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Koraput: Melting Point of Cultures
Koraput: Melting Point of Cultures

Koraput: Melting Point of Cultures

Koraput is a city in the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), near the borders of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states. It has enchanting hills, verdant forests, winding streams, exotic wildlife, and a rich tribal way of life. If one thinks of the cultural history of primitive tribes one must turn towards south Odisha, the hub of tribal. So this Koraput region, the domain of tribal has become the centre of study and research.

Brief History

The earliest event which can be proved with certainty is the acquisition of the tract by the Kingdom of Jeypore around the 15th century. Before that, it was ruled by the Silavamsi Dynasty.

There are many tribes in Koraput out of which the Bhumia, Bhatra, Gond, Koya, Paraja, and Kondh constitute above one lakh each, and on the other 26 tribes’ population is around one thousand.

The tribal people of these parts are simple, truthful, and freedom-oriented. But modernization has already entered the hills of the Koraput region changing their lifestyle; yet their costumes, traditions associated with cultural history will remain evergreen in the world.

State/District/Capital

Koraput is one of the districts of Odisha. In 1992, the District of Koraput was further divided into four Districts. They are koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri and Nowarangpur.

How to reach Koraput?

By Air

There are three airports in the area – one at Visakhapatnam which is 5 hours by road, the second one is Raipur which is 7 hours to Koraput. The third one is the Jeypore airstrip, which has some air connections with Bhubaneswar.

By Train

The Hirakand Express leaves from Bhubaneswar at night and reaches Koraput, the next morning. A passenger train (Visakhapatnam-Kirkland Passenger, Train Number 1VK) leaves from Visakhapatnam in the morning and reaches Koraput by evening.

Samleshwri Express has two sleepers, one AC three tire, and some general coaches for Koraput. It leaves Howrah at 9:35 PM daily and takes almost 24 hours to reach Koraput via Rourkela, Sambalpur, and Rayagada.

By Road

Koraput on the hills can be reached from most places in either Odisha or Andhra Pradesh by travelling up a heavily forested winding road (also called a ghat road), with many sharp hairpin bends. The road trip from either state is quite scenic. It is the most travelled and well maintained. If travelling in the early morning or late evening, you definitely will spot wildlife feeding along the road, or even spot the odd carnivore. There are forests of sandalwood trees all the way.

The route from Visakhapatnam traverses along Pendurthi, Kottavalsa, Srugaravarapu Kota (S.Kota), Araku, Araku Valley, and Koraput.

The other route to Koraput from Visakhapatnam goes via Vizianagaram, Gajapathinagaram, Rambhdhrapuram, Salur, Pottangi, Simliguda, Sunabeda (HAL) and Koraput.

When to visit Koraput?

The weather from January to May is warm and pleasant. The days are sunny and the air is pleasant. The average temperature of Koraput is around 77℉ which is just perfect to explore.

Official Language

  • Odia is the most spoken language here. 64.36% of the population in the district spoke Odia.
  • Other spoken languages are 12.25% Desia, 10.21% Kui, 9.12% Pooja, 3.46% Telugu, 2.81% Kuvi, 2.10% Gadaba, and 1.49% Bharti as their first language.
  • A large number of tribal of the district have adopted non-tribal languages as Odia is the medium of instruction in Government schools.

Weather

  • The district overall has a warm and humid type of climate, though significantly more pleasant than the rest of Odisha.
  • The maximum temperature in summer is 34.1° C and the Minimum temperature in Winter is 10.4° C.
  • A line of hills marks its outer boundary to the east reaching a height of 5486 feet at Deomali, the highest peak of Odisha, near Pottangi, and 5316 feet at Sinkaram Gutta near Araku on the Andhra Pradesh border.

Fairs & Festivals in Koraput

  • Parab  Koraput
  • Jagar Mela (Maha Shiv Ratri) Gupteswar & All The Shaiva Pitha
  • Ratha Yatra & Bahuda Yatra
  • Bali Yatra
  • Dussehra (Lathi Yatra)
  • Sravana Purnima
  • Nua Khai

Transportation/Stay to prefer

There are so many buses are available for travelling to Koraput from BBSR. They are Royal buses, Grand bus service, OSRTC bus services, etc. are a few of them. These buses are available at the Bermuda bus stop. All these buses are claimed that they are Volvo type but you may not feel the same comfort as in real Volvo available in Goa/Bangalore areas. You can book tickets directly online or offline.

A perfect getaway into nature is an Eco resort is called Desia. The cultural sojourn of Koraput would have been incomplete without some warm Tribal hospitality and bike riding in the hills. The ecotourism facility is equipped with modern amenities and spacious rooms decorated with local handicrafts and traditional tribal methods. The design of the entire set-up was done by local artists with the help of artists from Shanti Niketan. Their electricity here is run on solar panels and the infinite network of constellations sparkling in the sky light up the entire hamlet and looks magical.

Places to visit in Koraput

Heritage

Savara Shrikhetra

The Koraput headquarters are situated 2,900 ft. above sea level. It is also known as “Sabar Shrikshetra”. The Tribal Museum is behind the temple caters that educate the tourists about the culture & heritage of the tribal people of Koraput.

