Ashoknagar district, a part of Gwalior division is a district of Madhya Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Ashoknagar city. The district got its name from its headquarters city, Ashoknagar. There is a little story associated with the name Ashoknagar is that once the Great Emperor Asoka had spent a night in the place while he was on his way to conquer Ujjain and from that point of time the place was named as Ashoknagar. During the era of Mahabharata, it was under the rule of Chedi kingdom of Shishupala. In medieval period, this place was a significant part of Chanderi State. Then in the 6th century B.C. the area of the Chanderi (present territory of Ashoknagar district) was went into the hands of Avanti, Dasharna and Chedi Janapadas. Moreover, this place was also ruled by Nanda, Maurya, Sunga and Magadh dynasties. After the end of the Magadh rule, Sungas and Sakas of Naga dynasty ruled over it. In this way the place was ruled by different dynasties during different periods of time. Legends also believed that once the Great Emperor named Asoka, while on his trip to take over Ujjain, at that time they had spent one night in this place and from that time the area has been named as Ashok Nagar. When there was the British rule in India at that time the region was a part of the Isagarh district of the Indian princely state of Gwalior. After India got its independence in 1947, the Ashoknagar district was emerged as a separate district in the map of Madhya Pradesh on 15th August, 2003.
Geographically, the district lies at 24°58'N latitude, 77°73'E longitude and 507 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 14.70% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,674 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 38th in the state and 237the in India. It is bounded by Shivpuri district on the North, Vidisha district on the South, Betwa River on the East and Sindh River on the West. The climate of the district is characterised as sub tropical climate. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1357.8 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 5 tehsils namely Ashoknagar, Chanderi, Isagarh, Mungaoli and Shadora. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 3 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 5 sub-districts, 4 towns and 899 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 8,45,071 including 4,43,837 are males and 4,01,234 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 904 females for every 1000 males. The population density in the district is 181 persons per sq km. In the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 22.66% including 21.06% were males and 24.49% were females. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 25,242 out of which 13,371 were males and 11,871 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 5,127 out of which 3,516 were males and 1,611 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 92.09% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.61%.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. 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 wheat, jowar, groom, maize, rice, sugarcane, olives, pulses, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Since, the occupation of the people is mostly agriculture related hence they are generally associated with grain merchandising. The district is also well developed in the field of industries and commerce. Textiles and logistics industries are the commonly found industries of the district. Some other principal industries in the district are the industries of automobiles, utensils, cement works, gold and ornaments, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes these industries helps in its economy to a great extent. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 10,07,486 lakhs at current price and Rs. 5,91,540 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 9,40,413 lakh at current price and Rs. 5,39,032 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 97,494 at current price and Rs. 55,882 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its recognised educational institutions are Govt. Polytechnic College, Govt. Nehru Degree College, Tara Sadan Sr Secendory School, City public high school, Milan Public School, St. Thomas Higher Secondary School, Vardhman Higher Secondary School, Shri Vivekananda Shishu Mandir High School, Saraswati Vidya Mandir Higher Secondary School, Shivpuri Public Higher Secondary School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 66.42% including 78.12% are males and 53.42% are females.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Chanderi fort, located at a place named Chanderi in the district is situated on a hill of 71 meter above the town. The Muslim rulers of Chanderi took the initiative to construct its fortification walls. In the entrance of the fort, there were three gates and among these the uppermost is known as Hawa Paur whereas the lowermost is called as Khuni Darwaja or the gate of blood. Kaushak Mahal of Chanderi is mentioned in the Tawarikh-i-Ferishta according to that Mehmood Shah Khilji of Malwa ordered to construct a seven storied building in the place while he was passing through the Chanderi. Shri Anandpur Sahib, a famous religious place located at a distance of 30 km. from the Ashoknagar town. The religious institution is influenced by "Advate Mat ", founded by Shri Advat Andand ji popularly known as Maharaj Paramhans Dayal ji. Visitors also come to this place to enjoy its greenery and mesmerising natural beauty. Near to the Ashram there are the ranges of "Vindhyachal Mountain". Some other notable places of interest in the district are Kadwaya Temple at Issagarh, Trikaal Choubeese, Thubonji Sidhdh Ksetra, Tumen, etc.