Bhopal district is a district of Madhya Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Bhopal city. Early history of the present day’s Bhopal district is not very clear. Legends believed that earlier the region of Bhopal was under the "Mahakautar", a boundary of dense forests and hills which separated the North India from the South India. The names of the Rajput rulers including Bhoja of Malwa are mentioned in the historical records of the early 10th century CE. When Iltutmish invaded the Delhi Sultanate at that time the Muslim population in the place was very less. In 1401, the place was ruled from Dhar by Dilawar Khan Ghori, father of Hoshang Shah. During the period of 1672-1728, Dost Mohammad Khan, an Afghan soldier in the Mughal army established the modern Bhopal city. Later, the British came to Bhopal and it became a British Princely state in 1818. An interesting part of its history is that it is the only city which has been ruled by four women rulers subsequently likewise Quadasiya Begum, Begum Sikander Jahan and Begum Shahjahan during the period of 1819 and 1926. The district came into existence in the year 1976. Whenever, someone unfolds the history of Madhya Pradesh, it is obvious to remember the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 which not only took away number of lives but also polluted the environment very badly.
Aslam Sher Khan, an eminent Indian hockey player and a former member of the Indian team was born on 15th July, 1953 in the Bhopal district. His active participation in the 1975 World Cup held at Kuala Lumpur has helped the Indian Hockey Team to win the gold medal.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°26'N latitude, 77°41'E longitude and 500 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 11.85% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,772 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 50th in the state and 411th in India. It is bounded by Guna district on the north, Vidisha district on the northeast, Raisen district on the east and southeast, Sehore district on the southwest and west and Rajgarh district on the northwest. The climate of the district is humid subtropical climate. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1187.9 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 2 tehsils namely Berasia and Huzur. Moreover, it comprises 2 sub-districts, 3 towns and 519 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 23,71,061 out of which 12,36,130 are males and 11,34,931 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 918 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 28.62% including 27.09% were males and 30.32% were females. The population density in the district is 855 persons per sq. km.In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 74,188 out of which 38,845 were males and 35,343 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 21,177 out of which 13,580 were males and 7,597 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu and Muslim with 74.05% and 22.16% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Hindi and Urdu with 85.54% and 6.76%.
Bhopal is an industrially well developed district since it has numbers of small and medium scale industries. Therefore, the economy of the district is mainly dependent on industries. Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd, which has a unit in Bhopal, is the highest profit making public sector enterprise in India. BHEL, being a major manufacturer of electrical equipments serves an important source of employment in Bhopal and its nearby areas. Bhopal is a home to a leading media house in India such as the Dainik Bhaskar Group. Mandideep is another industrial suburb of Bhopal. It has remained as a hub of economic activities in Bhopal. The two power houses of industrial units in Mandideep area are Hindustan Electro Graphite and Lupin Laboratories ltd. While, Hindustan Electro Graphite ranks among the largest electrode plant in the world and Lupin Laboratories ltd. holds a place in the field of bio-medical sciences. Eicher Tractors has its operational unit at Mandideep. Matchsticks production in Bhopal is the famous cottage industry. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 43,29,393 lakhs at current price and Rs. 30,41,330 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 38,63,650 lakh at current price and Rs. 26,59,885 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. 1,42,760 at current price and Rs. 98,282 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. It has numerous recognised universities namely Barkatullah University, Rajiv Gandhi Technical University, Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University, National Law Institute University, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 80.37% out of which 85.42% are males and 74.87% are females.
Shankar Dayal Sharma, the ninth President of India (1992-1997) and the eighth Vice President of India (1987-1992) was born on 19th August, 1918 at Bhopal city. He was a member of Indian National Congress party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Sanchi Stupa, located at a distance of 50 km. from the Bhopal city depicts its glorious history from the period of Emperor Ashoka. The place is one of the oldest stone structures of India and it displays Buddhism in India over 2000 years. Bhimbetka Caves, situated 35 km. away from Bhopal city have the evidence of the fact that rock paintings in the caves are specimens of pre-historic settlements in India. Taj-ul-Masajid, means "The Crown of Mosques" is the largest mosque in Bhopal. During the day time the mosque is also used as a madrasah, meaning Islamic school. The design of the mosque depicts the Mughal architecture. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Regional Science Centre, Fish Aquarium, Mankind Museum, etc.