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Location : Orissa
Languages : Oriya, English
Climate : Tropical
Attractions : Hatipathar, Majhighariani Temple
Best Time to Visit : Months between October and June
Rayagada is a gateway to many places of tourist interest and serves as administrative headquarters. Surrounded by lovely meadows, waterfalls, and valleys, the city is renowned for its scenic splendor. This relatively new district is home to multiple cultures and languages which are attributed to inter-societal sharing and a blend of different cultures.
Down the Lane :
The great emperor Ashoka ruled the city in 3rd century BC. At that time, the place was popular for its spices. A number of dynasties that ruled here successively are Gangavasi, Suryavanshi, and Bahamanis. For a period of about 47 years, Nandapur kings made it a part of their empire. At the time when British colonists occupied the territory, the place became part of Jeypore district and later of Koraput. The present district came into existence in the year 1992.
Tribal Population :
Majority of population that is a part of Rayagada comprises of tribal communities. The rugged topography is suitable for nurturing the economical needs of these tribes some of which have adapted to the culture of mainstream communities. But most of them are still backward and illiterate. They are still carrying the heritage of their age old ethnicity and traditional outlook.
Attractions In and Around :
Hatipathar : This major attraction of Rayagada is blessed with natural beauty which is aggravated by the presence of waterfalls. You can relax and rejuvenate your energies amidst the serene surroundings. The place is like a whiff of fresh air that takes you away from the suffocating environment of polluted cities.
Maa Majhighariani Temple : Frequented regularly by devotees from Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, this temple is meant for worshipping Maa Majhighariani. The festival for which the temple is famous is Chaitra Parba which is celebrated every year in March/April.
Gayatri Temple : Housing the images of deities Maa Gayatri and Maa Majhighariani, the temple is visited by a large crowd of devotees. Another attraction is a religious library that is present underground; you can find here several books related to Indian culture.
Chatikona : Located at about 48 kilometers from Rayagada, Chatikona is famous for its tranquil ambience. There are many valleys and hilly ranges covered with dense forests. Known for spiritualistic activities performed on occasion of Shiva Rathri, the place is inhabited by a number of tribal communities.
Minajhola : At 134 kilometers from the destination, you will find another place abounding in nature and wild life; this is called Minajhola. Its dense forests make it an attraction for nature enthusiasts. The place is accessible from Rayagada and is a site worth visiting. You must note that the roads assume bad shape during monsoon season.
Paikapada : This sacred place is rich in presence of Shiva lingams; the other deities that are offered obeisance are Samudra, Jagannatha, and Dhakineswar Kalika. If local inhabitants are to be believed, there are about a crore lingams that are present here and in the surrounding area.
Devagiri : Carrying a height of about 120 meters, Devagiri hill is a considered sacred site. In order to reach here, you have to cover a flight of 476 steps. As you reach the top, you will see many sources of water which are named after sacred rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Indrayumna, and Saraswati. An added attraction is a jaw-shaped cave. The festival of Shivaratri is organized with much fanfare. The festival is great crowed puller. In order to reach here from the destination, you can board buses that commute to Kalyansingpur.
Markama Temple : Lying at about 40 kilometers from Rayagada, the temple is surrounded by lush greenery. Devotees pay a visit to the site Tuesdays in order to offer their prayers to the deity.
In addition to Shivratri, several other festivals are also celebrated here. These include Ganesh Puja, Kali Puja, Rath Yatra, Dusshera etc.
All sorts of accommodation are available; depending upon your choice, you can book both luxurious and medium budget hotels at Rayagada. Hotel Ashok, Hotel Swagat, Hotel Kapilas are a few names.
Cities Nearby :
Padampur (94 kilometers), Hatipathar (3 kilometers), Minajhola (134 kilometers).
Rayagada is a must visit attraction of the state; it allures the visitors by its lovely surroundings.