The District is primarily agricultural, with over half the district
area covered with dense jungle forest. The District is primarily agricultural, with over half the district area covered with dense jungle forest. Industry is very limited, but bauxite and graphite deposits have been commercially exploited.
Kalahandi, (Oriya: କଳାହାଂଡି or locally pronounced as Kalahani), a district of Orissa (now known as Odisha) India, was known as Mahakantara (Great Forest) in ancient India. It is also known as Karunda Mandal, which means treasure of precious stones like karandam (Manik), Garnet (red stone), Beruz, Neelam (blue stone), and Alexandra etc. It is situated in the western Orissa region.
In the ancient time Kalahandi was a part of the different dynastys. In 4th century A.D. it was part of Mahakantara territory, in 9th and 10th century A.D. it was part of 'South Koshala' or 'Koshal' and later on also for sometime a feudatory of earstwhile Kalinga-Utkala empire of Gajapati rulers of Orissa. The region became independent after the downfall of the Gajapatis. History of Naga dynasty of Kalahandi is the only dynasty in Orissa having a record of thousand years (1050 - 1948 A.D.). Maharaja Pratap Keshari Deo, the Ex-Maharaja of Kalahandi, in one of his articles expressed his view that the historical significance of naming Kalahandi as Karunda Mandala is based on the availability of Corundum in this region. Maa Manikeswari (the goddess of Manikya), the clan deity of the Naga kings of Kalahandi may have also necessitated the adoption of the name.