Historically, Bargarh was earlier called as Bahgar Kota. The King Balaram Dev gave name Bargarh to it. Originally, Bargarh was one of the many forts constructed by Chouhan dynasty. The fort was located near to the Jeera River. From an inscription of the 11th century AD. it has been proved that earlier the place was well known as "Bahgar Kota". From the very beginning, Buddhism had been a major religion here. Some its prominent ancient Buddhist monasteries and sculptures can be seen along a belt starting from Bijepur block (Ganiapali) to the Paikamal block (Nrusinghanath), which is also clearly mentioned in Huen-Tsang's literature by the name, Po-Li-Mo-Lo-Ki-Li (Parimalagiri) (Pasayat, 2007, 2008). Dabrigarh in Bargarh district has witnessed a remarkable war against British led by the legendary hero of Bargarh Veer Surendra Sai. Now there is a tiger sanctuary. Previously, Bargarh was a subdivision of the old Sambalpur district until April 1992, but later the then chief minister named Mr. Biju Patnaik announced it as the headquarters of the newly formed district by the same name.
Gangadhar Meher (Swabhab Kavi) was a famous Odiya poet of 19th century. In 1949, Sambalpur College was renamed as Gangadhar Meher College. Gangadhar Meher National Award for Poetry is instituted by Sambalpur University which is given annually. Haldhar Nag is a poet and writer of Sambalpuri literature. He is also famous as Lok kabi Ratna. A documentary film was made by the BBC channel about his life. He also contributed a lot to include Sambalpuri-koshli language in the 8th schedule of Constitution. He was awarded with the Padam Shri in 2016.
Geographically, the district has a total 5,837 sq. km. area and occupies the rank 12th in State and 177th in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 21033'N latitude, 83062'E longitude and 171 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 18.00% forest area of total geographical area. It is bounded by Sambalpur district in the North East, districts of Bolangir and Subarnapur in the South, Nuapara district in the South West and the state of Chhattisgarh in the West. The climate of the district remains extremely hot in the summers and fairly cold in the winters. Most its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1351.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 15 sub-districts, 8 towns and 1,206 villages. Oriya is its official language. It came into existence on the 1st April, 1993 with its administrative headquarters located at Bargarh town which is situated at a distance of 343 kms. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total number of 3,73,391 households with a total population of 14,81,255 comprising 7,49,161 are males, and 7,32,094 are females which leads it to rank 13th in the state and 338th in India. The density of population of the district is 254 (persons per sq kms). The sex ratio is pegged at 977 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 957 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu with 98.50% of the total population. The population growth rate during the period of 2001-2011 was 10.02% including 9.93% were males and 10.12% were females. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Oriya with 93.60%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 17,328 out of which 9,084 were males and 8,244 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 9,321 out of which 5,053 were males and 4,268 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. The Gross District Domestic Product during the year 2011-12 was Rs. 5,72,871 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,49,810 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net District Domestic Product during the year 2011-12 was Rs. 4,86,821 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,88,354 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi River makes available water for irrigation. The northern half of Bargarh District is very fertile. Paddy is the main product of this area that’s why Attabira block is called the Rice Bowl of the state. Handloom industry is very famous here for Sambalpuri Saree. A cement factory, a sugar mill and a thread mill giving boost to the economy of the district. Painchhatar is the largest wholesale market of the state. It is popular as the business centre of western Odisha.
Education wise, according to the 2011 census, the percentage of literate persons is 74.62% including 83.68% are males and 65.38% are females. The total literate population of the district is 9,83,783 out of which 5,57,217 are males and 4,26,566 are females. The district has several educational institutes including schools and colleges. Kendriya Vidhyalaya, Modern Public E.M School, Rotary Public School, Sohella Public School, MIIT Computer Education are some of the main centres of education.
Shri Prasanna Acharya is a member of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). He represented the Sambalpur constituency of Orissa in the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha of India. Currently, he is serving as the Minister of Finance under the state government of Odisha. Sanjay Bhoi is the Member of Parliament from Bargarh. He a member of the Indian National Congress.
The district has several famous historical and religious places to visit. In the year of 2018, there were total 12,53,001 domestic tourists and 329 foreign tourists who visited here. Asta Sambhu Temple, Nrusinghanath Temple is the famous places of the district. The temple of Lord Nrushinghnath was founded by Baijal Dev in 1413 AD. It is divided into two parts. The statutes of Nav Garah, Ganga, Jamuna, Nandi, Jaya-Vijaya, Trividram, Bamana, Baraha, Samhar Nrusimha and the original idol of Nrusinganath are situated here. Numbers of Siva temples in the Sambalpur were built by the Chauhan rulers. The Asta-Sambhu are main temples in the place. Dadhibaman Mandir is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. A cart festival is held here. Papaharini, the mighty Mandap, Ecological pyramid and Gandhamardan are other famous places here.