Headquarters town of the district, it lies on the Cuttack-Sambalpur road (National Highway No. 42) , 59 km. (37 miles) west of Cuttack and is also served by a Railway Station, called Garh-Dhenkanal, on the Cuttack-Talcher section of the South-Eastern Railway.
The town is beautifully situated at the foot of a small hill and extends mainly on the Cuttack-Sambalpur road.. The ex-ruler's palace which stands detached from the town on a raised platform on the slope of a hill(called Paninala) overlooks the town and makes a magnificent view. A part of this prominent construction, known as Rangmahal, was built by Raja Sura Pratap Dev.
There are a few temples in the town dedicated to different deities but none of them possesses any special feature to attract a student of archaeology. The earliest of them, known as the temple of Balabhardra was built by Nrusingha Bhramarabara in about 1700 A.D.
About 6 km. (4 miles) away from the town, on the top of a small hill, stands a huge building called "Jatan Nagar" palace. The building crowns the bald hill and for miles around looks conspicuous and magnificent. It is a double storeyed construction with about a hundred rooms. To store water, it is said, a tank was also excavated on the hill top. This building was constructed by forced labour during the Durabar administration. It stands as a ghostly monument of the past, and remains deserted and uncared for. The owner, a former prince of the ruling family, was banished for certain misdeeds during the war period. He had named the palace after his wife. He never returned to Dhenkanal. While living at Cuttack, he sold the doors and windows,and other fixtures of the palace. The bare walls now stand like a haunted house.