Constituted on 1st January 1948 out of the two ex-states of Gangapur and Bonai which merged with Odisha on that day Sundargarh district has about 43% of the entire landmass under forest. With numerous colorful tribes dotting its landscape and with abundant mining potential sitting pretty over vast tracts of the Chhotanagpur Plateau regions, the district offers great mining potentialities and mosaic of rich cultural heritage. The district is bounded by Ranchi district of Jharkhand on the north, Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh on the west and north-west, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur and Anugul districts of Odisha on the south and south-east and Singhbhum district of Jharkhand and Kendujhar district of Odisha on the east.The district is named after its headquarters town “Sundargarh”. The town was formerly known by the name Suadihi until sometime in the first decade of the 19th century. The reasons are obscure perhaps during his reign Maharaja Raghunath Sekhar Deo had passed an unwritten order to rename it as “Sundargarh” which literally means “Beautiful Fort”.The territory, what is now called Sundargarh was forming a part of Dakshinapatha in ancient times. Kosala was an important Mahajanapada in northern India of which Dakshina Kosala (South Kosala) was a part of it. However, divergent views are available regarding the origin of the ruling family. But these ex-states were once upon under the suzerainty of Sambalpur which formed a part of the dominions of the Marahatta Rajas of Nagpur. They were ceded to the British Government in 1803 by the Marahatta Chief Raghuji Bhonsle of Nagpur under the treaty of Deogaon but they were restored to him by a special agreement in 1806. They were finally ceded in 1826 to the British Empire. In 1905, they were transferred from control of the Commissioner of Chhotanagpur to that of Odisha and a separate political agent was appointed.In the ex-states of Bonai and Kodamba royal family continued for a long time till the merger of the state. The state made considerable improvement from the time of Raja Chandrasekhar Chandra Deo Deb whose son Raja Dayanidhi Indra Deo Deb was a popular ruler and died in 1898. He was succeeded by his son Nilambar Chandra Deo Deb who was a contemporary of Maharaja Krishna Chandra Bhanja of Mayurbhanj. After the death of Nilambar in 1902, his son Dharanidhar Indra Deo Deb ruled Bonai from February 1902 till the merger of the state on 1st January 1948 with Odisha. He died in July 1949. Geographically the district is not a compact unit and consists of widely dissimilar tracts of expansive and fairly open, dotted with tree, clad isolated peaks, vast inaccessible forests, extensive river valleys and mountainous terrain. Broadly speaking it is an undulating tableland of different elevations broken up by rugged hill ranges and cut up by torrential hill streams and therivers Ib and Brahmani. The general slope of the district is from north to south. Because of this undulating, hilly and sloping nature of landscape, the area is subjected to rapid runoff leading not only to soil erosion but also to scarcity of water for both agriculture and drinking purposes.
The Sundargarh district forms the northwestern part of the Odisha state and is the second largest district in the state accounting for 6.23% of the total area. The geographical area of the district is 9712 km2. The district spreads from 21°36′N to 22°32′N and from 83°32′E to 85°22′E.
The Collector and District Magistrate is the administrative head of the district. For smooth running of administration, he is assisted by Additional District Magistrate, Sub-Collector, Block Development Officers, Tahasildars, Deputy Collectors, and other Officers.Sundargarh consists of three Sub-Divisions viz. Sundargarh, Panposh and Banei. One Sub-Collector is in charge of each Sub-Division. For the convenience of revenue administration, the district is divided into 18 tahasils namely Sundargarh, Hemgiri, Lephripara, Balisankara, Rajagangapur, Biramitrapur, Panposh, Raurkela, Banei, Tangarpali, Subdega, Baragaon, Kutra, Lathikata, Bisra,Koida, Gurundia and Lahunipara with one Tahasidar in charge of each tahasil. For development of rural areas consisting of 1779 villages in 262 Gram Panchayats, the district is divided into 17 Community Development Blocks with one Block Development Officer in charge of each Block.17 nos. of Blocks are namely Kuarmunda, Nuagaon, Bisra, Lathikata, Hemgiri, Rajgangpur, Lephripara, Kutra, Sundargarh, Bargaon, Subdega, Balisankara, Tangarpalli, Lahunipada, Koida, Bonaigarh, Gurundia.There are six Statutory Towns in the district i.e, Raurkela Municipality, Sundargarh Municipality, Rajagangapur Municipality, Biramitrapur Municipality, Raurkela Industrial Township (ITS) and O.C.L. Industrial Township (ITS). In order to look after the developmental activities in the urban areas of the district, one Executive Officer for each of the town has been appointed.
As per 2011 Census, total population of the district is 20,93,437 which consists of 10,61,147 (Male) and 10,32,290 (Female). The population density of the district is 216 per Sq. Km. and the Literacy Rate is 73.34 percent. Sex ratio of the district is 973 female per 1000 male.
The District of Sundargarh Comes under One Parliamentary Constituency I.e-Sundargarh (ST) Parliamentary Constituency.
As per the Assembly Constituencies are Concerned the District is represented by 7 Assembly Costituencies i.e
- 008-Talsara (ST)
- Is the 2nd district in terms of size and 6th in terms of population.
- Sundargarh is the 3rd urbanised district in state having only 35.26 percent of its population live in urban areas as against 16.69 percent of state’s population living in urban areas.
- In terms of population per Sq. Km. Sundargarh is 19th densely populated district in the state. Sundargarh Sundargarh has 20th rank in terms of sex ratio in the state.
- There are 49 uninhabited villages in the district whereas 3 villages are having a population of more than 5000 each. Subdega is the most populated village having 5935 populations in the district.
- Lahunipara police station is having highest number of villages(160) in the district and Raghunathapali police station is having the lowest number of villages(1) in the district.