Gajapati is a district of Odisha, India. It was created from Ganjam District in October 1992. Gajapati district was named after Maharaja Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Dev, the Raja Sahib of the Paralakhemundi estate (the first Chief Minister of the state), who is remembered for his contribution to the formation of a separate state, and an inclusion of the Paralakhemundi estate in Odisha. The district headquarters at Paralakhemundi, formerly a princely estate, has been clustered within a radius of approximately 5 kilometres around the geometric centre of Paralakhemundi. The District is a part of the Red Corridor.
ROAD AND TRANSPORT:-
- Road connectivity to all the villages and coverage of 95% of the villages with pucca road connectivity ensures increased access of people to developmental initiatives like education, health care, markets, administration etc.
- Provision of telephone connectivity to 75 % of the villages through mobile and land line connections
- With increased infrastructure facilities will lead to increase in employment opportunities in transport sector like increased use of two wheelers, four wheelers and heavy vehicles that means more employment avenues.
- Provisioning short-term loans for investments in transportation facilities like cabs, autos, trucks will increase self employment and as well as boost trade
- The tourism industry is generating large scale employment. The labour to capital ratio in the tourism services is one of the highest, i.e., each million rupee investment creates jobs for all 48 people compared to 45 in agriculture and 13 in the manufacturing industry.
- There is greater potential of tourism in the district with destinations like Adarsh Krushi Farm near Paralakamundi, Brundaban Palace on the banks of Mahendrathanaya in Paralakamundi, Serango, the Kashmir of Gajapati, a resort located near Gumma, Gandahati waterfalls, Mahendragiri hills, Taptapani Hotsprings , Chandragiri a tibetian resettlement and famous for garments and dogs of various breeds, Jeerango and Harabangi.
- Tourism will spur opportunities in other business avenues as well, like transportation, hospitality services, retail and mobile markets etc. It also helps in generating employment in small scale services like care hire, tourist guide services, hotels and eateries.
Tourism will also boost the sale of art forms and handicrafts like horn and bone crafts, jaikadi bags, etc and thus promote artisans.
For promoting tourism in the district, there is need to provide conveniences, information and security to tourists and develop ancillary services. There is scope for developing local tribal youth as tourist guides and establishes eco-friendly tourism and adventure sports like trekking etc.
Mahendra Giri: Mahendragiri of Gajapati district is not only a religious place, also a famous tourist place in eastern Odisha. Mahendragiri is a mountain peak, which is a part of Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1,501 meters (4,976 ft) from the sea level. Mahendragiri peak is around 56 km from the district headquarter Paralakhemundi.
The nearest railway station is Palasa of Andhra Pradesh, which is only 30 km distance via Goppili Road. To know more about this place and other nearby attractions read this article completely.
- Chandragiri: It is situated at about 90 kms. from Paralakhemundi and 15 km. from R. Udayagiri. The Tibetans settle a beautiful place surrounded by forest. Large-scale horticulture plantation like mango, orange, guava, pineapple etc. along with a Government horticulture farm as well as the cultural activities of the Tibetans makes this place more beautiful. This place is famous for seasonal fruits, Tibetan woollen garments & carpet also for dogs of various breeds. It is also a health resort.
- Gandahati Waterfall: Gandahati is more about 30 km far from Paralakhemundi and which belongs to in Gajapati district of Odisha. The place is famous for the glittering waterfall, which is the famous waterfall in Odisha and this enclosed by dense green forest. You will find so many wild animals like elephant and these elephants are coming from upper side of the hill to this waterfall to bath/drink water.
- Brundavan Palace: It's known as Brundaban Palace, was made by the Maharaja of Paralakhemundi for their use during summer. It is situated on the bank of river Mahendratanaya surrounded by thick teak trees. The palace is three stories including an underground floor. There an underground connection to it with the main palace of Maharaja. The art engraved in this palace is worth seeing. Now it is under the control of Dept. of Tourism, Govt of Odisha. There is an orchard near to the palace.
People of Paralakhemundi and its nearby towns use to visit this place during winter for the picnic as well as for its scenic beauty.
Gajapati is the dissected part of the erstwhile Ganjam district. Therefore the inhabitants of the Gajapati district belong both from the former Ganjam district and the present Gajapati. However the culture of Gajapati, in spite of being multi-ethnic , represents a culture dominated mainly by the tribals. The Saouras who are considered the oldest tribes in India are the native inhabitants of the Gajapati district.
The cultural traditions of Gajapati district are evident from the socio-economic life of the traditional native Saouras in the district of Gajapati. The Saouras are primarily the hunter community. It is believed that that the name of the tribes has a close affinity with the occupation of the tribes. The term saora is supposed to have derived from the Scythian word "Saggoriss" meaning axe that conforms to their primitive occupation of hunting. Though in the recent times most of the areas of the Gajapati district are urbanized , in the suburban areas, the tribes predominate, hence the culture of Gajapati has the essence of tribal culture.
The epic mountain Mahendragiri, a segment of Eastern Ghats is situated in paralakhemundi. Legend says that it is the place where lord Parashurama, a chiranjeevi staying eternally and doing tapasya. Temples built by Pandavas are seen. Main festival here is Shivaratri, the worship of Shiva, the guru or percepter of lord Parashurama.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Gajapati one of the country's 250 most backwards districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha currently receiving funds from the Backwards Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).Railway stations - 05 ; RTc deposits - 02