Rayagada is a mineral-rich district in the southern part of the state of Odisha, in India. The city Rayagada is its headquarters. Rayagada district got the status of a separate district with effect from 2 October 1992.The population of this district consists mainly of tribals. The Kondhas or Kondhs form the majority of population followed by Source. Apart from Odia, several Adivasi languages like Kui, Kondha, Soura are spoken by the indigenous population of the district.
The District occupies a total area of 7,584.7 km2. Rayagada is divided into eleven blocks.
The district generates income mainly through agriculture-based activities. Paddy, wheat, ragi, green gram, black gram, groundnut, sweet potato and maize are the major crops grown in the area.
In the third century BC, during the reign of Ashoka the Great, it was under Kalinga empire (ancient Odisha). The hilly track between Vamsadhara and Nagavali was famous for spices.The Rastriks were defeated by Kharvela, the only Aryan Emperor of Kalinga, during the Chawpagada battle. The rock inscription of Allahabad inscribed by Mahamantri Harisena provides evidence to this effect.
During the rule of Gangavansi and Suryavanshi Kings in Odisha, it was under the feudatory chief of Kalinga-Utkala empire Dadarnab Dev of Gudari Kataka. A rock inscription found at Pataleswar temple in Brahmi script provides an evidence to this effect. This region went to the Bahamanis when the last Hindu Gajapati emperor of Odisha, Mukund Dev was defeated at Gohera Tikiri in 1519. It came under the Nandapur Kingdom for 47 years. Biswambar Dev was defeated and killed by Hasin Khan of Mughal Chicacole Sarkar rulers of Odisha, was perhaps the third king installed at Rayagada.
The Sati Kunda Goddess Majhi Ghairani and the mudfort around it speak much about its evidence. In subsequent years it was under Bobbili Tahasil of Vijayanagaram. During the English regime, Rayagada came under Jeypore administration and later was part of Koraput District. As part of the extension plan of districts in the Odisha state, On 2 October 1992, Rayagada District was carved out of the erstwhile Koraput district.
Rayagada railway station is an important station from where direct trains are available to Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Puri, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and other cities.
Rayagada, the district of many charms, is a thrill to the searching eyes. It has the facilities to serve as a base for visiting the nearby place of interest.
- Maa Majhighariani Temple is famous in Southern Division of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the devotees come from Madhya Pradesh Chhatishgarh, Andhra Pradesh including undivided Koraput District. Only the face of the Maa MajhiGhariani is worshiped. During Sunday, Wednesday and Friday a large number of devotees come to worship the Goddess. The temple is famous for Chaitra-Parba, i.e., March–April of every year.
- Maa Mangla Maa Temple lies in the Raniguda area of Rayagada.it is near the hathipathar
- Hatipathar is only 3 km from the district headquarters. It is a place of great scenic beauty with two waterfalls on the course of river Nagavali. The scenic beauty is impressive and the boulders here appear like huge elephants. Visitor are not welcome after heavy rains in 2006 changed the course of the Nagavali.
- Gayatri Temple at MITS College: A beautiful temple with Goddess Maa Gayatri, Saraswati and Maa Majhighariani. Engineering students do meditation and pooja after their studies in the temple. Lot of devotees come to the temple regularly. A Spiritual Library is present under the temple ground floor. Lot of books on Indian culture are there.
- Laxminarayan temple is at IMFA Factory, Therubali. The deities Laxminarayan, Hanuman, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and Lord Siva are worshiped by thousands devotees.
- Paikapada is famous for so many Siva Lingams. The deities like Lord Jagannath, Maa Dhakineswar Kalika, Samudra, etc. are worshiped here. The car festival of Lord Jagannath is also celebrated. During Sivaratri a large number of pilgrims come to observe the function. The place is near Theruballi. It is believed that there are 99,99,999 Shivlingams (only one less than 1 crore) in and around Paikapada shrine.
- Chatikona is located about 48 km from Rayagada surrounded by a series of valleys and wooded hills of varying colours and the place is a center of pilgrimage for the temple of Mahadev. It offers picnickers gorgeous view of the waterfall. The Siva temple is the focus of hectic activities on Siva Ratri. The Dongaria Kondha of Chatikona represent the primitive section of the tribe.
