Famous for its Sambalpuri Saree, the Sambalpur District is the western part of state of Odisha. The District is surrounded by Deogarh District in the East, Bargarh Districts in the West, Jharsuguda District in the North and Sonepur and Angul Districts in the South. The District of Sambalpur has a history full of events including Indian freedom struggle representing the different section of the society. Sambalpur is mentioned in the book of Ptomely as Sambalaka on the river Manada. Sambalpur District was subsequently divided into four separate Districts. Bargarh District was separated in 1993, and Jharsuguda and Deogarh Districts were separated in 1994.
The District covering a geographical area of 6702 sq km lies between 20 degree 40’ to 22 degree 11’ North Latitude and 82 degree 39’ to 85 degree 15’ East Longitude. Total population of the District as per 2011 census is 10,41,099. Total male population of the District is 5,26,877 whereas total female population is 5,14,222. The District has got total 1,91,827 SC population and 3,55,261 ST population.
As per the administration of the District is concerned, the District of Sambalpur has got 3 sub divisions namely Sambalpur, Kuchinda and Rairakhol. There are 9 Tahasils, 9 Blocks, 24 Police stations, 1349 Revenue Villages and 138 Gram panchayats functioning in the District.
Sambalpur District experiences extreme type of climate with 66 rainy days and 153 centimeters rainfall on an average per annum. Most of the rainfall is confined to the months from June to October visited by south west monsoon. Mercury rises upto 47 degree C during May with intolerable heat wave and falls as low as 11.8 degree C during December with extreme cold. The rainfall is highly uneven and irregular.
The economy of Sambalpur District is basically dependent on agriculture and secondly no forests. Forests play an important role in the economy in terms of contribution to revenue, Domestic Product as well as dependence of people for livelihood. In the past Sambalpur has been a great centre of diamond trade. Kendu leaf (Diospyros Melanoxylon) is also produced in Sambalpur. Tendu leaf is one of the most important non–wood forest products of Sambalpur and is also called as green gold of Odisha. Lately industrialisation has started in the district and the prime industries of power, alumina and steel have been established. The place is famous for its globally renowned textile bounded patterns and fabrics locally known as Baandha. Sambalpur is famous for its Hand loom textile works, popularly known as Sambalpuri Textile. It has earned international fame for its unique pattern, design and texture. Apart from textiles, Samabalpur has a rich tribal heritage and fabulous forestlands.
The important crops grown in the District are rice, gram, tuar, arhar, seasame, groundnut, mustard, castor, linseed. Sugarcane is the most important cash crop grown in the District.
The literacy rate of Sambalpur District is 76.91 percent.Indian Institute of Management,Sambalpur University, Gangadhar Meher University, IIM, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology(VSSUT), VSS Intitute of Medical Science and Research(VIMSAR), Gayatri College of Pharmacy, Dr P.M Institute of Advanced studies in Education, Gayatri College of Management, Gayatri College of Pharmacy, Lajpat Rai Law College, Sambalpur Nursing college are the famous educational institutes in the District.
The District experiences many beautiful festivals round the year. Sital Sasthi is observed in the month of June. This festival is the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Nuakhai is the most important social festival of the District. Bhaijiuntia festival is celebrated on the Mahastami Day of Durga Puja. The Puajiuntia festival is observed by mothers to invoke the grace of Lord Dutibahana for the long life and prosperity of their sons. Other religious festivals which are observe include Shiva Ratri, Dola Yatra, Durga Puja, Janmanstami, Diwali, Ganesh Puja and Saraswati Puja.
Many eminent personalities have taken birth on the soil of the Sambalpur District. Bir Surendra Sai (freedom fighter), Gangadhar Meher (Poet of nature), Bhama Bhoi (celebrated religious and poet), Satya Narayan Bohidar (Pioneer of Sambalpuri language and grammer), Swapneswar Das (accomplished poet and eminent journalist), Gokulanand Panda (Poet of extraordinary caliber), Sunil Mishra (renowned writer of humour and social satire), Braja Mohan Panda (Educationist of repute) and Laxmi Narayan Mishra (Eminent freedom fighter) are the famous personalities of this soil.