|— Municipality —|
|Budharaja Temple, Hirakud, Gandhi Temple, Sitalsasthi Carnival, Samaleswari Temple.|
|Nickname(s): Hand Loom City|
|Elevation||135 m (443 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||OD 15|
Sambalpur ( pronunciation (help·info); also pronounced Samalpur) in the eastern state of Odisha, is the second largest city by population in Western Odisha and is the district headquarter of Sambalpur district.
Sambalpur is the seat of Sambalpur Metropolitan Area which consists of Hirakud and Burla. The administrative entity for most of the city is Sambalpur Municipality which has 1,83,383 inhabitants in thirty different wards as per the 2011 census. Hirakud and Burla are the two different Notified Area Councils of Sambalpur Metropolitan Area. The total population of Sambalpur Metropolitan Area is 2,69,565. In the year 1883, Sambalpur was established as a municipality. Along with Hirakud and Burla, Sambalpur is the region's economic and education hub. The city contains many historic buildings and parks, and is also the commercial capital of Western Odisha. In 1967 a university was established at Burla, known as Sambalpur University. Hirakud Dam, the longest earthen dam in the world and the largest artificial lake of Asia is situated at Hirakud.
After independence of India, many commercial and government establishments sprung up around Sambalpur making it the communication and administrative hub of Western Odisha. Sambalpur is a prime railway junction in Odisha with the headquarters of Sambalpur Railway Division located at this place, it connects the rest of Orissa with western and northern India. National Highway 6, National Highway 42 and State Highway 10 pass through the city. Sambalpur is also the headquarters of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited since 1992, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. Sambalpur is famous for Hirakud Dam, Sambalpuri Saree, Sambalpuri songs, Sambalpuri Dance, the Sitalsasthi Carnival, and Gandhi temple.
The King of Sambalpur Veer Surendra Sai, played a very important role in the freedom struggle of India which is still unrecognised. He led a revolution against the British East India Company even before Mangal Pandey in 1857. In 1849 Sambalpur came under the British rule by the application of Doctrine of lapse. Sambalpur has its own unique identity in-terms of its language, dress(Sari), dance, cuisine, culture, festivals, temples, heritage, songs, drama and music. This uniqueness has been there since centuries and its time tested aroma can be savoured in its daily life.
Sambalpur derives its name from that of the Goddess Samalei (Oriya: ସମଲେଇ ଠାକୁରାଣୀ), who is regarded as the reigning deity of the region. The region in which Sambalpur city is located was also known as Hirakhanda from ancient times. In history, it has also been known as 'Sambalaka'. Claudius Ptolemy has described the place as "Sambalak". According to Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the French traveller, and Edward Gibbon, the English historian, diamonds were exported to Rome from Sambalpur.
The history of Sambalpur, as depicted by eminent historians, is full of events including Indian freedom struggle representing the different sections of society. Since Sambalpur is one of the ancient places of India, which survived even in the prehistoric age and holds a very important place in the history of Odisha and India.
Sambalpur is mentioned in the book of Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) as Sambalaka on the left bank of river "Manada", now known as Mahanadi, other evidence are available from the records of Xuanzang, and in the writings of the celebrated King Indrabhuti of Sambalaka of Odra Desha or Oddiyan (oldest known king of Sambalpur), the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Lama cult. He has written the book Jñānasiddhi.
Kalapahad was the title of an Iconoclast Muslim general of Mughal governor Sultan Sulaiman Karrani of Bengal. According to some historical documents he was either, Rajiv Lochan Ray, an Oriya convert to Islam or a Pashtun from Afghanistan. After conversion to Islam he took a Muslim name but is popularly know as Kalapahad. He was instrumental in conquering Odisha for Mughal Empire. Kalapahad was buried in Sambalpur. Large number of tombs believed to be those of the dead soldiers of Kalapahar are also located in a mango grove near Samaleswari College building on the bank of river Mahanadi in Odisha. The tomb of Kalapahad and the graves of his soldiers were destroyed in 2006 by Hindu extremists.
