Sagar district is located in the north central region of Madhya Pradesh. During the British period the name of the district was 'Saugor'. Saugor is a combination of two terms namely 'Sau' means 100 and 'Garh' means forts, since there were numerous small-forts in the district. But in course of time the name of the district has changed from 'Saugor' to 'Sagar'. The name of the district Sagar is derived from the Hindi word ‘Sagar’ meaning lake or sea, apparently because of the large and once beautiful lake around which the town of Sagar has been built. The ancient Chedi kingdom made Suktimati as its capital, which is located in the present day’s Sagar district. Prior to 1022 A.D. the history of the district is quite vague. After that Sagar was ruled by Ahir Rajas for a long period and their capital was at Garhpehra. Then in the year 1660, Udenshah founded the today’s town of Sagar.
Nathuram Premi, a well-known writer, publisher, poet, editor, linguist and an intellectual personality of Hindi literature was born on 26th November, 1881 in Deori in the district of Sagar in Bundelkhand. The famous bookstore and publishing house “Hindi Granth Karyalay” was established by him in Mumbai which published works of many of the biggest names in Indian literature, including Munshi Premchand, Swami Satyabhakta, Sharatchandra Chatterjee and Rabindranath Tagore. Dr. Hari Singh Gour, a distinguished lawyer, jurist, educationist, social reformer, poet, and novelist. Gour was born on 26th November, 1870 in Sagar. He was the first Vice-Chancellor of the Delhi University and Nagpur University. He was also the founder and Vice-Chancellor of the Sagar University.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°83'N latitude, 78°74'E longitude and 594 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 27.17% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 10,252 sq Km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 2nd in the state and 67th in India. It is bounded by Lalitpur District of Uttar Pradesh state to the north, and Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh to the northeast, Damoh to the east, Narsinghpur to the south, Raisen to the southwest, Vidisha to the west, and Ashoknagar to the northwest. The principal rivers of the district are the Sunar, Beas, Dhasan and Bina rivers. The district has a borderline humid subtropical climate and tropical savanna climate with hot summers, cooler monsoon season and cool winters. The actual rainfall in the district was 1097.9 mm in the year of 2021-22.
To administer in a smooth way the district is divided into 11 tehsils and 8 Assembly Constituencies. Sagar is the only Lok Sabha Constituency of the district. Moreover, the district comprises 11 sub-districts, 20 towns and 2,075 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 23,78,458 out of which 12,56,257 are males and 11,22,201 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 893 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate of the district was 17.63% including 17.06% were males and 18.28% were females. The population density in the district is 232 persons per sq. Km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 47,554 out of which 24,936 were males and 22,618 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 17,168 out of which 10,831 were males and 6,337 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 92.43% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.52%.
The backbone of the economy of the district is agriculture. The prime crops of the district are chickpeas, oil seeds, wheat and sorghum. Poultry farming, animal husbandry, dairy farming, fisheries, forestry and cattle fairs are also contributing in the economy of the district. The district is blessed with a variety of minerals which helps in the industrial growth. The chief minerals found in the district are dolomite, iron ore, clay and rock phosphate. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 30,54,850 lakhs at current price and Rs. 19,73,253 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 27,71,630 lakh at current price and Rs. 17,40,913 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. 1,02,092 at current price and Rs. 64,126 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district has a great platform for higher education. The first university of Madhya Pradesh i.e. the University of Sagar was established by Dr Hari Singh Gour in 1946. Therefore the university is also known as Dr Hari Singh Gour University. The district also has a government engineering college named, Indira Gandhi Engineering College (IGEC) and a medical college. The University has a centre of Indira Gandhi Open University that offers all the foremost disciplines of study. The literacy rate of the district is 76.46% out of which 84.85% are males and 67.02 % are females as per 2011 census.
Ravishankar Shukla, a veteran leader of the Indian National Congress, was born on 2nd August, 1877 in Sagar. He was the first Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh from 26th January, 1950 to 31st October, 1956.
Sagar is known as the Heart of Madhya Pradesh. The Lakha Banjara Lake is in the middle of the city and the wonderful city Sagar is situated around it. The city is surrounded by a beautiful ring of small mountains. During the rainy season the city totally transforms into a striking green landscape. Some centres of attraction of the district are Neminagar Jain Tirth is located 30 km. from Sagar in Banda tehsil. The temple has one choubisi (24 tirthankars God on 24 different altars) one levitated trikal choubisi (Lords of time passes, the time now and time to be) and a Navagraha Mandir (Lords of nine planets). There is a hill called Osho Hill and Acharya Rajnish (a saint) was done his Amrit Sadhna in this hill. Pilgrims from far distance place come to this place to recall the illustrious saint. Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, a potential site for Cheetah re-introduction in India is located 56 km. from Sagar. Temple of Chandika, temple of Harsiddi Devi, Mahadev Temple, Lord Hanumana temple of Gadpahra, Bhagyodaya tirth, Rahatgarh waterfalls are some other notable places of interest of the district.