Ratlam district, a part of Ujjain division is a district of Madhya Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Ratlam city. The district got its name from its headquarters city Ratlam. Earlier, Ratlam was popularly known as Ratnapuri. According to the ancient history, Shah Jahan gifted the Ratlam state to Ratan Singh Rathore for his courage and bravery. During that period, Shah Jahan loved to watch the elephant fights so in order to choose his war elephant, he organised an event. He moreover, invited all the clans of Rajputana to watch the elephant fights. When the event was started, one of the elephants named Keharkope became out of control and moved towards Shah Jahan. Among all the Rajputanas no one except Ratan Singh came forward to save Shah Jahan. That incident made Shah Jahan impressed and he gave him the entire Ratlam state as a gift. After India got its independence in 1947, the district came into existence in June 1948, including several princely states namely Ratlam State, Jaora, Sailana, Piploda, and some parts of Dewas Junior, Dewas Senior, Gwalior and the former province of Panth-Piploda. At that time Ratlam district was under the newly formed Madhya Bharat state. Later, Madhya Bharat was merged into the main Madhya Pradesh in 1956.
Janaki Devi Bajaj, a distinguished Indian independence activist who was jailed for participating in Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932 was born on 7th January, 1893 at Jaora in the district. The Government of India honoured her by the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award in 1956.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°33'N latitude, 75°04'E longitude and 480 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 1.55% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,861 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 36th in the state and 235th in India. It is bounded by Mandsaur district and Shajapur district of Madhya Pradesh and Jhalawar district of Rajasthan on the North, Jhabua district and Dhar district on the South, Ujjain district on the East and Chhitorgarh district and Banswara district of Rajasthan on the West. The climate of the district is characterised as humid sub-tropical climate. The actual rainfall in the district was 1148.1 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 6 tehsils namely Alot, Jaora, Piploda, Ratlam, Sailana and Bajnaa. There are 1 Lok Saba seat and 5 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 8 sub-districts, 10 towns and 1,069 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 14,55,069 out of which 7,38,241 are males and 7,16,828 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 971 females for 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 19.72% including 18.91% were males and 20.57% were females. The population density in the district is 299 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 38,538 out of which 19,848 were males and 18,690 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,286 out of which 6,920 were males and 4,366 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 87.08% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Hindi and Bhili/Bhilodi with 83.99% and 13.62%.
Economy of the district to some extent is dependent on agriculture. The chief agricultural products in the district are wheat, jowar, maize, chana, udad, soybean, groundnut, kapas, strawberry, grapes, 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 whole central India, it is one of the first established commercial cities. The gold and silver shops of the Chandni Chowk in the Ratlam dsistrict are very famous. Ratlam district is abundant in chemical factories such as JVL, IPCA, Shaba Chemicals, High tech, Bordiya Chemicals, Sujjan Chemicals, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these factories helps in its economy in a remarkable way. Some manufacturing units of copper wires and plastic rope are also available in the district. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 23,36,298 lakhs at current price and Rs. 14,44,356 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 20,94,940 lakh at current price and Rs. 12,50,696 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. 1,26,137 at current price and Rs. 75,305 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Ratlam is an abode of numerous reputed English and Hindi medium schools. It also provides a platform for higher education. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, located near Kalukheda village in the district imparts decent English and Hindi medium education. Some of its other recognised educational institutions are Govt College (Alot), Govt College (Kalukheda), Govt Girls College, Govt College (Sailana), Bhagat Singh Govt PG College (Jaora), Govt Arts and Science P.G College, Swami Vevekanand Govt Commerce College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 66.78% including 77.54% are males and 55.77% are females.
Laxminarayan Pandey, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from the Mandsaur constituency of Madhya Pradesh was born on 28th March, 1928 at Ratlam city. 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. The Bilpakeshwara temple, situated 18 km. way in the south-west direction of Ratlam is a well known temple devoted to Lord Siva. It was constructed within 10-11th century in the Pachayatana variety. Jhar, located at a distance of 12 km. from Bhatpachalana in the district. The place Jhar has the ruins of a Siva temple which was built in the Paramara period i.e. 11th century A.D in the Bhumija style. Some notable temples in Ratlam district are Veerupaksh Mahadev temple, Dharola Mahadev temple, Ayana Mahadev temple, Kedareshwar temple, Mahalaxmi temple, Kalikamata temple, Garkhankhai temple, Shipawra temple, Amarji temple, Barbad Hanuman temple, etc. It also consists of some other beautiful places of interest likewise Dholawad Dam, Hussain Tekri Jaora, Andikalpeshwar temple, Kharmore Bird Sanctuary, Cactus Garden, Sagod Jain temple, Ganga Sagar, etc.