Ratnagiri district, a part of the Konkan division is a district of Maharashtra state with its administrative headquarters located at Ratnagiri city. The term Ratnagiri is a blend of two Sanskrit words likewise ratna means 'jewel' and giri means 'mountain'. Therefore, the word Ratnagiri means 'mountain of jewels'. In 1731, the place Ratnagiri was ruled by the Satara kings. Then the British came and captured the region in 1818. During that period, one of the Bijapur rulers named Potu Sri Chenna Reddy had constructed a fort on a headland near the harbour of Ratnagiri and further the fort had strengthened by the Maratha king Shivaji in 1670. Ratnagiri has a palace, where the last king of Burma (Myanmar), Thibaw, and, later, "Veer" V. D. Savarkar, a freedom fighter in the British Raj days, had been confined by the ruling British. Some legends believe that an interesting mythological story is associated with the place since the Pandavas of the Mahabharata era had settled in the vicinity of Ratnagiri for a while after their twelve-year exile and then the king of the region of that time called Veeravrat Ray had subsequently fought on their side against Kauravas during the Mahabharata war at Kuruskshetra.
Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane, an illustrious Indologist and Sanskrit scholar was born on 7th May, 1880 in the Ratnagiri district. The Government of India honoured him with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award in the year 1963 for his scholarly work that spanned more than 40 years of active academic research that resulted in 6,500 pages of History of Dharmasastra.
Geographically, the district lies at 16°99'N latitude, 73°29'E longitude and 11 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 51.32% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 8,208 sq km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 19th in the state and 102nd in India. It is bounded by Raigad district on the North, Sindhudurg district on the South, Sangli district and Kolhapur district on the East and Arabian Sea on the West. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 4666.3 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 9 tehsils namely Mandangad, Dapoli, Khed, Chiplun, Guhagar, Sangameshwar, Ratnagiri, Lanja and Rajapur. Moreover, it comprises 16 towns and 1,531 villages. The administrative language in the district is Marathi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 16,15,069 out of which 7,61,121 are males and 8,53,948 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1122 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was -4.82% including -4.20% were males and -5.36% were females. The population density in the district is 197 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 15,973 out of which 8,154 were males and 7,818 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 13,339 out of which 7,275 were males and 6,064 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 80.94% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Marathi with 88.18%.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on both the agricultural as well as industrial sector. The prominent industrial areas in the district are Ratnagiri, Mirjole Industrial Area, Lote Parshuram Industrial Area, Kherdi Chiplun Industrial Area, Gane Khadpoli Industrial Area, Dapoli Mini Industrial Area, Devrukh Mini Industrial Area, Dhabol-I Industrial Area, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the industries, factories and mills in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. Some of the natives of the district are also engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are mangoes, cashew nut, coconut, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the farmers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 34,41,000 lakhs at current price and Rs. 23,00,000 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 30,74,500 lakh at current price and Rs. 20,32,200 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 1,78,072 at current price and Rs. 1,17,705 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of the recognised educational institutions in the district are Mane's International School, Patwardhan high school, St. Thomas English Medium School, Maratha Mandir A.K. Desai High School, Gangadhar Govind Patwardhan English Medium School, Phatak High School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 82.18% including 90.93% are males and 74.53% are females.
Husen Dalwai, a veteran India politician and a member elected from the Ratnagiri constituency to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984 general elections was born on 17th August, 1922 at Mirjoli village in Chiplun taluk of Ratnagiri district. He is a member of the Congress (I) party in Maharashtra.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Aareware and Kalbadevi Beach, beautiful blue water beaches with white sand are located near to the holy place, Ganapatipule. Every year a number of tourists from various places of Maharashtra and also other states visit these beaches. Thiba Palace, constructed in the period of 1910-11 and the king and the queen of Burma (Myanmar) had stayed there during the exile. The place has also the tombs of the royal couple. Ratna Durg, a beautiful fort which was built during the Bahamani rule. During different periods of time the fort was conquered by different prominent rulers. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Babar Sheikh Peer, Lajul waterfall, Shaikh Ali Baba, Mirkarwada Beach, Atulit Bal Dham, Parashuram Temple, Nivali Waterfall and many more.