Khordha is one of the new districts carved out of the former Puri District on 1st April, 1993. The other new district carved out of Puri was Nayagarh. In the year 2000, the district’s name was changed from Khurda to Khordha. The district headquarters is located in Khordha Town, formerly known as Jajarsingh or Kurada, (kurada means foul mouthed). The old milestones of the area had the word KURADA which have now been white washed and the word “Khurdha” is written on them. About the origin of the word Khurda (as earlier called) it is also told that the word is derived from two Odia words- “Khura” and “Dhara”, meaning razor and edge, probably because the soldiers of Khurda were as sharp and dreadful as the edge of a razor. Neither of the two origins, however, can be called authentic.
The history of Khordha depicts that in early days the area was densely populated by the Savaras, a tribal community who are still found in some pockets of the district. Over the period, however, its history is found closely associated with the history of Puri district. About the middle of the 10th century A.D. the rule of Bhoumakars was supplanted by that of the Somavamsis. Yayati-2, Mahasiva Gupta was the first Somavamsi king to occupy eastern Odisha. He and his son Udyot Mahabhava Gupta were great temple builders and the Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar has been attributed to them. The last king of this dynasty was Karnadeva, who was defeated and killed by Chodaganga Deva about 1110 A.D. Khordha ascended to eminence and glory at the time of the first King of Khordha dynasty Ramachandra Deva who selected Khordha as the capital of his kingdom in the later part of 16th Century. The reason was its strategic location as Khordha was guarded by Barunei Hill on one side and dense forest on the other.
Despite repeated onslaughts from Maratha and Muslim cavalry, it managed to maintain the glory of its independence of royal fort till 1803. Therefore, the Royal Fort is spelt with reverence as “Khordhagada” and is referred as the “last independent fort” which remained free from the clutches of East India Company for a long period (from 1757,the Battle of Plassey after which the East India Company established company rule in Bengal till 1803).
However, Khordha came fully under occupation of East India Company in 1827. The delay was a consequence of the strong revolts of the Paikas of Khordha that greatly affected the Company administration in this region. History witnessed the brawn and bravery of the Paikas of Khordha during the Paika Rebellion of 1817-18 under the command of Bakshi Jagabandhu.
This resistance movement of Odias was recorded by the British historians as “Paik Rebellion”, which was in fact, the first Independence war of India. It originated in Khordha soil and spread to other parts of Orissa in 1817 much prior to the outbreak of the historical Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Mr. Walter Ewer recorded his views in his report of 1818, excerpt of which reads as: “Now there is no need of assistance of Paiks at Khordha. It is dangerous to keep them in British armed forces. Thus they should be treated and dealt as common Ryots and land revenue and other taxes should be collected from them. They must be deprived of their former Jagir lands (rent free lands given to the Paiks for their military service to the state)” Within a short period of time the fame of Paiks was forgotten. But even now where the Paiks are living as a group they have retained their previous aggressive nature. The British armed force advanced from Madras on 8th September 1803 and arrived at Puri on 16th September enroute Manikapatna. With the help of Fate Mohemmed of Malud (recruited by the Marathas as watchman) Colonel Harcourt reached Narasinghpatna after two days crossing the Chilika lake. The Britishers did not face any resistance while occupying Narasinghpatna and Puri. After occupying Jagannath temple of Puri, Colonel Harcourt proceeded to Cuttack crushing the feeble resistance of Marathas near Atharnala and Jagannath Sadak. The vanquished Maratha soldiers fled for life to Khordha jungle. Colonel Harcourt arrived at Cuttack enroute Barangagada crossing the river Kathajodi.
Under the able command of Captain Morgan a detachment of British troop arrived at Jampada of Balasore sea shore by ship and occupied the Maratha fort. Another detachment of British troop reached at Balasore enroute Medinipur (now Midnapore) under the command of Colonel Forgusson and joined the previous troop stationed at Balasore. The joint troops proceeded from Balasore to Cuttack and joined the soldiers of Colonel Harcourt and occupied the Barabati fort. In this way Odisha fell to the East India Company in the year 1803. Thus the Company became the ruler of most parts of India except the territory of Khordha.
In 1804 AD the English soldiers seized the fort of Khordha for three weeks and razed it to the ground by canon firing. They proclaimed Raja Mukund Dev-II as rebel, dethroned him and made him a prisoner of war. Raja Mukunda Dev-II submitted an appeal to the British authority stating that as per the instruction of Jayee Rajguru he had fought with them and he was in no way responsible for the battle. Considering the appeal the Britishers pardoned him and offered him the responsibility of managing the temple of Jagannath. He was also ordered to remain at Puri. Jayee Rajguru being the kingpin of Khordha Rebellion of 1804 was sentenced to death and was hanged on a banyan tree at Baghitota of Medinipur. The gruesome murder of Jayee Rajguru by the Company authority caused much discontentment among the Paiks of Khordha who thereafter under Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar rebelled against the Company. Khordha was ultimately annexed to British territory in 1827, after the rebellion was fully crushed.
Khurda is an important centre of handloom industry. The lungi, Gamchha & Sarees produced here and popular outside Odisha for its quality. There are a few Hindu mathas in Gada Khurda i.e. the old fort area of the town. The civic affairs of the town are managed by Khordha Municipality.
The erstwhile Puri district was divided to form three new districts in April 1993 and as a result Khordha district was formed taking Khordha & Bhubaneswar sub-divisions of Puri district.
It lies in between 84º55” to 86º5” East longitude and 19º40” to 20º25” North latitude covering geographical area of 2813 square kilometers which comprises 1.81 percent of the state area. It is one of the developed districts of the state and houses the state capital at Bhubaneswar. The district is bounded by Cuttack district in the north, Ganjam district in the south, Puri district in the east and Nayagarh district in the west.