Pilibhit district, a part of Bareilly division is a district of Uttar Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Pilibhit town. The current Pilibhit is established recently but there is a very old village standing on the left bank of the Khakra River is called Old Pilibhit. From the very beginning this village had been occupied by the Banjaras of the Periya clan since the district was called as Pilibhit meaning the village mound of the Periyas. Natives also believe that the district got its name Pilibhit from a yellow mud wall which earlier enclosed the district. As per the Imperial Gazetteer of India, once Pilibhit was popularly known as Hafizabad after the Rohila leader, Hafiz Rahmat Khan captured the region, but it later took its present name from a nearby village. According to a significant document of the British Library, 'the place of Pilibhit' was there in the late 18th century (1770-1780) when the Marathas overpowered the Rohilkhand region. During the Mughal period Pilibhit was just an administrative unit under Bareilly suba. In 1734 AD the Mughal subedar (leader of the Suba) Ali Mohammed Khan built four outstanding gates around the administrative building for the security purpose. The names of these four gates are Barellwi darwaza at the west, Hussaini darwaza at the east, Jahanabadi darwaza at the north and Dakhinidarwaza at the south. Later, in 1772 AD Pilibhit was invaded by the Marathas. At the time of Indian struggle for independence, the people of this region were also participated actively. Maulana Enayetulla, an eminent freedom fighter from Pilibhit, voluntarily played host to Begum Hazrat Mahal, the exiled Queen of Avadh who reached Nepal in late 1859. Pilibhit district came into existence in the year 1879.
Geographically, the district lies at 28°62'N latitude, 79°81'E longitude and 172 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 18.60% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 3,686 sq kms. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 31st in the state and 329th in India. It is bounded by Uttarakhand on the north, Shahjahanpur district on the south, Lakhimpur Kheri district on the east and Bareilly district on the west. Natives of the district experience extremely hot during the summer whereas fairly cold during the winter. The actual rainfall in the district was 636.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 tehsils namely Pilibhit, Bisalpur and Puranpur. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 4 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 3 sub-districts, 11 towns and 1,435 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 20,31,007 out of which 10,72,002 are males and 9,59,005 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 23.45% including 22.32% were males and 24.74% were females. The population density in the district is 551 persons per sq. kms. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 55,105 including 28,916 were males and 26,189 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 7,763 out of which 4,334 were males and 3,429 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 71.34% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Hindi and Urdu with 84.18% and 8.99%.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on agriculture. The chief agriculture crop in the district is sugarcane. The district is famous for flute making and to make these flutes craftsmen mostly use the bamboos of Barak Valley in Assam. In the name of industries only a few industries or mills of sugar, flour, candle, solvent plant and steel plant are available in the district. Since it is scantily industrialized hence most of its population are engaged in agriculture. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the agricultural products helps in its economy to a great extent. In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 17,87,899 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 11,12,440 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 15,65,144 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 9,44,293 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. 65,120 at Current Price and Rs. 39,289 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district has numerous reputed educational institutions and some are Ramlubhai Sahani Government Girls Degree College, Upadhi Mahavidhyalaya, Drumand Government Inter College, Lions Vidhya Mandir, Government Degree College, Rama Inter College, St. Aloysius College, S.N. Inter College, Ben Hur School, Springdale College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 61.47% including 71.7% are males and 50% are females.
Md Shamsul Hasan Khan, a distinguished Indian politician and a member of the 6th Lok Sabha from Pilibhit constituency was born on 13th February, 1926 at Sherpur village in the Pilibhit district. Earlier, he was a member of the Indian National Congress but later he joined Bharatiya Lok Dal. Shri Parashuram Ganawar, an eminent Indian politician, and a member of 10th Lok Sabha from Pilibhit constituency in 1991 was born on 5th December 1937 at the Barkhera village in the district. He is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party.
During the year 2021, there were 42,864 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. Every year many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world come to this place to enjoy its centres of attraction with historical and religious significance. Dargah-e-Shahji Miyan, situated in the northern side of the Pilibhit town is a well known Dargha. In order to take the blessing of Hazrat Shah ji miyan, pilgrims come to this place from a far distance place. A replica of Jama Masjid, Delhi was also built in Pilibhit by Hafiz Rahmat Khan in 1769. The gateway of this masjid was constructed in Mughal style. Chhathavi Padshahi Gurudwara, a 400-year-old Gurudwara was established by Guru Gobind Singh on the name of Guru Har Gobind. Gauri Shankar Temple, an ancient temple constructed around 250 years ago is situated at the banks of rivers Devha and Khakra. Moreover, on the occasion of Shivaratri, Raksha Bandhan and on every Monday of Shravan month a fair is organised here every year. Some other notable places of interest are Ardhanarishwer Temple, Jaisantri Devi Temple, Raja Venu ka Tila, Methodist Church, Raja ji Temple, Devha-Ghaghra Sangum, Old Pilibhit, etc.