Welcome to Koraput, a town and municipality in the Koraput district of the Indian state of Odisha. This hidden gem is often overlooked by tourists, but it boasts a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and unique cultural experiences that make it a must-visit destination. Let’s explore what Koraput has to offer.

Koraput derives its name from its headquarters in the present town of Koraput. In ancient times, when the Nalas were ruling over this tract, Pushkari near modern Umarkot was the capital city. In the medieval period, Nandapur developed as a little kingdom under the Silavamsi kings that were later expanded by the Suryavanshi kings who arrived in the region in the 13th century from Kashmir. Later, Maharajah Veer Vikram Dev shifted his capital to Jeypore, and about the middle of the 17th century, this town prospered under the British Administration.

Koraput is surrounded by mountains, thick forests, and waterfalls, making it a nature lover’s paradise. The district is famous for its important places like Jeypur, Duduma, Bagra, Sunabeda MiG factory, and more. The largest mountain in Odisha, Deomali, is also located here, along with Chandragiri mountain. The district has a total area of 8,807 km2 and a total population of 13,79,647, according to the 2011 census. The literacy rate of the district is 36.20%, and it is dependent on agricultural activities. The district has total cultivable land of 301,000 hectares (740,000 acres).

Koraput is a part of the tribal belt in southern Odisha, and many different Adivasi communities live in this district. The traditional culture, knowledge, and subsistence of the Adivasis are closely connected with local ecosystems. Most of the area was covered by thick forest until relatively recently. As a result of deforestation, industrialization, and urbanization, many Adivasi communities have adopted new ways of life. However, many Adivasis maintain a tradition of selling produce (vegetables and fruit) in Sunday markets popularly known as Hat Poda (or haat). The Dongar Festival (or Parab) is held annually, ostensibly to showcase the way of life of Adivasis, in the first and second weeks of December, organized by the district administration. Many foreign tourists visit the festival.

Koraput is mostly famous for its Jagannath Temple, which is also known as Sabara Srikhetra. Srikhetra is normally referred to as Puri Jagannath, but the unique identity of the Koraput temple is that no section of society is barred entry. Council of Analytical Tribal Studies (COATS), registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, is a university-like educational institute that is a successful attempt to restore and educate tribal way of life, customs, tradition, medicine, language, social structure, and history. COATS has been documenting the day-to-day situation of poor tribals and feeding this information to the local administration in an effort to make it more efficient.

Koraput has many hill stations, though they are not as famous as other hill stations in India. Places like Machkund, Onukadelli, Jalaput, Chindri, Hatipathar, (Deomali) Potangi, etc. are places to be visited for their scenic beauty. The town is well connected to other parts of the state as well as some major cities of neighboring states, by means of rail and road. National highway number 26(43) passes through the town, which connects it with Raipur and Visakhapatnam. Buses are plenty from Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram to Koraput. Buses to Jeypore, Jagdalpur, Umerkote, etc., also pass through Koraput. Koraput railway station connects Koraput with Rayagada, Visakhapatnam, Berhampur, Jagdalpur, Howrah, Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, and Raipur.

In terms of education, Koraput has schools, SLN Medical College and Hospital, and a central university, Central University of Odisha (CUO), formerly Central University of Orissa. The territorial jurisdiction of the university is the whole of the Odisha state. As far as higher studies are concerned, Koraput has one Women’s College and a D.A.V. College, both of which are affiliated to Berhampur University. In 2009, a central university was set up in Koraput, namely Central University of Orissa. This started functioning from August 2009, providing courses on English, Oriya, mass communication, journalism, anthropology, and sociology. Prof Surabhi Banarjee was appointed as the first vice-chancellor of the university. On 4 September 2017, the new government medical college was established in Koraput and named after Saheed Laxman Nayak, a great freedom fighter of that region. Classes started in September 2017.

Koraput is a hidden gem that offers a unique cultural experience and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a new adventure, Koraput has something for everyone. Come and explore this enchanting destination and discover why it should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

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