The historical origin of Sheopur is hazy as there is no definite documented on it. The town and the fort were founded in 1537 by Gaur Rajputs and it served as capital of the former Sheopur princely state. The Sheopur fort is mentioned in an inscription on a Jain pillar dated 1026 AD. The works of the famous poet Khadag Rai, called Gopanchal Akyan, has references of Sheopur. According to the poet's accounts, the King Nareshar Ajay Pal (1194-1219) had declared Sheopur as his capital.
The fort had changed hands many times over in history. The Sheopur fort was under Hammir Dev during 1301 AD, when Allauddin Khilji captured it. Sultan Mahmood Khilji of Malwa captured it in 1489 and established it as an integrated part of the Malwa Sultanate. Then in 1542, it was captured by Sher Shah Suri and then by the king of Bundi, Surjan Singh Hada. In 1547, Akbar captured the fort. Since it was a part of Gwalior, Maharaja Daulat Rao Scindia had to fight the Gour king Radhika Das to capture the fort. The Gours of Agra were awarded the Sheopur fort by Mughals. Generations of Raj Gour continued to rule from it, before being taken over by the Scindias.
Sheopur is located at the north western part of Madhya Pradesh. It is located along the coordinates of 25Â° 40' 0" North, 76Â° 42' 0" East and the important rivers like Chambal, Seep and Kuno drain the district. It is bounded by Rajasthan on the south and west, Shivpuri District in the East and Morena district in the north. State Highway 6 connecting Shivpuri 'Sheopur' Pali passes through the town.
By Road: Sheopur is connected by regular bus services with Gwalior, Morena, Shivpuri and Kota. Sheopur is 210 Kms away from Gwalior, 120 Kms from Shivpuri and 230 Kms from Morena.
By Rail: The city is connected to Gwalior through ,Narrow gauge, railway line since 1909. The State capital Bhopal is located around 350 Kms away from the town and can be reached by traveling to Shivpuri by road and then taking the train.
By Air: The nearest airport to Sheopur is Gwalior. This airport is well connected with Delhi, Bhopal, Indore and Mumbai.
Sheopur has hot summers and cold winters. The maximum temperature goes up to 47Â°C in summer and minimum temperature drops as low as 2Â°C in winter. It receives an annual rainfall of 750 mm/year, which occurs mainly in the months of July-September. Sheopur is located on a very fertile land with natural slope towards North West. As it is surrounded by water bodies from all sides, the topography is full of deep depressions. The soil type is Murrumy, with deep soil in valleys. The hills have gentle slopes. Sheopur falls under the Central Highlands.
Electricity supply for Sheopur is under the MPSEB. The town is dependent on sub-surface water resources. Ground water is hard. At present, the water is drawn from 78 municipal bore wells across the city. The city has one district hospital with a capacity of 100 beds. There are no health centers or govt. dispensaries but a few private clinics. For specialized treatments or consultations of a higher degree, the people travel to the nearby cities.
As for education, there is a mix of govt. and private institutions, a post-graduation degree college, a polytechnic and a law college is present in the city. There is a Central School, 3 other inter-schools and one private school providing education till class 12th. Sheopur College falls under the Sayaji University, Gwalior.
The houses in Sheopur are a mix of Kutcha (temporary constructions), Semi-Pucca (semi permanent) and Pucca (permanent) houses. The roofs are either thatched or have tiles, on mud-plaster walls.
The architectural ruins and monuments of Sheopur speak of the erstwhile abundance and the various rules it underwent. The palace of Narshingh Gour called the Rani Mahal or the Goojiri Mahal is a striking example of Gour architecture. The beautiful 'Chhatris' were built in the memory of kings Indar Singh Gour and Kishor Das Gour after their demise.
The Scindias added to the grandeur of the Sheopur fort by building the Diwan-e-aam, the durbar hall and a state guest house. Portions of the fort are now under the M.P Archaeological department for protection and conservation.
Hindi is the widely spoken language in Sheopur. The local dialect is called Hadoti. The Tansen festival is a popular cultural festival. The most popular folk dances are Ahiri Dance, Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand, Saharia Dances, Lur dance of Saharias, Lanhgi dance of Saharias, Dul-Dul Ghori dance etc. They use musical instruments like Mridanga, Ramtula, Dholak, Dhapli, Manzira and Jhanz in these dances. The dancers, instrument beaters and their associates wear a clean turban on head. Some people like to put on a dhoti up to knees while some wear colorful shorts. Few dancers also adorn themselves with a bunch of peacock feathers. The food in Sheopur is simple and wheat based. Wheat is the most important food grain grown in the district while Mustard is the most important oil seed grown here. Farming and cattle rearing is the main occupation, other main occupations are handicrafts like wood and Lacquer work.
Followers of several religions like Hinduism, Islam and Jainism reside in Sheopur. It has a substantial tribal population too. Despite the encroaching influence of urban life, the tribes have largely managed to retain their own way of life, relatively untouched by modernization. The main tribes found here are Saharias, Ahir, Baredi, Gwal, Rawat, Raut, Gwala. The women wear cotton Sarees, draped according to the community they belong to. The men wear dhotis and kurtas, and a turban while they wander out. Youngsters have resorted to contemporary wear like the Salwar Khameez, pants, shirts and t-shirts.
Sheopur fort: The fort was built more than 1000 years ago. It stands on top of a hillock on the banks of the Seep River.
Idgah: This was a monument erected by Sher Shah Suri. The property is now being preserved by Indian Government.
Kuno wildlife sanctuary: This unassuming wildlife sanctuary has a wealth of wild animals like Wolves, Nilgai, and Monkeys etc. The lions from the Gir National Park are being relocated to Kuno presently.
Doob Kund: This was once a capital of the Kachhwaha kingdom. It contains the remains of the Har Gauri temple, believed to be 1000 years old.
Sangam of Rameshwar: This is the juncture of the river Parvati with river Chambal. Known to be a place of scenic beauty, located 40 kms away from Sheopur. A grand local fair is held at the Sangam every year.
Lacquerware: Sheopur is famous for its woodwork, which is handcrafted and Lacquered with vibrant colors.