Greater Mandasa: The name ‘Greater Mandasa’ was realized to arbitrarily encompass Mandasa and the surrounding villages so that their social lives could be shared by a broader population.
Here is some general and important information about Mandasa to showcase its presence:
Geographical co-ordinates: 18.8667 o N 84.4667 o E with an average elevation of 31 meters (104 feet) from the sea level .
Time Zone and Pin code: IST (UTC+5.30 h); 532242
Population: About 12k-13k + (Telugu : Oriya speaking)
Official language: Telugu (however majority are bilingual).
Mandasa town-ship: It has a wide main road facing Raja’s Palace and surrounded by several streets namely (1) Pondara veedi, 2) Golla veedi, 3) Kummara veedi, 4) Kotta veedi, 5) Kanchumai colony, 6) Relli veedi,7) Gauda veedi, 8) Sasanam veedi, 9) Karanam veedi, 10) Killam veedi, 11) Sahubrahman veedi, 12)Harijana veedi, 13) chakali veedi, 14) Medara veedi, 15) Devara veedi,16) Kapu veedi, 17) Pondara veedi-2, 18) Kondi veedi, 19) Segidi veedi and others. Surrounding villages: There are about 180 villages and 41 Panchayaths under Mandasa Mandal.
How to reach: There is a small railway station, namely, Mandasa Road, 5Km away from Mandasa. Only passenger trains stop there. The Express/Super express/Mail trains stop at Palasa (17 Km from Mandasa) and Sompeta (20 Km from Mandasa); The nearest air ports are, Visakhapatnam (in Andhra Pradesh) and Bhubaneswar (in Orissa). By bus or car one can reach from towns like Palasa, Sompeta or Itchapuram (in Andhra Pradesh) and Parlakhemundi or Berahampur (in Orissa).
Educational Institutions: It has three elementary primary schools, one high school established in 1905 by Royal family and named as Sri Raja Srinivasa Memorial Zilla Parishad High School (2) and a Junior Govt. College, Vivekananda Vidyanikethan, Suryodaya Public School, Vivekananda Degree College; An Oriya library, reportedly the oldest (about 115 years) in the World; A general library is also present in the town.
Freedom Fighters: Veeranari Gunnamma, Waddi Viswanatham (1907- 1993), Varahagiri Jogayya, Varahagiri Venkatagiri, Narayana Murty Konchada, Abbayi, Sardar Marpu Padmanabham (Madanapuram; 1896-1966; REF: Souvinir, article by Konchada Anandarao, Baruva L.N.Panigrahy), Mallipeddi Krishna Murthy to name a few (Ref: Souvenir, Mandasa school, article by Pattabhiram).
Local Politics: YCP is the ruling party; Gram Panchayat President is Mrs. Ellamma; MLA is Dr. Appalaraju; MP is Mr. Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu.
Temples: There are many temples in Mandasa. Almost every street in Mandasa has at least one temple. All nearby villages have more than one temple. It is noteworthy that there are several age-old temples in the Greater Mandasa area which are of great archaeological and mythological significance such as the temples at Mahendragiri (above 5000 feet high), Pottangi, Baruva, to name among many. Although the presiding deities of Mandasa Royal family are ‘Ma Khillomonda’ and ‘Lord Vasudeva’, the past Kings of Manjusha however were also responsible for building several beautiful temples including Balaji mandir, Khilloi Raghunatha mandir, Narasimha Matham, Varaha Matham, Rajagopala Matham, Jagannatha Vallabha temple, Vallabha Narayana Temple, Ratti, a name a few.
Festivals: Besides general festivals like Pongal, Ugadi, Dasahara, Diwali, Mandasa is well known for Brahmostavalu (9 days in February), Khillomunda celebrations (16days during Dashara in October), Ratha Jatra (9 days in June) followed by Dasa Avatharala procession, Thakurani / Kanchumai sambaralu (yearly/biannually), Humna (Month of June) and Dol jatra (Month of March) celebrations.
Little lakes and ponds: A large number of ponds were dug by the kings of the past. Gopal Sagaram, Kotta Cheruvu and Gunna bondho, Lingala bondho, Jenna cheruvu, Ummaguru bondho, to list a few. They are all well maintained till today and do not become dry even in the summer months. They are useful for irrigation of nearby paddy farms, for taking a dip or swim by adults and children alike.
Recreation: In the evening time people visit Sagaram to enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings. There is a Movie theater, exhibiting mostly Telugu cinemas, Haripuram, Marpu Padmanabham Memorial Library and Oriya Library.
Flea markets/ Hatto/ Santha: In Mandasa every Monday a large number of sellers including nearby merchants, farmers and tribals display their produce. Both sellers and buyers eagerly wait for that occasion every single week without fail. This traditional market has been in operation for the past several decades. There is of course, a regular bazar selling fruits, meat, fish, locally produced vegetables etc. on a daily basis.
Rivers: Sunna Muddi, Mahendra Thanaya rivers originate from the Southeast side of Mahendra hills and flows through a vast land irrigating forests, paddy and other fields before joining the Bay of Bengal.
Beaches: There are several wonderful virgin beaches nearby Mandasa. One at Ratti (12 Km), another at Vajrapukotturu and the other one at Baruva (18Km). Picnic spots: Raktha Chandan Thutta, Kanchumai temple hills, Kaluva temple surroundings, Anandagiri hilltop, Chandeswara temple area, Ratti and Baruva beaches, Pottangi (3 rivers namely Mahendra thanaya, Rishikulya and Bhargavi meet at Pottangi).
Mountain trekking: Mahendragiri with a height of about 5000 feet is an excellent site for mountain trekking. Because these mountains are habitat for almost all wild animals except lions and reportedly elephant herds chase and kill humans, interested individuals and small groups until recently, used to trek Mahendragiri along with thousands of pilgrims during Shivarathri festival (February-March). However, since last couple of years the visits by trekking groups from far off places, throughout the year have considerably increased.
Nearby attractions: Water falls/ Hot springs: There is a magnificent waterfall (about 60feet) at Gandahathi (about 20 Km), and a grand hot (Sulphur) spring at Thopthopani (about 20 Km). Gandahathi is routinely visited by wild animals including tigers and elephants. Both are close to Mandasa but belong to the neighboring Orissa state.