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Western Odisha((odia:ପଶ୍ଚିମ ଓଡ଼ିଶା))is a territory in western part of Odisha, India, extending from the Kalahandi district in the south to the Sundargarh district in the northwest. Western Odisha includes the districts of Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundargarh, and Athmallik Sub-division of Angul District. Many residence refer to Western Odisha as Kosal region as well.
Prior to the 5th century, Dakshin Kosal was one of the several names by which this region was known. It is a vast geographical area, exhibiting a great degree of cultural uniformity in terms of demography and life-style.
This geographical area is also recognised by state government of Odisha as the area under Western Odisha Development Council (WODC). The Sonepur, Balangir, Nuapada, and Kalahandi districts of this region are also part of the Kalahandi Balangir Koraput or "KBK" area, noted for its high death rate from starvation and poverty. The book Cultural Profile of South Kosal depicts the rich history and culture of Kosalanchal.
2 February is observed as the Western Odisha day.
- 1 History
- 2 Separate Kosal state movement
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Natural resources
- 5 Demographics
- 6 People
- 7 Sambalpuri drama
- 8 Art and culture
- 9 Terracotta
- 10 Festivals
- 11 The Sambalpuri saree
- 12 Traditional costumes of Sambalpuri women
- 13 Kosli cuisine or Western Odisha food
- 14 Education
- 15 Large structures and monuments
- 16 Major industries
- 17 Notable persons of Western Odisha
- 18 Tourist places of Western Odisha
- 19 References
- 20 External links
In the epic Ramayana, Western Odisha or Kosal region is described as a part of "Dandakaranya". During the period of conquest of Kalinga by emperor Ashoka, this area was known as Attabika, i.e. a region inhabited by people of forests and mountains. This region was part of Dakshina Kosala in ancient times.
- Soma Dynasty
Many small kingdoms, ruled by local chieftains, existed in ancient times, in what is now called Western Odisha. Tibardeb of the Soma dynasty, whose capital was at Sripur, in Chhattisgarh was the first ruler, who defeated all these chieftains and established a large kingdom in Dakhin Kosal comprising what is present day Chhattisgarh and Western Odisha. There upon, he used the title of "Kosaladhipati". He ruled in the 6th century. 'Janmejaya Mahabhab Gupta' became king in 640. He subsequently shifted his capital, first to ‘Binitpur’ (now known as Bin’ka) and then to "Son-pur" in Western Odisha. In the middle of the 10th century, Yayati, a king of the Soma dynasty of South Kosala, whose capital was at Sonpur, acquired control of Utkal and shifted his capital to Yayatinagar in Utkal region. There upon he kept Sonpur under a prince of his clan.
'Yasoraj', an army commander of 'Rajendra Chola' of the South, conquered Sonpur in 1040 and ruled Western Odisha. Four rulers of this dynasty ruled until 1110.
- Kalachuri Dynasty
Jajalla-deva, a ruler of the Kalachuri dynasty of Ratanpur, defeated the ruler of Sonpur and annexed it with his kingdom in 1110. It was under the Kalachuri rulers of Ratanpur (Now in Chhattisgarh state) from 1110 to 1238. Thus, South Kosal again remained as one unit. Both, eastern part of South Kosal (Western Odisha) and western part of South Kosal (Chhattisgarh) were united and ruled by the Kalachuri rulers of Ratanpur.
- Ganga Dynasty
- Chauhan Dynasty
'Ramai Deb' of the Chauhan dynasty established his kingdom in 1320 with his capital at 'Patnagarh' in present day's Balangir Dist, and virtually ruled independently. He used the title of " Hirakhand Nrupati".
In 15th century AD Narasingh Deva, the twelfth Raja of Patnagarh, ceded to his brother Balram Deva all the jungle country bounded on the North by the river Mahanadi, on the East by the river Tel, on the South by the Ang river, and on the west by the river Jonk. Balram Deva, who is regarded as the founder of the Sambalpur Raj, installed Samalai, the tutelary goddess of his family. The town thus established is the modern Sambalpur.
He defeated the rulers of Bamanda, Gangpur, Surguja and Ratanpur. The State founded by Balram Deva soon became the most powerful of all the Garhjat States, and the power of the Sambalpur chiefs steadily increased, while that of Patnagarh declined.
