The district got the name from its headquarters town, Puri. The place came out as a seat of Vaisnavism when Chodaganga Deva build the temple of Purusottama Jagannath and installed the images of the deities. Then the region became popular as the abode of Purusottama and was well-known as Purusottama Kshetra. Historically, Mughals, Marathas and British, they all made changes in revenue administration of the region their according. During the period of Mughal Rule (1592-1751), Odisha was divided into three circars for the purpose of revenue administration, namely Jaleswar, Bhadrak and Kataka, each of which again subdivided into Bishis by the Mughals. Later, Puri formed a part of Kataka circar. After their occupation of Odisha in the year 1751, the Marathas brought about some changes in the revenue divisions of the province. They divided Odisha, which after sometime extended from the river Suvarnarekha in the North to the lake Chilika in the South, into four Chakalas viz. Pipli, Kataka, Soro and Balasore. The Chakala of Pipli comprised major portions of the modern District of Puri. In Brtish time, it was called Pooree. That’s why it became popular as Puri. Puri was the capital of the Odisha till 1816. ‘Jaganath’, one of the districts of the province Odisha in 1828, is now known as Puri. Utkal is another name of Puri.
Guru Pankaj Charan Das was a classical dancer of Odissi form. He is also a choreographer and the Adi Guru of Odissi dance. He was awarded with Sangeet Natak Academy award, Orrisa Sahitya Academi Award, and Padam Shree. Prafulla Kar is a famous musician, singer, lyricist, writer and columnist. He was honored with a number of awards including Padam Shri in 2015. Sudarsan Pattnaik is an Indian sand artist and the Padma Shri awardee in 2014.
Geographically, the district has a total 3,479 sq kms. area and occupies the rank 21st in State and 348th in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 19081' N latitude, 85083' E longitude and 0 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 6.47% forest area of total geographical area. It is bounded by khordha district, Ganjum district, Cuttack district, Jagatsingpur distrit and Bay of Bengal. Most of its rainfall occurs during the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 2250.2 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 15 sub-districts, 6 towns and 1,707 villages. Oriya is its official language. It came into existence on the 23rdOctober, 1828 with its administrative headquarters located at Puri which is situated at a distance of 61 Kms. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total number of 3,69,482 households with a total of 16,98,730 comprising 8,65,380 are males and 8,33,350 are females which leads it to rank 9th in the state and 290st in India. The density of population of the district is 488 (persons per sq kms.). The sex ratio is pegged at 963 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 932 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of major religion practiced by the people of this region is Hindu with 96.83% of the total population. The population growth rate during the period of 2001-2011 was 13.05% including 13.36% were males and 12.72% were females. According to 2001 census the principal language in the district is Oriya with 94.82%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 16,248 out of which 8,807 were males and 7,441 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,208 out of which 6,142 were males and 5,066 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. The Gross District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 5,97,808 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,80,864 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 5,46,017 lakh at current price and Rs. 3,43,720 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during 2011-12 was Rs. 31,960 at current price and Rs. 20,119 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
Education wise, according to the 2011 census, the literacy rate in the district is 84.67% out of which 90.85% are males and 78.28% are females. The total literate population of the district is 12,91,939 including 7,04,857 are males and 5,87,082 are females. Gopabandhu Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Government Women’s College, Government ITI, G.M. Law College, Chandra Sekhar Academy, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kendriya Vidhalaya, etc are some of the main educational institutes here.
Prasad Kumar Harichandan or Prasad Harichandan is the current President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee. In 1999 he was appointed as the Minister of Home, Science, Technology and Culture departments. He was also elected as the member of eleventh, twelfth and fourteenth Odisha Legislative Assembly. Pinaki Misra is an Indian politician. He is representing Puri in the Indian Lok Sabha.
The district has many famous historical and religious places to visit. These places are Chilika Lake, Pipili, Sakhigopal Temple, Shri Jagannath Dham, Chandrabhaga Beach, Baliharachandi, Puri (Four Dhams, Famous for Sri Jagannath Temple & Longest Sea Beach), Raghurajpur, Ramachandi Temple, Satapada at Chilika. In the year of 2018, there were total 2,89,74,368 domestic tourists and 1,05,742 foreign tourists who visited here.