Surguja District is a district in the northern part of the state of Chhattisgarh in India. The district headquarters is Ambikapur.
The district borders on the states of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, and overlaps the southeastern part of the Vindhyachal-Baghelkhand region of peninsular India.
According to legend, Lord Rama had visited Surguja during his 14 years of exile into the forests. There are many places in connection to epic of Ramayana, which are named after Lord Rama, Laxmana and Goddess Sita such as Ramgarh, Sita-Bhengra and Laxmangarh.
Prior to the arrival of the Mauryas, the area was ruled by the Nandas. In the third century BC the region was divided into tiny kingdoms. Later, a Rajput king belonging to the Rakshal clan, attacked from what is now Jharkhand, and took control of the area. In 1820, Amar Singh was crowned as Maharaja. During the British Raj period, Surguja State was a princely state.
The district is currently a part of the Red corridor
It lies between 23°37’25” to 24°6’17” north latitude and 81°34’40” to 84°4’40” east longitude. 244.62 kilometres (152.00 mi) long east to west and 67.37 kilometres (41.86 mi) broad north to south, this land has as area of about 16,359 square kilometres (6,316 sq mi).
The high-lands of Surguja district have peculiar ‘pat formations’ – highlands with small tablelands. The Mainpat, the Jarang pat, the Jonka pat, the Jamira pat and the Lahsunpat are the major parts of the district. The average height of area is above 600 metres (2,000 ft). Some of peaks are – Mailan 1,226 metres (4,022 ft), Jam 1,166 metres (3,825 ft), Parta Gharsa 1,159 metres (3,802 ft), Kanda Dara 1,149 metres (3,770 ft), Chutai 1,131 metres (3,711 ft), and Karo 1,105 metres (3,625 ft). There are a number of other peaks. North–west Surguja is hilly in nature, and moving westwards, three distinct steps may be marked out: the first from Shrinagar on the east to the low-lands of Patna and Kharsawan, the second from thence to the uplands around Sonhat and the third beyond Sonhat to above a height of 1,033 metres (3,389 ft). Central Surguja is a low basin through which the Rihand and its tributaries flow.
According to the 2011 census Surguja district has a population of 2,361,329, roughly equal to the nation of Latvia or the US state of New Mexico. This gives it a ranking of 192nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 150 inhabitants per square kilometre (390/sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 19.74%. Surguja has a sex ratio of 976 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 61.16%.
Major population comprises tribal population. Among the primitive tribes are Pando and Korwa, who still live in forest. The Pando tribe believes themselves as the member of “Pandav” clan of epic Mahabharata. The Korwa tribe believes themselves to be member of “Kauravs” of Mahabharata.
Languages spoken include Bharia, a Dravidian vernacular spoken by at least 200,000 members of the Bharia tribe and written in the Devanagari script.
Surguja University, Ambikapur established on 2 September 2008 has the following departments:
Department of Environmental Sciences
Department of Farm-Forestry
Department of Biotechnology
Department of Pharmacy
Institute of Law and Legal Studies
Department of Functional Hindi
Department of Computer Science
Dr. (Prof.) B.L.Sharma is the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Sarguja University and Prof. Madhur Mohan Ranga is the coordinator of University Teaching Departments. He is also the Dean of Students’ Welfare of the University. Mr. R.K. Chauhan is the acting Registrar of the University.
The first Asian film to win a Green Oscar, The Last Migration, was filmed in Surguja by the wild life film maker Mike Pandey. Sonabai is a clay sculptor famous for her tribal and folk artform.
The famous book on the truth of fake saints specially of so-called Asaram Bapu/Asharam Bapu was written in this district 14 years ago i.e. in the year, 2000 by First Chartered Accountant, Author, BJP Leader and Social worker CA. Somraj Agarwalji. The name of the book is ‘KADUA SACH’. Second elaborated edition of the book was published in the year, 2008.