The name Rour-kela originates from the local tribal language of Sadri which means "Our Village"(Rour = Our & kela comes from the word "Kila" which means Village). It comes under Sundergarh district of the Indian state of Odisha.
The twin towns of Rourkela and Fertilizer Township (Sector-22) as well as their developed periphery are located in areas that were once covered by dense forests. These forests were once favourite hunting ground for the kings in the past. According to the census report of 2011 Rourkela has a population of 483,038 (Rourkela Industrial Township is 273,217 and Rourkela Town is 210,412) and the urban metropolitan area population is 536,450. Then railway station of Rourkela was within the revenue village of Mahulpali. India's first public sector steel plant facility was established in Rourkela with the help of German businesses Krupp and Demag. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the town was the largest German colony outside Germany.
Some merchants, started settling at Rourkela with business objective, around the village Rourkela and the Railway station was named after the village Rourkela. The erstwhile revenue village of Rourkela is now popularly known as old Rourkela.
The B.N.R. Company (Bengal-Nagpur Railway Company) constructed the Howrah Nagpur railways, which ran through Rourkela. The habituated area around the railway station of Rourkela was declared as an urban town in the year 1931. The census report of 1931 reveals that the number of population was 493. By the time a primary school, an office of the forester, a sub-post office, a handful of liquor shops, tea shops and restaurants were found around the outlying area of the railway station. Gradually a train line was connected to Birmitrapur and Rourkela and it could avail a status of a junction allowing the settlement of more railway employees. Soon another station at the village Panposh was found 10 km away. The population of Panposh by 1931 was 2,252 almost five times of Rourkela. There was a village called Durgapur in between Rourkela and Panposh stations. The construction of the sub-divisional court building was started in 1945 at the village Durgapur. Hence the nearby hills also known as Durgapur Pahada (Durgapur Hills), today it is known as Uditnagar. As a result, the two railway stations of Panposh and Rourkela came into recognisation. Following India's independence, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, wanted to make India an industrialised state in Soviet model of social development; giving wings to his dreams Sri Biju Pattanaik convinced Pandit Nehru to consider the location of Rourkela for setting up a steel plant.
The mineral rich zone of Rourkela intersected by the rivers Brahmani, Koel and Sankha from two sides was aptly chosen for the same.
The preliminary survey for the steel plant at Rourkela was started in 1952 and the Government of Odisha issued a gazette notification on 16 February 1954. In accordance with the notification the Government of Odisha acquired an area of about 80 square miles around Rourkela for the purpose of Steel Plant.
The private German private companies Krupp and Demag came forward to provide financial and technical help for the proposed steel plant at Rourkela. Krupp built Rourkela Steel Plant drawing from experience from its own works in Essen, Germany. The technical experts of the company advised the Government of India as well as the Government of Orissa for acquiring more land. As a result, a further area of 32 square kilometres was acquired out of 31 revenue villages. Almost 13,000 people in 2,424 families lost their dwelling. Later further 11,000 acres (4,500 ha) of land were acquired out of 31 revenue villages for the construction of Mandira Dam, a water embankment. More land was requisitioned for the purpose of constructing railway lines to Hatia and Barsuan. The construction of Bondamunda Railway junction required further acquisition of land which resulted 20,000 people's displacement from their habitat. Though there was initial discontentment among the tribals about the land acquisition the authority largely resolved the land dispute, as many of the tribals were provided employment and accommodation. The displaced tribals were relocated in places such as Jalda, Jhirpani, Bisra and Bondamunda. Their new settlement even extended beyond the river Koel.
A string of industrial units and townships such as Rourkela Steel Plant, Fertilizer Plant, Fertilizer Township, Steel Township sprung up. A marshalling yard and a railway junction were established at Bondamunda. Thousands of technical personnel from West Germany came to Rourkela to extend their technical assistance. Some of these Germans came with their family and their small diaspora created 'Indo-German Club' to socialise. The club exists today with a well-stocked library known as Max Muller library. There are plethora of local stories of Germans social encounters with tribals (local adivasis) and people from other parts of India who had relocated themselves to Rourkela for employment. A large part of this population was from coastal and western Odisha who were trained by the German workforce to adopt to the steel plant's technology rigour. The steel plant, which was hugely surrounded by forest, many times witnessed wild animals straying into the plant area. A royal Bengal tiger's lugubrious death in the steel plant's massive blast furnace is a part of city's folklore. There were also tales about the disappearance of Germans in the nearby Vedvyas cave and dread whirlpool of river Koel. A popular gynaecologist Dr DP Dey of Rourkela's largest hospital was one of the unfortunate victims of this surreptitious whirlpool. The river still accounts for human casualty as some day trippers wade into the water blissfully unasware of the maelstrom.