French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier (1605–1689) in his travel account “Six Voyages en Turquie, en Perse et aux Indes (1676–77)” translated into English by Valentine Ball as “Travels in India” (2d ed., 2 vol., 1925) wrote about the numerous famous diamond mines of Sumelpur (Semelpur), the present day Sambalpur. He states that, 8,000 people were at work in these mines at the time of his visit, in the dry season at the beginning of February.
In 1540 A.D., the kingdom of "Patna", ruled by the Chauhan dynasty was bifurcated. Southern portion of river Ang was ruled by "Narasingh Deb" and his brother "Balaram Deb" received northern part of the river, known as kingdom of "Huma" . Balaram Deb established his new capital at Sambalpur. Sambalpur was ruled by the Chauhan dynasty till 1800. The kingdom of Sambalpur was also known as Hirakhand and Sambalpur was its capital.
Sambalpur came under the Bhonsle of Nagpur when the Maratha conquered Sambalpur in 1800. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1817, the British Government returned Sambalpur to the Chauhan king, Jayant Singh but his authority over the other princely states were taken out.
When the last ruler of Sambalpur, 'Narayan Singh', died in 1849 without a direct male heir, the British seized the state under the Doctrine of Lapse. Sambalpur was kept under "South west Frontier Agency" with headquarters at Ranchi. The official language of this region at that time was Hindi. "South west Frontier Agency" was renamed ‘Chhota Nagpur Division’ in 1854. The name of Veer Surendra Sai, who fought against the British Rule, is recorded in golden letters in the history of India's struggle for independence. During the Sepoy Mutiny in July 1857 the mutineers broke open the prison at Hazaribagh, where Veer Surendra Sai was imprisoned and released all the prisoners. veer Surendra Sai fought against the British after reaching Sambalpur. There was no mutiny in Cuttack division, so Sambalpur was transferred to Cuttack division in 1858 and Oriya was made the official language of Sambalpur. Sambalpur along with other princely states of Western Odisha was included in the newly created Chhattisgarhdivision of Central Province in 1862. In January 1896, Hindi was made official language of Sambalpur. During the partition of Bengal in 1905 Sambalpur and the adjacent Sambalpuri speaking tracts were amalgamated with the Odisha Division under Bengal Presidency. Bengal's Odisha division became part of the new province of Bihar and Odisha in 1912, and in April 1936 became the separate province of Odisha. After Indian Independence on August 15, 1947, Odisha became an Indian state. The rulers of the princely states of Western Odisha acceded to the Government of India in January 1948 and became part of Odisha state.
1825 to 1827, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert (1785–1853), later Lieutenant General Sir Walter Gilbert, 1st Baronet, G.C.B., was the Political Agent for the South West Frontier with headquarters at Sambalpur. He made few paintings during his stay at Sambalpur by an unknown artist which are currently with the British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum.
Vajrayana Buddhism 
Although it is generally accepted that Tantric Buddhism first developed in the country of Uddiyana or Odra Desha under King Indrabhuti, there is an old and well known scholarly dispute as to whether Uddiyana or Odra was in the Swat valley, Odisha or some other place.
Indrabhuti, the oldest known king of Sambalpur founded Vajrayana while his sister who was married to Yuvaraja Jalendra of Lankapuri (Suvarnapur) founded Sahajayana. These new Tantric cults of Buddhism introduced Mantra, Mudra and Mandala along with six Tantric Abhicharas (practices) such as Marana, Stambhana, Sammohana, Vidvesan, Uchchatana and Vajikarana. The Tantric Buddhist sects made efforts to raise the dignity of the lowest of the low of the society to a higher plane. It revived primitive beliefs and practices a simpler and less formal approach to the personal god, a liberal and respectful attitude towards women and denial of caste system.
