The first gazetteer (15 August 1980) of Kalahandi District says that the district comprised of the ex-State Kalahandi minus Kashipur Police Station ( the Zamizari of Khariar as Nuapada Sub-division. Now Nuapada District). With the merger of princely States with province of Odisha 1948, the ex-State of Kalahandi together with ex-State Patna and Sonepur formed the District of Kalahandi with headquarters at Balangir. On 1st November 1949 Patna and Sonepur areas were separated to form District Balangir; Patna ( later Balngir) Sonepur (later Subarnapur district). And ex-State of Kalahandi, together with Nuapada sub-division which formed a part of Samablpur district since 1st April 1936, was reconstituted a separate District Kalahandi with Headquarters at BHAWANIPATNA. As the area comprising Kashipur Police station posed administrative difficulties due to lack of direct communications with the district headquarters , it was separated from Kalahandi on 1st August 1962. Further Nuapada Subdivision was separated on 27 March 1993 from Kalahandi to form new District as Nuapada.
Origin of the Name of District Whatever doubt there may have been the name of the District according to the records of old Central provinces, it has always been known in Odisha as KALAHANDI (black pot). There never was any controversy about the name in Odisha. What the name may had to do with black cotton soil which brings out black pots from the potters’ wheel that were predominant in markets of the district and neighbourhood can only be speculative.
No record is available to show how the name KALAHANDI originated. It was previously known by the name Karond. According to Lieutenant Elliot, Deputy Commissioner, Raipur(1856), “This dependency is known only on the Nagpur side as Kharonde (Karond ), the Oriya name being Kalahandi, and as there is no place or village corresponding the former name it would appear to be a corruption of the latter, though it has been originally entered in the accounts.” In Koraput and Bastar border area one comes across such names, with identical phonetic variations, which collaborated the above presumption. The Village Bakawond in Bastar is called by the Oriyas as Bakahandi, Bajawand as Bajahandi, Nalpawond as Nalphandi and Kumarwond and Kumarhandi. Similarly the village near Kotpad Sasahandi and Papadahandi are respectively called by the Baster people as Sasawond and Papadawond. But since 1905 when this territory formed a part of the Bengal Presidency the name KALAHANDI is commonly used.
Present Kalahandi District covering a geographical area of 7920 sq km lies in between 19.175489ଂ to 20.454517ଂ North Latitude and 82.617767ଂ to 83.794874ଂ East Longitude . The District occupies the South Western portion of Odisha, bordered to the North by the Balangir District and Nuapada District, to the South by the Nabarangpur District, Koraput District and Rayagada District, and to the East by the Rayagada, Kandhamal District and Boudh District.
The climate of the Kalahandi District is of extreme type. It is dry except during monsoon. The maximum temperature of the District is 45+ degree Celsius, whereas the minimum temperature recorded is 4 degree Celsius. The District experiences the average annual rainfall as 1378.20 mm. The monsoon starts late in June and generally lasts up to September.
Kalahandi District is largely an agriculture based Economy. The District is rich with agriculture. Dharamgarh sub division was historical known for rice production in Odisha. Since 2000s the Indravati Water Project, second biggest in the state has changed the landscape of southern Kalahandi, leading to two crops in a year. Because of this, blocks like Kalampur, Junagarh, Jaipatna, Dharmagarh are the leading producer of paddy in district. Cotton is widely cultivated in areas of Kesinga, Bhawanipatna, Golamunda blocks.
Forest based products like Mahua, Kendu-Leaf, Wood, Timber and Bamboos also contribute to local economy largely. Kalahandi District supply substantial raw materials to paper mills in neighbouring Rayagada District.
Kalahandi District celebrates many festivals round the year. Chhatra Jatra in Bhawanipatna, Deepawali, Rathajatra, Shivaratri, Holi, Janmastami, Ramanabami are the famous festivals celebrated by local people with fun and fair. There are also some other local festivals like Khandabasa, Nuakhai, Amnuan, Kandulnuan, Seminuan, Dumernuan, Kalahandi Utsav, Ghanta Jatra that are celebrated in the District.
Many eminent personalities have taken birth on the soil of Kalahandi District. Rindo Majhi (freedom fighter in Odisha), Pratab Kesari Deo (former MP and ex- Maharaja of Kalahandi), Chakra Bisoi (freedom fighter), Ram Chandra Patra (bureaucrat, social worker, administrator), Natyarashmi Prafulla Ratha, Dayanidhi Nayak (former minister), Jayanta Kumar Behera (social activist and artist) and mountaineer Jogabyasa Bhoi (first from district to climb Mount Everest) are a few among them.
Source: Gazetteer (15 August 1980)