After the death of Narasingha Deb of Patnagarh in 1547, his son 'Hamir Deb' became king. He died in 1549. His son 'Pratap Deb' was only 7 years old, so the queen ruled in the name of his son. Taking advantage of this situation ministers started misruling. So, Balaram Deb sent his son 'Hridayanarayana Deb' to rule Patnagarh in 1550. Thus, Patnagarh became a subsidiary of Sambalpur. After death of Balaram Deb, Hridayanarayana Deb became ruler of Sambalpur and Pratap Deb was again made king of Patnagarh but Patnagarh remained under Sambalpur. Hirde Narayan Deva's successor, Balbhadra Sai (AD 1605–1630) occupied sonepur region from the Bhanja ruler and Baud accepted feudal superiority of Sambalpur. He settled his second son Madan Gopal in Sonepur.
Madhukar Sai, the eldest son of Balbhadra Sai succeeded to the Sambalpur Raj; and on his death it passed to Baliar Singh, whose suzerainty was acknowledged by the chiefs of the eighteen Garhjats, viz; Bamra, Gangpur, Bonai, Patna, Sonpur, Khariar, Raidehakhol, Raigarh, Sarangarh, Binda-Nuagarh, Sakti, Borasambar, Phuljhar, Baud, Athgarh, Panchgarh, Mayurbhanj, and Keonjhar. He was bestowed with the title of Hirakhand Chhatrapati Maharaj, that is, the great lord of the country of diamonds.
- Maratha Rule
This kingdom lost its independence to the Maratha Bhonsla of Nagpur in 1800 AD. The Raja, Jainth Singh, and his son, Maharaj Sai, were captured and sent as prisoners to Chanda, the Maratha stronghold near Nagpur. In 1803 AD, Raghuji Bhonsla, Raja of Nagpur ceded this land to the British under the treaty of Deogaon. Sambalpur along with all feudal states didn't remain long under the British suzerainty, in 1805 it was gratuitously restored to Raghuji Bhonsla again.
- British Rule
In 1817, the Sambalpur State again came under British suzerainty, when the fourth Maratha war broke out. Raja Jainth Singh was restored to power again in Sambalpur in that year but he died in 1818, and the country was then administered by the British for a year.
Maharja Sai, the son of Jainth Singh, was made Raja in 1820, though without the feudal superiority which the former Rajas had held over the other Garhjats. He died in 1827 AD. Separate sanands were granted to all the chiefs of Garhjats in 1821 AD by the British and thereafter all the Garhjats enjoyed semi-independent status under British by paying annual tributes, till 1948 AD when they were merged into Independent India.
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. "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 Surendra Sai was imprisoned and released all the prisoners. Surendra Sai fought against the British after reaching Sambalpur.
In 1860 AD, Sambalpur was temporarily transferred to the Odisha Division of Bengal to subdue the rebellion led by Veer Surendra Sai.
By a notification of 30 April 1862 it was made over to the newly constituted Central Provinces. Sambalpur along with other princely states of Western Odisha was included in the newly created Chhattisgarh division of Central Province in 1862.
In January 1896, Hindi was made official language of Sambalpur district. For the people of Western Odisha, whose mother tongue is Sambalpuri. Oriya was re-introduced as the official language of Sambalpur district in 1903 but they demanded amalgamation with Odisha Division as a solution of the language crisis. This suited Lord Curzon, Sir Andrew Fraser and Mr. Risley, who were bent upon dividing Bengal on the basis of religion, so that British rule could continue in India. So the demand of amalgamation was accepted by the British Government during the partition of Bengal in 1905 when 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 on 1 April 1936 became the separate province of Odisha.
After Indian Independence on 15 August 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.
Separate Kosal state movement
People of Western Odisha mainly intelligentsia, members of political parties, and various social organisations, are demanding the creation of a separate Kosal state, comprising the western part of the State of Odisha. The area of the proposed Kosal state is more than 50,000 km2, which is comparable to the areas of Kerala (33,883 km2), Haryana (44,212 km2), Punjab (50,362 km2), Uttranchal (53,483 km2) and Himachal (55,673 km2). The movement is ongoing with the involvement of political parties and various groups of intellectuals.
