees.
Devagiri hill rises to a height of 120.2 meters. Unlike other
hills it is not narrower upwards. The top of the hill is a flat
platform of rectangular plain, which can be approached only from
the northern side. There are 476 steps which are the unique
feature of the Devagiri. At the top of the hill, there are
perennial poles of water called the Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati,
Bhargavi and Indradyumna. There is a cave looking like two jaws.
The Siva Lingam is protected at the meeting point of the jaws.
Chatikona is situated about 48 km from Rayagada surrounded by a
series of valleys and wooded hills of varying colours and the
place is a center of pilgrimage for the temple of Mahadev. It
offers picnickers beautiful view of the waterfall. The Siva
temple is the focus of hectic activities on Siva Ratri. The
Dongaria Kondha of Chatikona represent the primitive section of
Gayatri Temple at Padampur is a striking temple with Goddess Maa
PanchMukhi-Gayatri, Maa durga and Maa Mahalakshmi. The temple is
well-known for Saraswati Puja Sri panchami in January–February.
It is 90 km from Rayagada. Padampur houses the shrine of
Manikeswari Siva. It is recognized to be the seat of Dharmakirti,
the Budhist-Logician-philosopher. It is a 7th-century temple. It
is 90 km from Rayagada.
Maa Majhighariani Temple
Maa Majhighariani Temple is well-known in Southern Division of
Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The temple is famous for Chaitra-Parba.Most
of the devotees come from Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh,
Chhatishgarh including undivided Koraput District. Only the face
of the Maa MajhiGhariani is worshiped. During Sunday, Wednesday
and Friday a large number of devotees come to worship the
Maa Mangla Maa Temple
|Maa Mangla Maa Temple lies in the Raniguda area of Rayagada
near the Hathipathar. Hatipathar is only 3 km from the district
headquarters. It is a place of great scenic beauty with two
waterfalls on the course of river Nagavali. The scenic beauty is
impressive and the boulders here appear like huge elephants.
Paikapada is well-known for so many Siva Lingams. The deities
like Maa Dhakineswar Kalika, Lord Jagannath, Samudra, etc. are
worshiped here. The car festival of Lord Jagannath is also
celebrated. During Sivaratri a large number of pilgrims come to
observe the function. The place is near Theruballi. It is
believed that there are 99,99,999 shivlingams (only one less
than 1 crore) in and around Paikapada shrine.
According to Linga Puran, Bhimasankar temple in Bhimpur is about
100 km from Rayagada and 30 km from Gunupur is one of the
Jyotirling, located at the western part of the holy Mahendragiri
mountains and at the river bank of Mahendratanaya was excavated
in 1974, having quadrangular Shakti around the Linga and
decorated by a Upavita as per the puran.
Hanging Bridge File
The bridge resembles the Laxman Jhola of Rishikesh and is a
popular tourist attraction. Hanging Bridge File is the latest
attraction of Rayagada.
Minajhola is only 134 km from Rayagada. It is a beauty spot of
nature, has a siva temple at the convergence of three rivers. It
is located in the heart of dense forest, rich in wildlife.
Sivaratri is a popular festival of this place.
Guma Ghati is about 20 km from Rayagada. It is surrounded by
dense forest.It is a very good place to see. Many people come
here for Picnic.A small waterfall is also here.
Maa Markama Temple
Maa Markama Temple is situated at Bissam Cuttack which is about
40 km from Rayagada. The temple got a new look and bounded by
lush green forest. Many people visit from near and far
especially on Tuesdays. The town college has also been named
after Goddess Markama.
How to Reach Rayagada
Rayagada is linked from other parts of India like Chennai, Delhi,
Gujarat, Raipur, Alleppey, Bokaro, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar ,
Hyderbad, Bilaspur and Kolkata.
Road transport facilities available as NH-43 is passing through
Koraput,i.e. 109 Kms from Rayagada. Direct Express bus services
are available from Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam, Cuttack,
Jeypore, Koraput, Vizianagarm, Puri, Malkangiri, Phulbani, etc.
Nearest air port is at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) which is
about 200 kms away and is linked with Kolkata, Mumbai, New
Delhi, Chennai, Nagpur by going flights.