Located on the Bilaspur‐Katni section of the south‐eastern railway, Shahdol derived its name from its headquarter, It lies in the middle‐eastern part of the state forming a part of northern Madhya Pradesh.The district was named after one Shahdolwa Ahir of Sohagpur village who believed to have founded the former village of Shahdol about 2.5 km. from the Sohagpur. The progenitor of the Ex‐Illakadar family of Sohagpur, Jamni Bhan was the second son of Maharaja Virbhan Singh of Bagelkhand. He decided to settle at Sohagpur and assured maximum facilities to settler around, and also declared that places settled by clearing forests will be named after the pioneer settlers. Later on, the place used to be the camp site for the Maharaja of Rewa and British officers on tour. More villages were added to the village of Shahdol as it grew into a town. District headquarter was shifted from Umaria to Shahdol after the merger of princely states in 1948. Shahdol district forms the southern part of Rewa division.
Rewa State Gazetteer refers to a tradition which connects Sohagpur with King Virata of the epic Mahabharata. Early history of Shahdol district is, however, not clearly chronicled.The numerous ruins of buildings and other old remains that lie scattered at various places, including Sohagpur, Bandhogarh etc,are interesting and dates back to the Gupta period. During the time of later Gupta Kings “a group of people known as the Pushyamitras, probably located in or near Maikala in the Narbudda valley, developed great power and wealth and reduced the imperial (Guptas) Government to such a state that a prince had to spend whole night on bare earth. It is likely that portions of Shahdol district were in the kingdom of these people. On the rather questionable provinces of an inscription, assigned on paleographical grounds to 7th century, found near Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad district. Dr. Hiralal suggested that the ‘Manapuram’ mentioned in the inscription may be Manpur in Bandhogarh tahsil and thus Rashtrakuta lineage was perhaps ruling over the district. The evidence, however, is much too conjectural as there are other places having the name Manpur. During 10th and 11th centuries, greater
portion of the district was included in the Kalchuri kingdom of Ratanpur. The fort of Bandhogarh was in fact given by the Kalchuri ruler in dowry to the Baghel chief of Rewah, Karnadewa, in the thirteenth century. Bandhogarh continued to be the seat of the Baghels till 1597, when the capital was shifted to Rewa. In the beginning of the nineteenth century (1808) considerable portion of the district comprised in the Sohagpur and Bandhogarh tahsils passed into the hands of the Marathas and from them in 1826 into the hands of the British. The Sohagpur and Amarkantak districts were given to the Rewa ruler after the 1857 upsurge, in lieu of the help given by the Rewa Chief in quelling the mutineers in Ramgarh (Mandla district) and other places. The district thereafter continued to be under the Baghel rule till 1947, when the Rewa State merged with Indian Union. There is urgent need for examination of all available archaeological and numismatic evidence available in and outside the district and for the construction of a connected historical account.
The exact year of formation of present Shahdol district is neither known nor available on official records; but local accounts say that the district was constituted in the year 1935 with headquarters at Umaria. Formation of Sohagpur tahsil which was much bigger than its present form is believed to date back to 1860 and formation of Beohari and Bandhogarh tahsils to 1896. There was considerable reconstitution of the old tahsils in the year 1935, when a new tahsil, Pushprajgarh, was formed from southern portions of xvi Sohagpur tahsil. This new tahsil set‐up continued till the formation of Vindhya Pradesh. After the formation of Vindhya Pradesh some villages of Beohari tahsil were transferred to Amarpatan tahsil of Satna district. With lush green forests, natural wealth of Coal, Minerals and with primitive tribal population, the district Shahdol is situated among the range of Vindhyachal and heading
fast in development track. The district has vast reserves of Coal mines.