From the seventh century A.D. onwards many popular religious elements of heterogeneous nature were incorporated into Mahayana Buddhism which finally resulted in the origin of Vajrayana, Kalachakrayana and Sahajayana Tantric Buddhism. Tantric Buddhism first developed in Uddiyana, a country which was divided into two kingdoms Sambhala and Lankapuri. Sambhala has been identified with Sambalpur and Lankapuri with Subarnapura (Sonepur).
Kalki Avatar and Sambalpur 
Kalachakra tantra was first taught by the Buddha to King Indrabhuti, the first dharmaraja of Shambhala. It is widely believed that the next Hindu Avatar known as Kalki will take birth at Sambalpur or Shambhala as this place was known in olden times. There are several mentions of the place Shambhala in different Hindu and Buddhist religious texts as the birthplace of Kalki. The Mahabharatra (Vana Parva, 190.93-97) and Srimad-Bhagavatam Bhag.12.2.18 give reference of Shambhala as the birthplace.
Geography and climate 
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Sambalpur is located at 21°.27' North Latitude and 83°.58' East Longitude. The average elevation is 150.75 meters above the mean sea level. Sambalpur falls under the Zone-3 seismic number, which shows the possibility of an earthquake.
Sambalpur lies on the bank of river Mahanadi. The river flows to the west of the city and separates Burla from Sambalpur and Hirakud. The Hirakud Dam lies upstream of Sambalpur. Budharaja is a small reserve forest located within the city. Sambalpur experiences extreme type of climate with hot and dry Summer followed by humid Monsoon and cold Winter. The hot season commences from 1st week of March and lasts till the second half of June. In the month of May, temperature rises up to 47°. Similarly in the month of December, the temperature comes down to 5°C. Sambalpur gets rainfall from South Western monsoon. The most pleasant months in Sambalpur are from October to February, during which time the humidity and heat are at their lowest. During this period, temperatures during the day stay below 30 °C (86 °F) and drop to about 20 °C (68 °F) at night. This season is soon followed by a hot summer, from March to May. The summer gives way to the monsoon season. Since 1982 as per the data available with District Emergency section, Sambalpur, there has not been a single occurrence of cyclone in Sambalpur. There are possibilities of strong winds with the speed of 53 km/ph before on set of monsoon. The relative humidity is high during rainy season being generally over 75%. After rainy season the humidity gradually decreases and the weather becomes dry towards the winter. The best time to visit Sambalpur is between September to March. Heaviest ever recorded rainfall is 581.9 mm in Sambalpur in 1982 which was the highest ever in Odisha till September 2010. The areas of the Sambalpur town on Mahanadi river sides/low-lying areas are flood prone.
Sambalpur has a well networked transport facility for commercial and public transportation. Buses depart from the Bus Terminal to Jharsuguda at every 10 minutes and to Bargarh at every 15 minutes. The Bus Terminal is located at Ainthapali. Rourkela-Sambalpur State Highway-10 is presently being upgraded from a two lane highway to four lane and even six lanes where it is necessary. An estimated amount of Rs. 1270 crores is to be spent on this upgradation and it is planned in such a way that by 2017 it will have the capacity to handle 49,000 vehicles everyday.
There are four railway stations in Sambalpur, namely Sambalpur (Khetrajpur), Sambalpur Road (Fatak), Hirakud and Sambalpur City. Sambalpur City station is located on the Bhubaneswar-Jharsuguda rail line, while rest three stations are located on the Jharsuguda-Bargarh rail line. There are direct train connections to all the metros and prominent cities across India. It lacks direct connectivity to Indore, Dehradun, Lucknow and Guwahati.
Sambalpur city is governed by Municipality which comes under Sambalpur Metropolitan Area. As of 2011[update] India census, Although Sambalpur city has population of 183,383; its urban / metropolitan population is 269,575 of which 138,826 are males and 130,749 are females  which includes Burla and Hirakud. Sambalpur has an average literacy rate of 85.69% of which male and female literacy was 90.30 and 80.92 percent. Sex ratio is 942 and child sex ratio is 882. Total children (0-6) in Sambalpur city are 18,555 as per figure from Census India report on 2011. There were 9,857 boys while 8,698 are girls.
