||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (May 2012)|
Location in Odisha, India
|• Collector||Smt. Rupa Roshan Sahoo., IAS|
|• Member of Parliament||Tathagata Satapathy, BJD|
|• Total||4,452 km2 (1,719 sq mi)|
|• Density||268/km2 (690/sq mi)|
|• Official||Oriya, Hindi, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||OR-06 / OD-06|
|Sex ratio||947 ♂/♀|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Dhenkanal|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||7|
|Precipitation||1,421 millimetres (55.9 in)|
Dhenkanal District is an administrative division of Odisha, India. It is bordered by Kendujhar to the north, Jajpur to the east, Cuttack to the south and Anugul to the west. Dhenkanal town, the district headquarters has a cluster of temples, archaeological remains and a medieval fort. A former princely state, Dhenkanal has a long history. Hari Singh Vidyadhar, who was the Southern Forces commander of Gajapati Maharaja of Utkal Sri Sri Pratprudra Deva, defeated the local chief and occupied Dhenkanal and Karamul in the year 1529 AD. The Gajapati Maharaja crowned him as the Raja of Dhenkanal. Subsequently, 18 generations of Rajas ruled over Dhenkanal and brought about many administrative, political, socio-economic and cultural evolutions to the State. Hari Singh Vidyadhar started the construction of Sidha Balarama temple at Dhenkanal, which was subsequently completed by Nrusingha Bhamarbar. In 1947, after the independence of India, the Princely State of Dhenkanal merged into the Indian Union, and subsequently with Odisha in 1948.
The majority of this district is covered with dense forest and a long range of hills, which are home to elephants and tigers. Primarily agricultural, the principal forest products of the district are timber, bamboo, firewood and kendu leaf, and medicinal herbs and plants.
The District is the centre of a religious movement called "Mahima Dharma" that has spread throughout India and far east countries since the nineteenth century. The Chandrasekhar (Shiva) Temple at the hill top of Kapilas attracts pilgrims from all over the country for spiritual enlightenment, natural beauty and holiness. The Jagar Jatra (Maha Shivaratri) is a famous festival celebrated here in the winter season.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Economy
- 4 Health
- 5 Transport
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Culture
- 9 Education
- 10 Politics
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Dhenkanal was a Princely State until the independence of India and subsequent merger of Princely States. Raja Shankar Pratap Singhdeo Mahindra Bahadur, who was the Raja of Dhenkanal, got elected as an M.L.A. Ranee Ratna Prava Devi was an M.L.A. for two terms. Raja Shankar Pratap Singhdeo Mahindra Bahadur's son, Brig. K. P. Singhdeo was an M.P. for a long period and a Minister in the Govt. of India Cabinet.
Dhenkanal district is one of the centrally located district in Odisha. It lies between Longitude:85° 58' to 86° 2' East and Latitude:20° 29' to 21° 11' North.
- Keonjhar district in the North,
- Cuttack district in the South,
- Jajpur district in the East and
- Angul district in the West.
The Geographical area of Dhenkanal district is 4595 km2; for practical purpose, this district can be divided into three natural divisions:
- Southern hilly region.
- The river valley with tributariness.
- The northern hilly region.
This district has mainly five varieties of soil:
- Alluvial soil
- Red loam soil
- Sandy loan soil
- Gravelly soil
- Cleaving loan soil
Famous villages in Dhenkanal
Some large and medium scale industries have established their base in the district. Some of them are
- Navabharat Ferro Alloys Ltd.
- Nilachal Refractories 
- Utkal Asbestos Ltd. 
- Orissa Polyfibres Ltd
- Reliance Industries Limited
- B.Samal & Company Ltd. (Manufacturers of handmade Bidis and Gudakhu; a traditional toothpaste)
- Shakti Sugars Private Ltd
- Bhusan Steel & Strip Ltd.
- IPI STEEL LTD
- Utkal Spinning Mill, Govindpur
- BRG Steel Pvt. Ltd
- GMR Energy LTD, Kamalanga Thermal Power Plant
- Lanco Babandh Power Ltd
In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Dhenkanal one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
- District Headquarters Hospital
- Saishree Eye Hospital
- Sri Jagannath Hospital
- Kalinga Eye Hospital
Bhubaneswar, the nearest airport (80 km) is connected to Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Raipur, Goa, Srinagar, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Bagdogra, Coimbatore, and Port Blair.
Cuttack (55 km), on the main Howrah Chennai route, links Dhenkanal to New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Guwahati and Puri. Dhenkanal is also directly connected to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vizag, Raipur and Mumbai.
