History of Shahdol District
Shahdol is named after the headquarters town Shahdol which is situated on the Bilaspur-Katni section of the South-Eastern Railways. 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 determined to settle at Sohagpur and promised maximum facilities to settlers 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 kilometres from the headquarters of Sohagpur after this declaration. Later on, the place used to be the camp site for the British officers and the Maharaja of Rewa 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 the year 1948. With lush green forests, natural wealth of minerals, coal and with primitive tribal population, the district of Shahdol is placed among the range of Vindhyachal and heading fast in development track. The district has vast reserves of coal mines.
Geography of Shahdol District
The district of Shahdol in the state of Madhya Pradesh is mainly hilly and it presents beautiful natural scenery due to certain pockets and belt of Sal and mixed forests. The Shahdol district is spread over an area of five thousand six hundred and seventy one square kilometers. The bordering districts are Rewa district, Satna district, Sidhi district, Dindori district, Umaria district and Anuppur district. The district is located in the North-Eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh state in India. Due to the division of the district on 15th August 2003, the area of the district remains 5671 square kilometers. It shares its borders with Anuppur to the South-East, Satna and Sidhi to the North and Umaria to the West. The district extends one hundred and ten kilometers from East to West and one hundred and seventy kilometres from North to South. Shahdol district is located in between twenty two degree thirty eight minutes and twenty four degree twenty minutes to the North Latitudes and thirty degree twenty eight minutes and eighty two degree twelve minutes to the East Longitudes.
The district of Shahdol is situated in the north-eastern part of the Deccan Plateau. It lies at the tri-junction of Maikal Ranges of the Satpura Mountain, the foot of the Kymore Range of the Vindhya Mountain and a mass of parallel hills which stretch over the Chota Nagpur Plateau in Bihar. Between these hill ranges lies the narrow valley of the Son River and its tributaries. Since the Kymore Range extends along the Son just across the northern boundary, this district may be divided into three physiographic divisions which are the Maikal Range, the Upper Son Valley and the Hills of Eastern Plateau.
Administration of Shahdol District
The district administration is having the district collector as the head. The collector is assisted in his work of general administration by several subordinate officers. The district has four sub-divisions including Beohari, Sohagpur, Jaisinghnagar and Jaitpur. There are four tehsils, five blocks, two municipalities and four Nagar Panchayats.
There is a Virateshwar temple of Lord Shiva in Sohagpur Vanganga. Kalchuri King Maharaja Yuvraj Deva erected this temple between A.D. 950 and A.D. 1050 to offer it to the Acharya of Golkaki Math. Several archaeologists consider this temple as the temple of Karn Deva. After reaching the campus of the seventy feet high temple one can find experience the best example of architecture from the Kalchuri Age. The statue of Mahavir, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in dancing posture, the statue of Goddess Saraswati, Vyal, Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Nrisingh, fighting men, beautiful young woman taking out a thorn, Lord Krishna playing flute, beautiful erotic postures related to Kamsutra, Vinavadini, Ardhnarishwar, etc are among the major attractions of this temple. This temple is one of the most prominent attractions of the district of Shahdol.