The district of Balangir is named after the headquarters towns of Balangir. This town was also the headquarters of the feudatory state of Patna since the 1880s. The district of Balangir is flanked in the northwest by the Gandhamardan hills. Many hill streams traverse it. It is the land of Tantrik culture. It is also notable for having experimented in the republican form of Government that was overthrown by Ramai Deo.
Balaram Deo, the 19th Raja of Patna (princely state), founded a town called Balramgarh and shifted the capital of Patna state from Patnagarh to Balramgarh in the early 16th century. Subsequently, the town was renamed as Balangir from Balramgarh. After around 8 years of rule in Patna state, he was awarded the land from river Ang till the boundary of Bamra kingdom by his mother. Subsequently, he founded a kingdom named Sambalpur, which went on to become a strong kingdom.
8th Century AD Indralath Temple at Ranipur-Jharial
The territory comprising the present district of Balangir was in ancient times a part of the South Kosala. According to tradition, the origin of South Kosala dates back to the time of Rama and scholars like Pargiter believe that Rama's long stay in that region gave rise to the name of South Kosala after his original homeland Kosala. According to Padmapurana, the kingdom of Kosala, after Rama, was divided between Lava and Kusa, his two son. Later Kusa founded the city of Kusasthalipura and ruled over the southern half of Kosala (that included modern day Western Odisha and Chhattisgarh State) .
During the time of Grammarian Panini (5th Century B.C), a territory named Taitila Janapada flourished to the west of Kalinga and that territory has been associated by historians with the modern town of Titlagarh in Balangir district. Taitala Janapada was famous for trade in some commodities described by the Grammarian as "Kadru" the meaning of which may be either horse or cotton fabrics.
Chetiya Jataka, the capital of the Chedi country was Sothivatinagara which is the same as Suktimatipuri of Harivamsa and Suktisahvaya of the Mahabharata (Vana Parva). The epic (Adi Parva) also states that the capital of the Chedis was situated on the bank of river Suktimati which is the Sukhtel river of Balangir district
Thus the ancestors of King of Kalinga Kharavela were from the Balangir district as they were ruling over the territory drained by the Sukhtel river in Balangir, wherefrom they advanced towards the east and became the master of Kalinga by the 1st Century B.C. In the Hathigumpha inscription, Kharavela refers to one Rajashri Vasu as his ancestor, who is probably the same as Vasu, the son of Abhichandra, the founder of Chedi Kingdom. This Vasu may also be identified with Uparichara Vasu of the Mahabharata (Adi Parva) where hs is described as the King of the Chedis who were ruling in the modern district of Balangir and Subarnapur.
Balangir region continued to be under the rule of Chedis during the 1st Century AD but in the 2nd century it came under the possession of the Satavahanas, whose king was Gautamiputra Satakarni. He is said to have built a magnificent vihara for his philosopher friend Nagarjuna on the Po Lo Mo Lo Ki Li or Parimalagir identified with the modern Gandharmardan hills.
8th Century AD Chousath Jogini Temple, One out of the four such temple in India
The earliest noted history of Balangir district dates back to the third century BC. The earliest introduction and spread of Aryan religious practice in Dakhin Kosala came with the initial incursion of the Jain religion. According to Bhagavati Sutra and
Harivamsha Purana, Mahavir started his earliest preaching of Dharma at Nalanda, Rajgriha, Paniya Bhumi and Siddharthagrama. According to some scholars, (D. C. Sircar) Punita Bhumi is a synonym of Paniya Bhumi as per Odra-Magadhi language. It is the same as Paniya Bhumi or Nagoloka, the present Nagpur, and it is further identified as Bhogapura, the modern Bastar, region of Chhattisgarh, Koraput, Kalahandi and Balangir district of Odisha.
In some of the insctiptions found in Balangir and Sonepur district, it has been mentioned that this part of the land was known as Attavika during Ashoka’s invasion of Kalinga in 261 B.C.
