Tourist attractions in Kalahandi district
Bhawanipatna is classified as one of the major tourist destinations by the tourism Department of Government of Odisha. All the tourist attraction in Kalahandi region comes under Bhawanipatna jurisdiction. Though tourist potential of Kalahandi has not been exploited optimally due to poor marketing, political negligence and infrastructure development, the land is very rich in terms of water fall, forest and wild life, natural and scenic beauty, tribal life, mountains, agriculture field, historical sites and handicrafts. The best time to visit Kalahandi region is from October to March. April–June is hard Summer and the mercury may rise to 45 degree C and June to August is the Monsoon Season. It occasionally rains in September, but do not miss the great festival like Nuakhai in September and Dassara in end of September or early October. Beginning of Dessara marks the pleasant weather condition till the celebration of Chaitra in February/March.
The history of Kalahandi goes back to the primitive period where a well-civilized, urbanized and cultured people inhabited on this land mass around 2000 years ago. The world's largest celt of Stone Age and the largest cemetery of the megalithic age have been discovered in Kalahandi – this shows the region had cradle of civilization since the pre-historic era. Asurgarh near Narla in Kalahandi was one of the oldest metropolises in Odisha whereas the other one was Sisupalgarh near Bhubaneswar. Some other historical forts in the region includes Budhigarh (ancient period), Amthagarh (ancient period), Belkhandi (ancient to medieval period) and Dadpur-Jajjaldeypur (medieval period). In ancient history this kingdom was serving as salt route to link between ancient Kalinga and South Kosala. This land was unconquered by the great Ashoka, who fought the great Kalinga War, as per Ashokan record. In medieval period the region had played a prominent role to link South India, Eastern India and Central India region and witnessed the battle ground for Somavansi, Chola, Kalachuris of Kalyani and Eastern Ganga dynasty. Kalahandi region was the main route for Chola to attack Subarnapur of South Kosal.
The history of Kalahandi is rich in terms of contribution towards the Indian culture and temple architecture. Temple of Goddess Stambeswari at Asurgarh, built during 500 AD, is a perfect example where the first brick Temple in Eastern India was built. Sanskritization in Odisha was first started from Kalahandi, Koraput region, ancient Mahakantara region. Earliest flat-roofed stone temple of Odisha was built at Mohangiri in Kalahandi during 600 AD. Temple architecture achieved perfection at Belkhandi in Kalahandi and then traversed to Ekamra, present Bhubaneswar, along with the political expansion of the Somavamsis during the 1000–1100 AD.
The distribution and occurrence of precious and semi-precious gemstones and other commercial commodities of Kalahandi region have found place in accounts of Panini (5th century BC), Kautilya (3rd century BC), Ptolemy (2nd century AD), Wuang Chuang (7th century AD) and Travenier (19th century). Present name Kalahandi finds mention for the first time in the Junagarh Dadhivaman temple inscription issued from Kalahandinagara by Maharaja Jugasai Dev in A. D. 1718... The region was known as various names in different period of time such as Kantara, Mahakantara, Titilaka Janapada, Atavi Land, Chakrakota Mandala, Kamala Mandala and Karonda Mandal. It was also part of South Kosal and Trikalinga. It was a feudatory under Eastern Ganga dynasty, Gadajat under Maratha and Princely State under British rule in India. After independence of India, in 1948, Kalahandi joined Indian Union and became a part of Odisha state. However, in post independence period the name Kalahandi got associated with backwardness despite its rich history, culture, art, craft and agriculture & forest resources.
Topography and culture
The topography of Kalahandi consists of plain land, hills & mountains. Kalahandi is surrounded by hills with its border with other districts in the South and East, whereas large part of its land in North and West is primarily agricultural and plain land. Over one third of tKalahandi is covered with dense jungle forest and one third of the population is tribal. Thus, Kalahandi is a rich land in terms of culture and festivals. Since it is a melting point of South Odisha and Western Odisha with a substantial tribal population, those living in hills as well as plain land, their different culture, tradition, languages and belief along with mainstream Hindu culture have made Kalahandi region rich with culture and festivals. In pre-independence period Kalahandi was largely inspired to Saivaism, Vaishanivism and Shakti puja. Shakti Puja is largely accepted among tribal, perhaps due to which Kalahandi was well known for celebrating Shati Puja. However, affect induction of Kalahandi as part of Odisha state, dominance of coastal Odisha culture in the state is increasingly influencing the local culture. Celebration of Rathajatra and construction of Jaggannath temple in Kalahandi has been increasingly realized unlike in old days of Radha Krishna temple.
Transportation and hospitality
For transportation to Kalahandi, the nearest airport is located in Raipur (200–250 km) having daily flights to majority of the cities in India. Kalahandi can be reached from Raipur via Nuapada or Dharamgarh. Vishakhapatnam airport is located in 300 km and Bhubaneswar airport in 450 km. Kesinga is the gateway of Kalahandi for rail connectivity. It is directly linked with most of the major cities in India, such as Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam, Raipur, Nagpur, Ahemadabad etc. by rail. The train connection to Bhawanipatna and Junagarh is getting operational via Lanjigarh road. National Highway 26 and 27 pass though Kalahandi. Luxury night buses are available to Bhubaneswar, Katak, Raipur, Visakhapatnam, Sambalpur and Rourkela from Bhawanipatna, Dharamgarh, Jaipatna, Junagarh, Kesinga, Koksara, etc. Accommodation and hotels are available in Bhawanipatna, Dharamgarh, Junagarh and Kesinga.
Indravati Lake in Mukhiguda, Jaipatna
Phurli Jharan, Bhawanipatna
Urladani, Madanpur Rampur
Dumri Jhulla, Karlapat
Kamla Jharan, Karlapat
Ghumar, Thuamul Rampur
Sindher, Thuamul Rampur
Mardiguda, Thuamul Rampur: Origin of Indravati river under the Mango tree
Dhoben Chanchra, Sagada, Bhawanipatna
Ampani (sometime referred as Ambapani in Oriya)
Chora Dangar or Chura Pahad
An ancient fort
An ancient fort, a civilisation about 2000 years old, it is located in Narla and 30 km from Bhawanipatna
12th century monuments
Old city, centuries old Manikeswari Temple, Royal Palace
Shiva Temple and Foot Print of Bhima
Old Radhakrushna Temple, Paradeswar Temple
Ancient caves and painting
An old town, Century old temples, Lankeswari Temple, Dadhibamana Temple, Kanakdurga Temple, Fort Kusurla and Sapagarand
Oldest temple in Odisha, 6th century Shiva Temple
Chhatar Jatra in Bhawanipatna
Khandabasa in Junagarh
Chaitra or Ghanta Jatra in Dharamgarh
Pora Uansh (or Pura Uansha)
Budharaja Jatra in Ampani
Pat Jatra, Luhabahal in Jaipatna
Nagabom (Shivaratri) in Dharamgarh
Shivaratri in Mohangiri, M.Rampur
Talgud Jatra at Talgud(Mukhiguda)
Arts and Crafts
Wood Craft in Khairpadar
Bamboo Craft in Narla
Stone Work in Ampani
Handicraft in Habaspur
Handicraft in Chichiguda
The village has some fortifications with a large moat around. It contains the temples of Gopinath and a female Deity called "Dokari" greatly revered in the area. The local Jhami Yatra or Jhamu Yatra in the month of Chaitra (March–April) is an occasion when thousands of people gathered and witness the walking on burning charcoal by a number of devotees,