Historically, in pre-independence period, the district Dakshina Bastar Datewada was a part of the princely state of Bastar. On 6th July, 1998 it emerged as a separate district of Madhya Pradesh state. In 1999, Bastar district was divided into the Bastar, Dantewada, and Kanker districts. In 2000, Dantewada and 16 other districts were merged in the newly formed state of Chhattisgarh. In the year 2007, Dantewada was bifurcated which led to the formation of a new district, Bijapur. After that in the year 2012, it was again bifurcated and as a result a new district, Sukma was emerged. According to the great Indian epic “Ramayan”, Ram had taken shelter in this area during his exile. At that time the place was well-known as Dandkaranya, thus it has been associated with Ram as his “Karmabhumi” (the land of destiny). In 1500 B.C. the inhabitants of Sindhughati were separated from Prag Dravidians. Then a part of this separated people that started to settle at Bastar was mentioned in some ancient Sanskrit Literatures as Dravid speaking “Nag”. Currently, it is a part of the Red Corridor.
Geographically, the district has a total 8,298 sq km. area and occupies the rank 6th in State and 100nd in India on the basis of this size. It lies at 18°89'N latitude, 81°35'E longitude and 351 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was total 53.90% forest area of total geographical area. It is surrounded by Bastar district on the North and North-East, by Malkangiri district of Odisha state on the East, by Khammam district of Telangana state on the South and South-West, and by the Indravati River on the West. Indravati River forms the boundary with Karimnagar district of Telangana and Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1349.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 7 sub-districts, 8 towns and 608 villages. Hindi is its official language. In the state of Chhattisgarh with an allotted district code of 416 the district of Dakshin Bastar Dantewada came into existence on 6th July, 1998. Its district headquarters is located at Dantewada town, situated at a distance of 357 km. from the state capital.
Demographically, according to 2011 census, the district has a total number of 1,14,067 households with a total of 5,33,638 comprising 2,64,142 are males and 2,69,496 are females which causing it to rank 16th in the state and 540th in India. The density of population of the district is 64 persons per sq km. The sex ratio is pegged at 1020 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 1005 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu with 96.30% of the total population. According to the 2011 census, the principal languages of the region are Gondi with 64.16%, Halabi with 14.88% and Hindi with 11.27%. The population growth rate during 2001-2011 was 11.57% including 11.89% were males and 11.25% were females. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 6,423 out of which 3,376 were males and 3,045 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 2,661 out of which 1,691 were males and 970 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. A number of small scale industries are also available here. The gross domestic product (GDP) in the district during 2006-07 was Rs. 2,29,705 lakh at current price and Rs. 1,22,428 lakh at constant prices during the year 1999-2000. The net domestic product (NDP) in the district during the year 2006-07 was Rs. 2,05,567 lakh at current price and Rs. 1,10,039 lakh at constant prices during 1999-2000. The per capita income or NDP of the district, at factor cost during 2006-07 was Rs. 26,043 lakh at current price and Rs. 7,893 lakh at constant prices during the year 1999-2000.
Education wise, according to the 2011 census, the literacy rate is 42.12% including 51.92% are males and 32.54% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 1,91,237 comprising 1,16,529 are males and 74,708 are females. The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions.
Mahendra Karma, a significant member of the Indian National Congress from who served as a leader of the opposition in the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha from 2004 to 2008 was born on 5th August, 1950. He also held the position of the Minister of Industry and Commerce during the period of Ajit Jogi cabinet from 2000 to 2004. He was assassinated by Naxalites on 25th May, 2013.
The district allures numerous travelers from different parts of the country as well as world. Some of the notable places of interest in the district are Dantewada, Bailadila, Barsur, Bodhghat Sath Dhar, and Memory Pillars of Gamawada. In the year 2018, a total number of 10,56,140 domestic tourists visited the attractive points of the district.