The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited Po Lo Mo Lo Ki Li monastery at modern Paikmal in the 7th Century AD. It was then having cloisters and lofty halls and those halls were arranged in five tiers each with four courts with temples containing life-size gold images of Buddha
Utkal University Archaeology Prof. Dr. Sadasiva Pradhan excavated the Gumagad site under Gudvela block near the Tel river valley in Balangir district, where he found that a strategic military hub existed in the 1st century BC. It was set up by a king contemporary to king Kharavela. Four copper plates were also found at Terssingha village which speaks of the Tel valley civilisation. Those plates had information regarding the two capitals – Udayapur and Parbatadwaraka – which were under the rule of Rashtrakutas and local chieftains belonging to different clans. The Udayapur area, the capital of Rashtrakuta kings, who ruled in the valley, still does have standing structures and also the ruins. These are mostly found at Amathgad. Ruins of a medieval fort is also found there.
According to eminent historian and epigraphist Sadananda Agrawal, copper plates were recently found in Kapsila village near Balangir. The found materials were three copper plates tied together by a circular ring and issued by a king named Khadgasimha. It has been dated to the 8th century AD and it informs about new rulers and history of the Tel valley civilization.
Rulers of Ancient Balangir
Goddess Pataneswari, The tutelary goddess of Balangir District
The chronology of various dynasty who ruled Balangir over the time.
Center of Tantrik Vidya
8th Century AD Temple cluster, Ranipur Jharial Balangir
Ranipur-Jharial in Balangir district is another place of historical importance. According to historians this area was known for its Tantra-Vidya throughout India. Somavanshi kings of Dakhin Koshal had built many temples here that can be dated back to the 8th-9th centuries AD. It is said that there were at least 200 temples covering an area of about half a mile in length and a quarter of a mile in width. The largest stone temple is Someswar Siva, which was constructed by a Mattamayura Shaivacharya Gagana Siva whose inscription can be found on the lintel of the temple.
Ranipur-Jharial houses one among the five existing rare monuments of Hypaethral temples (temples without roofs) dedicated to 64 yoginis in India. The other three are at Hirapur near Bhubaneswar, Khajurao & Bheraghat near Jabalpur, and Dudhai near Lalitpur. The images at Ranipur-Jharial are made of sandstone. The temple of 64 yoginis of Ranipur-Jharial is famous not only for its architecture, but also for its religious significance. Three-faced Natraj Shiva idol stands at the centre of the temple encircled by 64 sculptures of the Yogini goddesses in various positions. Unfortunately with the curse of time, and also due to lack of care only 48 Yoginis are left by now.
Official flag of the Royal Family of Balangir
Ramai Deo founded the kingdom of Patna in 1360 AD, and within a short span of its aggressive career become the head of the cluster of eighteen Garhs. The Patna kingdom stretched from Raigarh in Chhattisgarh to Bamra in Sundergarh District.