Geography and climate
Geographically, this tract of land is mostly mountainous and hilly, interspersed with rivers and valleys. Rivers Mahanadi and Brahmani are the major rivers flowing through Kosal region. Tributaries of river Mahanadi that flow through this region are Ib, Jeera, Ang and Tel. Western Odisha has many mountains, chief mountain peaks among them are Bankasam (1275 metres), Tangri Donger (1229 metres), Baphlimali (1220 metres), Karlapat plateau (1213 metres) in Kalahandi district, Champaghara (1257 metres), Murali soru (1223 metres), Doda soru (1157 metres) in Kandhamal district, Nrusinghnath (786 metres) in Bargarh district, Debrigarh (680 metres) in Sambalpur district, Badpati of Loisingha (690 metres) in Balangir district, Mankadnacha of Bonai (1090 metres) in Sundargarh district, Katpar of Khariar (970 metres) in Nuapada district. Some natural falls of Western Odisha are Khandadhar (369 metres) in Sundagarh district, Pradhanpat in Deogarh district, Nrusinghnath (75 metres) in Bargarh district, Phurli jharan (16 metres) in Kalahandi district, Harishankar in Balangir district etc. Nearly 50% of the area of Western Odisha is covered by forest. Highest forest coverage is in Kandhamal district, which is nearly 70%. Main forest products are Kendu leaf, Bamboo, Timber and Firewood.
Climate - The floral diversity and topographical variety ensure the experience of all the six seasons in this area. Western Odisha experiences five seasons prominently, namely, Summer, Rainy, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Spring season is short lived. Summer season is generally from 1 April to end of June. During summer season the climate is generally very hot and dry. In the month of May, mercury shoots above 45 °C in places like Titilagarh in Balangir district, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district. In other areas of Western Odisha, highest day temperature remains between 40 °C and 45 °C. Rainy season is in the month of July and August, during which, the area experiences moderate rainfall, which varies from 115 to 145 cm from place to place. In winter season, which is generally in the months of December and January, minimum temperature comes down to 4 °C in places like Daringbadi in Kandhamal district and Tensa in Sundargarh district. Sometimes, these two places experiences mild snowfall during night. Other areas remain moderately cold, with minimum temperature varying from 9 °C to 15 °C. In the last few decades, western Odisha has suffered from repeated drought. and it is considered the poorest region in India.
Kosal region is rich with minerals. Iron ore is available in plenty at Tensa and Barsuan in Sundargarh district, Bauxite is available in Niyamgiri and Karlapat in Kalahandi district, Gandhamardan in Bargarh district, Khariar in Nuapada district and Baphlimali in Rayagada distinct. Coal is available in Himgir in Sundargarh district and Rampur in Jharsuguda district. Dolomite is available at Dubulabera and Kangorama in Sambalpur district and Lephripada in Sundargarh district. Graphite is available at Patnagarh and Titilagarh in Balangir district. Manganese ore is available in Nuapada and Balangir district. Fireclay is available at Belpahar in Jharsuguda district, Gandawara in Sambalpur district and some places of Sundargarh district. Precious stone deposits are found in Balangir and Kalahandi districts. There was a time when Western Odisha was abundant with gems and jungle. Hence, the region is also described in literature as "Ratna Garbhaa Mahaaranya".
|District||District Headquarters||Area (km2.)||Population 1991 Census||Population 2001 Census|
Western Odisha contains 24.34% of the total population of the Odisha state. Tribal populations comprise 40% of Western Odisha's total population. The Aghrias, a community from north-western Uttar Pradesh, make up close to 10% of the population in the area. 23.38% of Odisha's Scheduled Caste population and 33.9% of its Scheduled Tribe population reside in this region. The area supports 29.75% of the Odisha state's economically backward people, 25.8% of its cultivators, 27.52% of its agricultural labourers, 32.18% of its household industrial workers, 25.36% of its workers overall, 30.54% of its marginal workers and 22.87% of its non-workers.
The following seven of these castes are numerically important, as they constitute 96.6 per cent of the total scheduled caste population in the Western Odisha region.
List of SC present in the Kosal region other than the list above :-
Adi Andhra, Amant or Amat, Badaik, Bagheti, Bajikar, Bauri, Beldar, Bhata, Bhoi, Chakali, Chandala, Dandasi, Dewar, Dhanwar, Ghantarghada or Ghantra, Ghogia, Godra, Hadi, Jaggali, Kandra, Karua, Khadala, Kurunga, Laban, Laheri, Mala, mang, Mangan, Mundapotta, Paidi, Pano, Panika, Pantanti, Pap, Relli, Samasi, Sanei, Sidhria, Sindhuria, Siyal, Tamadia, Tanla, Tior.
