Historically, Dhenkanal was the part of Sattabahana Empire in the 2nd century AD. as proved by the Nasik rock inscription. It was ruled over by the Gupta dynasty in the 3rd and 4th century AD., by Bhauma Karas in the 6th and 7th century and by Sulki dynasty in the 8th and 9th century. Somavansis and Ganga vansis also occupied the area. Dhenkanal is named after the shabara chief ‘Dhenka’. By 16th AD., Ghumuranali, Dudianali and Kantanali was under the rule of a tribal chief namely ‘Dhenka’. A noticeable development has took place in the district of Dhenkanal during the rule of Gangas, who ousted the Somavanshis from their former state. But the regular desires of the Ganga kings to capture the maximum part of Orissa laid it to their downfall. As its history discloses the fact that during different periods of time the place of Dhenkanal was ruled by different rulers. Dhenkanal was a Princely State till the independence of India in 1947. Moreover, Dhenkanal district has produced numerous freedom fighters who left everything and sacrificed their life for one common goal-freedom of India from British. One of those freedom fighters was Baji Rout, who lost his life at a very early age of 12. Raja Shankar Pratap Singhdeo Mahindra Bahadur, the Raja of Dhenkanal became the Member of Legislative Assembly for two times.
Halhadar Das is an Indian cricketer and wicket-keeper for Odisha cricket team. Gati Krushna Misra, served as the seventh Chief Justice of Orissa High Court. Sanjeev Mohapatra is a cinematographic who has directed many films, serials and advertisements.
Geographically, the district has a total 4,452 sq. kms. area and occupies the rank 15th in State and 268th in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 20°66'N latitude, 85°60'E longitude and 80 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 32.24% forest area of total geographical area. The most prominent river of the district called Baitarani passes through it. It is bounded by Keonjhar district in the North, Cuttack district in the South, Jajpur district in the East and Angul district in the West. The climate of the district is extremely hot in the summers and fairly cold in the winters. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1621.4 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 13 sub-districts, 5 towns and 1,208 villages. Oriya is its official language. It came into existence on the 1st April, 1993 with its administrative headquarters located at Dhenkanal which is situated at a distance of 80 kms. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total number of 2,78,370 households with a total population of 11,92,811 comprising 6,12,593 are males and 5,80,218 are females which leads it to rank 18th in the state and 400th in India. The density of population of the district is 268 (persons per sq. kms.). The sex ratio is pegged at 947 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 877 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu with 99.39% of the total population. The population growth rate during the period of 2001-2011 was 11.80% including 12.61% were males and 10.97% were females. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Oriya with 96.20%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 15,499 out of which 8,310 were males and 7,189 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 9,283 out of which 5,441 were males and 3,842 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 5,65,754 lakhs at current price and Rs. 3,47,747 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2011-12 was Rs. 4,97,280 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,98,924 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2011-12 was Rs. 41,451 at current price and Rs. 24,917 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The name of the some large and medium scale industries in the district are Navabharat Ferro Alloys Ltd., Nilachal Refractories, Utkal Asbestos Ltd., Orissa Poly fibres Ltd., Reliance Industries Limited, B. Samal & Company Ltd., Shakti Sugars Private Ltd., Bhusan Steel & Strip Ltd., IPI Steel Ltd., Utkal Spinning Mill, BRG Steel Pvt. Ltd., GMR Energy Ltd., Kamalanga Thermal Power Plant and Lanco Babandh Power Ltd. etc. It is included in one of the most backward districts and receiving Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). Kamalanga Thermal Power Plant is situated at Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district in Indian state of Odisha. Mahanadi Coal fields Limited provides coal for it.
Education wise, according to the 2011 census, the percentage of literate persons is 78.76% out of which 86.18% are males and 71% are females. The total literate population of the district is 8,29,910 including 4,64,093 are males and 3,65,817 are females. The district has several educational institutes including schools and colleges. Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Institute of Professional Engineering & Technology, Synergy Institute of Engineering & Technology and Dhenkanal College are some of the main institutes here.
The district has many famous tourist places to visit. These places are Dandadhar, Joranda, Kapilas, Kualo, Naganatheswar Temple, Saptasajya, Saptasajya, Saptasajya, Laxmi Puja at Dhenkanal., Saranga. In the year of 2019, there were total 22,28,726 domestic tourists and 596 foreign tourists who visited these places. Kapilash temple was constructed by Sri Chandrasekhar in 1246 CE. A wooden Jagamohana is situated here. Pilgrims can also visit Lord Biswanath temple here. Saptyasajya is a beautiful place with the holy temple of Maryada Purusottama Sri Ramachandra. It is named after the seven hills of surroundings area. There was the ashram of Saptrishi in the ancient time. In 1982, Maa Annapurna temple was constructed inside the temple. Naganatheswar Temple is dedicated to Sri Sri Naganatheswar Shiva. It was built in the time of Keshari dynasty. It is the temple of the most ancient time. Astasambhu Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Maa tarini Temple is a holy place, dedicated to goddess Tarini.