Bargarh, is a town and a municipality in Bargarh district in the state of Orissa, India. It is the administrative headquarters of Bargarh District. Bargarh is located in western Orissa, close to the border of neighboring state of Chattisgarh.
Bargarh is one of the many forts built by the Chouhan dynasty. Although no clear data is available about the settlement, the old fort walls can be traced near the ‘Jira’ river towards the plains of Ambapali. Unconfirmed literature claims that the name Bargarh has been derived from Balaramgarh, other sources claim that the name is so because Bargarh was the best of the cluster of forts (Garhs). The other subdivision of the district, Padampur has a feudal history with a tribal leader.
Buddhism played a significant role in defining the lifestyle of the people for a short period of time. Some ancient buddhist monasteries and sculptures can be seen along a belt starting from Bijepur block (Ganiapali) to the Paikamal block (Nrusinghanath), which has a clear mention in Huen-Tsang’s literature as Po-Li-Mo-Lo-Ki-Li (Parimalagiri) (Pasayat,2007, 2008).
The legendary hero Veer Surendra Sai led his war against the British from Debrigarh, which is a peak on the Barapahad Range. His fight against the British Raj particularly after the First War of Independence in 1857 was remarkable in the history of freedom struggle in India (Pasayat and Singh, 2009; Panda and Pasayat, 2009). Debrigarh today is a tiger sanctuary. Barabakhra (12 caves) used to be a secret meeting place during this period.
Bargarh was a subdivision of old Sambalpur district until April 1992, when the then chief minister Mr. Biju Patnaik declared it as the headquarter of the newly formed district by the same name.