Balaghat district, a part of Jabalpur division is a district of Madhya Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Balaghat town. The district is named after its headquarters town, Balaghat. Earlier, the town was popularly known as Burha but with the passage of time the name of the place was changed to its present name Balaghat meaning above the ghats or passes. In the early 18th century, the district was ruled by two Gond kingdoms; such as the western portion of the Wainganga in the district was under the rule of the Gond kingdom of Deogarh, on the other hand its eastern part was ruled by the Garha-Mandla kingdom. The place was ruled by various rulers during different periods of time and finally it came under the British rule. The Central Provinces of the British period became a part of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh after India got its independence in the year 1947. After sometime the Balaghat district came under the Jabalpur division in 1956. Moreover, the districts located in the southern part of the Balaghat namely Gondia, Bhandara and Nagpur were shifted to Bombay State of that time. Balaghat district was formed in the year 1956 by merging of parts of the districts of Bhandara, Mandia and Seoni. At present it is a part of Red Corridor.
Geographically, the district lies at 21°81'N latitude, 80°18'E longitude and 288 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 53.34% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 9,229 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 5th in the state and 72nd in India. It is bounded by Mandla district on the North, Bhandara district of Maharashtra on the South, Rajnandgaon district on the East and Seoni district on the West. The climate of the district remains pleasant throughout the year, except its summer season. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1137.8 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 10 tehsils namely Balaghat, Biahar, Birsa, Paraswada, Katangi, Waraseoni, Lalbarra, Khairlanji, Lanji and Kirnapur. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 6 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 10 sub-districts, 13 towns and 1384 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 17,01,698 out of which 8,42,178 are males and 8,59,520 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1021 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 13.60% including 13.69% were males and 13.51% were females. The population density in the district is 184 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 32,013 out of which 16,306 were males and 15,707 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 16,131 out of which 9,257 were males and 6,874 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 89.29% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi and Marathi with 71.42% and 16.41%.
The economy of the district is not mainly dependent on a particular sector but on multi sectors likewise agriculture, industries, mineral resources, forestry, etc. Some of its locals are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are wheat, jowl, groom, maize, rice, sugarcane, olives, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The industrial growth in the district is sufficient but it has some principal industries such as Narmada Plastic Pvt Ltd, Rukmani Solvex Pvt Ltd, Choradia Edible Oil Pvt Ltd, Balaghat Steel Pvt Ltd, Moil Fero Allies Bharweli, Hindustan Copper Ltd, Magnese Ore India Ltd, etc. Every year a good amount of revenue comes from these industries helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is rich in mineral resources as well. The commonly found mineral resources in the district are copper, bauxite, kyanite, limestone, etc. Moreover, the district produces country’s 80% manganese. More than half of the district is covered by forests so sometime its economy is also based on forestry. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Balaghat as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 17,68,140 lakhs at current price and Rs. 10,05,067 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 16,18,695 lakh at current price and Rs. 9,00,181 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. 83,337 at current price and Rs. 46,345 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 Apala Academy, Jatashankar Trivedi Government Post Graduate College, Vivek Jyoti Gyan Peeth, Kendriya Vidyalaya Bharveli, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Balaghat English Higher Secondary School, Government Model Multipurpose Higher Secondary Excellence School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 77.09% including 85.36% are males and 69.04% are females.
Gauri Shankar Chaturbhuj Bisen, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 12th and 14th Lok Sabha from the Balaghat constituency was born on 1st January, 1952 at Balaghat town. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Kanha National Park, located at the place Baihar in the Balaghat town has a gate which is popularly known as "Mukki Gate". Bajrang Ghat, a perfect destination for nature’s lovers and swimmers is situated in the district has some small but beautiful temples and "Akharas". Kaliputli, a prime place in the Balaghat town got its name from a marvellous black stone statue of a woman in a sitting posture, with an earthen pot in her hand which was constructed in the year 1975. Rampaili temple, constructed on the bank of the Chenayi River is located at Rampaili village in the Balaghat district. Natives of the district believe that Lord Rama had made the shivalinga present in the temple, when he was going to Lanka. A Hanuman Mandir is also located near to the Rampaili temple. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Jwala Devi temple, Malajkhand copper mines, Gangulpara Dam, Old Ram Mandir, Lanji Fort, Nahlesara Dam, etc.