- Minajhola is only 134 km from Rayagada. It is a beauty spot of nature, has a siva temple at the confluence of three rivers. It is situated in the heart of dense forest, rich in wildlife. Sivaratri is a popular festival of this place. Though there is no good all-weather road yet, the place is worth visiting. Regular bus service is available from Rayagada and Gunupur up to Gudari. The rest 25 km road is Jeepable.
- The Devagiri hill rises to a height of 120.2 meters. Unlike other hills it is not narrower upwards. The top of the hill is a flat platform of rectangular plain, which can be approached only from the northern side. There are 476 steps which are the unique feature of the Devagiri. At the top of the hill, there are perennial poles of water called the Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Bhargavi and Indradyumna. There is a cave looking like two jaws. The Siva Lingam is enshrined at the meeting point of the jaws. Sivaratri is its biggest festival, which draws a large crowd every year. It is 50 km from Rayagada. Regular bus services are available from Rayagada to Kalyansingpur and the sacred hill is close to Kalyansingpur.
- Padmapur houses the shrine of Manikeswari Siva. It is identified to be the seat of Dharmakirti, the Buddhist-Logician-philosopher. It is a 7th-century temple. It is 90 km from Rayagada.
- Gayatri Temple at Padampur is a beautiful temple with Goddess Maa PanchMukhi-Gayatri, Maa Durga and Maa Mahalakshmi. The temple is famous for Saraswati Puja Sri Panchami in January–February. It is 90 km from Rayagada.
- Maa Markham Temple is located at Bissam Cuttack, 40 km from Rayagada. The temple got a new look and surrounded by lush green forest. Many people visit from near and far especially on Tuesdays. The town college has also been named after Goddess Markama.
- RAYGADA KORAPUT RAILWAY LINE: the distance form Rayagada to Koraput is about 176 km this route is full of adventure since there 36 tunnels and about 250 bridges fall in this route. this route is like Konkan railway route and one can see animals while this journey. the Koraput distinct is situated at the height of 870 meters from the sea level.
- The latest attraction of Rayagada is the Hanging Bridge at Chekaguda that connects the two sides of river Nagavali, which created a deep trench when it changed its flow path in 2006. The bridge resembles the Laxman Jhola
- Jagannath Temple at Rayagada: The temple has been rebuilt with a new look to attract the tourist mass. The Car festival is celebrated here in the month of Asadha every year.
- GUMA GHATI: it is about 20 km from Rayagada it is surrounded by dense forest n[clarification needed] very good place to see. Many people come here to picnic. A small water fall is here. One of the most beautiful landscapes with wild animals in the dense forest and the forest is filled with Teak Wood exported all over.
- In addition, the list of Temples in Rayagada is quite long.
CULTURE AND TRADITION:-
According to Linga Puran, Bhimasankar temple in Bhimpur is around 100 km from Rayagada and around 30 km from Gunupur is one of the Jyotirling, situated at the western part of the holy Mahendragiri mountains and at the river bank of Mahendratanaya (which is also believed as the Daakini area by many historian), was excavated in 1974, having quadrangular Shakti around the Linga and decorated by a Upavita as per the puran.
- Chaitra Parba of Maa Maji Ghariani Goddess
- Chaiti Festival at GCD Grounds, Rayagada
For the past six decades, Rayagada has seen institutions like IMFA, JKPAPER mills enriching the economy.
Rayagada has a great mineral source, with full of bauxite, silicon. According to a survey India has 56% of total bauxite storage of the world out of which Odisha has 62%. Out of that Rayagada has an 84% share. Depending on this, other industries like Birla, L&T, Sterlite showed an interest in Rayagada.
Rayagada is a destination for hotel industry: Hotels like Sai International, Jyotimahal, Vamsikrishna, Tejaswini, Kapilas, Raj Bhawan are a step ahead in this.
Besides these, small- and mid-scale industries enrich economy of Rayagada. Notable among them are Konark Alum Industries, Satyam Packers and Processors Pvt. Ltd.,etc.
Other industries like Jeypore Sugars Ltd., ferro manganese were supplementing economy of Rayagada, but due to shortage in supply these were closed. The jeypore sugars was established by the British which attracted loads of people from nearby states to Rayagada. The industrial atmosphere, great location and availability of resources around made Rayagada a prominent town in Odisha.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Rayagada one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).