Surguja district is a district of Chattisgarh state, situated in its northern part with its administrative headquarters located at Ambikapur town. There is an interesting mythological story associated with the district. Natives of the district believe that Lord Rama had visited the region during his 14 years of exile into the forests. Many places of the district are related to great epic, Ramayana which are even named after Lord Rama, Laxmana and Goddess Sita likewise Ramgarh, Sita-Bhengra and Laxmangarh. During different periods of time the district was under the rule of different dynasties such as Nanda dynasty, Maurya dynasty, Rajput dynasty, etc. In 4th B.C. prior to the arrival of Mauryan dynasty, this region was under the rule of the Lord of Nanda clan. After sometime a Rajputa kings from the Rakshal clan started a war in the Palamu district (Bihar) and occupied this region. In 1820 Amar singh was the Kings of Surguja state who had been crowned as “Maharaja” in the year 1826. Then in 1882 Raghunath Sharan Singh Deo had captured the Surguja state who has been honoured as “Maharaja” by Lord Daffariu. In this way finally, the district came into existence in the year 1820. During the British period, Surguja was a princely state. At present the district is a part of the Red corridor.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°34'N latitude, 83°20'E longitude and 623 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 45.19% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 15,732 sq km. and it is bordered by Balrampur district on the North, Korba district and Raigarh district on the South, Jashpur district on the East and Surajpur district on the West. The 3 principal river basins of the district are Hasdeo River, Rihand River and Kanhar River. The climate of the district remains extremely hot and humid during the summers. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1128.1 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 19 tehsils namely Ambikapur, Balrampur, Batouli, Bhaiyathan, Lakhanpur, Lundra, Mainpat, Oudgi, Pratappur, Premnagar, Rajpur, Ramanujganj, Ramanujnagar, Samri, Shankargarh, Sitapur, Surajpur, Udaypur and Wadrafnagar. Moreover, it comprises 19 sub-districts, 16 towns and 1,750 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 23,59,886 out of which 11,93,129 are males and 11,66,757 are females. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth of the district was 19.66% including 19.31% were males and 20.03% were females. The district has a sex ratio of 978 (females for every 1000 males). As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 90.10 % of the total population. The population density in the district is 150 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 88.68% of the total population. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 11,265 out of which 5,762 were males and 5,501 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 5,432 out of which 3,217 were males and 2,214 were females.
More than half of the population of the district is economically dependent on agriculture. The prime agricultural crops of the district are rice, cereals, oil seeds, pulses, and fruits or vegetables. The tribal people of the district are dependent on the various forest products like fruits, roots of various plants and honey for their survival. Sericulture is also one of the prominent occupations of the farmers of the district. In the year 2006-2007 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 3,58,448 lakh at Current Price Rs. 2,66,303 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2006-07 was Rs. 3,22,652 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 2,39,511 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2006-07 was Rs. 14,143 at Current Price and Rs. 22,814 at Constant Prices during the period 1999-2000.
As per 2011 census the literacy rate of the district is 60.01% including 69.53% are males and 50.32% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 11,87,941 out of which 6,94,686 are males and 4,93,255 are females. Ambikapur in the district has a number of higher educational institutions which are running under government and private ownership. The district provides a platform for the higher education through the Surguja University. Most of the colleges in the district are affiliated to this university.
Kamalbhan Singh Marabi, a veteran Indian politician and a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the Surguja Lok Sabha constituency was born on 1st July, 1963 at Jamgala in the Surguja district. He is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party.
Every year the centres of attraction in the district allure numerous travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. During the year 2018, there were 1,43,540 domestic tourists who visited the historical and religious place of the district. Mahamaya temple, situated in the eastern part of Ambikapur town is an ancient temple. Pilgrims from far off places comes to this temple to worship its powerful deity. Thin Thini Patthar, a cylindrical shaped rock which weight is about two hundred quintal. When the rock strikes with a rigid body it creates a metallic sound. Kudargarh, a pious place with a statue of Goddess “Kudargarhi” is situated on the hill. Ramgarh and Sita Bengra are the places of the district, named after Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. Natives believe that these are the places where Lord Ram with his wife Sita had stayed during their 14 years of exile. Tata Pani, a source of hot water from where the hot water is flowing continuously. There is a belief among the natives that the hot water has the power to cure the skin diseases. Pawai waterfalls and Kendai waterfalls are the two magnificent natural waterfalls of the district. Deepadih, a place with mythological significance is situated at Kusmi block, 70 km. away from the Ambikapur town. Shankar Temple, the identity of the place is surrounded by 4 Gods-Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Lord Vishnu with his all avtars (forms) and Goddess Maha Durga-who are there to guard and serve Lord Shiva. Kailash Caves, situated at Sabarbar, 60 km. away to the east of Ambikapur were created by Saint Rameshwar Gahira Guruji.