Angul District came to into existence with effect from dt.1.4.93 being carved out of the erstwhile mother District Dhenkanal. The District is named after the district headquarter town of Angul.This shares its boundary with Sundargarh and Keonjhar District in North, Cuttack and Dhenkanal district in the East, Boudh and Nayagarh in the South, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Deogarh district in the West. The district exists in between 20’31’ to 21’41’ N latitude and 84’16’ to 85’23’ east longitude. The district is centrally located in the State and covers an area of 6357 which is 4.09% of the total area of the state and ranks 11th among 30 districts in terms of area. The district consists of 4 Sub-divisions, 08 Blocks, 08 Tahasils, 03 Urban Local Bodies, 209 Gram Panchayats and 1910 villages. This district covers with a cluster of hills and mountain ranges, Malyagiri of Pallahara Sub-division in one end and Panchadhara in Athamallik Sub-division is in other end. It is a valley intertwined between the river Mahanadi and Brahmani.A vast stretch of forest with rich growth of flora and fauna adds to its scenic beauty. The climate condition of this district is extreme with high percentage of humidity. It has many ecologically significant Tourist centers. Socio economically and culturally the district can be divided into two zones. Sub-division of Athamallik and Pallahara together constitute one zone representing the ancient tribal culture. Much of its economic and cultural backwardness can be attributing to its large inaccessible hilly tracks and poor infrastructure. The economy in this belt thrives mainly on agriculture and forest products. On the other hand, the zone comprising the Sub-divisions of Angul and Talcher have come of age with a cosmopolitan culture with major concentration of large and medium scale industries in this region, people are more advanced both in economically and culturally.


Origin of the name is said to be a corruption of Anugol which has been derived from the original name Angulakapattana mentioned in the Boudh copper plate inscription of about 8th century A.D. The place was formerly known as Hulurusinga but the name Angul was given to it in 1896, two years after the headquarters was transferred to Angul from Purunagarh. There is legend behind the name. In bygone days the territory was occupied by aboriginal tribes called Kandhs,Savars and Gonds in majority of population being that of the Kandhas.The country was divided into a number of independent principalities, each governed by a Kandhas Chief. As the legend goes the last king of Orissa succeeded in establishing his rule over the Kandhas who acknowledged his suzerainty by paying him tribute. But the last Kandhas chief Anu withheld the tribute and broke out in rebellion. In order to sub due the rebellious chief the king of Orissa formed a conspiracy against Anu and in the struggle that ensured Anu was deposed by means of a gol i.e. a battle or plot. They then ruled over the land and in commemoration of their conquest named this place Angol (i.e. Anu+gol). However the historian differs from person to person regarding the naming of Angul (Sources Angul Cultural heritage vol-VII).


The district experiences a sub-tropical climate with longer dry periods, cold winters and continental climatic characteristics. The District experiences heat spells with temperature rising to 47 Degree Centigrade. Gradually with development of mining activity, clearance of forest and functioning of the Industries around Talcher and Angul,it has become one of the industrial hotspots of the country. The District experiences three well marked seasons with distinct variation in the weather elements of temperature, rainfall and humidity. The distribution of rainfall is quire erratic leading to frequent drought spells in the district.


The district experiences very high temperature during the summer months of April and May and often records the highest temperature in the State with the unset of the monsoon the temperature falls slowly to 25 to 30 degree centigrade. With the unset of the winter season the mean temperature further drops down to nearly 20 degree centigrade during the day time where as the night time temperature remains around 10 degree centigrade. December and January are the coldest months of the year and cold spells of northern and central area vary often influence the cold weather of the district.


The district records high humidity during the south west monsoon but it declines during the winter months. July and August are the rainiest months. The fluctuation of rain fall is very high in the district. The pre monsoons showers in the month of March to May are often accompanied with thunderstorms, hailstorms, depressions and whirlwinds. The annual normal rainfall of the district is 142 cm. On an average there are 70 rainy days in a year.


Angul is like a bridge between western and coastal halves of Orissa where the prehistoric and protohistoric relics are found in village Bhimakand, Kankili, Kulei, Samal, Sanakerjang , Kaliakata, Paranga, Kerjang, Tikarapara and Pallahara. The geographical location of Angul made the Bhanjas of Angulaka-pattana, the Sulkis of Kodalaka Mandala, the Nandodbhavas of Airavatta Mandala,the Tungas of Yamagartta Mandala rule over it. But all through the rules of different dynasties, Angul has retained her cultural identity which is much more prominent than its political establishments.


