The district of Deogarh, as a distinct administrative entity, was carved out of the erstwhile larger Sambalpur district of Odisha on the 1st of January 1994. The literal English translation of Deogarh(Debagarh) is Abode of Divinity. A larger portion of the erstwhile Bamanda or Bamra State constitute Deogarh district.
The District has a rich cultural tradition. This district has been gifted in the form of mountains, springs, falls, forests, clean atmosphere and rich collection of flora and fauna.
There are several myths, legends, apocryphal tales, and folklores about the derivation of the name Bamanda. One legend being, a couple named “Bama” (or Baha) and “Manda” ruled over this tract. A conjunction of their names contributes to the name Bahamanda or Bamanda for the erstwhile princely state, which in colloquial usage is pronounced as Bamra.
Another mythical version is that Lord Ramachandra upon his banishment from Ayodhya in fulfilment of his father‟s vow passed through this land and set his left foot on the soil of this territory first. “Bama” in Sanskrit is left and “Mada” is foot. These two words form the name Bamanda. According to another folklore when Lord Rama accompanied by his simian forces was moving through this tract in search of Sita, whom the demon King Ravana had abducted, the monkeys lost way and went towards “Bonai”, another adjacent princely state. “Bana” or “Bata bana” in Odia means to lose way or direction. After a while the simians discovered the correct path by turning left, that being “Bama” and that is how the land derived its name Bamanda or Bamra.
This land in the basin of the holy Brahmani river is known by many names like Bamanda, Akhoj Bamanda, Sankhajyoti Mandal, Sripunji Mandal, Ganga Rajya, Bamanda Pati, Jadav Desh, Singhan Rajya, Baghar Kota, Bamanda Mandal . Till 11th century, Brahmani River was known as “Sankha Jyoti Nadi” according to some Copper inscription found in this area. For this reason, first king of Ganga dynasty Saraju Deb selected Counch (Shanka) as the royal emblem of his dynasty and named the land as “Sankha Jyoti Mandal “, which again was became reknowned as “Bamanda” .
During merger of Bamanda state with Odisha, the sub-division formed out of a larger portion of the former princely state came to be known as Deogarh, the capital town of Bamanda. Spelling of the place name Deogarh that the British used in their records continued as in the case of other place names. That very name continued even after the former sub-division of Sambalpur was accorded the status of a district in 1994.
Bamanda – the citadel of creative artists dates back to 5th century A.D. when Maratha Royal Family was at the helm of the Administration. After this dynasty, Ganga Rulers came into power and established their capital at Deogarh. Deogarh attained all-round prosperity during the reign of Raja Basudev Sudhal Dev, the most enlightened rulers of this clan. A new horizon was innovated in the field of communication by the foundation of Jagannath Ballav press in 1886 and publication of a weekly magazine the “Sambalpur Hitaishini” in 1889. It was during his rule that the jail, police station, postoffices, Dispensaries were established and irrigation system was introduced. He had a telephone line of 78 Miles connecting Bamara and Barkote in 1900 was the longest in India during that period. Bamanda’s own postal system was very developed. It got affiliated to the British Postal system in 1895. Sir Sudhal Dev, the then King of Bamanda had coined and issued postage stamps in his own Kingdom. He had promulgated paper currency also in his state.
After him, his illustrious son Raja Sachidananda Tribhuban Dev undertook the improvement activities of the erstwhile estate. The most outstanding developmental activities was the introduction of the hydro-electric system in Kodarkot water fall by which the Palace, cloth loom, Sugar factory established in 1908 at Rambhei got power supply. During the reign of Bhanuganga Tribhuban Dev, the estate of Bamra was merged with Odisha i,e. on 1st January, 1948 and it became a part of the District of Sambalpur.