Azamgarh, one of the easternmost districts of Uttar Pradesh, once formed a part of the ancient Kosala kingdom, except its north-eastern part. Azamgarh is also known as land of the sage Durvasa whose ashram was located in Phulpur tehsil, near the confluence of Tamsa and Majhuee rivers, 6 kilometres north from the Phulpur tehsil headquarters.
The district is named after its headquarters town, Azamgarh, which was founded in 1665 by Azam, son of Vikramajit. Vikramajit a descendant of Gautam Rajputs of Mehnagar in pargana Nizamabad, like some of his predecessors, had embraced the faith of Islam. He had a Muhammadan wife who bore him two sons Azam and Azmat. While Azam gave his name to the town of Azamgarh, and the fort, Azmat constructed the fort and settled the bazar of Azmatgarh in pargana Sagri. After the attack of Chabile Ram, Azmat Khan fled northwards followed by the interior forces. He attempted to cross the Ghaghra into Gorakhpur, but the people on the other side opposed his landing, and he was either shot in mid stream or was drowned in attempting to escape by swimming.
In 1688 A.D. during Azamt’s lifetime, his eldest son Ekram took part in the management of the state, and after Azam’s death he was perhaps left in possession together with Mohhabat, another son. The remaining two sons were taken away and for a time detained as hostages for their brothers’ ‘good behaviour’.
The successor of Ikram finally confirmed the title of his family to the Jamidari. Ikram left no heirs and was succeeded by Iradat, son of Mohhabat. But the real ruler all along had been Mohhabat, and after Ikram’s death, he continued to rule in his son’s name.
Azamgarh has an average elevation of 64 metres (209 feet).Azamgarh consists of a series of parallel ridges, whose summits are depressed into beds or hollows, along which the rivers flow; while between the ridges are low-lying rice lands, interspersed with numerous natural reservoirs. The soil is fertile, and very highly cultivated, bearing good crops of rice, sugarcane, and wheat and orchards of mango and guava. Maize, gram, corn, mustard are other major crops.
Azamgarh experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa) with large variations between summer and winter temperatures. Summers are long, from early April to October with intervening monsoon seasons, and are also extremely hot, even by South Asian standards. The temperature ranges between 22 and 46 °C (72 and 115 °F) in the summers. Winters in Azamgarh see very large diurnal variations, with warm days and downright cold nights. Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause temperatures to dip across the city in the winter from December to February and temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) are not uncommon. The average annual rainfall is 1,110 mm (44 in). Fog is common in the winters, while hot dry winds, called loo, blow in the summers. In recent years, the water level of the Tamsa has decreased significantly.
The average literacy rate of Azamgarh in 2011 was 72.69%, compared to 56.95% in 2001. Male and female literacy were 83.08% and 62.65% respectively. For the 2001 census, the corresponding figures were 71.04% and 43.40% in Azamgarh district. The literate population of Azamgarh district was 2,860,821, of which male and female were 1,606,696 and 1,254,125 respectively.
Culture and language
Azamgarh’s culture is a reflection of Islamic culture, Avadh culture of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jaat culture of northern Uttar Pradesh. Since Azamgarh lies in the eastern part of the Uttar Pradesh, the traditional languages are Awadhi (20%), Bhojpuri (55%), Khadi Bhasha (18%) and Urdu (25%).