Of late, Rourkela has seen many modernisation as well as infrastructural developments. Recently, the Railway ministry announced the operations of a new Rajdhani train that would go via Rourkela.
Rourkela is located at 84.54E longitude and 22.12N latitude in Sundergarh district of Odisha at an elevation of about 219 m (719 ft) above mean sea level. The area of Rourkela is 200 square kilometres approximately. Being situated on Howrah-Mumbai rail track, Rourkela had an added advantage of the steel plant being set up there. Red and laterite soils are found here which are quite rich in minerals. The area near Rourkela is rich in iron-ore hence a steel plant is situated in Rourkela. Bolani and Barsuan are the two most prominent mines situated near the town. Rourkela is situated in a hilly region. A small hill range named Durgapur runs from the heart of the town dividing it into plant area and the steel township. The name "Durgapur" comes from an old village existed at the foothills long time ago before the plant was set up. The South Koel River and Sankha rivers meet at Vedvyas, Rourkela and flow as a single river called Brahmani.
The Rourkela Township is divided into two separate townships under Census of India as Steel Township and Civil Township. The Residential quarters colony of Rourkela Steel Plant having 21 sectors on record (while in reality the Sector – 10, 11 and 12 do not exist, though the area for the same is earmarked) is called Steel Township and the other part is called Civil Township. One smaller township Fertilizer was renamed sector-22, as this township is within the purview of SAIL.
The 16 km long Ring Road, connects 19 sectors and some other parts of the steel city including old Rourkela. Other layouts include Chhend Colony, Civil Township, Station Road (Bus and Railway), Koel Nagar, Jagda, Jhirpani, Panposh, Udit Nagar, Fertiliser Township, Hamirpur, IGH Road, Vedvyas.
Rourkela has a tropical climate and receives high rainfall during Southwest monsoon (June – September) and retreating Northeast monsoon (December – January). Average annual rainfall ranges between 160 and 200 cm. The minimum and maximum temperatures are in the range of 5 C to 49.7 C with a mean minimum and maximum temperature range of 12.0 C to 31.5 C during coldest and hottest months. Thirty six percent of the geographical area of the district has semi-evergreen or tropical dry deciduous forest.
Rourkela is the industrial capital of Odisha (Formerly Orissa). Rourkela, with a population of 6 lakhs and the first place in India to house the 1.8 million ton integrated steel plant, joins the IT world through STPI. The city is popularly known as the engineering heartland of India. STPI has already set up a dedicated earth station in Rourkela. It is set to welcome the IT entrepreneurs for their uprising destination. It is truly cosmopolitan in nature and enjoys high-class international infrastructure, modern amenities and skilled professionals for the software development and exports. Odisha (Formerly Orissa) being the latest addition in E-Governance applications, creates enthusiasm for software development companies to explore the domestic business also. Location-wise it is truly a hill station, with integrated infrastructure such as rail, road, air, abundant natural resources such as land, water and power, rich pool of skilled people, top-rated social and civic infrastructure for reposing and Universal friendliness. These factors have attracted many industrialists outside the state to choose Rourkela as their destination. Rourkela enjoys the pride of being the knowledge hub in the state due to its academic records. The geographical location is another blessing. In history it has never faced any sort of natural calamity whatsoever, except some heavy rainfall. The above-mentioned factors along with the most stabilized electrical power supply, good administration and industrial nature offers ample opportunity for Rourkela to impress the IT World.
As Rourkela has been a Steel City and Big Core Sector in case of Iron, Steel, heavy blast furnace, etc. there an are a number of industries in and around Rourkela such as Larsen & Toubro Fabrication Plant in Kansbahal .
