Gunupur was a part of Jeypore Kingdom ruled by the Vikram Dev I (1758–1781 CE) and by his offsprings before British rule. During 1781 the Jeypore Kingdom divided into Jeypore, Nabarangpur and Gudari sub-regions and the three sons of Vikram Dev I was given the responsibility of a sigle region each. Ramachandra Dev II (1781–1825), Jagannath Dev given the responsibility of Jeypore and Nabarangpur while Narasingh Dev was placed in charge of and Gudari regions. During this time Gunupur is ruled by Narasingh Dev under Gudari Sub-Kingdom. Later Jagannath Dev’s son Arjun Dev and Narasingha Dev’s son Chaitanya Dev were issueless. Hence, Nabarangpur and Gudari were remerged to Jeypore kingdom. Gunupur again came under Jeypore kingdom ruled by Ramachandra Dev IV (1920–31) under British Administration. After 1931 Vikram Dev IV ruled the Jeypore Kingdom up to 1 April, 1936 under British Administration. The state of Odisha was formed on 1 April, 1936 with Koraput as one of the six districts and Gunupur came under Koraput district as a sub-division.
On 2 October, 1992, Gunupur and Rayagada sub-division were carved out of the erstwhile Koraput district and formed a new district as Rayagada.
As of 2011 India census, Gunupur has a population of 28,870. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Gunupur has an average literacy rate of 80.4%, higher than the national average of 74.4%: male literacy is 85.56% and female literacy is 70.40%. In Gunupur, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Gunupur is located at 19.08°N 83.82°E / 19.08; 83.82. It has an average elevation of 83 metres (272 ft). It is located in the lap of the Eastern Ghat and on the banks of river Bansadhara. It has a mixed climate of mountains and Coastal Plain. Its outer region is completely covered by forests and Hills. Earthquake zones of India places Gunupur inside seismic zone II on a scale ranging from I to V in order of increasing susceptibility to earthquakes.
There are several Judicial courts at Gunupur under the control of District Court Rayagada. The Court of Senior Civil Judge-cum-Asst. Sessions Judge, the court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class and other revenue courts like the Court of Sub Divisional Executive Magistrate cum Sub Collector and the Court of Tahasildar are situated here. As per the demand of the Bar Association, Gunupur and the litigant public, the Court of Additional District & Sessions Judge at Gunupur started functioning from 20 Sept, 2014.
Current MLA from Gunupur Assembly Constituency is Sri Trinath Gomango of BJD, who won the seat in State elections of 2014. Previous MLAs from this seat include Rammurthy Mutika who won the seat in 2004 (BJD), Ram Murty Gamango who won this seat in 2000 as BJP candidate and as a JD candidate in 1990, Akshaya Kumar Gomango of INC in 1995, and Bhagirathi Gomango who won this seat as INC candidate in 1985 and 1977 and as INC(I) candidate in 1980.
Gunupur is part of Koraput (Lok Sabha constituency).
Gunupur is connected to other parts of Odisha by state highway SH17(Gunupur-Digapahandi-Berhampur) and SH04(Paralakhemundi-Gunupur-Rayagada-Koraput). It is also well connected with major cities of Andhra Pradesh. Odisha State Road Transport Corporation, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, and Private buses run frequently between Gunupur to other parts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Gunupur is connected by the 90 km long Naupada-Gunupur branch railway line to Naupada railway junction on the Khurda Road-Visakhapatnam section of the Howrah-Chennai route. The nearest airport is the Visakhapatnam Airport at a distance of 200 km towards the south. The other nearest airport is the Bhubaneswar Airport, which is about 360 km.
Gunupur and its vicinity have of many charms, is a thrill to the searching eyes. It has the facilities to serve as a base for visiting the nearby place of interest.Minajhola is only 70 km from Gunupur. It is a beauty spot of nature, has a siva temple at the confluence of three rivers. It is situated in the heart of dense forest, rich in wildlife. Sivaratri is a popular festival of this place. Though there is no good all-weather road yet, the place is worth visiting. Regular bus service is available from Rayagada and Gunupur up to Gudari. The rest 25 km road is Jeepable.
Padmapur houses the shrine of Manikeswari Siva. It is identified to be the seat of Dharmakirti, the Buddhist-Logician-philosopher. It is a 7th-century temple. In one of the temple something is written in some strange language (Pali) and the temple is built using only seven stones.It is 20 km from Gunupur.
Chatikona is located about 60 km from Gunupur surrounded by a series of valleys and wooded hills of varying colours and the place is a center of pilgrimage for the temple of Mahadev. It offers picnickers gorgeous view of the waterfall. The Siva temple is the focus of hectic activities on Siva Ratri. The Dongaria Kondha of Chatikona represent the primitive section of the tribe.
Maa Markama Temple is located at Bissam Cuttack, 70 km from Gunupur. The temple got a new look and surrounded by lush green forest. Many people visit from near and far especially on Tuesdays. The town college has also been named after Goddess Markama.
Majhighariani Temple is famous in Southern Division of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the devotees come from Madhya Pradesh Chhatishgarh, Andhra Pradesh including undivided Koraput District. During Sunday, Wednesday and Friday a large number of devotees come to worship the Maa MajhiGhariani . The temple is famous for Chaitra-Parba, i.e., March–April of every year.
Gunupur is a tribal dominated area but the focus on education has been there from a long time. Its literacy rate is way above the national average. Gunupur had got its first high school way back in 1903 before Independence. It got it first Degree College Estd. 1972. Now Gunupur is a hub of fine educational institutions. Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology (GIET), Gunupur. It is top Engineering college of Odisha attracts students from all part of India and overseas.Maharshi gurukul +2 residential college started in the year of 2012 .