Sonbhadra or Sonebhadra (Hindi: सोनभद्र ज़िला, Urdu: سون بھدر ضلع) is the 2nd largest district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The district has an area of 6788 km² and a population of 1,463,468 (2001 census), with a population density of 216 persons per km². It lies in the extreme southeast of the state, and is bounded by Mirzapur District to the northwest, Chandoli District to the north, Kaimur and Rohtas districts of Bihar state to the northeast, Garhwa district of Jharkhand state to the east, Koriya and Surguja districts of Chhattisgarh state to the south, and Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh state to the west. The district headquarters is in the town of Robertsganj. It is the only district in India which borders four states namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar. It is currently a part of the Red Corridor.
The Sone River flows through the district from west to east and its tributary the Rihand River, which rises to the south in the highlands of Surguja district of Chhattisgarh, flows north to join the Son in the center of the district. Sonbhadra is located in the south-eastern ranges of the Vindhyachal mountain. The Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar, a reservoir on the Rihand, lies partly in the district and partly in Madhya Pradesh. The district has historic, cultural, and ecological affinities with the Bagelkhand region. Robertsganj is the main town. Almost 100 km from Varanasi, the cultural centre of Indian epitome of Vedic civilisation, holds a prime importance as the district headquarters.
Sonbhadra has a relatively subtropical climate with high variation between summer and winter temperatures. The average temperature is 30°C–42°C in the summer and 2°C–15°C in the winter. The weather is pleasant in rainy season from July to October.
The southern region of Sonebhadra is referred to as the " Energy Capital of India "; this region has many electrical power stations around Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. NTPC (a leading power generation company in India) has three coal-based thermal power plants at Shaktinagar (India's first NTPC Power Plant), Vindhyanagar (largest capacity in India, 3260 MW) and Bijpur (Rihandnagar). Other power stations are at Anpara (UPRVUNL), Obra (UPRVUNL), Renusagar (Hindalco & Pipri-Hydro(UPRVUNL). NCL (a branch of Coal India Limited) has its headquarters and many coal mines in this region. Hindalco has a major aluminium plant at Renukut.
This region became an industrial heaven from an area of forest and hills. Some of the hills were having limestone and lot of them were having coal. There were some small rivers running through the area and the major was the Son.
Owing to the limestone hills, initially one cement factory was established at Churk in 1956. Later another cement factory started at Dala in 1971 and ancillary unit of Dala got started at Chunar in 1980. The cement factories became the foundation on which other industries were built. A big dam constructed at Pipri in 1961 and named Rihand Dam. The dam produces 300 MW of electricity. Another small dam was constructed at Obra in 1968, 40 km from Rihand dam which generates 99 MW of electricity.
The Birla group then set up an aluminum plant at Renukut, which is one of the biggest aluminum plant of Hindalco. Later, the Birla group set up its own power plant at Renusagar in 1967. This plant has the current capacity of 887.2 MW and supplies the power to Hindalco. The Birlas also started a company in Renukut called HiTech Carbon. Another industrial group initiated a company in Renukut named Kanoria Chemicals, which produces chemicals and later it started own power plant at Renukoot in 1998 which generates 50 MW of electricity.
A big thermal power plant construction was started at Obra in 1967 with support of Russian engineers and was successfully completed in 1971. This had a capacity to produce 1550 MW of electricity.Another power plant was initiated at Anpara in 1980. It produces 1630 MW of electricity and has proposed to extend the capacity to 2630 MW. NTPC's first thermal power plant that it started in Shaktinagar, generates 2000 MW. The plant at Bijpur generates 3000 MW.
This region has three cement factories, one of the biggest aluminum plants, a carbon plant, a chemical factory and an energy hub of India, which generates 11000 MW with plans to reach 20000 MW. The whole country is benefiting from this region, which was once full of forests and hills, which seemed like infertile land.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Sonbhadra one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 34 districts in Uttar Pradesh currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
§=== Industry timeline ===
1956 : Churk Cement Factory, 800 T/day.
1961 : Rihand Dam, Pipri, 300 MW of electricity, Reservoir for power plants.
1962 : Hindalco Aluminium Plant, Renukoot, Alumina refining - 114,5000 TPA, Aluminium metal - 424,000 TPA.
1965 : Kanoria Chemicals, Renukoot, Acetaldehyde - 10000 TPA, Formaldehyde - 75000 TPA, Lindane - 875 TPA, Hexamine - 4000 TPA, Industrial Alcohol - 225 million litters/annum, Aluminium Chloride - 6875 TPA, Ethyl Acetate - 3300 TPA, Acetic Acid - 6000 TPA, Commercial Hydrogen.
