Sambalpur is a municipality in the state of Orissa, India. It is the headquarters and the largest town of Sambalpur district.
Sambalpur derives its name from that of the Goddess Samaleswari, an incarnation of Shakti who is regarded as the reigning deity of the region. Sambalpur lies at a distance of 321 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. In history, it has been variously known as ‘Sambalak’, ‘Hirakhanda’, ‘Odiyan(Uddiyan)’, ‘Odra Desha’, ‘Dakhin Kosal’ and ‘Koshal’.
Sambalpur has a greate history of full of events including Indian Freedom Struggle representing the different section of society. For the sake of convenience, however, the history, with special reference to the spark and fire and Nationalism, may be stated briefly.
History has to say that Samudragupta in the 4th century, defeated King Mahendra of Koshala, the kingdom that included Sambalpur. During the 5th and 6th centuries Sambalpur came under the rule of Sarbhapuriyas. Towards the 7th century it passed in to the hands of Panduvansi king Trivaradeva. Towards the close of 9th century king Janmajaya I Mahabhavagupta extended his empire which comprised the modern districts of Sambalpur and Bolangir. Hence forward, his dynasty came to be known as the Samavansi dynasty. During the last part of the Samavansi rule, Sambalpur was occupied by the Kalachuris of Ratnapua. The 13th century saw a bitter fight between the Kalachuris and the Gandas. Later on, the Gandas occupied Sambalpur.
During the middle of the 14th century Ramai Dev laid the foundation of the Chauhan rule in Western Orissa. However, the Chowhan rule came to a close in april,1800, when Sambalpur was occupied by the Marathas. After the British occupied Orissa and bitterness between the British and Marathas ripened, the former found a convenient route via Sambalpur and annihilated the Marathas. Sambalpur was occupied by the British on 2nd January, 1804. Finally it passed on to the Brithish in 1817. The subsequent years witnessed the movements of the Kandhas and Binjhal Zamidars against the British and their poppet ruler in Sambalpur was Rani Mohan Kumari. Although the modern concept of nationalism was not activating force, one could see the spirit of freedom and hatred of foreign rule reflected in the struggle. The period recorded the heroic sage of Surendra Sai. (Most renowned freedom fighter from Western Orissa).
Sambalpur district, the western most district of Orissa, had been named after the headquarters town, Sambalpur. According to Mr. L.S.S.O. Maller, the town derived its name from the presiding goddess Samalai, whose stone image was discovered by Balaram Dev, the first Chowhan king of Sambalpur.
The erstwhile Sambalpur District was divided into four districts namely Sambalpur, Bargarh,Jharsuguda and Deogarh in pursuance of Revenue & Excise Department Resolution No 14993/R Dtd 31.03.93 and Resolution No 56413/R Dtd 22.12.93.Bargarh district comprising Bargarh and Padampur Subdivision started functioning with effect from 1.4.1993.Jharsuguda and Deogarh District started functioning w.e.f. 1.1.94.