Balangir district is a district of Odisha state situated in its western region with its administrative headquarters located at Balangir town. In the 19th century there was the Raja of Patna named Balaram Deo who founded a town called Balramgarh. Then in the beginning of the 16th century he changed the capital of Patna state (Princely state) from Patnagarh to Balramgarh. With the passage of time, the name of the town was transformed from Balangir to Balramgarh. According to the earliest noted history of Balangir district of the 3rd century BC., the introduction and spread of the religious practices of Aryan in Dakhin Kosala came for the first time with the incursion of the Jain religion. On other hand, some scholars believe that Punita Bhumi is also popularly known as Paniya Bhumi in the Odra-Magadhi language. In the same way it is further identified that Bhogapura once upon a time included the modern Bastar, region of Chhattisgarh, Koraput, Kalahandi and Balangir district of Odisha state. In some of the inscriptions of the Balangir and Sonepur district, it has been found that during the time of Ashoka’s invasion of Kalinga in 261 BC. this region was well-known as Attavika. Balangir, as a separate district came into existence on 1st November, 1949.
Dr. Srinivas Udgata, a prominent poet, story and drama writer, painter, novelist and translator was born on 7th January, 1935 at Balangir town. The Government of India honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shri Award in the year 2008.
Geographically, the district lies at 20°72'N latitude and 83°48'E longitude. The altitude in the district is 115 m. In the year 2021, there was a total 17.34% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 6,575 sq. km. and it is bounded by Bargarh district on the North, Kalahandi district on the South, Subarnapur district and Boudh district on the East and Nuapada district on the West. The principal rivers in the district are Mahanadi, Tel, Undar, Lanth, Sungadh, Sukhtel, Ang, Jira and Saleshing. The climate of the district remains extremely hot in the summer and fairly cold in the winter. Most its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1070.6 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 sub-divisions namely Balangir, Patnagarh and Titilagarh. Moreover, it comprises 12 sub-districts, 8 towns and 1,783 villages. The administrative language in the district is Oriya.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 16,48,997 out of which 8,30,097 are males and 8,18,900 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 987 (females for every 1000 males). In the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 23.32% including 23.16% are males and 23.48% are females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 98.13%. The population density in the district is 251 (persons per sq. km.). As per 2011 census the major language in the district is Oriya with 98.28%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 28,418 out of which 14,016 were males and 14,402 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 14,044 out of which 8,480 were males and 5,564 were females.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on agricultural sector. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural product in the district are rice, pulses, cotton, sesamum, groundnut, sunflower, mango, banana, guava, citrus, cotton, vegetables, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the agricultural product in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. But the district is scantily industrialised. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Balangir as one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640) and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 6,33,665 lakhs at current price and Rs. 3,86,649 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2011-12 was Rs. 5,73,007 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,44,671 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2011-12 was Rs. 34,395 at current price and Rs. 20,689 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its most recognised educational institutions are Govt. Degree College, Balangir Law College, DAV College, Food Craft Institute, Gayatri College, Government Ayurveda College, Government Women's College, IDM Public School, Jagannath Institute of Technology and Management, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 64.72% out of which 75.85% are males and 53.5% are females. The literate population in the district is 9,27,260 including 5,45,672 are males and 3,81,588 are females.
Narasingha Mishra, an eminent Indian politician and the leader of Congress Legislature Party in Odisha Legislative Assembly was born on 23rd December, 1940 at Balangir town in the district. He served as the Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party from 2004 to 2009. For the first time, he was elected to the assembly in 1990 and appointed as the Law Minister.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Rajendra Park, a 100 year old beautiful park was built by last king of Patna (princely state) called H.H Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo. This park, situated in the centre of the Balangir City has three marvellous water fountains which light up at evenings. There is also a statue of H.H Rajendra Narayan Singhdeo in the heart of the park. Anand Niketan, organised by Viswatma Chetana Parishad is a very wonderful Ashram, located on 40 Acres of land. It is enclosed by Viswatma Vidya Mandir (School), Yoga Centre, Puja Mandap, Sadhana Kehtra, Ashutosh Peeth, Green Forest, Garden, Prajna Kutir, Santha Nivas, etc. In the year of 2019, there were total 24,45,773 domestic tourists and 360 foreign tourists who visited these places.
The asharm is established by Paramahamsa Swami Sri Satyaprajna Nanda Saraswati in the year 1985. It is a perfect place for mental relaxation. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Harishankar, Karanga Kata, Divine Life Society, Khujenpali Ashram, Jalia, Ramai Talkies, Priyadarshini Talkies, Lower Sukhtel project, Sailashree Palace, Agalpur (Raj), Sagarpada Mahadev Mandir, Tangreswar Shiva Mandir, Amu Farm, Ranipur Jharial and many more.