Some of the castes above are now extinct (i.e. Bhata, Dandasi, Godra, Mala, Relli, Mundapotta, Paidi)
There are around 31 scheduled tribes in Kosal region. The following 8 tribes which are numerically important consists 97 per cent of the total tribal population
List of ST present in the Kosal region other than the list above :-
Bagata, Banjara or Banjari, Bhuyan, Bhumij, Binjhia or Binjhoa, Dal, Dharua, Gandia, Gond, Ho, Holva, Kawar, Kharia or Kharian, Kolha, Kondadora, Kora, Korua, Kutia, Kulis, Mahali, Mankidi, Oraon, Santhal, Tharua.
Out of the above list the Bagata cast is now extinct.
Besides the SC/ST there are a few castes which are regarded as belonging to other backward classes. Below is the list of OBC's in Kosal region
- Gauḍa brahmins or Yadav
- Kuilta or Kulta
Besides the SC/ST and OBC, General Castes are the other castes who constitute a sizable number in the total population of Kosal region
- Bhukha produced and directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra - 1989 Jury International Award Gijón International Film Festival
- Ulugulan - 2010
- Samiya'r Khel - 2011
- Salaa Budha - (directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra)
- Aadim Bichar (directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra ) won National Award 2015
Art and culture
Kosalanchal is culturally influenced by several different cults and religions. Its history dates back to the Mahabharat and Buddhist period. Folk songs and dances of this area have been revived and recognized during the last quarter century, including Danda (Danda Yatra and Danda Nata), which is considered to be one of the oldest forms of variety entertainment in India, to the modern "Krushnaguru Bhajan", a type of folk lyrics and songs. Sambalpuri language songs are quite popular throughout Odisha. Some hits include Rangabati, Ekda Ekda, Dalkhai, and Panbala Babu.
Songs and dances
Main Article: Folk dance forms of Odisha
Children's verses are known as Chhiollai, Humobauli and Dauligit. Adolescent's poems are Sajani, Chhata, Daika, Bhekani. The eternal youth composes Rasarkeli, Jaiphul, Maila Jada, Bayamana, Gunchikuta, and Dalkhai. The working man's poetry includes Karma and Jhumer, pertaining to Lord Vishwakarma and the Karamashani goddess. Professional entertainers perform Dand,Danggada, Mudgada, Ghumra, Sadhana, Sabar or Sabaren, Disdigo, Nachina or Bajnia, Samparda, and Sanchar. These are for any occasion, with varieties of rhythm and rhyme.
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Folk musical instruments
There is a dizzying array of folk musical instruments in vogue in Western Odisha. Some of these are as follows: dhulak, pakhoj, dugitabla, mridanga, mardal, nalbaja, dhapada, timkidi, nagara, behela, khanjani, dhapli, muhuri, bansi, Singh-Kahali Bir-Kahali, ghulghula, ghunguru, kendera, khadkhadi, ektara, ghumra, gini, kathi, jhanj, dhol, madal, nishan and tasha.
Of these, the dhol, madal, nishan and tasha are the four oldest unmodified percussion instruments. These four have been used and combined in almost all types of folk songs. The dhol is the oldest instrument of this region and the easiest to construct. The madal is the second oldest, showing craftsmanship and research. A nishan is a miniature nagara, which is carried over the shoulder or around the waist of the dancer while dancing.
Rangabati is a modern composed song inspired by folk music, written about 1975, which enjoyed international popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. It was sung by Jitendra Haripal and Krishna Patel. The music was composed by Prabhudutta Pradhan and the lyrics by Mitrabhanu Gauntia. The song was recorded and broadcast by All India Radio, Sambalpur
Indoor games of Kosal
Indoor game playing in Western Odisha has waned and many of the games formerly played are now extinct, though the following two games are still played, albeit only by some of the tribal villagers, and these two are also on the verge of extinction.
- Chhaka is an indoor game popular among women of the Kosal-Sambalpuri region. It is played with 6 pieces of large-sized shell (Couri) and 16 pieces of multi-coloured wooden dots. The game is traditional enough that a complete set of "Couris’ and dots is taken by new brides to their husbands' houses after marriage.
- Ganjapa is probably named after its inventor Gajapada. It is played with circular shaped cards one and one-half inches in diameter. The pack consists 144 cards, divided into 12 suits of 12 cards each, six of the suits belong to Ram’s division and other six suits, to Ravana’s division. Thus, the game centers around the epic battle between Ram and Ravana. The village Champamal in the Sonepur district is famous for its traditional manufacture of beautiful Ganjapa cards.
Popular festivals of this region are Nuakhai, Gundikhaaee, Bhaye juintiaa, Po juintiaa, Poos poonee, Pooraa uaans, Sital sasthi, Dhanu yaatraa etc.
