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Brahmapur (The Silk City)

Brahmapur City
The Silk city Brahmapur is located in the eastern coastline of Ganjam district of Odisha, about 169 kilometres south of the state capital Bhubaneswar. It is one of the oldest and largest cities of Odisha and mainly a trading centre for Southern Odisha. The name Berhampur is an anglicized form of "Brahmapur" which etymologically means "The Abode of Brahma, the Creator". The city is famous for its intricately designed silk sarees called Brahmapuri Patta, Bomokei Patta, handloom cloth and jewellery shops. 

Berhampur is not only one of the oldest cities in Odisha but it is also one of the largest cities in this region. Berhampur name is given by the British colonialists to the city. This city once formed a part of the Mauryan dynasty under Emperor Ashoka. The city has been renamed recently as Brahmapur which reflects its Sanskrit influence in the original name. The city was declared as a Municipality in the year 1867. The city is surrounded by vast cultivable plains having mild slope towards Bay of Bengal. These Granite Rock belts in this region form a major source of employment and revenue in this city.

The climate of the city is pleasant and soothing due to its close proximity to Bay of Bengal. Maximum summer temperature is 40°C whereas minimum winter temperature is 22°C.  The mean daily temperature varies from 33°C to 38°C. May is the hottest month in the year whereas December is the coldest.  The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm and the region receives Monsoon and torrential rainfall for four months only in a year from July to October. 

The city is administered by the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC). This organization earlier was a municipality from 1867. As per the 2011 Census of India, the population of Brahmapur is 355,823, of which 185,584 are males and 170,293 are females. The effective literacy rate of Brahmapur is 90.04%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. Male and female literacy are at 93.83% and 85.92% respectively. It is the most populated city in the Ganjam district of Odisha. By virtue of its close proximity to Andhra Pradesh, Coastline of Bay of Bengal, Gopalpur Port and Visakhapatnam it has become a center of attraction for multiethnic people in pursuit of better residential zones, education and to some extent for employment in unorganized sectors delivering various services and goods.

Brahmapur region is the hub of industrial activities in southern Odisha. A large number of private small scale industries have been set up in the city. Industrial clusters include granite processing units, Cashew nut processing, rice mills and handloom unit industries are popular in this region. Besides these industries, many state level software companies are set up in Berhampur which offer quite a many opportunities with major cities for BPO and IT companies. Berhampur has received nationwide acceptance and is celebrated for its silk and the majestic temple structures. With the ever growing industrial and economic development, Berhampur has become a hub for trade and commerce.

The city is also a major center of education in south Odisha. The city has many educational institutions like Medical College, Law College, Engineering Schools and Colleges etc. There are many major educational institutions in Brahmapur and following are some of the reputed institutions: Berhampur University, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati (MKCG) Medical College and Hospital, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences(CPS), Khallikote Government College, Government Engineering School (Polytechnic), Parala Maharaja Engineering College(PMEC), National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Vignan Institute of Technology and Management(VITAM), Roland Institute of Technology (RIT), Sanjaya Memorial Institute of Technology (SMIT) and Gandhi Institute for Industrial Technology(GIIT). The city has highest number of engineering colleges after the state capital of Bhubaneswar. Many students come here to prepare for engineering and medical entrance examinations especially from southern and central region of Odisha.

Berhampur being the major commercial capital in the southern part of the state of Odisha has a very well developed network for transportation. This busy city is well connected network of Railways, Airways and Roadways. The popularity and the city emerging as a trading center is majorly due to the easy connectivity to and fro the city. This is also among the major reasons for the development of the city. National Highway 5 from Chennai to Kolkata, National Highway 59 from Gopalpur to Ahmedabad and National Highway 217 from Gopalpur to Raipur pass through Berhampur. The Roads here facilitate the movement for both passenger as well as freight traffic. The regular bus services run by the government and private operators connects Berhampur to the other parts of the state of Odisha. Buses also ply between the neighboring states of Odisha. There are also luxury buses available to and from Berhampur. Berhampur city is well connected with the major cities of India via rail. Berhampur railway station located on the East-coast railway line is the main railway station of the city. This is a major route connecting two major metro cities of Kolkata and Chennai. It is also directly connected to other major cities of India including New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Puri, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Sambalpur and many other cities of India. Berhampur does not enjoy airways connectivity but the nearest airports are Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar which is just 169 km away from Berhampur and Visakhapatnam Airport in Andhra Pradesh which is 256 km away. These airports are well connected to the other parts of India with the city. 

Tourism in Berhampur is emerging and flourishing because of the scenic beauty in and around the area. There are a number of temples in and around Berhampur to which people come from far off places to worship. Some of the famous temples in this region include the Bankeswari, Narayani, Kulada, Mahendragiri, Taratarini Temple, Maa Budhi Thakurani Temple, Buguda Biranchinarayan Temple, Mantridi Siddha Bhairavi Temple and Balkumari Temple. For all the beach lovers Berhampur offers a retreat like never before. The sights and beauty of these beaches include much more than the same old sun, surf and sand. Gopalpur beach which is about 16 km from Berhampur is one of the most famous spots near the city. Another one that is Aryapalli Beach is an oasis of ocean spray with endless days of warm breeze. This beach is located 30 km outside of Berhampur. Apart from this there are many other tourist spots in Berhampur which attracts people from all around the city.

The major festivals celebrated in Berhampur includes Durga Puja Rath Yatra, Diwali, Gaja Laxmi Puja, Holi, Rakshya Bandhan, Janmastami, Ram Navami, Saraswati Puja, Ganesh Puja and others. These festivals are most commonly celebrated by the people in Odisha and even the whole of India. Apart from these some unique festivals celebrated here include Sharad Purnima or Kumara Purnima. Sitala Shashti Jatra is another festival celebrated here during the month of June to mark the wedding of Lord Shivaand Goddess Parvati. Even other communities of the city such as Marwaris, Telugus, Punjabis, Gujaratis and Bengalis take part in these celebrations along with their own festivals.

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