Shahdol district is a district of Madhya Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Shahdol city. The district got its name from its headquarters city, Shahdol. Natives of the district believe that the name of the place is taken from the name of a Shahdolwa Ahir of the Sohagpur village. Jamni Bhan, the second son of Maharaja Virbhan Singh of Bagelkhand was the progenitor of the Ex-Illakadar family of Sohagpur. Having decided to settle at Sohagpur, he passed a declaration that the settlers in the town would be guaranteed maximum facilities and forest areas cleared for the purpose would be named after pioneer settlers. After that declaration, it is believed that Shahdolwa Ahir established the erstwhile Shahdolwa village at a distance of 2.5 Km. from the headquarters of Sohagpur. Then some more villages were added to the earlier Shahdol village and finally it was emerged as a town. In the year 1947 when the princely states were merging, at that time the headquarters of the district was transferred from Umaria to Shahdol.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°30'N latitude, 81°36'E longitude and 464 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 31.50% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 6,205 sq Km.. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 23rd in the state and 170th in India. It is bounded by Satna district and Sidhi district on the North, Anuppur district on the South East and Umaria district on the West. The climate of the district is characterised as moderate climate. The actual rainfall in the district was 1172.0 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Beohari, Jaisinghnagar, Sohagpur and Jaitpur. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 3 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 8 towns and 844 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 10,66,063 out of which 5,40,021 are males and 5,26,042 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 974 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 17.39% including 16.19% were males and 18.65% were females. The population density in the district is 172 persons per sq. Km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 25,055 out of which 12,855 were males and 12,200 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 7,429 out of which 4,528 were males and 2,901 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 93.53% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.46%.
The economy of the district is solely dependent on agriculture. Most of the population in the district are tribal and they are the marginal farmers with a small piece of land. In case of cultivation they mostly prefer the old traditional methods over the modern methods. The chief agricultural products in the district are paddy, jowar, maize, tuar, urad, soybean, pulses, til, alsi, wheat, gram, mustard, vegetables, etc. The district is endowed with rich mineral resources. The commonly found mineral resources in the district are coal, fire clay, ochers, marble, etc. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Shahdol 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. 12,06,297 lakhs at current price and Rs. 7,54,319 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 10,98,988 lakh at current price and Rs. 6,69,001 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. 90,316 at current price and Rs. 54,979 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 government educational institutions are Govt. Pt Ram kishor Shukl Smriti Govt Arts & Commerce College (Byohari), Govt College (Jaitpur), Govt Abhayanand Sanskrit College (Kalyanpur), Govt Indira Gandhi Home Science Girls Degree College, Govt Nehru PG College (Burhar), Govt College (Jaisinghnagar), Pt Shambhoo Nath Shukla Govt PG College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 66.67% including 76.14% are males and 56.99% are females.
Dalpat Singh Paraste, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 14th Lok Sabha from the Shahdol constituency was born on 30th May, 1950 at Shahdol city. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political party. Pandit Ram Kishore Shukla, an activist for Indian Independence and an illustrious Indian politician who had served in many significant positions likewise Minister of Parliamentary Affairs of Madhya Pradesh, Minister of Separate Revenue of Madhya Pradesh, Minister of Law and Legislative Affairs of Madhya Pradesh, Minister of Finance of Madhya Pradesh and many more was born on 4th September, 1923 at Beohari in the district. He was a member of the Indian National Congress.
The district has many centres of attraction which allures numerous travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Virateshwar temple, located in the Sohagpur Banganga in the district is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the period between 950 AD to 1050 AD Yuvraj Deva, the Kalchuri King constructed it in order to offer it as a gift to the Acharya of Golkaki Math. Most of the Archaeologists believe it as a temple of Karn Deva. The two more notable places of interest in the district are Kapileshwar temple and Kapildhara waterfalls.