Like many other parts of Orissa, in the Puri District , river gravels and slits may be included among the various Pleistone formations. But no formationof this period has so far yielded any type of pre-historic stone tool though they are found in a large number from similar formations (river gravels,secondary laterite pits and murrams) in the districts of Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh. So whatever information we have regarding the pre-historic cultures of this districts are mainly derived from different types of stone tools collected from the surface.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
The District has been named after its head quartes town, Puri.According to Cunningham the ancient name of this town was Charitra mentioned by the Chinese piligrim Hiuen Tsang as Che-li-ta-lo. But the restoration of the word Che-li-ta-lo as Charitra and its identification with the town of Puri are open to doubt. The importance of the town as a seat of Vaisnavism increased when
Chodaganga Deva constructed the temple of Purusottama Jagannath and installed the images of the deities. Thereafter , it became famous as the abode of Purusottama and was popularly called purusottama Kshetra.
In the drama Anargharaghava Natakam attributed to cir.9th century A.D. we find the name Purusottama applied to this town . In the Nagari Plate of Anangabhima III of the Saka year 1151-52 i.e., 1229-30 A.D. , the place is called Purusottama Kshetra . This name in the form of Purusottama Chhatar or only in the form Chhatar was used by the Mughal , the Maratha as well as the early British rulers in their official records . even in Yoginitantra and Kalikapurana the city is reffered to as Purusottam . Puri region was also known as Utkal.
The name Purusottama Kshetra was also for sometimes known as purusottama Puri and as the word Purusottama Kshetra was contracted into Kshetra or Chhatra so also Purusottama Puri was expressed in the contracted form Puri . Infact , in many early British records this town is known by the name Pooree. In modern times Puri has become the most popular of all the other names of this town.
HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT
Under Mughal Rule (1592-1751) ,Orissa for the purpose of revenue administration was divided into three circars , namely Jaleswar, Bhadrak and kataka each of which Under Mughal was subdivided into Bishis. Puri formed a part of kataka circar. After their occupation of Orissa in 1751 , the Marathas brought about some changes in the revenue divisions of the province . they divided Orissa , which then extended from the river Suvarnarekha in the North to the lake Chilika in the South , into five Chakalas viz. (I) Pipli , (II) Kataka (III)Soro , (IV) Balasore. The Chakala of Pipli comprised major portions of the modern district of Puri . The Chakalas were divided into parganas into Mahals or Taluqs. The conquest of Orissa by the British in 1803 set fourth great changes in revenue divisions and political relations . In June 1804, the province was divided into two divisions , namely the Northern and Southern Divisions , the river Mahanadi forming the boundary . Robert Ker and Charles Groeme were appointed as Judge , Magistrate and collector in Northern and Southern Divisions respectively . By 1805 both divisions were amalgamated and G.Webb succeeded Groene as collector and Robert Ker became the Judge and Magistrate of the whole province.
As the Raja of Khurdha revolted the 1804, he was arrested and was placed in confinement in the Fort of Barabati at Cuttack. His teritory was confiscated and the Raja was subsequently released. In 1807 he was permitted to live at Balisahi in the town of Puri and functioned as superintendent of the temple of Jagannath. Puri was the capital of the province of Orissa and the headquarters of the collector ,till 1816. In 1806 there was a proposal to remove the head quarters to Jajpur , but it didn't get Government sanction . In August 1814, a part of the collectors establishment was removed to Cuttack , which was again brought back to Puri in December . By 1916 the Head quarter was permanently shifted to Cuttack which was Head quarter during Moghal and Marathas . By 1818 the office of the commissioner was established and Robert Ker became the first commissioner . From 1813 to 1819 there was a joint Magistrate at Puri with the jurisdiction over the Thana of Pipli , Gop , Hariharpur and Kiran . By 1819 this office was abolished and the joint magistrate of Khurdha was given the charge of the above thanas . On 11th February 1822, the office of the joint magistrate of Khurdha was abolished and Orissa was again divided into two divisions with the river Baitarani as the dividing line . Willkinson , the collector of Cuttack , was placed in charge of Cuttack and Khurdha and Ricketts with powers of a collector was given the charge of Balasore and Bhadrak .
Finally on 23rd October 1828, the province was divided into three districts , namely Balaore , Cuttack and Jagannath, later known as Puri. Regulation IV of 1821 had provided that the power of a magistrate and collector might be vested in one and the same person and accordingly are magistrate and collector was appointed in each of the above three districts . H. Ricketts , R. Hunter and W. Willkinson were the first magistrate and collectors of Balasore , Cuttack and puri districts respectively.
In 1912 the new province of Bihar and Orissa was formed and subsequently Orissa a become a separate province in 1936 . After intergration with Orissa an 1st January 1948 of the feudatry states of Nayagarh , Daspalla, Khandapara and Ranapur with a total area of 3941 1st km. a separate Sub-Division comprising these ex-states was adede to Puri District with headquarters at Nayagarh. The fourth Sub-Division of Bhubaneswar was carred at an 26th January 1959 . The old Puri District consisted of four Sub-Division i.e Puri Sadar, Khurdha, Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh , Puri Sadar Sub-Division consists of four Tahasils i.e 1) Krushna Prasad 2)Sadar 3) Pipili, 4) Nimapara .
Again by the year 1995 the Puri District was devided into 3 District i.e
i) Nayagarh District comprises of Nayagarh Sub-Division.
ii) Khurdha District Comprises of Khuradha and Bhubaneswar Sub-Division and
iii) Puri District Comprises of Puri Sadar Sub-Division only.