The Sambalpuri saree
The Sambalpuri saree is made from fabric woven on a hand-loom, and is popular throughout India. Varieties of the Sambalpuri saree include Sonepuri, Saptaapar (Pasaapaali), Sachipar, Udiaan-taraa, Panchavati, Bomkai, Barpaali, Baaptaa and Paradaa saris, all of which are popular. Most sarees are named after the placee of their origin and they are popularly known as Paata. Paintings on Tussar saris depicting Mathura Vijay, Raslila and Ayodhya Vijay owe their inspiration to Raghurajpur Pattachitra paintings. A special type of "tie and dye" known as ‘’Baandha’’ is used to weave Sambalpuri saree. Sambalpuri saree possesses fast colours, so that, the older the saree becomes, the colour becomes brighter.
Traditional costumes of Sambalpuri women
Kosali women were wearing following ornaments prior to 1920 but modern women have given up using many of them. A type of necklace known as khagla, a round ornament made from silver. In the upper part of the ear they used an ornament known as jhalka and Bentala. In the earlobe, they wear an ornament called gathia. Karna phoola-Shikla was worn on the ear. In the nose, an ornament known as jharaguna and Phooli was being used. In the hair are worn panpatri or belkhadi (a small stick used to clip flower buds into hair). They wear two types of ornaments on their hands, known as katria and bandria. On the arms, they formerly wore one type of ornament known as taad and Baha-suta. On the legs are worn painry or tudal. On the ankles are worn Paye-jhol. Around the waist, women used a silver chain known as Ghunsi. Rings are also used on fingers and Jhuntia on the toes. A sphere shaped silver box known as Karat was used by women.
Women of this region were getting permanent Tattoo on their body. On the forearm they tattooed their name or the name of God or Goddess, on the back of their palm they tattooed different designs. They also wear janyiphool and karai phool; two types of flower. The cloth which local women wear is known as kapta, which is similar to the Sambalpuri Saree but shorter, less wide, and thicker.
Kosli cuisine or Western Odisha food
Kosli cuisine or popularly, Sambalpuri food is integral to the Kosli cultural identity and it is quite different in every sense from that of the rest of Odisha. Some of the important Kosli foods are kardi (bamboo shoot), hendua chutchuta, Paatalghantaa dhuldhulaa, Lethaa, Aambil, Thukthukaa, chaul bara and bhuja, Basi Pakhal (fermented rice), Sukha jhuri (sun-dried fish) and Chitka.
Food during festivals – Rasbaraa (Prepared from green gram and sugar), Moog-sijhaa (sweetened boiled green gram), Sarsatiaa and Tikhri are prepared during festivals. Three types of tikhri are prepared. They are Moog-tikhri, Madiaa-tikhri and Paalua-tikhri.
- Sambalpur University, Burla, Sambalpur
- Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla
- Veer Surendra Sai Medical College and Hospital, Burla
- Sardar Rajas Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre Jaring, Bhawanipatna
- Government College of Engineering, Kalahandi Bhawanipatna
- College of Agriculture, Bhawanipatna Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology unit.
- Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Rourkela
- National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
- A branch of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology is located in Chiplima, Sambalpur
- Gangadhar Meher University, Sambalpur
- Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna
- Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Sambalpur (Basantpur near Burla)
Besides the above institutions there are various academic government colleges in each district of the Kosal region.
Large structures and monuments
- Indravati Dam Mukhiguda (Largest power producing dam in Eastern India) (600MW).
- Hirakud Dam, Sambalpur
- Samaleswari Temple
- Chausath Jogini Temple, Ranipur-Jharial
- Sailashree Palace, Balangir
- Ordnance Factory, Badmal, Balangir district, It is the only ordnance factory in Odisha.
