Banaskantha district is a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Palanpur city. There are thirty-three districts in the Gujarat state and Banaskantha is one of its northeast districts. It is the third largest district of the state. The district got its name from the West Banas River that is running through the valley between Mount Abu and Aravalli Range and flowing to the plains of Gujarat state. The district is both culturally and historically important. It was influenced positively by the various rulers who ruled over the region at different points of time, such as the Chauhans, the Parmars, and Muslim rulers later on.
Rohit Jivanlal Parikh, a distinguished mathematician, logician, and philosopher was born on 20th November, 1936 at Palanpur in the district. He is well known for his work in many areas such as traditional logic, including recursion theory and proof theory. He had won the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition Prize for three consecutive years i.e. 1955, 1956 and 1957.
Geographically, the district lies at 24039'N latitude, 72014'E longitude and 490 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 7.66% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 10,743 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 4th in the state and 46th in India. It is bounded by Karauli district and Sirohi district on the north, Mehsana district on the south, Sabarkantha district on the east and Patan district on the west. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer and fairly cold during the winter. Most of rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 214.5 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into twelve talukas namely, Amirgadh, Bhabhar, Dantiwada, Danta, Deesa, Deodar, Dhanera, Palanpur, Sihori, Tharad, Vadgam, Lakhni, Suigam and Vav. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 9 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 12 towns and 1,237 villages. The administrative language in the district is Gujarati.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 31,20,506 including 16,10,379 are males and 15,10,127 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 938 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 24.61% out of which 24.12% were males and 25.13% were females. The population density in the district is 290 persons per sq. km. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 82,249 including 42,936 were males and 39,313 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district is 14,284 including 9,021 were males and 5,263 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 92.62% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Gujarati with 96.35%.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are used for agricultural purposes. Some of its chief agricultural crops are bajra, maize, tobacco, castor oil, jowar, psyllium, potatoes, etc. It is also one of the leading producers of Isabgul (Psyllium husk) in the country. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The district is also rich in mineral resources which contribute in its economy to a great extent. Limestone, marble, granite, building stone, china clay, etc are the available mineral resources in the district. More than half of the population in the district are engaged in agriculture since it is scantily industrialized. Only a few food processing and textile industries are found in the district. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Banaskantha as one of the country's 250 most backward districts that is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
The district is an abode of numerous reputed educational institutions. It provides platform for higher education. Some of its recognised educational institutions are Shri Ambaji Arts College, Gurukul Mahila Arts and Commerce College, S M J Arts Commerce College, Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, Sheth Motilal Nyalchand Science College, P. K. Kotwala Arts College, Saifee Jubilee Arts Commerce College, Trikambjibhai Chatwani Arts and J U Gokal Trust Commerce College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 65.32 % including 78.15% are males and 51.75% are females.
Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, an eminent Indian Politician and a member of 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha from the Banaskantha constituency was born on 20th July, 1954 at Jagana village in the Banaskantha district. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party political party.
The district has numerous centres of attraction with historical and religious significance which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. The district is a renowned pilgrimage spot since it is full of temples. Moreover, devotees from across the country come to these temples to offer their prayers. Ambaji Temple, dedicated to Arasuri Amba, a Hindu Goddess belonging to the pre-Vedic period is located in the Arasur Hills. Nagar Brahmins of the district constructed the temple by using white marble and gold cones. Balaram Mahadev Temple, a pious temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated at a distance of 12 km from the Banaskantha district. Balaram Palace in Banaskantha district was used by Lohani Nawab as his favourite resting place. As per historical records the palace was built by the 29th king of Palanpur in between the period from 1922 to 1936. Gabbar, a tiny hillock is located at a distance of 4 km. approximately from the Ambaji village. Natives of the district believe that originally it is the abode of Goddess Ambaji as well as 'Mahishasur Mardini'. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Jain temples, Kedarnath Mahadev temple, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Keerti Stambh, Mithi Vav, Pataleshwar Mahadev temple, Sri Tirth temple, Mangalya Van, etc.