BERHAMPUR: Ever heard of a block where villages carry the same name? In Odisha down south, you will find one in Ganjam district. Patrapur block in the district has six villages under three panchayats that are named as Saradhapur. Located on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, Patrapur was separated from Madras presidency and brought under Ganjam district after formation of Odisha as a separate State.
While three Saradhapur villages are under B Nuagaon panchayat, two are in Tuma panchayat and another in Patrapur panchayat. According to government records, there are a total of 752 families residing in the six villages. Tribal families reside in Saradhapur village under Tumba panchayat, while the villages under B Nuagaon panchayat are inhabited by Telugu families and Saradhapur village under Patrapur is home to Scheduled Caste families.
Although there is no recorded history behind similar naming of the six villages, elderly persons of the area said the Saradhapur village under B Nuagaon panchayat was located on the banks of Bahuda river but was washed away in floods. Its residents then moved to a safer place and divided themselves into three groups with each of the group creating a new settlement, two km away from each other, and naming them as Saradhapur.
To avoid confusion over the names, they renamed their settlements as A Saradhapur, B Saradhapur and C Saradhapur and today, population of the A,B,C Saradhapur villages stands at 609 families with 1,151 persons. A Saradhapur village is located on Odisha-Andhra border, adjacent to Jagannathpur village of the neighbouring state, and most of the villages have identity cards of both the States. Most of the people are farmers.
The Saradhapur village under Patrapur panchayat is home to 83 families with 363 people. The village was under the rule of the erstwhile zamindar of Chikiti who donated it for construction of Radhakanta temple.
Similarly, the Saradhapur village of Tumba panchayat was under the rule of erstwhile king of Jaradagada. Recalling the story behind name of the village, locals said whenever the king went out of his kingdom, he had to cross the stretch where the tribals lived.
And whenever that happened, tribals stepped out of their homes to guard him. Happy with their selfless service, the king named the locality Saradhapur. Later some of the tribals shifted to a place nearby and renamed their settlement as Saradhapur. And like B Nuagaon panchayat, here too, both the villages are known as A Saradhapur and B Saradhapur today.