On the 2nd Oct, 1992, Malkangiri was announced as a separate district. Before that it was a part of Koraput district. It’s the Malkangiri town which is also the dist HQ. Now this district has become a new home for the refugees coming from Bangladesh. These people were rehabilitated during 1965 when the Dandakaranya Project was commenced. There are some amazing locations located in this district like Balimela Dam, Bonda Ghati or the abode of the Bonda tribe, and Satiguda Dam. The Bonda tribe is often considered as the most vulnerable tribe in this country. Malkangiri is also having a power generation station right at Balimela. It’s the corridor road for Vijaywada-Ranchi will also pass through this district.
During the year 2006, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has announced this district as the backward district in India. After this, such district is also receiving the BRGF funds like other 18 backward districts in Odisha. As per the census of 2011, Malkangiri district was having a population around 612,727. Over the decade, the growth of population rate is recorded to be 21.53% for this district. The sex ratio in Malkangiri is 1016 females to 1000 males. It’s the literacy rate in this district is recorded to be around 49.49%.
As this is a remote part of the state, in the past reaching here was quite tough. However, the Jeypore-Motu highway as well as the Govindpali-Sileru road has made public transportation easier for Malkangiri district now. This part of Odisha is yet to be connected via the rail road. However, the nearest rail stop for Malkangiri is located at Koraput town, Jagdalpur and Jeypore. Malkangiri is also the place for some notable tribal groups. This district is also home for some attractive tourist location.
When we are talking about Malkangiri and its attractions, how we can miss the Bonda people. It’s the Bonda tribe that originally belongs to the district of Malkangiri. They are also called as Bondo, Bhonda, Remo and Bondo Poraja. This is an ancient tribe and near about having 12,000 of people as per the census of 2011. These people use to live at the isolated hilly area of Malkangiri district. There are also two groups in this tribe; one is the Upper Bondas and they are having a population of 6,700. These people don’t have any connection with the outer world. They are really very isolated from the mainstream of society.
The next group is the Lower Bondas and they also don’t have any connection with the outer world. For the first time Bonda Tribe has got a MLA whose name was Dambaru Sisha. This person has tried a lot to protect the culture and traditions of Bonda tribe. He allowed them to take advantage of education. Due to this reason six percent of these people have managed to become literate. It’s the life expectancy rate is very low with the Bonda tribe. Due to this reason they are also considered as the extinct tribal group. They are categorized under the Scheduled Tribe group as per the laws of India and also called as Remo. This is the most primitive tribal group in Odisha and India. During last thousand years, hardly anything got changes as far Bonda culture and tradition is concerned.
Didayees tribe is considered as an important tribe in Malkangiri. The people associated with this tribe use to have a rich heritage. They are considered as the Bonda’s progeny. It is also been said that they are related to Paraja tribe. These people have established matrimonial relationship with other tribes like Poraja, Bonda and Gadava. Despite all these facts, the Didayees people have always managed to stay distinctive and maintained their natural identity on a high node. As per the law of India, they are considered as the Scheduled Tribe. These people can be found at both side of Machhkund River. They are also staying at the center part of Kandakamberu Hill.
There are five panchayats of the Kudumulugumma where these people can be traced. They use to live in a very clean and neat house and love to paint the walls of their homes. Fishing, hunting, and cultivation are the activities through which they use to find their bread and butter. These people are faithful and religious. Most importantly, their hospitality, treatment methods and cultural life are what have attracted so many outsiders to come close to them. The Govt. at this part of Malkangiri has also announced the Didayee Development Organization for the development of Didayees people.
Under the Kalimela block of Malkangiri district, the Manyamkonda is located. From the dist HQ of Malkangiri, this place is located at a distance of 90 km. in this district, the Manyamkonda is considered as a religious place where the Lord Mahaprabhu is worshiped. During Mar and Apr months, a huge festival is celebrated at this place. This uses to fall every year. And every alternative year the famous festival of this district known as the Bada Yatra starts right at this place and move to the Mauli Maa Mandir located in Malkangiri. During this festival, people use to worship three gods named as Pota Raju who related to Vima, Kanam Raju who relates to Lord Krishna and the Bal Raju who related to the Arjun. It’s a beautiful place and as the important temple is located here, it attracts many visitors every year. This is also a notable tourist location in Malkangiri district. Bus services can be availed from the dist HQ to Podia. From Podia, you need to cover just two km to reach this place. The nearest rail stop to this place is located at Jeypore.
From the town of Malkangiri, this Bhairavi Temple is located at a distance of three km. this is the hill deity of the district where Bhairavi Devi is worshiped. People use to offer their prayers here while traveling from Jeypore town. While leaving Malkangiri, people also use to pray here so that they can enjoy safe journey. The worshiping activity runs all day through. It is believed that the Malkangiri King has first started the worship here. The remnants of King’s castle are still present on Raja-Rani Hill. This hill is located right at the front of this temple. The Goi Hill is closely located to this temple where a Shiva Linga was traced. At this hill, people use to gather in vast numbers to celebrate Maha Shiva Ratri. The locals here have made a safe road so that pilgrims can reach for this hill easily. Here, the Shiva Linga is having a height of more than six feet. Locals believe that this Shiva Linga is still increasing. There is also the Tarini Temple that is located at a distance of two km from the town of Malkangiri.
In the Malkangiri district, Ammakunda is a notable tourist location. It comes under the Khoirput block and located at a distance of 70 km from the dist HQ. here, you can also find a waterfall. The water coming from this fall is creating a very narrow gorge and this has also become a prime attraction at this spot. Most importantly, the fishes present in that gorge are very friendly with humans and they are believed as the forms of Lord Vishnu. It is called as the Matsya Avatar of such lord. Due to this reason, fishing is not allowed at this spot. However, visitors can enjoy at this place a lot while feeding these fishes that come very close to humans. The Ammakunda is surrounded with dense jungle as well as small hillocks.
Under the Khoirput block of Malkangiri district, the Bonda Hill comes. This hill is where the Bonda people use to stay. These people belong to the primitive tribal group of this district. Dense hilly jungle uses to surrounds this place from every side. At this place, you can still find the Bonda people who use to live naked. It is believed that such people used to stay naked after Goddess Sita cursed them. these people have laughed at Sita when she was taking a bath in a Kunda which is now known as Sita Kunda. During the month of Jan, the Bondas use to celebrate the Patkhand yatra right at Mudulipada. During this festival, the Bondas use to worship the sword, as they believe that such sword belongs to the Pandavas. There are many other things to see when you are at the Bonda Hill. Admiring its scenic beauty is a must do thing here. From the dist HQ it is located 80 km away. From Malkangiri, you can take bus to reach for Khairaput.