The Bhaumakaras declined by the middle of the 10th Century A.D. when the eastern part of Orissa including the Dhenkanal region passed to the hands of the Somavamsis of South Kosala. The Somavamsis in their turn, were ousted by the Gangas and Orissa was occupied by Chodagangadedva some time before 1112 A.D. The Ganga rule lasted as long as till 1435 A.D. when a new Solar dynasty founded by Kapilendradeva came to power. About the year 1533-34, Govinda Vidyadhar put an end to the Suryavamsi rule and started the rule of Bhoi dynasty, which lasted up to 1559 when Mukundadeva, belonging to the Chalukya family, forcibly occupied the throne. In 1568, the Afghans of Bengal invaded Orissa, and defeated and killed Mukundadeva after which Orissa came under their occupation. During all this period of dynastic changes, Angul played no remarkable role in history and this territory simply passed from one political authority to the other. During the rule of Suryavamsis and the Bhois & subsequently some new feudal states developed as self-contained political units. These are Angul, Talcher, Pallahara and Athamallik and history of each of these estates is present below.


Like other ex-State areas of the district, Angul was also once a feudatory State. It is believed to have been inhabited at one time by Khonds, who at an early date were driven back into the rocky fastness of Khondmals by successive waves of Hindu immigrants. It seems that many centuries ago the numerous loosely formed principalities in this hilly region passed under the sway of military adventurers, who found the country an easy prey. The earlier rulers were often at feud with one another, and it was easy to provoke a quarrel here, or stir; up an intrigue there, and then take advantage of the dissension to seize the chief’s fortress, the possession of which in those days meant the Government of the State. There is no record of these different conquests, but gradually a number of states in the mountainous hinterland of Orissa, including Angul, appear to have acknowledged the over lordship of warrior chiefs, who were or claimed to be Rajputs.


The early history of the Ruling family of Angul has remained in obscurity. The kings of Angul belong to the Kadamba family and to Kasyapa Gotra. The earliest known ruler of this line was Raja Dhanurjaya Singh Jagaddeva. It may, however, be said that Dhanurjaya is not the first king of the Kadamba family of Angul as the predecessor of Dhanurjjaya is known to have been defeated by the ruler of Dhenkanal who occupied some border villages like Kharagprasad, Mangalpur and Kamalang. Dhanurjjaya Singh made heroic attempts to restore the prestige of Angul and he not only succeeded in getting back the above villages from Dhenkanal but also marched as far as the village Goulpur situated at a distance of nine miles west of Dhenkanal town and installed there a pillar in commemoration of his victory. The victory pillar was popularly known as 'Dhanu Singh Thenga' and the legend of it is current in the locality till today. Dhanurjjaya died issueless and was succeeded by his younger brother Raja Nityananda Singh Jagaddeva. This ruler was a peace-loving man, and taking advantage of his weakness, the Raja of Dhenkanal invaded Angul once again and forcibly occupied several border villages. Raja Nityananda was succeeded by his son Krushna Chandra Jagaddeva who restored the territories occupied by Dhenkanal and undertook various works for improvement of the State. He constructed the temple of Nagarimohanadeva in his headquarters and made arrangements for the worship of the deities. Krushna Chandra Jagaddeva died in the Amli year 1211, i.e., A.D. 1803, the year of the British occupation of Orissa. As he was issueless, his younger brother Achala Mansingh ascended the Gadi and ruled for a short period of two to three years. In 1803 also Angul was ceded to the British by the Marathas, and its chief entered into an engagement by which he bound himself to maintain submission and loyalty to the Government of the East India Company and to pay an annual peshkash or tribute of Rs.1, 250. Achal Mansingh was succeeded by his eldest son Jarawar Singh who also shortly died in the Amli year 1217 i.e., A.D. 1809. After Jarawar Singh, there took place a fratricidal struggle among his step-brother Prithvi Singh who forcibly occupied the Gadi immediately after that. The wife of Jaya Singh committed the Sati rite and a portion of her saree which she wore at the time of entering into the fire is said to have been preserved in the store-house of a Jaganath Temple. Prithvi Singh also was not destined to rule long. In 1813, the Governor-General directed Mr. J. Richardson, the Settlement Commissioner of Cuttack and Mr. J. W. Sage, the Acting Collector to make joint investigation about the troubles of Angul. The officers strongly suspected Prithvi Singh to have murdered Jaya Singh and his sons and they reported that he was a usurper to the Gadi having no legal claim to it. The British Government, therefore, deposed Prithvi Singh and put him under arrest. The Gadi of Angul passed to Somanath Singh, then a young boy of 14. Somanath Singh was the son of Gopinath Singh, the youngest son of Achal Mansingh b his first wife. It appears that Somanath Singh with his mother was kept in the prison by Prithvi Singh and he was released when his claim to the Gadi was recognized by the British Government. He soon acquired an evil reputation as an oppressor among his own men and a filibuster among his neighbors.


