Kalahandi is a district located in the Indian state of Odisha. It is situated in the southwestern part of the state and covers an area of around 8,229 square kilometers. The district is known for its rich cultural heritage, scenic beauty, and historical significance.
Kalahandi has a rich history dating back to the prehistoric times. The region was ruled by various dynasties, including the Nagas, the Satavahanas, the Guptas, the Gajapatis, and the Marathas. The region was also a part of the Mauryan Empire, and evidence of their rule can be found in the form of inscriptions and artifacts. During the medieval period, Kalahandi was ruled by various Rajput clans, including the Khinjali and the Nagavanshi.
In the 16th century, Kalahandi came under the rule of the powerful Kalchuri dynasty, who ruled the region for almost two centuries. The Kalchuris were followed by the Marathas, who established their control over the region in the 18th century. During the British colonial period, Kalahandi was a part of the Madras Presidency and was later included in the Central Provinces and Berar.
Kalahandi is situated in the southwestern part of Odisha and is bordered by the districts of Nabarangpur to the south, Rayagada to the east, Balangir to the north, and Nuapada to the west. The district has a varied topography, with the Eastern Ghats running through the eastern part of the district. The Mahanadi and Tel rivers flow through the district, providing irrigation for agriculture. The district also has several hills and plateaus, including the Gandhamardan Hills, which are of great religious significance.
As per the 2011 census, the total population of Kalahandi was around 1,573,054, with a population density of 191 persons per square kilometer. The district has a predominantly rural population, with around 85% of the population living in rural areas. The literacy rate in the district is around 58%, with a male literacy rate of 69% and a female literacy rate of 47%.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy in Kalahandi, with around 70% of the population engaged in farming. The district is known for its paddy cultivation and is one of the largest producers of paddy in the state. Other crops grown in the district include sugarcane, cotton, and oilseeds. The district also has a significant forest cover, and the forest resources are a source of livelihood for the tribal population.
The district is also rich in minerals, including bauxite, coal, and limestone. The Vedanta Aluminium Limited's refinery is located in Lanjigarh, in the district of Kalahandi, which is one of the largest alumina refineries in the world.
Kalahandi has a rich cultural heritage, with a diverse population comprising different communities, including the Kondh, the Soura, the Gond, and the Bhumia. The district is known for its unique handicrafts, including terracotta pottery, Dokra metalwork, and bamboo crafts. The district also has several fairs and festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm, including the Chaitra Parva, the Dussehra festival, and the Nuakhai festival.
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