Gwalior district is a district of Madhya Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Gwalior city. The natives of the district believe that the district got its name from a sage of ancient times. In the 8th century there was a prince of the Sikarwar Bargurjar clan named Suraj Sen who have lost his way in the forest. When he was trying to find out the way, at that time he met an old man who was none but the great sage Gwalipa. He asked the sage for some water then the sage took him to a pond where the water not only quenched his thirst but also cured his leprosy. In order to show his gratitude towards the sage, he wished to give the sage something in return. At that moment the sage asked him to make a wall around the hill which would help the other sages to stay safe from the wild animals. After some years had passed Suraj Sen constructed a palace within the fort and he named it after the name of the sage i.e."Gwalior". With the passage of time the city that grew around the fort was known by the same name. Therefore, Maharaj Suraj Sen was popularly known as the founder of Gwalior. During different periods of time the district was ruled by different rulers. During the ancient period, the city of Padmavati Pawaya with Narwar was located near to the present day’s Gwalior district. According to some historical records found at Gwalior in the time of excavation, once Gwalior was under the rule of Alchon Hun ruler called Mihirakula. Then in 1231 Iltutmish captured the place after a long effort of 11 months and from that period till the 13th century it remained under the rule of Muslim ruler. In 1375, Raja Veer Singh was declared as the ruler of Gwalior and also the founder of the Tomar clan. Gwalior witnessed a golden period during his rule since numerous historical monuments of this place were constructed at that time. Lastly, in 18th century a Maratha clan called Scindias ruled over the place until India got its independence in 1947. In the year 1964 the Gwalior district was emerged as a separate district in the map Madhya Pradesh state.
Geographically, the district lies at 26022'N latitude, 78018'E longitude and 197 m Altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 26.78% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,560 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 39th in the state and 247th in India. It is bounded by Bhind district on the North East, Morena district on the North West, Shivpuri district on the South and Sheopur district on the East. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer and fairly cold during the winter. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 752.8 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 tehsils namely Gwalior, Bhitarwar and Dabra. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 6 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 4 sub-districts, 11 towns and 655 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 20,32,036 out of which 10,90,327 are males and 9,41,709 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 864 females for every1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 24.50% including 23.44% were males and 25.76% were females. The population density in the district is 446 persons per sq. km. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 53,499 including 28,843 were males and 24,656 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 12,041 including 7,351 were males and 4,690 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 90.32% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 96.73%.
The economy of the district is basically based on various industrial sectors. It comprises 3 prominent industrial areas namely Sitholi, Banmore and Malanpur. Earlier, the place has two main big manufacturing industries, such as Gwalior Grasim and J.C. MILLS of Birlanagar, but at present there is only one notable factory is left namely J.B.Mangharam Ltd. The district has also some industries of cotton, yarn, paint, ceramics, chemicals, leather products, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries helps in its economy to a great extent. The tourism sector of the district as well puts an effect into its economy. More or less the economy of the district is dependent on agriculture too. Some of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are pearl millet, paddy, sorghum, black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, sesame, soybean, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. In the year 2016-17 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 21,12,151 lakh at current price and Rs. 16,11,462 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 18,92,160 lakh at current price and Rs. 14,19,867 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 85,843 at current price and Rs. 64,417 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
In the recent years the district has been emerged as an abode of numerous repute educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its topmost educational institutions are IIITM Gwalior, Jiwaji University, Raja Man Singh Tomar Music University, Scindia School, J.C.Mill's School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 76.65% including 84.7% are males and 67.38% are females.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, an illustrious Indian politician and the former Prime Minister of India was born on 25th December 1924 at Gwalior city. He is a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the first non congress Prime Minister of India who has served a full five-year term.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of India as well as world. Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary or Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, established as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1981 is located at a distance of 120 km. from Gwalior which enclosed an area of 344.686 sq km. Madhav National Park, a hunting place of Mughal Emperors in the earlier period is situated in the Shivpuri district of Gwalior region. It has a great variety of fauna and flora. Sonagiri, situated at a distance of 60 km. from Gwalior has numerous Jain temples of the period in between 9th and 10th century. People from far distance place come to this region to offer their prayers. Some other places of interest in the district are Padavali and Mitavali, Chambal River sanctuary, Datia, Kanher Jhil, etc.
Amjad Ali Khan, one of the 20th century’s greatest masters of the Sarod was born on 9th October, 1945 at Gwalior city. He was honoured by many prestigious awards such as UNESCO Award, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, UNICEF's National Ambassadorship and many more.