Maheshkhali Upazila (Cox`s Bazar district) with an area of 362.18 sq km, is surrounded by Chakharia upazila on the north, Cox`sBazar Sadar upazila and the Bay of Bengal on the south, Chakharia and Cox's Bazar sadar upazilas on the east,Kutibdia upazila and the Bay of Bengal on the west.
The eastern part of the upazila is separated from the mainland by the Maheshkhali channel.
Main rivers are Bak-khali and Maheshkhali channel.
Maheshkhali (Town) consists of 1 mouza with an area of 2.93 sq km. It has a population of 13519; male 54.54%, female 45.46%. The density of population per sq km is 4614. Literacy rate among the town people is 30.9%.
Administration Maheshkhali thana was turned into an upazila in 1982. It consists of 7 union parishads, 25 mouzas and 170 villages.
Archaeological heritage and relic Adinath Temple.Historical events Tradition goes that at one time a local peasant discovered a stone-image from the forest. He came to know in a dream that the stone-image belongs to a Hindu deity named Mahesh. The peasant thus built a temple and placed the image there. It is presumed that the island was named as Maheshkhali after the name of the deity and the temple came to be known as Adinath Mandir. It is known from the report of the Portuguese traveller Caesar Frederick and as per opinion of Dr. Suniti Bhusan Kanungo that the island of Maheshkhali had its origin as a result of its being separated from the mainland by severe cyclone and tidal bore occurred in 1559.
Population 219520; male 53.13%, female 46.87%; Muslim 91.52%, Hindu 7.35%, Buddhist 1.12%, others 0.01%; ethnic nationals: Rakhain 515 families.
Religious institutions Mosque 210, temple 26, Buddhist keyang 6.
Literacy and educational institutions Average literacy 27.2%; male 35.3%, female 18.2%.
Educational institutions: college 3, government high school 1, non-government high school 15, madrasa 10, government primary school 47, non-government primary school 16, Old institutions: Maheshkhali Government Vernacular School (1923), Maheshkhali Model High School (1946).Cultural organisations Club 13, public library 1.
Main occupations Agriculture 22.99%, forestry 1.25%, fishing 6.08%, sericulture 6.08%, agricultural labourer 25.19%, wage labourer 7.17%, commerce 13.78%, service 2.57%, others 19.94%.
Land use Cultivable land 5275. 36 hectares, salt production 2073.4 hectares, shrimp cultivation 2105.69 hectares, fallow land 1715.21 hectares.
Land control Among the peasants 66.62% are landless, 33.38% land owner.
Value of land The market value of the first grade arable land is Tk 6000 per 0.01 hectare.
Main crops Betel, paddy, betel nut.Extinct and nearly extinct crops Pearl production.
Main fruits Mango, jackfruit, litchi, banana, papaya, coconut.Dairy, fishery, poultry Dairy 2, poultry 3, shrimp 277.
Communication facilities Roads: pucca 7 km, semi pucca 15 km and mud road 135 km.
Traditional transport Bullock cart, coach, palanquin. These means of transport are either extinct or nearly extinct.
Manufactories Salt mill 6, flour mill 1, ice mill 5.
Cottage industries Weaving 178, other industries 480. Hats bazars and fairs Hats and bazars 15, fair 1 (Adinath Mela). Main exports Salt, betel, shrimp, sea-fish, dry fish.
NGO activities Operationally important NGOs are Caritas, Christian Commission Development in Bangladesh, Prism Bangladesh.
Health centres Upazila health complex 1, satellite clinic 1, family planning centre 4.