OCL Industrial Township in Rajgangpur . And many other in Kalunga Industrial Estate
The steel city is divided mainly into two sections: Old Rourkela (sections of the city near the railway station that were settled prior to RSP coming up) and the much larger Steel township. The Steel township till 1999, was divided into 18 Sectors, Sector 6 being the largest of them.
The Steel Township and Fertilizer Township are under the Steel Plant Administration while the other sections of the city are under the Rourkela Municipal Corporation. Some rural areas of South Rourkela are managed by the Jalda Panchayat. Central Water Commission has its sub-divisional headquarters near Panposh.
As of 2011 India census, Rourkela had a population of 536,450. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Rourkela has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 69%. In Rourkela, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.Density of Population – 6,696 per km2. approx.
Sex Ratio – 835 Female per 1000 male.
Per capita income – Highest in Odisha.
Population (Census 2011) – 552,970 where as Rourkela Industrial Township (210,412) & Rourkela Town (273,217).
Main Habitations in Rourkela – Civil Township, Koelnagar, Chhend Colony, Uditnagar, Steel Township (Eighteen Sectors), Fertilizer Township, Industrial Estate, Basanti colony, Railway colony, Jhirpani, Jagda, Panposh, Vedavyas, Bondamunda and Kalunga.
Towards the end of 1946, most of existing roads of Sundargarh District were constructed. One National Highway i.e. (NH-143) is passing through Rourkela which runs from Chas-Ranchi-Rourkela-Barkote-Banarpal – Junction with (NH-55). About 30 kms of this highway passes through in and around Rourkela. Though the finalization of the project is awaited but the planning for four lining of this highway is under consideration. One more National Highway i.e. NH – 215 which runs from Rajamunda (in Sundergarh district) to Panikoili in Jajpur district .
Other than this the SH-10 which runs from Rourkela to Sambalpur is another good road used in a large way particularly after its renovation and up gradation in 1995. There are number of other departmental roads in and around Rourkela stretched in different parts.
From civic point of view the Steel City consists of two parts i.e. Steel Township and Civil Township. While the ring road constructed by Rourkela Steel Plant Authority which has surrounded the Steel Township the other part of the ring road is Civil Township. The Steel Township roads are also maintained by the RSP authority.
There are number of daily Bus Services from Rourkela to different parts of Orissa and few are also from Rourkela to neighboring states like Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand. There are number of Town buses are plying daily in the city.
The new Bus Terminus at Rourkela constructed by Rourkela Development Authority caters various demands of Bus services to different parts of the states. Other than New Bus stand, there are number of ticket booking counters in different parts of Rourkela Town for the public to book tickets for destinations. In 2014 Government of Odisha decided to build Biju Expressway stretching from Rourkela to Jagdalpur 
Rourkela Railway junction is situated in Howrah-Mumbai line under South-Eastern Railway. Apart from Rourkela Station the other stations in Sundargarh District are Bondamunda, Rajgangpur, Kalunga, Kansbahal, etc. The Steel City is well connected through Railway from Howrah & Mumbai. Apart from this the city is directly connected with Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Dhanbad & Pune too.
Many goods train also pass through Rourkela every day. Rourkela is a prfit generating junction of South-Eastern Railway. From Rourkela junction one line also goes to Biramitrapur where two from Bondamunda. One more line goes from Bimalagarh to Kiriburu .Rourkela Railway junction is situated in Howrah-Mumbai line under South-Eastern Railway. Apart from Rourkela Station the other stations in Sundargarh District are Bondamunda, Rajgangpur, Kalunga, Kansbahal, etc. The Steel City is well connected through Railway from Howrah & Mumbai. Apart from this the city is directly connected with Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Dhanbad & Pune too.
Many goods train also pass through Rourkela every day. Rourkela is a prfit generating junction of South-Eastern Railway. From Rourkela junction one line also goes to Biramitrapur where two from Bondamunda. One more line goes from Bimalagarh to Kiriburu .
After inception of Rourkela Steel Plant, the Govt. of India built up an Air Strip at Rourkela in 60’s and till 1991 it was under Government control. In 1991 the management and control of this Air strip was transferred to Steel Authority of India, Rourkela Steel Plant. As per the license agreement of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Government of India, Rourkela Air Strip comes under Private License category.
Time to time some of the important dignitaries and VVIPs boarding flights are landing here but so far the regular flight has not flying from this air strip for public conveyance. The dialogue with Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India is on for using it for public purpose, specially when many low cost operators are operating from small towns. Now this Airport is being used by some private company and industrialists for private use by paying the required charges.
