Kalahandi (locally pronounced Kalahani) is a district of Odisha in India. Archaeological evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age human settlement has been recovered from the region. Asurgarh offered an advanced, well civilised, 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 Karunda Mandal, which means treasure of precious stones like karandam (corundum/manik), garnet (red stone), beruz, neelam (sapphire/blue stone), and alexandrite, etc. Manikeswari (the goddess of Manikya or Karandam) is the clan deity of Kalahandi may also signify its historical name.