Endowed with sparkling waterfalls, mighty mountains, swathes of green meadows in-between the hills, enfolded dense forest the abode of exotic wild life and indigenous tribes, khandamala is an absolute beauty to behold.
Khandamala is a district in the Indian state of Odisha. It came into existence in 1994 after splitting off the Phulabani into Khandamala and Boudh district. Phulabani is its state head quarter.
Kandhamala is the heart land of ‘’Kandha’’ tribes, the linage of ancient Gondid race, has got its name accordingly.
The history of Kandhamala traced back to 300 BC. It has mentioned as an unconquered Atavika country in the Kalinga rock edicts of legendary Mayuran Empire, Ashoka. The mentioned mountainous Atavika Rajya is unquestionably encompassed the Khandhamala region.
History also evidence that in 490 BC a king of Harayanka dynasty of Magadha Ajatasatru, wished to shift his capital from Rajagriha to Khandhamala, an strategically better place to fight against Lichavis of Vaisali. But later he declined the idea and choose Pataliputra as his new capital.
Since the iron age various dynasty ruled the land, their reign came to an end in 19th century when British came in power.
The 8, 021 km sqare land lies on high altitude with inter spreading inaccessible terrains of hilly ranges, deep Georges and narrow valley tracks a perfect destination for who loves adventures amidst nature.
Phulabani- The administrative head quarter of Kandhamala, Phulabani is a cradle for diverse range of flora and fauna in the virgin forests that spreads across the towering mountains is bliss for nature admirers. The perennial river Salunki is the source of the numerous big and small waterfalls.
The waterfalls are bursting out all over the terrain. The most gourgeous are,
Patudi waterfall- The 100mt high Patudi waterfall amidst thick forest that has originated from the river Bada Salunki is coursing through the barren rocks like a beautiful song of nature. As if a melodious tune is playing in the hush tranquil of jungle. Winter is the best time to give a visit here. The scenic beauty offers umpteen elements for shutterbugs to capture.
Pakadadarh waterfall- A 30mt high waterfall situated in the Sudurukumpa village and 18km from Phulabani town. Relatively small but the panoramic view on the backdrop of lush greenery on the lofty hills is breathtaking and is a much preferred picnic hotspot.
Ludu waterfall- Ludu waterfall is a stunning waterfall in the Kotagara sanctuary, which is 165km from Phulabani. Due to rough road the journey may exhaust you but sight of the majestic waterfall that rumbles through the rugged mountain surrounded by lush green forest will leave you spellbound. The sanctuary is cramped with many minor waterfalls too. The small huts in the jungle, dwelled by local tribes beneath the tall Sal trees, contrasting our urban buildings astonishes the mind and the ambience offers peace.
Katramala- Katramala is a place of exquisite natural bounties. Boasted with a waterfall that flutters through lush green wood and falls into a pool. The sight of jumping and almost flying fishes on the pool leaves the beholder amazed. People throws puff rice and buiscuits and enjoys these playing fishes. The bumpy road to Katramala is exhausted but the serenity of the hinter land soothes the tired soul.
Belghar sanctury- Situated at the 2555ft above the sea level Belaghar with thick forest is home of white tusk elephants along with other wild life such as Samber, Spotted deer, peafowl, red fowl and other exotic wild creatures. A huge crowd of peacocks in the Ushabali vally is another tourist attraction. It is primitive habitat of kutia-kandhas. They live by gathering food and are hut dwellers. The fine cane works is another credit of this tribal. A bungalow in the sanctury is an option for the people who brave to stay and explore.
Daringbadi- Daringbadi at the 3000ft altitude is a nature’s bounty of panoromic pine jungle, vast coffee gardens, beautiful valleys, stretched meadows and many waterfalls, tops the list of must visit place of Khandhamala. Also popularly known as ‘’Kashmir of Odisha’’. The only place of Odisha that experiences snow fall in winter. Due to low temperature it is famous as an ideal summer resorts. Doluri river adds glamour to it’s beauty. A hill view point on the top of the mountain gives a glimpse of splendid picturesque of the land. The Guest house in the dense forest provides accommodation for the nature lovers who wish to dwell with nature.
Kalinga- 48KM from Phulabani the place is well known for the Silviculture garden. Along with wide spread bushes of bamboo and rubber trees the garden is filled with several medicinal plants. The aroma of garden rejuvenates the mind. The serpentine roads through rocky hills adorned with greenery delights the adventurers.
The cultural heritages marks the asceticism of its people.
Baraldevi temple- Baraldevi temple is located at village Balashakumpa 15km from Phulabani town. The goddess Barala devi is presiding god of the land and believed to be savior of the world. The temple buzzes with devotes particularly during Dushahera. Two hill streams have confluence at Balashkumpa, giving birth to river Pilasalunki. Pilasalunki dam just 3km from its origin is an ideal picnic spot.
Chakapad- 55km from Phulabani and at 800ft height the Chakapad a place where saivism is respected and deified. Lord shiva is worshiped as Lord Birupakhya in the temple on the bank of river Bhutaganga. The strange thing about the temple is all the trees along with the Shiva linga inside the temple premise leans towards south. During Shivaratri the temple witnesses maximum influx of devotees.
Khandamala is also famous for its verities of aromatic turmeric and it has earned the Geographical indication (GI tag from intellectual properties of India. Dokra, Terra-Cotta, Cane and Bamboo work.
How to reach at Kandhamala?
Kandhamala can be approced from Bhubaneswara, Sambalapur and Barahampur by road, nearest Railway station is Berhumpur that is 165km from district headquarter.