From September 2017 a no. of flight will start from Rourkela Airport .
There are a number of hospitals in Rourkela. Many of them are :
1. Ispat General Hospital
2. Rourkela Government Hospital
3. Shanti Memorial Hospital
4. ESIC Model Hospital
5. Sub Divisional Hospital, Panposh
6. Lifeline Hospital
7. Community Welfare Society Hospital, Rourkela
8. Vesaj Patel Hospital
9. KTH Hospital
10. Ambica Munda Hospital
11. Super Speciality Rourkela
12. Rajasthan Seva Sadan Hospital
13. Lions Eye Hospital
Rourkela has three recreation parks: Indira Gandhi Park, Jubilee Park, and Ispat Nehru Park Udyaan.
Bhanja Bhaban (comprising the Bhanja Kala Kendra and the library) and Civic Centre hosts the State level and National Level Drama, Fashion and Dancing competitions throughout the year. The city has several cinemas, namely Konark and UMA, the two most popular ones. Apsara, Deepak and Razzaq (presently all of them being turned into multiplex). A couple of multiplexes however have started recently, namely PSR Cinemas and Cineplex @ Shanti Towers. Several food courts like Ambagan food court, Sec-5 VIP market, Koel Nagar NAC market, Khana Khazana, 7 AM & Max Restaurant and Bakery, The Cakery Bakery and Paris Bakery in New Rourkela, Green Chillyz behind Ambagan are some of the most visited places.Many malls are under construction like Fe2 arcade, Forum Galleria, Sahej Deep Crossroad and many more
"The Hands of Steel" or the "Ten Million Monument" was designed by Vijay Acquilla and made at the initiative of Dr. P L Agarwal. Rourkela is surrounded by hills .It is also blessed by Nature.
Major Tourist Destinations in Rourkela are as follows :
- Hanuman Vatika
- Ramkrishna Mission, Hamirpur, Sector-19
- Vedvyas Temple
- Mandira Dam
- Vaishnodevi Temple Rourkela ( replica of Vaishnodevi Temple )
- Indira Gandhi Park
- Pitamahal Dam
- Jubilee Park, Rourkela
- Nehru Traffic Park
- Ispat Nehru Park
- Khandadhar Falls, Sundergarh
- Darjeeng Picnic Spot
- Blue Stone Picnic Area
- Tarkera Dam
- Rani Sati Mandir(Birmitrapur)
- Sri Sai Mandir (Vedvyas)
Rourkela City has a radio station of All India Radio (A.I.R) on FM Band 102.06 MHz since 24 June 1995. AIR Rourkela has two transmission one from 12pm to 5pm and the second from 6pm to 11pm. Other privately owned radio channels include Radio Choklate 104 FM and Big 92.7 FM. These channels broadcast Hindi and Oriya film and non film songs, talk shows and other entertainment programmes.
The Oriya daily newspaper Sambaad gets published in its Rourkela section press. Odisha's online media channel 'Rourkela Shines' & 'Odisha Shines' head-office is present in Rourkela.
Rourkela is the educational, technical and medical research hub of Western Odisha and even students from all parts of Odisha and some parts of neighbouring states Jharkhand and West Bengal come here to pursue higher education. It houses many English medium schools which provide CBSE and ICSE certificates to their students. Notably, mostly there are ICSE-ISC board schools like Mount Carmel Convent School, City English medium school, St.Gregorios Higher Secondary School, Ispat EM School, St. Pauls School, Pragati Public School, St. Joseph's School, Indo English School, Chinmaya Vidyalaya(E.M.), Desouza's School, MGM English Medium School. Most of them are missionary based organisations run by licensee trustees. The CBSE board schools are Deepika English Medium School, Delhi Public School, Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (DAV) School, etc. The Central government has its own Kendriya Vidyalaya in Sector-6 and Bondamunda. It also has notable Odiya medium schools like Chinmaya Vidyalaya and Govt. High school Uditnagar.
The National Institute of Technology, Rourkela (NIT-R) ranks 5th in terms of education and placement quality in India. The students of various schools in Rourkela represent their schools in various national level and international competitions including IMO, IChO and NASA.
