Kendujhar also known as Keonjhar is an administrative district of Odisha state and one of the 5th Scheduled areas in Eastern India. The town of Kendujhar or Kendujhargarh is the district headquarters. The district has an area of 8240 km², and lies between 21°1′ N and 22°10′ N latitude and 85°11′ E to 86°22′ E longitude. It is bounded by Mayurbhanj District, Balasore District and Bhadrak District to the east, Jajpur District to the south, Dhenkanal District, Anugul District and Sundargarh District to the west, and West Singhbhum district of the state of Jharkhand to the north.
History of Keonjhar State
The whole district of Keonjhar was a princely state before its merger with Odisha. The early history of the State is not adequately known. It was most probably a part of the old Khijjinga territory with headquarters at Khijjinga Kota, identified with modern Khiching. It became a separate state with Jyoti Bhanja as its ruling chief sometime during the first half of the 12th century A.D. The then State of Keonjhar State comprised only the northern half of the modern district for a long time prior to the installation of Jyoti Bhanja as King. During the latter part of the 15th century the southern half was occupied by King Govinda Bhanja under whose rule Keonjhar was extended from Singhbhum in the north to Sukinda (a Zamindari in Cuttack district) in the South and from Mayurbhanj State in the East to the borders of the States of Bonai, Pal Lahara and Anugul in the West. During the rule of Pratap Balabhadra Bhanja (1764–1792 A.D.) two small areas of Tillo and Jujhpada were purchased from the Zamindar of Kantajhari and were added to the State. These were recognised as parts of Keonjhar in the Sanad granted by the East India Company to Raja Janardan Bhanj in 1804. Since then there had been no territorial changes of the State till its merger with the Province of Odisha. But after merger largely for the reasons of administrative expediency the areas of Tillo (7.51 km2) and Jujhpada (9.06sq.km.) were transferred to the districts of Baleshwar and Cuttack respectively, while a number of villages called Ambo group (14.84 km2.) of Balasore district were added to Keonjhar district.
After the integration of the feudatory states with Orissa on 1 January 1948 the state of Keonjhar emerged as one of its districts of Orissa, with its headquarters at Keonjhar. Since then the name has been changed to Kendujhar District.
Famous Religious Places to Visit
Maa Tarini: Ghatagaon Maa Tarini Pitha is a place of famous pilgrimage centre of Odisha. Maa Tarini Temple is raised in modern time, the crude form of deity justify its pristine origin. The legend is that Maa Tarini is merciful and benevolent to her devotees. Nearest forest reserves adding beauty to the Maa Tarini Pitha is the nestling site of different wildlifes. Devotees are very fondly offers coconut to Goddess is still worshiped by tribal priests. Local people observes Maha Bisuba Sankranti during the month of Chaitra Purnima with great forever & pomp. Visitors within the state & outside of the state throng here in lakhs to pay their respect to Mother Goddess all around the year. Maa Tarini Pitha is just 45 km away from Keonjhar town.
Gonasika Temple: Gonasika Temple is surrounded by picturesque green valleys and up rolling hills of varying colour is famous for pilgrimage centre. The famous temple of Brahmeswar Mahadev is established by the side of river Baitarni by Creator Brahma himself . Perennial river Baitarni is originated here through two nostrils of a cow. As a strange to tourists, the river soon goes underground and re-emerges to be collected inside Brahma Kunda for which it is known as Guptaganga. The shrine of Lord Shiva was constructed by King Laxmi Narayan Bhanja during 1654-1688 AD. The beautiful spot is rich in exotic flora & fauna and rare place for study of tribal juang life. The spot is at a distance of 30 km from Keonjhar town.
Murga Mahadev Temple: Murga Mahadev Temple stands majestically at the foot of Thakurani Hills is an important tourist spot in the district. A picturesque perennial spring of Thakurani Hills with lush green forest has gifted a gorgeous waterfall to the natural lovers which flows nearby the temple area facilitating holy bath to the devotees. Huge crowd gather here during Makara Sankranti and Shivaratri. This spot is just 70 km away from Keonjhar town.
Chakratirtha: Chakratirtha is a picturesque picnic spot of this area with lush green forest. A perennial stream with a beautiful waterfall adding charm to the spot. An architecturally rich Saiva temple and Ashram enhance the importance of the spot. Jagar mela & Sravan purnima are celebrated with great enthusiasm. This spot is just 20 km away from Anandapur.
Sanaghagara Waterfalls: Sana Ghagara Water Fall is located in the Keonjhar district at a distance of about 08 K.Ms from Keonjhar town on the National Highway No.- 6 towards Sambalpur. The area is spread over 488 Ha. In a hilly tract with characteristic mixed deciduous and miscellaneous type of forest vegetation. The famous Sana Ghagara waterfall with perennial stream adds to the natural beauty of this forest tract and attracts large number of visitors throughout the year. It is located at an average elevation of 1950 ft. above M.S.L. and experiences a comparative cool summer and cold winter. Average annual rainfall is about 1500 mm and temperature ranges from 14.7 degree C to 41.1 degree C. Relative humidity varies between 41 to 93 % and normally no frosting occurs in this region. The area is an extremely undulating terrain with hills, pediments and a “V” shaped narrow valley. The hills and pediments are very steep and the rock formation is of dolerite origin. The area drains into river Baitarani through Machhakandana Nala.
