Ganjam district, situated on the border of Andhra Pradesh is a district of Odisha with its administrative headquarters located at Chhatrapur. It came into existence in the year 1794. During the ancient period, the area of Ganjam was a part of the Kalinga empire which was under the rule of King Ashoka in 261 BC. At that time it was the main route of South and East for shipping. The district got its name from the old township and European fort of Ganjam located on the northern bank of river Rushikulya, which was the headquarter of the district. The modern Ganjam was separated from the Vizag district of Madras Presidency and came out on 31.03.1936. The district of Ganjam carved out from the Madras Presidency and emerged as a part of the newly created state of Odisha in 1794. Before 1950 the district comprised present Gajapati district and some parts of Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. In 1950, the Srikakulam and Tekkali areas from Ganjam district and Palakonda area from Visakhapatnam district were separated to form Srikakulam district. Again, in 1992, Paralakhemundi, Kasinagar and Ramagiri Udayagiri areas from Ganjam district were separated to form a new district named Gajapati district. At the very beginning, the administrative headquarter of the district was Ganjam but later it was shifted to Chhattrapur. At present the district was a part of the Red Corridor.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri popularly known as V.V Giri, the fourth President of the Republic of India (24th August, 1969 to 24th August, 1974) was born on 10th August, 1894 at Berhampur in the district. He was also served as the Vice President of India (13th May, 1967-3rd May, 1969).
Geographically, the district lies at 19038'N latitude, 85006'E longitude and 3 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 25.66% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 8,206 sq. kms. and it is bounded by Nayagarh district on the north, Andhra Pradesh on the south, Khurda district and Bay of Bengal on the east, Kandhamal district on the north west and Gajapati district on the north east. Generally, the temperature of the district remains same throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs during the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1602.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 sub-divisions namely Berhampur, Bhanjanagar and Chhattrapur. It has total 22 blocks. There are 13 assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 39 towns and 3,195 villages. The administrative language in the district is Oriya.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 35,29,031 including 17,79,218 are males and 17,49,813 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 983 females for every 1000 males. In the year 2001-11 the population growth rate in the district was 11.66% out of which 12.47% were males and 10.84% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 98.78% of the total population. The population density in the district is 430 persons per sq. kms. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Oriya with 91.29%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 61,820 out of which 33,557 were males and 28,263 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 28,383 out of which 16,028 were males and 12,355 were females.
Cottage industries and handicrafts of the district have a remarkable place in the market of India. Some chief crafts in the district are brass, appliqué, bamboo craft, stone carving, wood carving, terracotta, textile, toys, etc. Most of the artisans of the district are operating individually and also through co-operative societies. Major part of its population is engaged in agriculture. Some chief crops grown in the district are paddy, groundnut, cotton, sugarcane, green vegetables, etc. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Ganjam as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 15,63,426 lakh at current price and Rs. 9,54,389 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. In the year 2011-12 the Net Domestic Product in the district was Rs. 14,27,544 lakh at current price and Rs. 8,59,628 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district has numerous schools, colleges and other professional educational institutions. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 71.09% including 80.99% are males and 61.13% are females. The number of literates in the district is 22,10,050 out of which 12,62,652 are males and 9,47,398 are females.
Biswanath Das, an eminet Indian politician was born on 8th March, 1889 at Belagan in the Ganjam district. He was served as the Prime Minister of Odisha Province of British India (1937-1939), the Governor of Uttar Pradesh (1962-1967) and later the Chief Minister of Odisha (1971-1972). Siddhanta Mahapatra, a distinguished Oriya and Bengali film actor was born on 4th May, 1966 at Brahmapur in the district. Moreover, he is also a notable politician and elected as a member of 15th and 16th Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014 from Brahmapur constituency.
The district has various sets of tourist place which allures numerous travellers from different parts of the country. In the year of 2018, there were total 31,64,275 domestic tourists and 2,612 foreign tourists who visited the above places. Mahurikalua Temple in the district is very famous and people from the distance place come to this temple to offer their prayers. Kulada, a place in the district is well known for Goddess Bagh Devi temple. Kulad is also the birth place of great Oriya Poet Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja. Aryapalli, a prominent Orissa beaches is located at a distance of 6 kms. and 30 kms. from Chatrapur and Berhampur. The golden sandy beaches and the deep blue sea make the place, Aryapalli even more beautiful. Maa Bhairavi Temple is situated in a remote village ‘Mantridi' near Berhampur city in Ganjam district pays homage to goddess Bhairavi. Some other renowned tourist places in the district are Budhakhol, Tara Tarini, Gopalpur-on-sea and Buguda.