Sambalpur is ethnically very diverse with about 14 communities like Brahmin, karan, teli (oil extractors), gour (milkmen), guria (maker of sweetmeat and pastries), agaria (industrious cultivators), sunari (goldsmith), kultas (cultivators), kewat (boatmen and fisherman), dhobi (washermen), kuli (weaver), bhandari (barber), kamar (blacksmith) ganda (pipers and drummers) and as well as large population of Muslims(Muslims), Sikhs(Sikhs) and Christians (Christians) cohabiting together.
Language spoken 
The economy of Sambalpur is basically dependent on trade. Majority of the residents are either salaried or self-employed. Forest products play an important role in the economy in terms of contribution to revenue and domestic product. Kendu leaf or Coromandel Ebony or East Indian Ebony (Diospyros melanoxylon) also forms part of the economy of Sambalpur with many bidi manufacturing units functioning in Sambalpur. Gole Bazaar is the main merchandising area of the city. It is famous for handloom and other textile products. Other merchandising areas are Khetrajpur, Fatak, V.S.S. marg and Budharaja.
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited located at Sambalpur produced 100.28 Million Tonnes coal and had a Profit Before Tax during the year 2010-2011 at Rs 4039.30 crore. The Hirakud smelter, set up by Indal in 1959 at Hirakud, was the country’s second aluminium smelter operating on grid power sourced from the hydro power station of the Hirakud Dam. It was the first in India to adopt clean coal combustion technology that uses a circulating fluidised bed, which is considered environmentally friendly. Currently the smelter has a capacity of 213,000 tpa, it provides employment to around 1700 persons.
The pre-collegiate medium of instruction in schools is predominantly English and Oriya, and medium of instruction in educational institutions after matriculation in colleges is English. Additionally, other media of instruction exist in Sambalpur. Schools and colleges in Sambalpur are either government-run or run by private trusts and individuals. The schools are affiliated with either the Orissa State Board under BSE or CHSE, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE). After completing 10 years of schooling in secondary education, students enroll in Higher Secondary School, specialising in one of the three streams – Arts, Commerce or Science. Since the 2000s, there have been a large number of professional institutions established in a variety of fields. The earliest schools established in Sambalpur were the CSB Zilla School (1852) and the Lady Lewis Girls High School (1942). The VSS Medical College was established in 1959 and VSSUT in 1956. High School for Blind(1972) and High School for Deaf & Dumb(1972), Burla are Govt. educational institutions imparting education to physically challenged children.
Sambalpur Kala Parishad is the pioneering organisation for the promotion of Sambalpuri dance, has been responsible for the revolutionary growth of this dance. It imparts education and training on this form of dance. Sambalpur Football Academy, Pitapali, this institution imparts football training to specially selected players with free boarding and schooling. The campus is located on the periphery of the left dyke of the Hirakud Dam.
Sambalpur is having one of the best facilities for education in the state with many schools and universities. Popular educational institutions in the city are Gangadhar Meher College (Autonomous), Sambalpur , Women's College, NSCB College, Lajpat Rai Law College, Silicon Institute of Technology, Delhi Public School, Central School, St Joshep Convent School, Iqra Public School, Darul Uloom Tajul Madaris, Sri Aurobindo School (SAIIE&R) and DAV Public School.
Sambalpur Lok Mahotsav 
A cultural manifestation of the hidden age-old traditional performing art of a vast geographical area is possible through this annual celebration of the festival in the name of” Lok Mahotsav”. This festival is by the people, for the people, of the people & a reflection of the socio- anthropological evolution of the people of an area. Here “Lok” means “People” only.
Sitalsasthi Carnival 
It is the marriage ceremony of lord Siva & god Parvati. Sitalsasthi is a carnival of folk dance and music along with decorated stands of Gods and Goddesses. People from all walks of life participate in large numbers in the carnival. Artists from different states of India take part in the carnival making it a colourful extravaganza.
