Vidisha district lies on the Vindhyachal Plateau off the main Vindhyachal Range. The Plateau slopes from south to north and is drained by a number of rivers – the Betwa, the Bina and the Sindh. These rivers flow between spur fanges of the Vindhyachal Range, that spread out on the Malwa Plateau.
The district lies between 230 20’ and 240 22' north latitudes, and 770 16’ and 780 18’ east longitudes. It covers an area of 7,371 km2.
The district was created as "Bhilsa District" in 1904 by joining the tehsils of Vidisha (also known as Bhilsa) and Basoda, but not Basoda State, which were then part of Gwalior state. After India's independence in 1947, the former princely state of Gwalior became part of Madhya Bharat state, which was formed in 1948. The Bhilsa District was enlarged in 1949 by the addition of the small princely state of Kurwai State. The district took its present form in 1956, when Madhya Bharat state, Bhopal State, and the tehsil of Sironj, then part of Rajasthan state and previously part of the princely state of Tonk, were both merged into Madhya Pradesh state. Sironj tehsil and the small pargana of Piklone from Bhopal state were merged into Vidisha District.