1967 : Renusagar Power Plant (Hindalco), 741.7 MW of electricity.
1968 : Obra Dam, 99 MW of electricity, Reservoir for power plant.
1971 : Dala Cement Factory, 3600 T/day.
1971 : Obra Thermal Power Plant, UPSEB, 2000 MW of electricity.
1980 : Chunar Cement Factory, Ancillary unit of Dala Cement Factory.
1980 : Anpara Thermal Power Plant, UPSEB, 2000 MW of electricity.
1983 : B.P. Construction Company, Anpara.
1984 : Singrauli Thermal Power Plant NTPC, Shaktinagar, 2000 MW of electricity.
1988 : Hi -Tech Carbon, Renukoot, Carbon Black - 1,60,000 MT/annum.
1989 : Rihand Thermal Power Plant, NTPC, Bijpur, 2000 MW of electricity.
1990 : Finding of Gold Mine in Hills, Mirchadhuri.
1998 : Kanoria Chemicals Power Plant, Renukoot, 50 MW of electricity.
2008 : Lanco Anpara Power Limited, 1200 MW of electricity.
Other: Village Dibulganj is one of the largest gram panchyats of India.
Bhaskar group, Reliance Power, Essar Power, Jaypee Power and Aditya Birla Group (Mahan Project) are in erection phase with their power plants.
1980 : Mishra stone crushing company'
Mayurpur Airport at Myorpur, a private airport used by chartered and private planes.
Varanasi International Airport in Varanasi.
Flights are available to all major Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Agra, Bangalore, Chennai, Patna, Khajuraho, Hyderabad, Gaya, etc. International connections are Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong and Kathmandu.
Mirzapur Railway Station.
Robertsganj Railway Station.
Churk Railway Station.
Chopan Railway station.
Obra Railway station.
Renukoot Railway station near RIHAND DAM.
Anpara Railway station.
Shaktinagar Railway station.
Varanasi Railway station.
The city is connected by rail to Delhi, Allahabad, Ranchi and Patna. Some notable trains passing through the district are Muri express (Jammu Tawi - Delhi - Tata Nagar), Jharkhand Swarna Jayanti Express/12873(Hatia - Kanpur - Delhi), Triveni Express (Bareilly - Lucknow - Shaktinagar/Singrauli/barwadih) Bhopal Express(Bhopal-Howrah)weekly and Shaktipunj Express/11448(Howrah-Bokaro - Chopan- Jabalpur).Intercity Express/03346 (Singrauli- Chopan-Varanasi).
Robertsganj, the headquarters of Sonbhadra, is located about 90 km from the city of Varanasi which has the nearest airport. Robertsganj is well connected to Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi and Mirzapur by road. Buses are available at all hours of the day from Varanasi and it normally takes 2½ hours to cover the distance. The highway connecting Varanasi and Waidhan passes through the district. Though this is not a national highway it is a very busy road because of the towns Renukot, Anpara, Shaktinagar which are sufficiently commercialized areas. National Thermal Power corporation is in Shaktinagar and also National Coalfield different projects like Singrauli, Khadia, Jayant, Dudhichua, amlori, Kakri etc. These areas have several major coal mines which cater a big part of the coal need of the state. Churk a nearby town is situated around 10 km, where Jaypee Group is establishing a thermal power project. One of the main reasons this road is always busy is due to daily transport of around 1000 trucks of grits and sand.
The district of Sonbhadra is known for its several Cave painting sites found in the Vindhya region. The Lakhania caves are located in the Kaimur ranges and are known for their beautiful ageless rock paintings. These historic paintings are about 4000 years old and bring to life the culture and belief of an era gone by. Khodwa Pahar or Ghoramangar is another well-known ancient cave painting site. The region also has two dams, the Rihand dam and the Barkandhara dam. You can also see the Lorika Rock, which is a historic colossal rock.
VIJAYGARH FORT - The Vijaygarh Fort located in the Sonbhadra district dates back to the 5th century. It was built by the Kol Kings and is widely known for its exquisite rock carvings, inscriptions and cave paintings.
AGHORIGARH FORT -The Agori Fort is another iconic fort which lies surrounded by three rivers on three sides.
SHIVDWAR TEMPLE - Shiv Dwar is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is famous for its old 11th century black stone statue of the two Gods who are shown in the Srijan posture. Sonbhadra tourism can appeal to art lovers and explorers.
KUNDESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE
RENUKESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE
RADHA KRISHNA TEMPLE
MUKHA WATER FALL
RAJDARI - DEVDARI
NAUGARH FORT - Naugarh Fort, which was built by the Kashi Kings. Although it now serves as a guest house for Government dignitaries, the small fort is still considered a prominent tourist attraction.
Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)
See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217