Past Cities

Baripada, Odisha, India

Baripada, located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, India, is a historically rich city that has witnessed significant developments and events throughout its existence. Nestled amidst lush greenery and surrounded by hills, Baripada is known for its cultural heritage, natural beauty, and the warmth of its people.

The history of Baripada can be traced back to ancient times, with references to the region found in various historical texts and inscriptions. The city's name is derived from two words: "Bari," meaning channel, and "Pada," meaning town. This points to the city's early significance as a hub for trade and commerce. Baripada flourished as an important center of art, culture, and administration under the Bhanja dynasty, which ruled over the region from the 9th to the 14th centuries.

Throughout its history, Baripada has been influenced by the prevailing political environment. The region experienced various dynastic changes, with the Bhanja dynasty being succeeded by the Marathas and later the British. The city became a princely state under the British Raj, and the rulers played a pivotal role in shaping the city's development. Their patronage of the arts, architecture, and education left a lasting impact on Baripada's cultural landscape.

Baripada's population has steadily grown over the years. As of the latest available data, the city is estimated to have a population of around 150,000 inhabitants. The demographic composition of Baripada is diverse, comprising people from different castes, communities, and religions. The city is known for its harmonious coexistence and communal tolerance.

Geographically, Baripada is situated in a picturesque setting. It is surrounded by the Simlipal National Park, which is renowned for its rich biodiversity and lush forests. The city's location near the Mayurakshi River has played a crucial role in its historical and economic development. The river served as a trade route, enabling the transportation of goods and facilitating commercial activities.

Several significant historical events have shaped Baripada's identity. One such event is the annual Rath Yatra, also known as the Car Festival. This grand celebration attracts devotees from across the country who gather to witness the procession of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra on intricately crafted chariots. The festival not only showcases the city's religious fervor but also contributes to its cultural tourism.

The political landscape of Baripada has seen transformations with the changing times. During the Indian independence movement, the people of Baripada actively participated in the struggle against British colonial rule. Freedom fighters from the region, such as Sri Krishna Das and Nilakantha Das, played crucial roles in inspiring and mobilizing the masses.

In recent times, Baripada has undergone significant urbanization and infrastructural development. The city has witnessed improved connectivity with the construction of roads, bridges, and the expansion of the railway network. These developments have facilitated trade and commerce, boosting the city's economy.

Baripada's economy primarily relies on agriculture, with farming being the main occupation of a significant portion of the population. The region is known for its abundant paddy fields, mango orchards, and vegetable cultivation. The local handicraft industry, especially the intricate stone carving and brass metalwork, has also contributed to the city's economy.

Education holds great importance in Baripada, with several schools and colleges offering quality education to the residents. The establishment of the North Orissa University in the city has further elevated its status as an educational hub.