Shahdol District is a district of Madhya Pradesh state in east central India. With a total area of 5,671 square kilometers and a population of 908,148. Shahdol is an important district of Madhya Pradesh. The town of Shahdol is the district headquarters. The district is also a Division. Some of the districts in this division are Annupur and Umaria.
The Virateshwar Temple in Sohagpur Vangana is the most important tourist destination of Shahdol and a structural masterpiece. The district extends 110 km from east to west and 170 km from north to south.
The total population of the district is 908,100, out of which 391,027 are Scheduled Tribes and 67,528 are Scheduled Castes.
The etymology of the name as ascertained from the local residents points to its derivation from the name of the one Shahdolwa Ahir of Sohagpur village. The progenitor of the Ex-Illakadar family of Sohagpur, Jamni Bhan was the second son of Maharaja Virbhan Singh of Bagelkhand. He decided to settle at Sohagpur and assured maximum facilities to settler around, and also declared that places settled by clearing forests will be named after the pioneer settlers. Shahdolwa Ahir is believed to have settled the former village of Shahdolwa, about 2.5 km. from the headquarters of Sohagpur after this declaration. Later on, the place used to be the camp site for the Maharaja of Rewa and British officers on tour. More villages were grouped into the village of Shahdol as it grew to a town. The District Headquarters was shifted from Umaria to Shahdol after the merger of princely states took place in 1947.
Kalchuri established in the districts of Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh) of IX in the 13th century. Study of the finest example of Kalcuri Art is alive in Singhpur, 15 km from Shahdol district.
Art is alive in Panchamatha temple (10th century) which now forms the entrance to the temple of modern Panchamatha. At the center of the lintel: God Vishnu on Garuda. The figurations of Ganga and Yamuna surrounded by characters in their wake. Singhpur is also famous for one of the oldest temples of maa kankali devi. There are seven temples of durga in India of kalchuri art. The Kankali Devi temple is the seventh. There is a god ganesh statue as well. Devotees from every part of country visit the temple to have the blessing of maa kali.
At the time of ramnavmi in March–April and durganavmi, a spiritual fair is organized.
Shahdol has many good schools like Kendriya Vidyalaya, Gyanodaya Vidyalaya Nehru higher secondary, St. Jude’s Christian Mission school, G.S. Convent School, Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir, and Govt. Raghuraj Higher Secondary School. There is a Polytechnic College, ITI, a Degree College for women, and Govt. Pt. Sambhunath Shukla College for both sexes.
Shahdol has a Kali Mandir in railway colony, which was made around 1930 by a group of some Bengali railway employees. It is a very famous temple amongst the people of Shahdol and nearby towns.
Shahdol is a mixed cultural town, with many temples made by different societies, like Kali Mandir By Bengali Samiti, Kali mandir by Milan Samiti (part of the old Bengali samiti), Jagannath temple by Orria Samiti, Gurudwara by Panjabi samiti and sindhi and Jain mandir by jainies and Lord Buddha mandir by Buddhist. Shahdol is a town where one can find every kind of cultural activities of different societies of the Indian states.
There is a Virateshwar temple of Lord Shiva in Sohagpur Vanganga. Kalchuri King Maharaja Yuvraj Deva had got it built between 950 A.D. and 1050 A.D. to present it to the Acharya of Golkaki Math. Many Archaeologists consider this temple as the temple of Karn Deva. On reaching the campus of this 70 feet height temple one can find this beautiful example of Kalchuri Age architecture. When you ascend the five steps of the terrace of this temple, you will find Nandi and Lion as if welcoming you. The statue of Mahavir, Shiv and Parvati in dancing posture, the statue of Saraswati, Ganesh, Vishnu, Nrisingh, Vyal, beautiful young woman taking out a thorn, fighting men, Lord Krishna playing flute, beautiful erotic postures related to Kamsutra, Vinavadini, Ardhnarishwar will fascinate you. Having the statues of Agni Devata, Panchlokpal, Batuk Bhairav, Amrut Bhairav, Nag Couple etc. this temple is the beauty of District. A multi armed dancing Shiva is of great interest of this temple. Several erotic figures have close resemblance to the sculptures of Khajuraho. The temple bears influence of Chandella and Parmara art of coeval period.
The climate of the district is moderate. It rains from June to October in the district. The temperature remains the highest in the month of June and the lowest in the Month of January. The maximum and minimum temperature of the district remain 46oC and -1oC.
Sal, amla, teak, sarai and shisham are the main trees found in this district. The flower of mahua and guli provide edible oil. Mahua flower is mostly used for making wine by tribal people.
Mines and minerals
There are a number of coal mines in the district and coal is found from the southern part of the district. Besides this, there are mines of fire-clay, red and yellow ochers and marble.
According to a 1998 survey, there are 116 industries (large scale and small scale) in the district. The famous Orient Paper Mill is situated in Amlai. Small scale industries of polythene and baskets of bamboo are also run in the district.