Badaghagara waterfalls: Badaghagra waterfall adjacent to Keonjhar town is a most spectacular waterfall situated amidst in a lush green forest environment. The waterfall enjoys a unique characteristics of 100 feet height inside the dense forest area to the much delight of tourists, picnicors & weekend holidayer alike. Badaghagra reservoir which was raised on Machakandana river during the Kingdom era is the major source of water supplies to the Keonjhar town. The spot is rich in exotic flora & fauna and rare place for study of tribal life. This spot is just 10 km away from Keonjhar town.
Gundichaghagi Waterfalls: Gundichaghagi waterfall is located amidst spectacular natural environment with lush green forest. A cascade of waterfalls on the river Musala falls at a distance of 50 feet below the river surface makes the area virtually smokey & attractive with roaring sound. The waterfall looks like a silver garland. This picnic spot is truly the paradise of natural lovers which gives unforgettable memory to the visitors. This waterfall is just 12 km away from Ghatagaon.
Handibhanga Waterfalls: Handibhanaga waterfall is situated in picturesque natural environment amidst lush green forest with up rolling mountain range. The nearby area is a huge reserve of rich biodiversity & ecology. Handibhanaga waterfall with a height of 200 feet high mesmerizes the visitors for this stunning landscape. Beauty of the spot attracts picnickers & weekend holidayers alike. This spot is just 45 km away from Keonjhar town.
Khandadhar Waterfalls: Khandadhar waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls not only of Keonjhar district but also of the state. Speeding water of this holly river Khandadhar Spring is falling straight down to the earth at a distance of around 500 feet height. Due to the vertical falling of water this water fall is known as Khandadhar. Crystal water of spring falls on an uneven stone floor which ultimately produces a roaring sound leading to a smoky scenario around the area. Its stunning natural environment encircled with mountain range at three directions mesmerizes visitors coming from all around of the state & abroad. The natural environment of this area is also the ideal place for rich flora and fauna which are abundantly available here. This spot is at a distance of 50 km from Keonjhar town.
Bhimakunda Waterfalls: Bhimakunda Waterfall, Keonjhar has a stunning spectacular natural environment encircled with lush green forest. The majestic Baitarani river provides two most beautiful and scary waterfalls called Sanakunda & Badakunda to the natural lovers. The waterfall has a terrific characteristic of imparting awesome experience to the visitors due to large vertical shaped gorge & speeding current and makes the environment smokey. Further huge roaring sound of waterfall makes the place most interesting among tourists. This waterfalls is considered as a most sacred place in religious point of view. Local people gather here during annual celebration of Makar Sankranti in large numbers. Mythology is that Pandavas were staying some time here during their religious expedition.
Places of Historical Importance:
Sitabinji: Sitabinji Fresco Painting & Rock Inscription is located on the side of holy Sita river in a beautiful natural ambience encircled with sprawling mountain rangse. A magnificent stone looks like a temple stands in country yard with a height of approx. 150 feet high which is considered as a major attraction of the spot. Maa Sita Thakurani is the presiding goddess of the pitha along with her two sons Laba & Kusha worshipped under a mammoth stone like temple structures from time immemorial. The famous ancient fresco painting on a rock shelter called Ravan Chahaya is looking like a half opened umbrella which depicts the legendary battle of Lord Rama & Ravana. A series of rock inscriptions are also found nearby the spot is still not interpreted by the modern historians. A great civilization was flourished once upon a time as bricks & other antiques are earthen at the site. The latest remainings of the vestige of the history corroborates that of the golden era of Gupta period of India. Now, ASI is looking after this site for preservation & conservation purposes. This spot is just 25 km away from Keonjhar town.
Keonjhar Rajbati: Old palace of king of Keonjhar has much to do with historicity. enthusiast of history can visit this place. it is just 5 km apart form keonjhar town.
Hadgarh Reservoir: Hadagada Reservoir has been raised on the river Salandi in Anandapur Sub-division of Keonjhar district. The dam encompasses huge water source for the area for irrigation purpose. An splendorous natural environment with high mountains range beautify the reservoir which is eye catching for natural lovers. It is an ideal place for picnickers and holidayers around the year. Scenic beauty of the reservoir and flowing stream offers a number of picnic spots attracting visitors throughout the year. This spot is just 35 km away from Anandapur.
Kanijhari Reservoir: Kanijhari Reservoir has been raised on the river Kanijhari in Sadar Sub-division of Keonjhar district. The dam encompasses huge water source for the area for irrigation purpose. An splendorous natural environment with high mountains range beautify the reservoir which is eye catching for natural lovers. It is an ideal place for picnickers and holidayers around the year. Scenic beauty of the reservoir and flowing stream offers a number of picnic spots attracting visitors throughout the year. This spot is just 15 km away from Keonjhar town.
How to Reach Keonjhar
Access by Air : Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar 191 km.
Access by Rail : The nearest broad gauge railway stations are at Keonjhar and Naranpur.
Access by Road :
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The OSRTC is running its buses covering the whole state. There is huge network of OSRTC to cater the needs of the people.
Bhubaneswar (191km), Kolkata (446km), Sambalpur (280km), Baripada (172km), Ranchi (272km)
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