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SAMBALPUR, a town and district of India, in the Orissa division of Bengal. The town is on the left bank of the river Mahanadi, 495 ft. above sea-level, the terminus of a branch of the Bengal-Nagpur railway. Pop. (1901) 12,870. It contains a ruined fort with old temples. The garrison of native infantry was withdrawn in 1902. There is considerable trade, and handweaving of tussore silk and cotton cloth are carried on.

The DISTRICT OF SAMBALPUR has an area of 3773 sq. m. The Mahanadi, which is the only important river, divides it into unequal parts. The greater portion is an undulating plain, with ranges of rugged hills running in every direction, the largest of which is the Bara Pahar, covering an area of 350 sq. m., and attaining at Debrigarh a height of 2267 ft. above the plain. The Mahanadi affords means of water communication for 90 m.; its principal tributaries in Sambalpur are the Ib, Kelo and Jhira. To the W. of the Mahanadi the district is well cultivated. The soil is generally light and sandy. It is occupied for the greater part by crystalline metamorphic rocks; but part of the N.W. corner is composed of sandstone, limestone and shale. gold dust and diamonds have been found near Hirakhuda or Diamond Island, at the junction of the Ib and Mahanadi. The climate of Sambalpur is considered very unhealthy; the annual rainfall averages 59 in. The population in 1901 was 640,243, showing an increase of 3-2% in the decade. The registered death-rate for 1897 was only 30 per thousand, as against 68 for the province generally. This figure shows that Sambalpur entirely escaped the famine of 1896-1897, which indeed can be said to have brought prosperity to the district by causing high prices for a good rice crop, rice being the staple of cultivation. It was almost equally fortunate in 1900. The main line of the BengalNagpur railway runs along the N. border of the district, with a branch S. to Sambalpur town.

Sambalpur lapsed to the British in 1849, and was attached to Bengal until 1862, when it was transferred to the Central Provinces. The early revenue administration was not successful. On the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857 a general rising of the chiefs took place, and it was not until the final arrest of Surandra Sa, in 1864, that tranquillity was restored. In October 1905 Sambalpur was transferred back again to Bengal, without the subdivisions of Phuljhar and Chandarpur-Padampur.

See Sambalpur District Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1909).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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