Gupteshwar Temple

It is an important cave shrine of Lord Shiva situated on a limestone hill which is on the bank of river Kolab, surrounded by natural Scenery. The sacred ‘Lingam’ called Gupteswar which means ‘Hidden God’. Shivaratri is a major festival that celebrates with great fun and enthusiasm.

Dumuriput

It is basically a village which is situated in between Koraput and Sunabeda. The famous temple of Sri Ram also situated here which is widely known for the highest kneeling Hanuman Statue in Odisha. Ram Navami festival is a major celebration here that attracts a large number of devotees.

Kolab Dam

It is located at an altitude of about 3000 ft. above sea level on river Kolab. It has the large Kolab Reservoir generating Hydro Electric Power. The place is highly admired for its scenic beauty which attracts the people for weekend picnic & boating.

Jeypore

Jeypore is a city of victory & the palace of the Jeypore estate. The old fort has a high masonry wall with an imposing gateway. A great water tank in the west of the town known as Jagannath Sagar. Jeypore is developed as the centre of trade for paper mask crafts.

Spiritual

Kechela

There is a Jain temple that is about 30 ft. high. It contains 05 images of Tirthankaras namely Resavanath, Mahavir Jain, Ambika Devi, Jakhya & Jakhyani in a village. They are called a Kechela The images are maintained with great care and achieved a high standard of art which indicates the Kechela was a place of Jainism in the medieval period.

Sri Jagannath Temple

A famous and must-visit temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath in Koraput, Odisha. Sri Jagannath temple is popularly known as “Sabarasrikhetra”. It is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath who is one of the manifestations of Lord Krishna.

Koraput Tribal Museum

It is a perfect place if you want to know the life of tribal groups. It contains unique tribal paintings, several items, and artefacts related to the tribal groups. Many tribal seminars, outdoor performances, and festivals are held here on a regular basis. It has the display of authentic costumes, weapons, ornaments, musical instruments, etc. in different galleries. This place is a treasure house of tribal culture and social practices.

Natural

Rani Duduma Waterfall

The Majestic waterfall is popularly known as Matsya Tirtha of epic fame. They fall from a height of 175 meters. It also set in the heart of the hill of Duduma which is 88 km away from Koraput. It is a rocky outlet for the river Machhkun.

Maligura Tunnels

It is also called the village of Mallis. The Mallis are local tribes of Koraput. A famous broad gauge railway tunnel is located near this village.

Cuisines to taste in Koraput

Shrabana Chhattu

This is called the King of mushrooms. The most popular dishes are Masala Tarkari and Pithau Bhaja. Koraput hosts a variety of other indigenous varieties of mushroom, namely, Boda Chhatu, Khuda Chhatu, Balisiriya Chhatu, Kendumuni Chhatu which are also very tasty when prepared as curry.

Karida

Baby bamboo shoots are available in the rainy season. They can be shredded in long, chopped, or sliced. Popular preparations are Khudkhuda, Chana Karida Tiana, Pithau Bhaja, Masala Bhaja.

Muniga Saaga

Drumstick green leaves saaga bhaja, Muniga phula pithau bhajaa.

Paalua Khiri

It is a must item in many Puja. They are root powder kheer. They are Seasoned Sweetened Lia i.e. puffed rice or puri- pitha.

Kadali Manja

Banana stem, cut into small nibbles and fried with pithau (besan batter ) or made Raai ( sweet curry made with spices and milk).

Aunla Jui

Amla or Rajamla pickled in Haladi Water, spiced with green or red chilies, and left in the sun for a couple of days. Usually, a summer treat for children.

Taadi/Salpa Rasa

Palm(Taala) and salpa tree sap are local delicacies. You can catch a fresh sap if you get into villages. The fermented juice that looks like buttermilk is a delicacy that beats even beer. If you are a drinker, it is a must-try.

Kangu Chaula Khiri

Fox millet is a very rare species is quite popular. We make kheer out of it mostly for festivals.

Khurma

Wheat flour cookie in sugar syrup.

Things to do in Koraput

Nature seems to be tilt more towards some places. One of them is Koraput. It offers the perfect getaway with its enchanting hills, green forests, pleasant winding streams, and rich in exotic wildlife. This place is basically famous for its heritage and culture. It also hosts a unique tribal festival which is called Parab. It is also popularly known for its diverse mineral deposits and drawing industrial giants to this land in southern Odisha. The combination of traditional tribal life alongside modern industries makes it unique in its own way. It is culturally one of the richest places in India. The poorest mud homes are decorated with beautiful wall paintings. 

It is a place that is blessed with natural beauty, that has mercifully not yet become a victim of tourism, a vibrant culture, and ancient history, dating back to the ancient era. Many people visiting Koraput, generally restrict themselves to the Jagannathan temple. With a lineage of tolerant rulers, the district saw the flourishing of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism as well as a whole lot of tribal cultures too.

Souvenirs to buy in Koraput

When you visited the Koraput you can experience rural life. You can also purchase art, handicrafts, and products such as honey, kewra, herbal products, and many more from villagers and tribes.

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About Shalu Saini

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