Rourkela has a Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital Rourkela and is the only city in Odisha to have a private medical college outside Bhubaneshwar. The local leaders have demanded a government medical college in Rourkela. There are over 15 colleges for arts, science and commerce streams under the Sambalpur University. Some of the famous ones are Government Autonomous College, Rourkela Municipal College, Ispat College, SG Women's College. There are also private engineering & management colleges like Rourkela Institute of Management Studies (RIMS), DAMITS, Rourkela Institute of Technology (RIT), Padmanava College of Engineering (PCE) and Purushottam Institute of Engineering and Technology these colleges come under the jurisdiction of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and the head office is located in Chennd, Rourkela.Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Rourkela
National Institute of Technology Rourkela
Indian captain Dilip Tirkey and deep defender Lazarus Barla started their careers in Rourkela. Rourkela has special hockey hostels for kids, upbringing the next generation players with some of the best amenities. It has produced a few Arjuna Awardees, including Minati Mohapatra. Olympians of repute like Paralympian Roshan and Rachita Mistry are from this city. Indian national cricketer Sanjay Raul and the Under-19 world cup representative Chandrakant Barik play from this city. Pabitra Mohan Mohanty, the former national 'B' champion in chess and second only to Viswanathan Anand in national 'A' category is a resident of this city.
The city has a sports hub of two stadiums and few other sports grounds located in sector-6. The two stadiums are Ispat Stadium and a beautiful AstroTurf hockey stadium. The AstroTurf hockey stadium was built by SAIL. There is a basketball ground, a chess hall, and a well-maintained volleyball ground nearby. The indoor stadium at sector-20 hosts the badminton and Table Tennis events.
Rourkela has an International hockey stadium with synthetic astroturf which has been host to World Junior Hockey Championship and been a training centre to most of the international Hockey players of India. Ispat Stadium has been host for several Ranji Trophy matches. The city has produced many reputed Ranji players in the recent times.RSP do promote various different sports like - Cycling, Boxing, Archery, Soccer and lots more. Rourkela is one one of the leading Hockey player producer for Nation.
Sport StadiumSports Hostel, Chhend
Ispat Stadium (Sector-6)
Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium (Sector-6)
Sports Hostel, Panposh
Ispat Mini Stadium, Fertiliser Township (Sector-22)
Chhend Mini Stadium, Chhend
Jalda Mini Stadium, Jalda
Famous Sports Person
HockeyBinita Toppo (female hockey)
Other sportsSunil Patra ( Body Building )
Minati Mohapatra ( Cycling )
Rachita Mistry ( Sprinter )
Natraj Behera ( Cricket )
Nadim Khan ( Boxing )
Mira Nair, Film Director and Author
Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal, BJP
Dilip Tirkey, Former Captain, Indian National Hockey Team
Ignace Tirkey, Former Captain, Indian National Hockey Team
Lazarus Barla, Indian hockey player
Natraj Behera, former Odisha cricket team captain
Govinda Poddar, current Odisha cricket team captain
Harish Hande, Magsaysay Award winner
Bibhu Mohapatra, Fashion Designer, United States of America
Rajasmita Kar, Winner of Dance India Dance (Season 3), India
Dilip Ray, MLA (Rourkela), Founder of Mayfair group of hotels
Amish Tripathi, Author
Rachita Panda Mistry, Olympiad
Biswapati Sarkar, Media Personality of TVF fame
Samir Dash, Techie and Entrepreneur
Ramendra Kumar, Award-winning Children's Fiction Writer
Bipin Behari Panda (son of Late Radhakrushna Panda, Born in 1935 in Baincha Village in Balasore dist of Odisha (Formerly Orissa)), Mahatma Gandhi Award Winner & noted social worker(Close associate of noble souls like Mother Teressa, Ramadevi, Nabkrushna Choudhury) lived in this city, who has enormous contribution for the under privileged section of the society & the down trodden of the area. His relentless efforts lead to setting up of a Leprosy Hospital, Home & Hope an institution of Mentally challenged apart from being instrumental in setting up of various social institutions. It is because of his selfless efforts only Rourkela has turned into a Green and beautiful city, as Mr.Bipin Behari Panda was instrumental in mass tree plantation in and around Rourkela and also actively involved in the total literacy movement in Sundergarh District