Sambalpur has a distinct identity in India in terms of the festivals celebrated here, apart from the regular festivals celebrated across India the following festivals are especially celebrated at Sambalpur.
This is the most important social festival of Sambalpur. Generally it takes place during the month of August and September. Preliminary preparation of the festival starts 15 days before the occasion. The first grains of the paddy crop, cooked into various dishes are offered to the deities. There after the eldest member of the family distributes new rice to other members of the family. All the household articles are cleaned. People greet each other. It is a community festival celebrated by every Hindu family.
It is mostly celebrated in the region Kosal. Bhai-juntia festival is celebrated on the Mahastami Day of Durga Puja. It is a total fasting undertaken by women without water for the whole day and night to seek Goddess Durga's blessing for the long life of their brothers.
It is another fasting puja of similar austerity for women of the area. The Puo-juntia festival is observed by mothers to invoke the grace of Lord Dutibahana for the long life and prosperity of their sons.
Shiva Ratri mela at Huma attracts a large numbers of devotees. Ratha Yatra is held at almost all central places of Sambalpur. On the occasion of Makara Jatra, a fair is held at Themra in Sambalpur.
Eid Milad un Nabi 
It is celebrated by Muslim brothers on the eve of bith of Muhammad. The festival is observed by peaceful procession which passes through the lanes of this city to express solidarity among the Indian citizen .
Sambalpur retains its classic sleepy charm, even in the face of rapid, albeit unplanned expansion and a deluge of retail establishments. Some of the houses along the old part of Sambalpur are still maintained, and used, like they were, a century ago. A peculiar way the houses in the older parts of town are arranged is, the gulli system, literally, mazeway. Houses in Patnaikpara, Nandpara, and along the parallel streets of Sansadak and Badsadak are examples of the above.
The architecture in the district attracts people from all over because of its unique designs. The important historical relics in the district of Sambalpur are the temples built by the Chauhan rulers. The splendour of Odisha art and architecture had reached its climax in 13th century much before the advent of the Chauhans into Sambalpur region.
The Pataneswari temple of Sambalpur was built by Balaram Dev, the first Chauhan ruler of Sambalpur in the last part of 16th century. It consists of a sanctum with an enclosed circular count. The Pataneswari Deity is the temple of Goddess Kali.
The Samaleswari temple in the town represents the finest Chauhan style of circumvallation round the sanctum. The image of Samalei is a unique sculpture and appears to be a primitive deity worshipped by the local people. However, Samalei or Samaleswari is the tutelary deity of Chauhan dynasty of this area (Pasayat, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008).
The Paltan Masjid of Sambalpur was built by regiment of Tipu Sultan of Mysore after their resettlement at Sambalpur by the British India. The Mosques is a show peace of excellent Persian Arts and culture. More over it accommodates the holy hair of prophet Muhammad in its premises a noteworthy to be visited to invoke blessing of Prophet Muhammad.
The world famous Hirakud Dam built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in 1956 is a major tourist attraction. The dam is the world's largest earthen dam  and is one of the longest dams in the world, about 16 mi (26 km) in length. It also forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia, with a reservoir holding 743 km² at full capacity with a shoreline of over 640 km. It also attracts a large number of migratory birds in winters. The Leaning Temple of Huma located about 25 km from Sambalpur built in the 17th century leans at an approximate angle of 47 degrees to the west. (Pasayat, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). Which is one of a kind in India. Samaleswari Temple is the main temple of Goddess Samaleswari, located on the banks of river Mahanadi. Sambalpur owes its name to her. Chiplima  (Chipilima Hydro Electric Project (CHEP)) located about 37 km from Sambalpur, it is known for a natural fall(24.38 mts in height) harnessed for generating electricity. It is an ideal picnic spot and also known for harbouring “Ghanteswari”, the presiding deity of the place. Ghanteswari Temple played an important role for river navigation in the past. Earlier there were some large bells on this spot and with the help of wind those created enormous sound which made the navigators aware of this treacherous spot. This area being the conglomeration of three streams of water of the Mahanadi river, the water current here is very dangerous forming a whirlpool. Due to this many boats sunk while nearing this spot. Here the wind blows quite heavily which caused the bells to produce sound. After the construction of Hirakud Dam, this spot became safer. The specialty of this temple area is thousands of bells hanging everywhere. There is also the second Mahatma Gandhi temple situated at Bhatra(p.o.-Dhanupali).
