Maharajganj district, a part of the Gorakhpur division is a district of Uttar Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Maharajganj town. The history of the district is not clear at all. During the era of Ramayana and Mahabharata the region was popularly called as 'Karapath', the part and parcel of the 'Kosala kingdom'. Natives believed that an ancient emperor of Ayodhya named 'Ekshvaku' was the founder of the Suryavansh ruler of the place. Later, the son of Rama of this dynasty named 'Kusha' became the emperor of this region. According to a Chinese pilgrim called Hiuen-Tsang, Mahamaya, the mother of Lord Gautam Buddha and Maha Prajapti Gautami, his mother’s sister were daughters of the Sakya Chief Angan of Dev Daha who belonged to the place, Nichlaul which is presently a tehsil of the Mahrajganj. On 2nd October, 1989 the Maharajganj was carved out from the earlier Gorakhpur district and emerged as a separate district in the map of Uttar Pradesh.
Geographically, the district lies at 27°14’N latitude, 83°56’E longitude and 89 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 14.49% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,952 sq. km. and it is bounded by Nepal on the North, Gorakhpur district on the South, Kushinagar district on the East and Siddharthnagar district and Sant Kabir Nagar district on the West. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer. The actual rainfall in the district was 1917.8 mm in the year of 2021-2022.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Sadar, Nautanwa, Nichlaul and Pharenda Khurd. Moreover, the district comprises 4 sub-districts, 7 towns and 1,262 villages.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 26,84,703 out of which 13,81,754 are males and 13,02,949 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 943 (females for every 1000 males). In the year 2001-2011 the population growth in the district was 23.50% including 22.90% are males and 24.14% are females. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 74,853 including 36,914 were males and 37,939 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 4,581 out of which 2,361 were males and 2,220 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 877 out of which 551 were males and 326 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 81.83% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.98%.
The economy of the district is mainly 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 in the district are wheat, rice, sugarcane, potato, mango, guava, banana, vegetables, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Every year a chunk of revenue comes from these agricultural products helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised but it has a few agro based and dairy industries. In the year 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Maharajganj 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 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 14,61,797 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 8,74,229 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 12,83,750 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,43,282 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 40,392 at Current Price and Rs. 23,387 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 its recognised educational institutions are Rajiv Gandhi Degree College, Akshaiber Singh Memorial Post-Graduate College, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Mahavidyalya, Paramhans Pal Mahavidyalya, Lt. Bhagwant Patel Panmati Devi Mahavidyalya, Jawaharlal Nehru Smarak P.G. College, Swarn Prabha Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Swarn Prabha Mahila Mahavidhyalya, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 62.76% out of which 75.85% are males and 48.92% are females.
During the year 2021, there were 28,565 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has many centres of attraction which allures numerous travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Lehra Durga Mandir, also called as "Aadravana Vaasini Durga Mandir", located on the bank of the Pawah River in the district is dedicated to the goddess Durga. It is believed that Lord Krishna constructed the temple during the Dvapara Yuga in the presence of Pandavas. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Gorakhnath Mandir, Aditer Vijay Jaiswal Sonbarsa, Ramjanki Mandir, Bokada Devi Mandir, etc.