According to the 2011 census Dhenkanal district has a population of 1,192,948, roughly equal to the nation of Timor-Leste or the US state of Rhode Island. This gives it a ranking of 400th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 268 inhabitants per square kilometre (690 /sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 11.82%. Dhenkanal has a sex ratio of 947 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 79.41%.
- Nandini Satpathy
- Suparno Satpathy
- Kalpana Dash
- Harmohan Patnaik
- Devendra Satpathy 
- Brig. Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo 
- Baishnab Charan Patnaik
- Surendra Mohan Patnaik
- Braja Kishore Dhal
- Sudhir Kumar Samal
- Nabin Chandra Narayan Das
- Prafulla Kumar Bhanja
- D. N. Patnaik
- Haladhar Mishra
- Tathagata Satpathy
This region is inhabited mostly by Hindus.
- Rice, Dal and Vegetables are the staple food of the local people.
- Special non-vegetarian delicacies includes entrees composed of fish, prawn and meat. Dalma (a mix of vegetables and pulses) and Saag (leafy vegetables) are the vegetarian delicacies.
- Typical sweetmeats include Chhenapoda, Chhenajhilli, Rasabali, Rasagola (all made from milk) and Pitha (cakes).
- Mahaprasad, the food of the Gods cooked by a unique steaming process is available in the Datatreya Sai Ashram premises and Sri Balram Temple at Dhenkanal.
- Dhenkanal is very famous for its Bara which is a traditional tiffin prepared from blackgram and rice.
- Indian, Chinese and Continental food are available in Hotels and Restaurants.
Situated in the north east corner of Dhenkanal town, 26 km from the district headquarters. The temples is situated at about 2239 feet above the sea level. Narasinghdeva-I constructed the temple for Sri Chandrasekhar in 1246 CE. The temple has a wooden Jagamohana. The deities of Sri Ganesh, Kartikeya, Gangadevi, etc. are found in the temple. Patita Pavana Jaganath also remain in the temple as Parsa Deva. Lord Biswanath temple is also situated in Kapilas. According to some scholars this temple is older than the Chandrasekhar Jew temple, hence it is known as Budha Linga. There are many legends about Kapilas pitha and its significance.
One can proceed 12 km in the Sankarpur road from Dhenkanal Bus stop and then turn west at the Badagila chowk and pass 2 km to reach Saptyasajya, a place of scenic beauty, where the holy temple of Maryada Purusottama Sri Ramachandra is located at about 900 feet at the hilltop. A mountain stream flows down as if touching his holy feet in veneration. Mythologically this place is important and legends abound. Its name is Sapta Sajya because, there are seven hills surrounding the area. Another facet behind the naming of this place is that, the Saptarashi had their ashramas here in this place. There is also a mythological story, that, Sri Ram during his exile or Vanabasha had spent seven days in this beautiful spot. Secondly, the Pandavas during their 12 years of exile and one year of Agyanta Vasa had chosen this mountains for shelter. The State Government had constructed the Pucca road in 1982. Inside the temple complex Maa Annapurna temple was constructed in 1982, the 1st floor Kalki temple in 1985, the Surya Narayan temple in 1990. Now the temple of Sri Rameswaram Shiva, Sri Ganesh, Sri Mahavir, and the Nabagrah Temple with each room for each graha are found. Mahakali, Mata Saraswati, Sri Nrushingha temple are conceived to be built in the holy complex. This scenic spot has become a good tourist and picnic spot where thousands of tourists and devotees gather from different corners of Odisha and India.
- Naganatheswar Temple
This temple belongs to Sri Sri Naganatheswar Shiva, situated at village Nagena about 20 km from Dhenkanal. It is the most ancient Siva temple and was constructed during the region of the Keshari dynasty. According to scholars Pandit Nagendranath Mohapatras' Naganath Satakam it is one of the 12 Yotir Lingas. In the stotras of the Awashyotirlinga one of the Yotirlinga is in the Daruka-Vana or Neem forest. The neem forest is still there in the premises. Even Hari Singh Vidyadhar who occupied the Dhenkanal fragmental temple for the darshan of Lord Naganath. The sloka of Dwadasha Yotirlinga says that Naganath temple is situated in the southernmost part of Anga Kingdom. It shows that some times in history that part Kalinga touched Anga border. However, near it there is a debris of a fort which is still unidentified. Here river Brahmani turns to north which is as holy as the Gangas.
- Astasambhu Temple
Kualo or Karmula was the ancient capital of Dhenkanal. Kualo is in north of Dhenkanal town, 32 km on the right side of river Brahmani. The kingdom was ruled by the Shulki kings who held Stambha epithets and were the fiduciaries of the Bahmukar kings. Their primary deity was Lord Shiva. Hence we see eight Shiva temples at Kualo known as Ashta Sambhu. These eight Shiva lingas are known as – Kanakeswar, Swapneswar, Aisneswar, Kapileswar, Baidyanatheswar, Baneswar and Lokanatheswar.
