Sonbhadra district, a part of Mirzapur division is a district of Uttar Pradesh state with its administrative headquarters located at Robertsganj town. From the religious and cultural perspective the district is quit developed since ancient times which even mentioned in the great epic Ramayana and Mahabharata. Huyen found in the place is the notable cultural symbol. During the period of Mahabharata war, many rulers were made prisoners in the place by the king called Jarasandh. The kings of Kantipuri wakatak Nagvanshi dynasty made the place as their capital in the third century and ruled it till ninth centuries. Later, the place was also ruled by the kings of Abhor dynasty and kings of kol. The place is full of forts built by different rulers during their periods such as Agori Fort by Gadanshah, Vijaygarh Fort by Kashi Naresh Chet Singh and Sodhrigarh Durg by Garhwal kings. In the 18th century, the district was overpowered by the Narayan rulers of Benares State, who constructed several marvelous fortresses in the district. After 1775, the administrative power of the place was went into the hands of British. The then British district of Mirzapur included the toady’s Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts.
Geographically, the district lies at 24°68'N latitude, 83°07'E longitude and 87 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 35.29% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 6,905 sq kms. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the ranks of 2nd in the state and 137th in India. It is bounded by Mirzapur district on the northwest, Chandoli district on the north, Kaimur and Rohtas districts of Bihar on the northeast, Garhwa district of Jharkhand on the east, Koriya and Surguja districts of Chhattisgarh on the south and Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh on the west. The prominent rivers that flows through the district are Sone, Rihand and Kanhar. The climate of the district remains extremely hot during the summer and fairly cold during the winter. The actual rainfall in the district was 1100.5 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 tehsils namely Robertsganj, Ghorawal and Dudhi. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 4 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 3 sub-districts, 18 towns and 1,429 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 18,62,559 including 9,71,344 are males and 8,91,215 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 918 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 27.27% out of which 26.00% were males and 28.67% were females. The population density in the district is 270 persons per sq. kms. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 39,635 including 20,943 were males and 18,692 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 1,678 out of which 950 were males and 728 were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 93.35% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.99%.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on agriculture. Some of its chief agricultural products are rice, wheat, rapeseed, mustard, potato, pea, garlic, onion, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. It is also popularly known as the “Energy Capital of India “due to having numerous electrical power stations around the Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. The district has many forests and hills. Most of the hills in the district have coal whereas some of them have limestone. Therefore, it is also known as the industrial heaven. Some of the foremost industries in the district are Churk Cement Factory, Kanoria Chemicals, Renusagar Power, Dala Cement Factory, Chunar Cement Factory, Rihand Thermal Power Plant, Hi-Tech Carbon, Rihand Thermal Power Plant, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries helps in its economy to a remarkable extent. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Sonbhadra 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 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 13,52,094 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 11,11,060 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 11,41,982 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 9,36,293 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. 50,322 at Current Price and Rs. 41,258 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is an abode of numerous reputed educational institutions. It provides platform for higher education. Some of its recognised educational institutions are Gurudwara Inter College, Rail Karmchari Inter College, Govt. Girls Inter College, Bharatiya Inter College, G.N. Balika Inter College, R.S.M. Inter College, Babu Ram Singh Mahavidyalaya, Sant Keenaram Post Graduate College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 64.03% including 74.92% are males and 52.14% are females.
Narendra Kumar Kushwaha, an eminent Indian politician and a member of 14th Lok Sabha from the Mirzapur constituency was born on 1st July, 1967 at Chopan in the district. He is a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
During the year 2021, there were 5,13,226 domestic tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has numerous centres of attraction with religious and historical significance which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Vijaygarh Fort, a ruined fort is located at a distance of 30 km. from Robertsganj. Natives of the district believe that in the period of Mahabharata, the fort was built by Banasur which was renovated by Maharaja Vijay Pal in 1040 AD. Rihand Dam, a solid gravity dam is located at Pipri in the Sonbhadra district. This reservoir is also popularly known as Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. Salkhan Fossils Park or Sonbhadra Fossils Park is a fossil park is situated 12 km. away from Robertsganj. The fossils in the park are approximately 1400 million years old. Some other prominent places of interest in the district are Agori Fort, Veer Lorik Patthar, Shahid Park, Mukka Fall, Eco point, Dhandhraul Dam, Chilka lake, Ash Dam Park, Shivdwar Temple, Mata Vaishnav Temple, Lotus Temple, etc.