It is commonly believed that Dhenkanal District owes its name to a Savara chief named “Dhenka”, who ruled the land. Historical facts of Dhenkanal in its prehistoric times are still in dark limbo due to non availability of any written documents. But the archeological evidences and rock inscriptions help out in getting some information regarding prehistoric facts of the District.
The Nasik rock inscription discloses that the Sattavahana Dynasty ruled the District during 2nd Century A.D. While in the 3rd and 4th Century A.D Guptas were at head of the administration. In the 6th and 7th Century A.D, Dhenkanl was ruled by Bhauma Karas. Finally, the Sulki Dynasty became the absolute authority of Dhenkanal District and continued to rule till 9th Century. As the history of Dhenkanal contemplates, the authority of Dhenkanal has been passed under various kings and chiefs belonging to various Dynasties.
Genealogically the following kings ruled over Dhenkanal.
- Hari Singh Vidyadhar – 1530-1594AD
- Loknath Ray Singh Bharamarbar- 1594-1615 AD
- Balabhadra Ray Singh – 1615-1641AD
- Nilakantha Ray Singh- 1641-1682AD
- Nrusingha Bhramarbar- 1682-1708AD
- KunjaBehari Bhramarbar – 1708-1728AD
- BrajaBehari Bhramarbar- 1728-1741AD
- Damoodar Bhramarbar-1741-1743AD
- Trilochan Singh-1743-1785AD
- Dayanidhi Mohindra Bahadur – 1785-1796AD
- Ramachandra Mohindra Bahadur – 1796- 1807 AD
- Krushna Chandra Mohindra Bahadur-1807-1822AD
- Shyamchandra Mohindra Bahadur – 1822-1830AD
- Bhagiratha Mohindra Bahadur – 1830- 1873AD
- Pitambar Deo-1873- 1877AD
- Dinabandhu Mohindra Bahadur-1877-1885AD
- Surya PratapMohindra Bahadur(Minor)- 1885-1905AD
- Surya Pratap Mohindra Bahadur- 1905-1918AD
- Shankar Pratap Mohindra Bahadur-1918-1947AD
These 18 kings ruled over Dhenkanal brought about so many administrative, political, socio-economic and cultural revolutions of the district. In 1947 when the Country gained freedom, the princely State of Dhenkanal merged in the Indian Union.