Sonitpur district is a district of Assam with its administrative headquarters located at Tezpur town. The administrative headquarters of the district, Tezpur got its name from the two Sanskrit terms likewise 'Teza' meaning blood and 'Pura' meaning town or city. Legends believe that the original name of the Tezpur town was 'Sonitpur' since the word "sonit" in Sanskrit also means blood. There is an interesting mythological story associated with the district. It is believe that the present day’s Sonitpur was the capital of asura king, Banasura, a devout of the Lord Shiva. The story begins when the daughter of Banasura called Usha had a Gandharva marriage with Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna whom she had abducted with the help of Chitralekha. Then Banasura imprisoned Aniruddha. As a result, a significant battle was fought between Lord Krishna's army and Banasura's army in order to rescue Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna. Due to the battle there was so much bloodshed that the whole place was stained in red and for this very reason the place got its name, Tezpur. After the foremost cities of Assam likewise Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Nagaon and Tinsukia, Tezpur is the seventh largest city of Assam. Sonitpur as a separate district came into existence in the year 1983 after it was carved out from Darrang. It has also a long and significant history starting with Kamrupa Mlechha rule which mainly divided into Baro-Bhuyan rule and Chutiya kingdom rule. Interestingly, the border between these two kingdoms was the prominent Kameng/Bharali river. After sometime, Ahoms came to this region and captured it during the period 1505-10 AD.
Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, an eminent Assamese playwright, songwriter, poet, writer and film maker was born on 17th June, 1903 at Tamulbari Tea Estate in the district. He was considered as Assamese cultural icon, deeply revered for his creative vision and is popularly known as the Rupkonwar of Assamese culture.
Geographically, the district lies at 26077'N latitude, 92078'E longitude and 48 m of altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 20.55% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 5,204 sq km. and it is bounded by Arunachal Pradesh on the North, Brahmaputra River on the South, Lakhimpur district on the East and Darrang district on the West. The climate of the district can be characterized as tropical rainforest climate with hot and high humid summers. Most of the time it enjoys hot and wet type of climate. The actual rainfall in the district was 1662.5 mm in the year of 2018-19. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 7 sub-districts, 8 towns and 1,876 villages. The administrative languages in the district are Assamese and English.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 19,24,110 out of which 9,83,904 are males and 9,40,206 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 956 (females for 1000 males) and child ratio of 966 (females per 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 14.43% including 12.89% were males and 16.08% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 73.95% of the total population. The population density in the district is 370 (persons per sq. km.). As per 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Assamese, Bengali and Hindi with 36.07%, 15.93% and 17.32%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 43,308 including 23,314 were males and 19,994 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 9,468 including 5,248 were males and 4,220 were females.
The economy of the district is solely dependent on agriculture. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are paddy, tea, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the agricultural products in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. Sometime its economy is also prominently based on sericulture, fisheries and weaving. On the other hand the district is scantily industrialised since it has only a few small scale industries. In the year 2009-2010 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs 4,30,946 lakh at Current Price and Rs 3,16,847 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2007-08 was Rs. 2,96,778 lakh at Current Price and Rs 2,26,433 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district 2007-08 was Rs. 17,041 at Current Price and Rs 13,001 at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000.
The district is well-known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of the recognised educational institutions in the district are Tezpur University, Assam Valley School, Darrang College, Tezpur College, Chaiduar College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 67.34% including 73.65% are males and 60.73% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 11,08,572 out of which 6,20,525 are males and 4,88,047 are females. The total number of illiterates in the district is 8,15,538 out of which 3,63,379 are males and 4,52,159 are females.
Hem Barua, a veteran Assamese politician who elected as a member to the Lok Sabha from Gauhati in 1957 and 1962 and from Mangaldoi in 1967 was born on 22nd April, 1915 at Tezpur in the district. Earlier, he was a member of the Congress until the year 1948 but later he joined the Praja Socialist Party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well world. Nameri National Park, a famous national park located in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur district shares its northern boundary with the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh. Both of them together constitute an area of over 1000 sq km. out of which Nameri covers a total area of 200 sq km. The Orang National Park, located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in the districts of Darrang and Sonitpur covers a geographical area of 78.81 sq km. It was established as a sanctuary in the 1985 and declared a national park on 13th April, 1999. The one horned rhino of this national park is world famous.