Kalahandi (locally pronounced Kalahani) is a district of Odisha in India. The region had a glorious past and great civilisation in ancient time. Archaeological evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age human settlement has been recovered from the region. Asurgarh offered an advanced, well civilized, cultured and urban human settlement about 2000 years ago in the region. In South Asia it is believed that the lands of Kalahandi district and Koraput district were the ancient places where people started cultivation of paddy. In ancient time it was known as Mahakantara (meaning Great Forest) and KarundaMandal, which means treasure of precious stones like karandam (Corundum/Manik), Garnet (red stone), Beruz, Neelam (Sapphire/blue stone), and Alexandra etc. Manikeswari (the goddess of Manikya or Karandam) is the clan deity of Kalahandi may also signify its historical name.
It was a princely state in British India and in post-independence period it merged with Odisha state in India as Kalahandi district comprising current Kalahandi district and Nuapada district. In 1967, Kashipur block from Kalahandi district was transferred to Rayagada district for administrative reason. In the 1980s, Kalahandi's name became associated with backwardness and starvation death, which is known as "KalahandiSyndrome".Despite its backwardness it is one of the rich regions in history, agriculture, forest resources, gemstone, bauxite, folk dance, folk music, folklore, handicrafts and arts. In 1993, Nuapada sub-division was carved out as a separate district, but Kalahandi (LokSabha constituency) continues to constitute present Kalahandi district and Nuapada district together.
The climate of the Kalahandi District is of extreme type. It is dry except during monsoon. The maximum temperature of the District is 45+ degree Celsius, whereas the minimum temperature recorded is 4 degree Celsius. The District experiences the average annual rainfall as 1378.20 mm. The monsoon starts late in June and generally lasts up to September.