- ACC Cement Ltd, Bargarh
- Rourkela Steel Plant Steel Authority of India Limited
- Vedanta Alumina, Lanjigarh and Jharsuguda
- Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd., Sambalpur
- Jindal Steels, Jharsuguda
- Bhushan Power & Steel, Sambalpur
- TATA Refractories, Belpahar, Jharsuguda
- OCL India Ltd., Rajgangpur, Sundargarh
- L&T Kansbahal Works, Kansbahal, Sundargarh
- J&K paper Mills, Rayagada,
- Aditya Alumina, Lapanga, Sambalpur 
- Hindalco, Hirakud, Sambalpur 
Notable persons of Western Odisha
- Bhima Bhoi
- Gangadhar Meher
- Kailash Chandra Meher
- Kruthartha Acharya
- Kunjabihari Meher
- Parbati Giri
- Prem Ram Dubey
- Rindo Majhi
- Bhubaneswar Behera
- Veer Surendra Sai
- Radhashyam Meher
- Siba Das
- Satya Narayan Bohidar
- Isaac Santara
- Manabodh Rana
- Haldhar Nag
Tourist places of Western Odisha
Places of natural beauty are abundant in Western Odisha. The Patala Ganga spot at Nuapada District is one popular destination for tourists. Ushakothi, Hirakud and Budrama in Sambalpur district also attract attention. Similarly, the Khandadhar Waterfall in Sundargarhdistrict is a popular tourist spot. The Mahanadi and the Tel river in Suvarnapur district present beautiful natural scenes at the confluence of the two rivers.
Western Odisha tourist sites, by district:
- Debrigarh is a peak in the Barapahar hills where Veer Surendra Sai, the great Kosli freedom fighter, was captured in 1864 by British soldiers. Debrigarh also has a wildlife sanctuary.
- Nrusinghanath is a place in Paikmal, with a beautiful waterfall and it is one of the most popular tourist places of the Kosal region. A 500-year-old temple dedicated to the Hindu god Narasimha is also situated there. One more interesting fact is that the God is worshiped here in the form of a cat as compared to the general Lion-man idol of the god. The God Narsimha is known here as "Marzara Kesari" in the Kosli language.
- Other Places of Tourism include Shri Shri Baba Vishwanath Temple Lahanda at Lahanda Village, Kedarnath Temple at Ambabhona, Baidyanath Temple at Deogaon, Balunkeswar Temple at Gaisama, Swapneswar Temple at Sorna, Visweswar Temple at Soranda, and Nilakantheswar Temple at Nilji.
- Balangir is the modern capital of the ex-Patna State and its current district headquarters. It is famous for numerous Sambalpuri Saree shops, Samaleswari Temple, Patneswari Temple, Nrusinghanath Temple, Santoshi mata Temple, Gopal jee Temple, Sailashree Palace, Rajendra Park and numerous lakes within the town.
- Patnagarh is the ancient capital of the kingdom of Patna, and is famous for its 12th-century Someswar Siva Temple and Patneswari Temple.
- Ranipur-Jharial is famous for the Hypaethral Temple of sixty-four yoginis and for being a place of confluence of religious faiths, includingSaivism, Buddhism, Vaisnavism and Tantrism.
- Kusangei Temple in Kusang is an 11th-century temple of Maa Kusangei and it is a fine example of the Kosali architecture.
- Saintala is known for its Chandi temple and images depicting ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
- Turekela is attractive for wildlife observation, including birds, tigers, deer, bears, monkeys and others.
- Dharpagarh is a site of religious importance, with a big tank called "Dashamati Sagar" guarded with the shrines of Chandi, Duarsuni, Samaleswari, Patneswari, Siva and Vishnu.
- Harishankar is the most popular tourist place of Kosal. It is famous for its 15th-century Vishnu, Shiva and Bhairavi Temple. It stands on the scenic southern slope of the Gandhamardan Hills, which are complemented by a perennial stream. It is also known for its natural sliding rock where one can waterslide while having a bath under the waterfall.
- Three remarkable Buddhist statues are situated in Boudh town. At Shyamsundarpur village and Pragalapur village are the 9th century. Rameswar Temple; Jogindra Villa Palace; Hanuman Temple, Chandra Chuda & Matengeswar Temple; Gandharadi Temple, Padmatola Sanctuary, and Nayakpada Cave.
- Pradhanpat is a waterfall on the Pradhanpat hill.
- Gujapahar, Kuilighugar, Pikalghugar are scenic spots.
- Vikramkhol is a site with pictographic inscriptions
- Kolabira Fort
- Shiva shrine Mahadevpali (Samasingha, Laida, and Sudhamal)
- Koilighugar Waterfall is locateed at Lakhanpur
- Ranidarah (Samasingha)
- Manikeshwari Mandir and Chatar jatra
Manikeshwari Temple is located in Kalahandi district of Odisha. The temple is located to the south of Bhawanipatna. The main deity here is Goddess Manikeshwari. The main devotees are from the fishermen community. During Dussehra festival, animal sacrifice is offered at this temple. A film is also documented showing the ritual of animal sacrifice, before Goddess Manikeshwari.
