A sculpture in Belgadia palace of Mayurbhanj

Image of a sculpture kept at Belgadia Palace

Due to its unique geographical location, and rich flora and fauna, this state (Mayurbhanj) played a very crucial role and made its impact throughout the history of modern India.

The Kings of Mayurbhanj were pioneering force in the upliftment of Odisha under British rule. In fact, it was one of the most progressive districts in the whole nation during the British rule. The Bhanja kings established the first Medical college of the state in Cuttack. They donated huge sum of money and land for establishment of higher educational institutions like Ravenshaw College. They were also responsible for making endeavors and finally persuading the Britishers for a railway route to Odisha. The Mayurbhanj state got merged in the state of Odisha on 1st January 1949. Since the date of its merger Mayurbhanj has been organized and is administered as one of the districts of Odisha.

Praveen Chandra Bhanj Deo – the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj & his wife Maharani Rashmi Kumari

Read : Administration of Mayurbhanj State Order, 1949, Act of Merger

The rulers of the Bhanja dynasty continued to rule over this State in unbroken succession since about the 9th century A.D. The name of the State under the early Bhanja rulers was Khijjinga Mandala named after the Capital Khijjinga Kotta. The copper plate inscription issued by those rulers indicate that Khijjinga Mandala was an extensive territory comprising the present Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts as well as parts of Singhbhum district in Bihar and Medinapur district in West Bengal. During the Moghul Period, the territory of Bhanja rulers extended as far as the sea. By that time, the capital had shifted from Khijjinga Kotta to Haripur.

Later Khijjinga name was changed to “Khiching“.

The Bhanja capital of Khiching was invaded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, the then Sultan of Delhi, in 1361. The Sultan sacked Orissa, and defiled and destroyed its temples and other shrines. This appears to have been a turning point for the Bhanjas, who shifted their capital from Khiching to Hariharpur in 1400 CE. This was revealed when in 1911, state archaeologist N.N Vasu discovered an old record which mentioned King Harihar Bhanja establishing a town in 1400, named after him, which was then made the capital of the kingdom of Mayurbhanj.

The state was modernized during the short reign of Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanj Deo in the early 20th century. The railway, primary education, municipal governance and healthcare were all introduced around this time. He also allowed the Jamsedji Tata to mine iron ore at Gorumahisani leading to the establishment of Jamshedpur and Tata Steel just outside the state borders. In a notable judgement during his reign, the Calcutta High Court held that the Mayurbhanj State as well as all other feudatory states of Odisha were not parts of British India, thus elevating them to the status of full princely states. Mayurbhanj was the largest and most populous of all princely states in Odisha and the Maharaja enjoyed a salute of 9 guns.

Mayurbhanj has no active airports although RAF Amarda Road was a major base for the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Another abandoned airfied, once used by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj, is located at Rajabasa near Baripada.

Visit the genealogy page for details about all the rulers.

Emblem

emblem

The emblem of the state were two peacocks for according to legend the ancestors of the ancient rulers originated from a peafowl’s eyes.

We are not sure whether the name of the district “Mayurbhanj” – where “Mayur” means peacock was adopted before or after the acceptance of design of emblem. But you can clearly see the connection.

Some historical pictures and Reads

Letters & other official Papers

  1. Mayurbhanj Merger Agreement,1950

2. YEAR 1794 : Letter from Sir Charles . Blunt, Postmaster-General, to Mr. E. Hay, Secretary, reporting a robbery of the mail, and requesting that the Raja of Mayurbhanj may be asked to prevent such occurrences

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