Gurdaspur district is a district of Punjab state with its administrative headquarters located at Gurdaspur city. The district got its name from its headquarters city, Gurdaspur. Since in the very beginning of the 17th century the place Gurdaspur was founded by Guriya Ji hence this city was named after him as Gurdaspur. There is also an interesting story associated with Guriya ji. The land of Gurdaspur was bought by him from the Jats of Sangi Gotra. In the early period, the city was resided by some people, who used to live in huts. The historians remain silent about the ancient history of the district. Jayapal and Anandpal belonged to the Shahi dynasty ruled the place from the second half of the 10th century until 1919 A.D. After sometime the Mughal rulers came and captured the place. But when the down fall of the Mughal supremacy started at that time the Sikh power roused at its peak. Some of the Sikh Gurus are closely connected with the district likewise, Guru Nanak, Mool Chand, Guru Hargobind and Banda Singh Bahadur. The district came into existence on 1st May 1852.
Premchand Degra, an illustrious IFBB professional bodybuilder who won the Mr. Universe title in the short-height 80 kg category in the year 1988 was born on 1st December, 1955 at Babri Nangal village in the Gurdaspur district. In 1990 the Government of India honoured him by the prestigious Padma Shri Award.
Geographically, the district lies at 32°03' N latitude, 75°40' E longitude and 213 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 5.93% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 3,551 sq km. and it is bounded by Pathankot district on the North, Beas River on the North East, Hoshiarpur district on the South East, Kapurthala District on the South, Amritsar district on the South West and Pakistan on the North West. The climate of the district remains pleasant throughout the year except the summer. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 896.5 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 tehsils namely Gurdaspur, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala. There are 2 Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district has 5 sub-districts, 27 towns and 1,515 villages. The administrative language in the district is Punjabi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 22,98,323 out of which 12,12,617 are males and 10,85,706 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 895 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 9.24% including 8.94% were males and 9.56% were females. The population density in the district is 647 persons per sq. km. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 21,814 out of which 11,503 were males and 10,311 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,221 out of which 6,319 were males and 4,902 were females. As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Hindu and Sikh with 47.35% and 44.44% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Punjabi with 95.79%.
The economy of the district is solely based on agriculture. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products are in the district are rice, maize, different types of pulses, cotton, wheat, barley, rapeseed, mustard, sunflower, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the farmers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The district has some principal horticultural products are mangoes, litchi, guava, orange, gooseberry, pear, plum, peach, lemon, etc. Industrially, the district is quite well developed. The renowned industries in the district are Atlas Engineering Industries, New Heera Industries, Baljit Technical Industries, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries helps in its economy to a great extent. In the year 2019-20 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 21,46,140 lakhs at current price and Rs. 16,52,851 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 19,15,917 lakhs at current price and Rs. 14,74,486 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 1,09,231 at current price and Rs. 84,064 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. In 1995 the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh established the college named Beant College of Engineering & Technology at Gurdaspur city. Institute of Hotel Management, Catering & Nutrition, started by Ministry of Tourism is located in the Gurdaspur district. Some other recognised government educational institutions are Guru Nanak College, Baba Aya Singh Riarki (Girls) College, Bebe Nanaki Khalsa College, Hindu Kanya Mahavidayala, Pandit Mohan Lal S.D. College, Sikh National College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 79.95% out of which 84.56% are males and 74.85% are females.
Partap Singh Bajwa, an eminent Indian politician and served as a member of the 15th Lok Sabha from the Gurdaspur constituency in the Punjab state (2009-2014) was born on 29th January, 1957 at Qadian in the Gurdaspur. He is a member of the Indian National Congress party.
During the year 2018, there were 66,339 domestic tourists and 131 foreign tourists who visited the district. The district has a great variety of centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Takht-I–Akbari, the coronation site of Mughal Emperor Akbar is located in the place, Gurdaspur. The Archaeological Survey of India protected the site since it has an immense historical importance. Mahakaleshwar Temple, the only temple of Lord Shiva in India with a shivlingam in horizontal position is situated in the district. Every year on the occasion of Shivratri a big Shivratri fair is held in the Mahakaleshwar temple. Dera Baba Nanak, situated at a distance of 45 km. western side of the Gurdaspur district is dedicated to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Dera Baba Nanak comprises two most famous Gurudwaras of the place namely Sri Darbar Sahib and Sri Chola Sahib. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Mukeshwar Temple, Barath Sahib, Achaleshwar Temple, Sri Hargobindpur, Dhianpur Shrine and many more.