Somanath Singh was the last king of Angul and he ruled for a long period of 33 years from 1814 to 1847 when he was deposed by Government. He was a spirited and a head-strong ruler and although ruled his territory with considerable efficiency, he incurred displeasure nor only among the neighbouring Feudatory Chiefs of Dhenkanal, Hindol, Daspalla, Baudh, and Athmallik but also among the British Officers by his head-strong dealings and outspoken nature. Mr. Mill, the then Commissioner of Orissa, remarked about him as follows : "He is an intelligent though eccentric man but is withal proud and head-strong and the most refractory of all Chieftains and the most likely to come into collision with the constituted authorities. He is little disposed to obey orders which clash with his imaginary rights whatever may happen, says Mr. Ricketts, to his fortune and not to his fault - and as being fortune, is to be met as it best may - bowed to and endured".


In 1831, Somanath Singh plundered some villages of Daspalla for which Government directed him to pay Rs.1, 450 as compensation. But he strongly refused to pay thins amount. In 1837, there occurred a case of six murders in Angul and the Raja was suspected to have instigated this crime. Mr. Ricketts wanted the Raja to deliver he culprits to the Government but he contemptuously refused to comply with the orders. It was by that time that the Khonds of Ghusmur rebelled against the British Government (1836-37) and the Khond's Chief Dora Bisoi and his nephew Chakra Bisoyi were suspected to have been given asylum in Angul by the Raja. Rather, he endeavored to conceal it by writing to the Commissioner - 'If I sieze Dora Bisoi, what terms will be allowed him?' The answer was promptly given. 'From your writing, I know you have him in your fastness. His life shall be spared, if he is delivered to my officer by such a data, if not, the Cuttack force will march upon you". This threat was effectual. The Raja gave up Dora Bisoi2. In 1846, Raja Somanath Singh forcibly occupied a village of the Raja of Hindol for which he was fined Rs.3, 000. The Raja maintained that he had legally purchased the village from the Chief of Hindol, but this was not accepted by the Superintendent of the Tributary Mahals. The Raja, however, did not pay any fine and disregarded the orders of the Superintendent. The very year (1846), the Khonds of Ghumsur again made a rebellion and the Government once again suspected Somanath Singh to have helped the rebel leaders and although there was no positive proof to establish the guilt of the Raja, suspicion against him became deep rooted. In the beginning of 1847, Capt. Macpherson and his assistant, Candenhead reported that their camp at Kusumgah was attacked by the Khond leader Nabaghana Kahar with the aid of the Raja of Angul. Reports were regularly sent by Capt. Macpherson to the Government of Bengal accusing the Raja of Angul of his complicity in the Khond rebellion. The Raja when asked by the Government repeatedly refused in strong terms to have any connection with the rebels and protested that his enemies were falsely implicating him in he matter. Capt. Dunlop who was sent to Angul to enquire about the case of plunder of the two villages of Daspalla reported that there was no proof of the allegations against the Raja. But the Government was determined to take some action against Somanath Singh and the Commissioner was directed to summon the Raja of Angul to Cuttack for further investigation. The Raja was summoned to Cuttack to account for his conduct, but he refused to obey the summons and at this open defiance, following on a long career of disobedience, mismanagement and oppression, Government decided on the deposition of the Raja and the annexation of his State. Accordingly in December, 1847, a proclamation was published announcing the annexation of Angul and a warrant was issued for the arrest of the Raja. Lokanath Singh Gambhira Samant, the son of the Raja of Angul, met the Commissioner on the 2nd January, 1848 and reported to him that his father's attitude of defiance was not liked by him and that the officers in Angul were instigating his father against the Government. He further revealed that about 700 Paiks of Angul under Krupasinghu Garnaik had gone to Kusumgarh in aid of the Khonds.

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