Gonda district, a part of Devipatan division is a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Gonda town. The district derived its name from the Sanskrit-Hindi word “goshala”, meaning cowshed. The interesting story behind the name of this district is that the cowsheds of the royal lineage of Ayodhya viz. Ikshavaku (Raghukul) of the Solar dynasty were located here. The area enclosed by the present day Gonda district was earlier a part of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. During the medieval period there was the Mughal Raj in the district and Syed Salar Masood was the first Mughal ruler who invaded the place through the north of the Ghaghara River in the second quarter of 11th century. At that time, the rulers of Gonda including the rulers of surrounding districts formed a huge army in order to fight against Masood. The early Muslim rulers made Gonda, a part of Bahraich government in the second half of the 13th century. Khwaja Jahan Malik Sarwar of the Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur captured the district in 1394. On the other hand, during the early phase of this period there was the rule of aboriginal likewise, Dom, Tharu Tribe, Bhar, Pasi, etc in the entire Gonda. From the period of 1556-1605 it became a vital part of the Akbar’s empire. When the East India Company annexed the province of Awadh in February, 1856, at that moment Gonda was emerged as a separate district in the Commissioner-ship of Gonda-Bahraich. During the period of Indian struggle for independence, the natives of the district participated in the freedom movement very actively including Maharaja Devi Baksha Singh, Sh. Chandra Shekhar Azad, who took shelter in the district whereas Rajendra Lahiri, incarcerated and hanged in the Gonda Jail.
Geographically, the district lies at 27013'N latitude, 81096'E longitude and 120 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 2.87% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,003 sq. km. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 27th in the state and 299th in India. It is bounded by Bahraich district, Shravasti district and Balrampur district on the north, Faizabad district on the south, Basti district on the south east and Barabanki district on the south west. The prominent river that flows through the district is Ghaghara. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer season. The actual rainfall in the district was 689.6 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Gonda, Colonelganj, Tarabganj and Mankapur. There are 2 Lok Sabha and 7 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 4 sub-districts, 10 towns and 1,817 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 34,33,919 out of which 17,87,146 are males and 16,46,773 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 921 females for 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 24.17% including 23.16% were males and 25.28% were females. The population density in the district is 858 persons per sq. km. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 79,161 including 40,745 were males and 38,416 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 9,427 including 5,182 were males and 4,245 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 79.77% of the total population. According to 2001 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 97.22%.
Agricultural is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are used for agricultural purposes. Some of its chief agricultural products are wheat, maize, paddy, gram, potato, mustard, pea, lentil, arhar, sugarcane, barley, mango, guava, etc. The district has also a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agriculture Research Centre) situated at Gopalgram-Durgonwa Gonda. There are also some industries in the district such as sugar mills, rice mills and many other small industries and handicraft industry which as well contribute in its economy to a great extent. It has one of the India's six Indian Telephone Industries, situated at Mankapur. On the other hand India’s largest sugar mill is situated at Kundarkhiin in the district. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Gonda as one of the country's 250 most backward districts that is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2016-17 the gross domestic product of the district was Rs. 13,55,492 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 10,49,771 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2017-18 was Rs. 13,61,657 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 9,68,052 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the year 2017-18 was Rs. 35,193 at Current Price and Rs. 25,020 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
Educationally, the district is not so developed. For this very reason the government of India introduced many schemes. Some of its reputed educational institutions are Kisan Degree College, Jagdamba Sharan Singh Educational Institute, Government Polytechnic College, Acharya Narendra Dev College of Pharmacy, Nandini Nagar Mahavidyalaya College of Pharmacy, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 58.71% out of which 69.41% are males and 47.09% are females.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, an eminent Indian politician and a member of 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha was born on 8th January, 1957 at Gonda town. He is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Vinay Kumar Pandey, a distinguished Indian politician and a member of 15th Lok Sabha from the Shrawasti constituency was born on 18th June, 1964 at Mankapur in the Gonda district. He is a member of the Indian National Congress political party.
During the year 2018, there were 1,89,231 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has numerous centres of attraction with historical and religious significance which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Swami Narain Chhapia, a pious place located about 50 km. from the district headquarters has the temple of Swami Narain. This place is also popular as the birth place of saint Sahjanand. Pilgrims from far distance place come to this temple to offer their prayers. Paska (Sukar Khet), situated at a distance of 45 km. from the district headquarters is an ancient holy place. This place is also associated with the great Tulsidas since the place is known as his 'Guru Bhumi'. Varahi Dev, another ancient place of Varahi Devi which is popularly known as Uttari Bhawani. The ancient Bhagwati temple is the identity of this place. Some other places of interest in the district are Prash, Tirrey Manorama, Prithvi Nathan Mahadeo, Jhali Dham, Parvati Mahadeo, Colonelganj, etc.