Umaria district, a part of Shahdol division is a district of Madhya Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Umaria town. Prior to the separation in 1998, Umaria was under the Shahdol district. Earlier, the place Umaria was under the rule of Lodhi Rajputs (Malgujars) and they constructed the marvellous Lakshmi Narayan temple on southern part of the bank of Narbada Barman Ghat. Kareli also called as Hathi Darwaza, a great gateway to pass their elephants was made by them on the steps of the northern part of the bank of Barman ghat. Later, all the wonderful creations of Lodhis were captured by the Baghel Rajputs of Rewa when the Lodhis were defeated in their hands. Moreover, after some time the place Umaria was declared as the Southern Capital of Rewa Riyasat. Since, from the very beginning Umaria was famous for its dense forests and tigers. Bandhavgarh forest was the game reserve of the Maharaja of Rewa.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°41'N latitude, 78°66'E longitude and 538 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 49.10% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,076 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 42nd in the state and 301st in India. It is bounded by Satna district on the North, Dindori district and Mandla district on the South, Katni district on the East and Shahdol district on the West. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1157.9 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 sub-divisions namely Bandhavgarh, Manpur and Pali. The district comprises 5 tehsils such as Bandhavgarh, Chandia, Nowrozabad, Manpur and Pali. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 2 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 7 towns and 653 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 6,44,758 including 3,30,674 are males and 3,14,084 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 950 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 24.96% out of which 24.72% were males and 25.22% were females. The population density in the district is 158 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 12,445 out of which 6,448 were males and 5,997 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 3,899 out of which 2,354 were males and 1,545 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 96.24% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.35%.
The economy of the district is basically dependent on agriculture. The chief agricultural products in the district are jowar, mustard, teak, tendu, mahua, harra, rape, gram, kodon, maize, paddy, wheat, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The district is scantily industrialised. Major portion of the district is covered by dense forests. The district is also abundant in mineral resources. Coal is the vital mineral found in the district and the South Eastern Coalfield Limited in the district is its live example. Now-a-days the tourism in the district is quite well developed. The district is famous for its Bandhavgarh National Park and Sanjay Gandhi Thermal Power Station. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the tourism sector helps in its economy to a great extent. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Umaria 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. 6,00,049 lakhs at current price and Rs. 3,65,785 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 5,50,423 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,26,402 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. 74,792 at current price and Rs. 44,352 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Educationally, the district is not so developed since it has only some private educational institutions and two government colleges namely Ran Vijay Pratap Singh Govt College and Govt College (Birsinghpur-pali). As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 65.89% out of which 76.02% are males and 55.23% are females.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures travellers from the different parts of the country as well as world. Bandhavgarh fort, located at a distance of 41 km. from the Umaria town is a place of significant archaeological and historical importance, stands on a hill at an attitude of almost 2430 metres above sea-level. Chandia, a place is situated 21 km. away from Umaria has the most prominent Chandia Khas temple, dedicated to Goddess Kalika. The place has also an ancient temple of Lord Rama and his consort Janaki. Pilgrims from far distance places come to these temples to offer their prayers. Pali, a pious place located at a distance of about 36 km. from Umaria has a renowned temple of Goddess Kali and some jain temples. Some other notable temples of Umaria town are Sagara temple, Jwalamukhi temple, Mariwal temple, etc.