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History of Sambalpur District

The western most District of Odisha, Sambalpur District is believed to be named from the presiding Goddess Samalai, whose stone image was discovered by Balaram Dev, the first king of Sambalpur.

The District was amalgamated with Odisha in 1905. The District of Sambalpur was divided into four separate Districts. Bargarh was separated in 1993, and other two Jharsuguda, and Deogarh were separated in 1994.

Sambalpur District has a history that is full of events which also include its role in freedom struggle of the country. History reveals that in 4th century Samudragupta defeated King Mahendra of Koshala, the kingdom that included Sambalpur. During 5th and 6th centuries Sambalpur came under the rule of Sarbhapuriyas. In 7th century Panduvansi king Trivaradeva took the charge. Further, towards the close of 9th century king Janmajaya I Mahabhavagupta extended his empire which comprised Sambalpur District and Balangir District. Later his dynasty came to be known as Somvanshi dynasty. At the end of the Somvanshi rule, Sambalpur was occupied by the Kalachuris of Ratnapua. Acrid fight was seen between the Kalachuris and the Gandas in 13th century. Later on, the Gandas occupied Sambalpur.

In mid of 14th century Ramai Dev laid the foundation of Chauhan rule in western Odisha. However, the Chauhan rule ended in April, 1800, when Sambalpur was occupied by Marathas. Sambalpur District was occupied by British on 2nd January, 1804. Finally it passed on to the British in 1817. The following years witnessed the movements of the Kandhas and Binjhal Zamidars against the British. The erstwhile Sambalpur District was divided into four Districts on 31st March, 1993. The important historical relics in the District of Sambalpur are the temples built by the Chuhan rulers.

There are many historical places in the Sambalpur District that attracts tourists from different parts of the world. Hirakud Dam and its lake are regularly surrounded by migrant bird from Siberia. Leaning temple of Huma, the wild life Sanctuary at Badrama (Ushakuthi), Khalasuni and Debrigadh (wildlife sanctuary in the Barapahad mountain range- Chourasimal), Gudguda waterfall, Ghanteswari Temple attracts tourists in large number.

Samaleswari, the presiding deity of this region is enshrined at ‘Samalai Gudi’ on the bank of Mahanadi River. The other famous temple of the District is the Budharaja Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and is perched atop the Budharaja hill.