Phulbani is a town in the Kandhamal District of Orissa. Being surrounded by the River Salunki, this place is known for the Putudi waterfall which is situated 15 km from Phulbani. It is named after the lady 'Phulardei' who was sacrificed by the local inhabitants as an act of religious ritual to Mother Earth (MERIA).
Phulbani is located at 20.47°N 84.23°E. It has an average elevation of 485 metres (1591 feet). It is located 211 km from Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha and 165 km from Berhampur, the major city of South Odisha. Nearest railway station is Rairakhol around 100 km from here. The region around Phulbani has a variety of flora and fauna. It is a place surrounded by hills and has a lot of small and big waterfalls around it. Katramal Waterfall, the most spectacular of the lot is situated at a distance of about 31 km from Phulbani. The temperature varies from 40 - 45° Celsius during the summers. The best time to visit Phulbani is from the month of October to the month of June.
According to references which can be dated back to 3 BC, traces of this place can be found in the rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka. The contemporary history of this district dates back to the year 1765 when the Bhanjans resisted the repeated attempts of the British government’s intrusion. Phulbani has also been a transit route for the 'salt trade' back in the medieval times.
Phulbani also has a Farm for research activities of Odisha Horticulture and research on silk moths. The farm host a varied collection of Guava Plants found rarely elsewhere. It is famous for the production of good quality turmeric. River Pila Salunki is heart of this regions agriculture, but due to lack of water this region has never been a success with agriculture. Mostly the economy is centered on wild plants and herbs. In the last major flood was in 1981. The dam a pilasalunki has been successful in arresting sudden gauss of rain water in rainy season. The dam at pilasalunki is also a great place for picnics.
There are various tourist attractions like the Kalinga Ghati and the Lord Jagannath Temple. The Putudi waterfalls is situated at a distance of 15 km from Phulbani. The Pillasalunki Dam, situated just 3 km from here is another tourist spot which has gained reputation for being a place known for sightseeing.
Putudi Waterfall is located 15 km away from Phulbani, the administrative headquater of Kandhamal. Pearched amidst thick forest and the barren rocks of the mountain the water falls from a height of 100 m on the river Bada Salunki. Secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city and located among whispering forests, the place offers a serene and tranquil environment where the silence is only broken by the roaring sound of the waterfall. Putudi Waterfall serves enough food for the camera and is an exquisite shooting spot. Many regional films have been shot here owing to the beauty of this place. Visitors often throng to this place to have picnics with friends and family. Putudi is connected with good roads thereby enabling a comfortable ride to the place. Best time to visit Putudi Waterfall is during the winter when the climate is cool and water is cold.
Balaskumpa is located at a distance of 15 km from Phulbani. The place earns its fame from the temple of Baraladevi. Goddess Baraladevi is the presiding deity of Kandhamal and is believed to be the saviour of mankind. Dusshera is celebrated with a huge congregation of devotees who come from very distant places as well. Balaskumpa is basically located on the confluence of two hillstreams where the River Pillasalki originates. Balaskumpa is also the homeland of the Pillasalki Dam which adds to the influx of tourism in Kandhamal. The location of Pillasalki Dam is ideal for picnic as it is thickly populated with green vegetation. Many visitors come here to relax and unwind themselves from worldly hues. Balaskumpa is connected with good motorable road and hence the spot is easily accessible.
Daringbadi tops the list of must-visit places in Kandhamal. Located at a distance of 100 km from Phulbani, Daringbadi sits on an altitude of 915 m. Daringbadi is also known as ‘Kashmir of Orissa’ owing to its vast pine jungles, coffee plantation and verdant valleys. It is an ultimate summer resort due to its low temperature during summers. During winters the temperature drops below 0° Celsius and the area gets covered under snow. Daringbadi is densely populated with forests and wildlife. A good number of waterfalls are present inside the place, some of which are still away from public view. A hill view point has been built on top of the mountain from where tourists can enjoy the scenery of the lush green valley. Doluri river flows across the mountain enhancing the beauty of the place. One guest house is also built inside the forest to aid the tourists with comfortable accommodation.
Chakapad is located 55 km from Phulbani and is one of the religious places of Kandhamal. Saivism is the presiding religion of this place. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Lord Birupakshya. The temple built on the banks of an ancient and sacred river Bhutaganga is visited by thousand of devotees all year round. One striking feature of the temple is that each and every tree as well as the Shiva Linga inside the temple leans towards the south. Two other temples of Anandeswara and Jageswara are also revered with huge devotion. Shiva Ratri, Rasha Purnima and Shitalsashti are three important celebrations of these temples which call for a horde of devotees. Chakapad is situated at a height of 800 ft above the sea level and surrounded by deep green forest.
Katramal is located 35 km away from Phulbani. Katramal is a place of exquisite natural bounties. It boasts of a waterfall which perches among the lush green wood and falls into a pool of water. Roads to Katramal are generally bumpy and rough with lots of uncovered stones and pebbles all around. The drive can be enthralling and exhausting as well. But on reaching the spot one can easily get spellbound by the magnificent natural beauty. The striking feature of this place is the fishes that dwell inside the pool jump out of the water into the air to catch the food in the close vicinity.
Pakadadarh Waterfall is located at a distance of 18 km from Phulbani. The water plunges from a height of 30 m. It is situated near the Sudurukumpa village on the Panisal and Baghipada road. This place is nestled amidst lush green forest and lofty hills. The panoramic view of the waterfall on the backdrop of dense greenery is breathtaking. This place acts as one of the preferred picnic spots. People interested in photography must make it a point to visit this place.