List of Chouhan rulers of the Patna state
- Raja Ramai Deo (1360-1385 AD)
- Raja Mahaling Singh Deo (1385-1390 AD)
- Raja Vatsaraja Deo (1390-1410 AD)
- Raja Vaijal Deo I (1410-1430 AD)
- Raja Bhojaraj Deo (1430-1455 AD)
- Raja Pratap Rudra Deo I (1455-1480 AD)
- Raja Bhupal Deo I (1480-1500 AD)
- Raja Vikramaditya Deo I (1500-1520 AD)
- Raja Vaijal Deo II (1520-1540 AD)
- Raja Bajra Hiradhara Deo (1540-1570 AD) (Had two sons, Narsingh Deo and Balaram Deo, who later founded the Sambalpur Kingdom)
- Raja Narsingh Deo (1570-1577 AD)
- Raja Hamir Deo (1577-1581 AD)
- Raja Pratap Deo II (1581-1587 & 1600-1620 AD) (Between 1587-1600 it was looked after by Hrudaya Narayan Deo, son of Sambalpur Raja Balram Deo)
- Raja Vikramaditya Deo II (1620-1640 AD) (His younger brother Gopal Rai was made the Raja of Khariar)
- Raja Mukunda Deo (1640-1670 AD)
- Raja Balaram Deo (1670-1678 AD)
- Raja Hrudesha Deo (1678-1685 AD)
- Raja Rai Singh Deo (1685-1762 AD)
- Raja Chandra Sekhara Deo
- Raja Pruthuviraj Deo (1762-1765 AD)
- Raja Ramachandra Deo I (1765 - 1820 AD)
- Raja Bhupal Deo (1820-1848 AD) (His brother Maharaj Yuvraj Singh Deowas granted the estate of Jarasingha in 1765)
- Maharaja Hiravajra Singh Deo (1848-1866 AD)
- Maharaja Sur Pratap Singh Deo (1866-1878 AD)
- Maharaja Ramchandra Singh Deo II (1878-1895 AD)
- Maharaja Dalaganjan Singh Deo (1895-1910 AD)
Prithviraj Singh Deo (1910-1924 AD)
- Maharaja Sir Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo (1924-1975 AD)
- Maharaja Raj Raj Singh Deo
- Maharaja Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo
The Eighteen Garhs
Below is the list of eighteen Garhs (with their old names) which were part of the ex-Patna State (Balangir) and Sambalpur State during the Chouhan rule. Also known as the Garhjat States.
List of industries before independence
Though now Balangir is one of the most under-developed districts in Odisha, it was not the same before its merger with Odisha. Ex-Patna State was one of the earliest states in India to have started industries as early as the end of the 17th Century.
Below is the list of industries existed during the pre-merger period.
- Koshal Transport and Trading Co. Ltd., Balangir
- Koshal Industrial Development Co. Ltd., Balangir
- Balangir Trading Co. Ltd., Titlagarh
- Patna Village Industries Association Ltd, Lathor
- Rajendra Tile Works Ltd, Titlagarh
- Koshal Industries Development Syndicate, Balangir
- Patna State Graphite Mining Co., Titlagarh
- Patna State Weaving Factory, Balangir
- Mahavir Jain Weaving Factory, Belgaon
- Weaving Factory, Manihira, Loisingha
- Central Jail Weaving Factory, Balangir
- Handmade Paper Factory, Balangir
Merger with Odisha state
The Chauhan rule ended with the merger of Patna and Sonepur into Orissa on the January 1, 1948. They together form the district of Balangir. Sonepur was carved out as a separate district on April 1, 1993. The last ruler of Patna, Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo successfully made the transition to democratic politics. He became the Chief Minister of Odisha from 1967 until 1971.
Currently people of this district along with the nine other districts of western Odisha are demanding for a separate state called Koshal. According to unofficial sources around 20,000 people are migrating from Balangir every year to other states in search of work. More than 90% population in this district are staying below poverty line.
There is an Ordnance Factory of the Ordnance Factories Board which manufactures products for the Indian Armed Forces.
Overall this western district of Odisha needs quick improvement to catch up with the other parts of the state and country. The government needs to take care of special responsibility towards the development like construction of roads, buildings, education to the people, developments like railway and air connectivity. For instance the nearest airport from any part of the district is Bhubaneswar, Raipur or Visakhapatnam which are minimum 7 hours journey from Balangir. Also the standard of living of the people needs to be improved by providing the minimum requirements to the people by providing jobs to them so that migration of the people from this part to other parts of the country could be avoided. At the same time, social menaces like dowry killing, and unsocial activities like theft, burglary and murder could be kept in control.
On May 13, 2010, Annual Credit Plan for the year 2010-2011 was launched with a projected plan outlay of Rs. 309.97 crores. Special programmes are envisaged to arrest the flow of labour to other states in search of work, popularly known as Dadan Shramik.