The 5,000 feet high Mahendragiri hills, situated in the middle of Eastern Ghats in the Paralakhemundi sub-division of Gajapati district. Though the major part of this hill range now comes under Andhra Pradesh, the 4,943 feet high peak Mahendragiri is actually located within the district of Gajapati, 51 km. to the south-west of Brahmapur. The place is 26 km. from the sea and lies exposed to the sea-breeze. The river Mahendratanaya flows down the mountain in the east through Mandasa and joins the Bay of Bengal at Barua which was once an important ancient port. Mahendragiri is foremost of the seven Kulagiris or principal mountains of India. The reference of Mahendra mountain in the ancient literature, accounts, and epigraphy is wide-ranging and vivid. It finds mention in the works of poets Kalidas, Sarala Das, and Radhanath Ray. Archaeological remains at Mahendragiri make an interesting study for the scholars. Sivaratri is the main festival here which draws a large crowd. This testifies the fact that it was once a center of Saivite culture. The place is visited by about 1,600 tourists annually. The place is surrounded on three sides by hills and thick growth of wild trees. The surrounding forests abound in peacocks, flying squirrels, elephants, spotted deer, and even leopards and talking mynahs.
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