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary 
The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands out from all the wildlife sanctuaries in the state in terms of sighting wild animals. One of the major reasons for this could be its proximity to the Hirakud dam as it provides a perfect water source host for the animals, birds and aquatic fauna of the sanctuary.“Apart from the animals already inhabiting the sanctuary, there are also migratory birds and they come to explore the nearly 150 km2 area of the Hirakud reservoir. As the dam is a standing water body, many varieties of diving ducks can be seen. Perhaps the sanctuary welcomes the largest number of diving ducks in winter compared to all the other sanctuaries in Orissa. Birds such as red crested pochard, great crested grebe are seen in large numbers. During 2008 there was a bird census and the sanctuary reported more than 32,000 winged-visitors.There are six eco-tourism cottages in the sanctuary at Barkhandia and each has all the facilities to accommodate a complete family or two adults. Most importantly, the tariff includes all meals.Permission for the entry into the sanctuary is available at the gates, but to stay in the eco-tourism cottages one has to get the DFO’s permission from the office in Sambalpur town after paying the fees.
Cattle Island 
Cattle Island exists in one of the extreme points of Hirakud Reservoir, a natural wonder. It is near Kumarbandh village of Belpahar-Banharpali range which is about 90 km from Sambalpur. The island is a submerged hill, and before the construction of Hirakud Dam it was a developed village. During the resettlement period, villagers left some of their cattle behind; when the dam construction was over, the cattle settled on the hilltop. With the passage of time the nearby area filled up with the reservoir water, turning the hilltop into an island. Being away from mankind, the cattle are now wild, very swift and not easily caught. Living on a hilltop with dense forest, they are larger than tame cattle, almost all of which are white in colour. Nearby residents attempt to capture these animals from time to time, but these hunts are rarely successful. Though descended from tame cattle, these animals provide a contrasting picture of this breed of animal returning to life in the wild. If the visit to this island is taken by a boat in the Hirakud reservoir it's an adventurous trip with some of the breathtaking views.
Sambalpur is part of Sambalpur (Lok Sabha constituency). Sitting MP from Sambalpur is Amarnath pradhan. Current MLA from Sambalpur Assembly Constituency is Jayanarayan Mishra of BJP, who won the seat in state elections in 2004 and 2000 also. Previous MLAs from this seat were Durgashankar Pattanaik of INC who won this seat in 1995 and 1990, Sraddhakar Supakar of INC in 1985, Ashwini Kumar Guru of INC(I) in 1980, and Jhasketan Sahoo of JNP in 1977.
Demand for Separate Kosal State 
Although the struggle for a separate State of Kosal is more than two decades old, a mass movement has emerged  in this area and majority of the people in this region are demanding a politically separate Kosal state by carving out 10 western districts from Odisha. The foremost argument being put forth in favour of a separate state is lack of development of the region. This movement has gained broader and detailed support of the local populace basically farmers and students. A regional political party Kosal Kranti Dal has been very active with this demand of a separate state and is the only political party till date supporting this demand.
See also 
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Pasayat, C. (2004), "Oral Tradition of Huma and Legitimisation of Chauhan Rule", The Odisha Historical Research Journal, Vol. XLVII, No.2, pp. 90–96.
Pasayat, C. (2004), "The Hindu Mode of Tribal Absorption and the State Formation during Medieval Period in Sambalpur", The Odisha Historical Research Journal, Vol. XLVII, No.3, pp. 83–89.
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