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Nilgiri Princely State

nilgiriDynasty: Naga Vamshi
Emblem: Lion, Cobra and Karala flower
Area: 278 sq miles
villages: 466
State status: 1894 Sanand
No. of Salute: --

Location:
Longitude: 21 degree 17 and 21degree 37 inch North and
Latitude: 86 degree 25’ and 86 degree 50’
State Boundary: North and west by Mayurbhanj, East and south by Balasore,
Present Status: Sub division under Balasore District
Distance from Bhubaneswar: 130 Km ( approx)


History & Folklore

It is a story of 1125 AD, nearly a thousand years back when two Rajput brothers from Chhotnagpur royal family came here and established Kshatriya Raj at Nilagiri as a part of family dispersion.


The story alleged like this: once the two brothers named Nila and Shankara from the said Chhotnagpur Family  came to Puri as pilgrim to have Darshan of Lord Jagannath.   The king of Odisha was very much impressed by their physique and bravery. He offered them to stay at Nilgiri and support him during war. The brothers accepted this proposal and Nilgiri opens with a new era under the Rajput ruling of Nila and Shankara. It is also said that the after establishment of the state the elder brother shankara offered the total area to Nila and went away.  

But history could not identify the existence of Nila and Shankara properly  and also their heirs at Nilgiri, but it is believed that the village Gadadih, some 15 kilometers away from Nilagiri town was their capital. No proof or evidence is available their now. People at Gadadih village alleged that the Jagannath worship at this place was started during that period and till now it is continuing.

Citing the evidences available it is claimed that Raja Narayan Basant Bhujanga Mandhata have acted as one of the commander of The Gajapati King and was posted at this place during 1521 to 1564. He was considered as the 13th heir of the family of the 13th ruler of Nilgiri state. Narayan Basant was a very terrific and dynamic commander and assigned as the commander of the Northern frontier. At thar time he succeccsfully repelled the Muslim attackers and was offered to marry Rani Kalara Devi the daughter of Gajapati Maharaja. So Nilgiri became closely associated with Gajapati's family. In one incident it is also supposed that he was able to divert Kalapahar and protect Bhudar Chandi. Bhudar chandi   is still worshipped as Peeth Shakti at Sajanagarh and this temple is also considered as a place of tourist attraction.

The bravery defending nature of Narayan Basantbirat Bhujang Mandhata has also impressed Gajapati Maharaja and he felicitated him with the title of Harichndan. He have also received the title of Fateh Singh Bahadur from the Marathas for assisting their Fauzdar Motiram at Balasore against the Zamkunda Bhuyans.

The fourteenth chief Uttareswar was also  felicitated by the Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah in 1596 for having assisted his wazir, Maan Singh, during the attack of Pathans on the bank of Subarna rekha river. He has ruled over Nilgiri from 1564 to 1610. After Uttareswar Krushna Das occupied the throne and he was considered as a trure admirer of the Gajapati king of Odisha. The fifteenth chief obtained the title of Mardaraaj from the Gajapati King of Odisha in 1611 for rendering his services to Gajapati king during fight against the Mughals.  History is silent after Krushna Das till the 29th ruler Dasrathi Mardaraaj.

Dasrathi ruled here from 1781 to 1784. during his period Marathas have occupied Odisha and ruled accordingly. They did investiture Gobardhan as the 30th chief of Nilgiri in 1784.  In 1795, after the death of Gobardhan his son Gopinath  acquired the throne. One year after,   one  Dondidas    Dasrathi made conspiracy   and acquired the reign. On the other hand Gobardhan's widow wife was involved in planning to make her son as the king of Nilgiri. She became successful in it and killed Dondidas. So Gopinath again became the ruler in 1796.

Gopinath's Son Ramachandra was admired as a very brilliant ruler. He laid foundation of new capital beneath the beautiful Swarnachud mountain and named it  Nijagarh and also shifted it to have a vigilant eye over the foreign entities. Along with the present palace he also started building a Jagannath Temple like Puri temple.

The ruined old palace made up of stone and other material is still existing at Nijgarh to witness the medieval Odishan architecture at Nilgiri. Some parts of it also being used by the family members.

Present heir of this royal family Raja Jayant chandra Mardaraj is staying with his family in another part of the Palace made latter.
The most attraction part of the Nijagarh Palace at Raj Nilagiri are: the clock tower, step well and the palace made by raja Krushnachandra Mardaraj.
The clock tower is the entrance gate of the Palace. It is an unique feature as this type of tower is rarely found at other royal estates. During the ruling of Raja Shyam Chandra Mardaraj this gate has been erected. Till the merger Nilgiri has seen 4clocks  at 4 sides of the tower but after that the family members took away all those to avoid any damage to it. We can also witness a beautiful Chhau Mandap inside the Palace premises. When Shyam Chandra Mardaraj from Mayurbhanj Royal family was adopted by Nilgiri as there was no male heir, he tried to introduce some Mayurbhanj culture in the state and Chhau was one of them. He also added new buildings to the palace beneath the Swarnachuda Mountain. Now this portion of the palace is being used by the present King Jayant Chandra Mardaraj. it is if double storied and made as per mediaval architecture. we can see imported tiles, glasses, wood furnitures and some beautiful trophies inside the palace. The chief now aims to make the ground floor of this palace as a museum to show some of Nilgiri's monuments preserved by them. Beautiful paper mashie works and old potraits of kings and their family  are also there at Nilgiri Palace.  Shyam Chandra ruled here as the Raja of Nilgiri from 1893 to 1913 as the 36th ruler.

After Shyam Chandra his Son Kishore chandra occupied the reign in 1913 as the 37th recognised ruler by the British. But he got full power in 1920 after attaining majority.  He is the last ruler of the British, during his time Prajamandal agitation gearedup at Nilgiri and Nilgiri was amalgamated with the Union of India a other princely states.

Royals Family

AUL NILGIRI
ATHMALLICK GANGPUR
PURI PARLAKHEMUNDI

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