Phurli Jharan is one of the most famous tourist spots in Kalahandi. Fifteen Kilometres from Bhawanipatna, Phurlijharan is a perennial water fall about 30 ft in height and has a special charm of its own. Themulti coloured rainbow created by the sunrays falling on the scattered water particles of the fall is an amusing sight to be seen. The evergreen forests around the fall provide ample opportunities to group picnickers.
- Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is a tourist attraction with Sambhars, Hynas, Elephants etc. present on SH-44. It has also high mineral deposit like bauxite etc.
Jakham is a tourist attraction on SH-44 (20 km away). It has a wooden guest house so that one can spent some time to feel natural beauty and glimpse of nature and wildlife.
Rabandhar is one of the most famous tourist spots near Bhawanipatna. 15 kilometres from city, Rabandhar is a perennial water fall about 13 ft in height and has a special charm of its own.
Permunji is a nursery situated at the foot of great mountain, a place for picnics. Elephants are commonly seen near the nursery crossing roads.
- Hello Point
Hello Point is a picnic spot and valley view point 75 km from Bhawanipatna. It is present on the top of the eastern ghats from where half of the Kalahandi district is visible including Junagarh, Kalampur block etc. One can receive signal from all telecom services for mobile, therefore it is named as Hello Point.
- Indravati Dam
Indravati or Upper Indravati Hydro Power Project is one of the largest Dam in India as well as Asia. It is the largest dam in eastern India which produces 600MW of electricity. The Upper Indravati Project envisages diversion of water, of the indravati river in its upper reaches into the Mahanadi valley for power generation and irrigation.
The project would involve construction of 4 dams across the Indravati and its tributaries 8 dykes and two inter-linking channels to from a single reservoir with a live capacity of 1435.5 Mcum, 4.32 km. tunnel, a power house with installation of 4 units of 150 MW each turbines, 9 km. tail race channel and an irrigation barrage across Hati river with the associated irrigation canals i.e., Left Canal and Right Canal.
Irrigation from left canal is done in Kalampur, Koksara, Junagarh and Dharmagarh Block where Asia's longest aqueduct is made on Tel River near Odisha border. And right canal is done is Junagarh (Nandol area) and Bhawanipatna Block, the construction work is under process in Karlapada block where it merges with Ret River. The water comes from mainly Indravati River, Pet fula Naal etc.
Other important places:
- Bhawanipatna is a centuries-old Manikeswari Temple and royal palace, Chhatar Jatra.
- Dharmagarh has an historical site, Paradeswar Temple, and Bhim Khoj.
- Junagarh, Kalahandi has the Lankeswari Temple and Khanda Basa Festival.
- Kusurla and Sapagaranda is a religious centre.
- Mardiguda, Thuamul-Rampur, and Jakam are scenic spots.
- Mukhiguda-Japiatna is the Indravati Dam
- Phurlijharan is a waterfall.
- Talguda is a fort.
- Belkhandi Temple
- Budhikomna and Patalaganga, Upka Ganga (firstly Laxman tried here to have Ganga to quench thirst of Sita mata. When this failed it was tried successfully at the present Patal Ganga. Location north end of the Guru Donger.), Kabat Darah full of scenic beauty. Nearest to this are San Gumar and Bad Gumar- geographical wonders, where the footprints of Panchu Pandav are available. It is a religious centre.
- Patora, Sindursil and Thipakhol are scenic spots. One more beautiful site is Baijalpur, where it Maa Samalai is worshiped just above the left bank of the river Udanti. Tiger caves are located to this place. Very splendid sight to visit during the winter.
- Yogimatha is a site with cave paintings.
- Samaleswari Temple (Samlei Gudi) is a 17th-century shrine dedicated to the goddess Maa Samaleswari, the tutelary goddess of the Kosal region. Samalei Gudi is the second most visited temple in the present Odisha state after Puri Jagannath Temple.
- Huma is famous for the Leaning Temple of Lord Shiva, which is relatively older and leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Catching fish is not allowed and tradition holds that if one kills any fish from the river which flows behind Huma Temple, one will become a stone statue.
- Ushakothi is a wildlife sanctuary harbouring elephants, tigers, gours, sambars, black panthers, deer, spotted deer, bears, and other animals.
- Hirakud Dam is situated 16 km from Sambalpur, and is one of the longest dams in the world, about 16 mi (26 km) in length and the dam extends across a lake, 55 km long.
- Kandhara is the birthplace of poet Bhima Bhoi, the great propounder of Mahima Dharma, and a pilgrimage-cum-sight seeing spot.
- Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is like an emerald nestled in the serene blue waters of Hirakud Reservoir. Made a sanctuary in 1985, it comprises Lohara Reserve Forest, Lohara and Debrigarh Reserve Forests of Barapahad Hills. Debrigarh means "The abode of the Goddess". It is 40 km from Sambalpur. Dhodrokusum, the main entry gate, is 12 km from Hirakud Reservoir, at the end of the right dyke of Hirakud Dam. At Debrigarh, there are vehicle safaris and boat rides available to view more than 50,000 migratory birds from Siberia and other cold regions. It is a natural habitat for jaguars, sambars, black panthers, deer, spotted deer and wild bears.
- Sambalpur Town boasts several temples of Liakhai, Madanmohan, Satyabadi, Bariha, Brahampura, Dadhibamana, Timini, Gopalji, Budharaja Shiva Temple, Maneswar Shiva Temple, Gupteswar, Balunkeswar, Loknath, the Goddess Samaleswari, Pataneswari, Batmangala, Budhimaa, Mahamayi, and others, as well as Sambalpuri handlooms.
- Other tourist places: Chipilima has the Ghanteswari Temple, a natural waterfall, the state livestock breeding and agricultural farm, and Hatibari. In Naktideul block, near Tikira jora is the Kunjamura Temple. Gudguda is a scenic spot 35 km from Kuchinda.
- Binika offers Papakshya Ghat, a religious centre.
- Chandalipat Puja Dunguri is also a religious centre.
- Sonepur town is known as the ‘Second Varanasi of India’ abode. There are several temples and gardens, including Suvarnameru, which is on the left bank of the river Tel, towards the southwest of its confluence with the river Mahanadi, Gopinatha, Dadhivamana Deva, Sri Vrindavan Vihari, Gundicha, Sureswari, Stamvesvari (or Khamvesvari), Bhagavati, Samalesvari, Budhi Samalei, Manikeswari, Narayani, Sitalei, Lankesvari, and Sasisena.
- Charada is an historical site.
- Khaliapali is a Mahima shrine.
- Rourkela has a steel plant (SAIL) and the Hanuman Temple.
- Vedvyas, near Rourkela is claimed to be associated with the sage Vedavyasa, author of the epic Mahabharata
- Ghogar, a religious centre, houses a Shiva temple dating back to antiquity. The place is easily approachable from both Kansbahal and Rajgangpur.
- Khandadhar offers the sight of Miriglotah, a waterfall.
- Junagada has a fort.
- Chhatri Hill, Darjeeng, Deodaraha, and Mandira are all Scenic spots.
- WODC main page
- Mishra, Dr. Bhibuti Bhusan, Dakshina Kosala (Paschima Odisha) Sankshipta Itihasa, 2003, P11
- Rajaguru, Dr. Satyanarayana, "Odishar Sankshipta Itihasa", Grantha Mandir, Cuttack, 2001, P.32, 33
- Dash, Siba Prasad, " Sambalpur Itihas ", Odisha Sahitya Academy, Bhubaneswar, 2002, ISBN 81-7586-083-9, P. 68,70
- "Demand For a Separate Kosal statehood". The Hindu.
- "Demand for Kosal state gaining Momentum". cfnonline.
- "Kosal Kranti dal, political party demanding for separate kosal statehood". OneIndia.
- Traditional Water Harvesting the Answer to Western Odisha's Perennial Drought Woes
- "KBK still the poorest". The Indian Express.
- Mohanty, Basanta Kumar, Orissa Fact File, 2005, p.46
- Population of Western Orissa
- Current Sambalpuri Album
- Legendary Sambalpuri singer Jitendra Haripal
- Sambalpuri songs
- "And the singer sings his song ", The Hindu, 27 May 2001.
- Balangir District gazetteer
- "Sambalpuri Sari: Living tradition ", Merinews.com, 20 November 2008
- "Projects | Greenfield projects". Hindalco. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Official Website of Bargarh District". Bargarh.nic.in. 19 January 1926. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
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- Sudeep Kumar Guru (25 September 2010). "Poetry makes him known as new Gangadhar Meher". The Telegraph (India). Ananda Publishers. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Rampur, Antiquities; Naik, Rameswar; Sahu, Rasika; Majhi, Subal; Meher, Suresh. "Puja Dunguri". www.rampurantiquities.com. Rasika Sahu,Rameswar Naik, Suresh Kumar Meher & Subal Majhi. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
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