- Sri Kanakeswar
It is one of the Ashta Shambhu Shiva temples and situated near Ramachandi temple.
Situated at Latadeipur. The significance of this Shiva linga is that it grooms in the bright fortnight and reduces on the dark half.
- Sri Raghunath Temple
With the spread of Vaishnavism in Dhenkanal Jagannath Temple were built in different parts of the District. This Jagannath Temple is located at Deogaon at the foot of Kapilas mountain. Gajapati Prataprudra Deva had built the temple. The gateway of this temple is higher than the temple itself. Every year the Rathayatra (Car festival) is organised.
- Narayan Temple of Kapilas
Kapilas is the place where synthesis of Shaivism and Vaishnavism are amply demonstrated. The Narayan Temple at the hill of Kaplias is an example of that great event. There, is a beautiful black granite image of Sri Narayan that's worshipped. A stream flows down which touches the holy feet of Lord Narayan.
- Maa Brahmayani Temple
The temple is located in the Bajichauk town. Tuesday evenings are the best time for visit it for one can see the arati of Devi Maa.
Places of interest in and around Dhenkanal
This place is 24 km. from Dhenkanal, which is famous as the religious headquarters of 'Mahima Dharma', the only religious cult started from Odisha. Joranda houses the samadhi of Mahima Gosain, the preacher and propounder of the Mahima Cult. The other sacred temples are the Sunya Mandira, Dhuni Mandira and Gadi Mandira. Pilgrims in large numbers pour forth to Joranda fair held on full-moon day of Magha which falls in January–February every year. All of the principal texts of the religion like the Stuti Chintaamani were composed by Bhima Bhoi. This is mainly celebrated by the religious people belonging to the Alekh/Mahima dharma.
Since 1874, this unique festival has been held every year. Mahima Swami can be credited for this great fair. Every year the people belong to Mahima religion gather here to celebrate their annual function, termed as Joranda Fair. The devotees from each nook and corners of Odisha come to this place to discover calmness in their life and how to achieve nirvana (Swarg) after death.
According to the devotees they pray altogether to their God by reciting Alekh Brahma and burn ghee in Jajnan Kund to being peace back into the earth’s life. They believe that this devotion will provide pureness to earth and fulfill all the basic needs people cherish in their day-to-day life.
- Ganesh Khola
Remnants of the first palace and fort of the ancestors of the present King of Dhenkanal can be visited at Ganesh Khola a further 10 km from Joranda.
40 km. from Dhenkanal town, Ladagada is a place of religious importance. A piece of stone known as Lord Siddheswar is worshiped here with great reverence. The banyan tree which gives shelter to the Lord is known as Kalpabriksha.
67 km. from Dhenkanal, 23 km from Angul and 3 km. from Talcher one finds the Anantasayan image of Lord Vishnu on the rocky bed of the river Brahmani at Saranga. The hoods of Ananta, the serpent king spread over the head of Lord Vishnu as the crown and cover. The primal lotus, housing Brahma, the creator, originates from Vishnu's naval, the supreme being enjoys deep delight of his cosmic sleep in the water of the river Brahmani.
67 km from Dhenkanal city and 30 km from Kamakshyanagar, Dandadhar is the site of an irrigation project on the river Ramial- an ideal place for outing. Blue expanse of sparkling water caged in sun-bathed valley is a thrill to the searching eyes. This place is regarded as a good picnic spot and is acclaimed for its scenic beauty. Many people during the winter season gather here to spend some quality time near the dam site.
Other colleges, universities, and institutes include:
- Synergy Institute of Engineering & Technology
- Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology
- Dhenkanal College
- Institute of Professional Engineering & Technology
Vidhan sabha constituencies
|No.||Constituency||Reservation||Extent of the Assembly Constituency (Blocks)||Member of 14th Assembly||Party|
|55||Dhenkanal||None||Dhenkanal (M), Gondia, Dhenkanal (part)||Nabin Nanda||BJD*|
|56||Hindol||SC||Hindol, Odapada||Smt. Anjali Behera||BJD|
|57||Kamakhyanagar||None||Kamakhyanagar (NAC), Bhuban (NAC), Bhuban, Kamakhyanagar (part), Dhenkanal (part)||Prafulla Kumar Mallik||BJD|
|58||Parjanga||None||Parjanga, Kankadahad, Kamakhyanagar (part)||Nrushingha Sahu||BJD|
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|Anugul district||Jajapur district|