Dharwad District is an administrative district of the state of Karnataka in southern India.
Dharwad is the cultural headquarters of North Karnataka.
The administrative headquarters of the district is the town of Dharwad. Dharwad, also known
as Dharwar. Dharwad is famous for its Dharwad Peda – a milk based sweetmeat. Dharwad is
the administrative seat of the district of the same name. The municipality (resulting from a
merger with neighbouring Hubli in 1961) covers 191 km 2 . Dharwad is located 425 km
northwest of Bangalore and 421 km south of Pune, on the main highway between Bangalore
and Pune in Maharashtra. KREIS North Unit of National Projects Construction
has its headquarters here. Karnataka High Court circuit Bench is also based here.
Before 1997 the district had an area of 13738 km 2 . In 1997, the new districts of Gadag and
Haveri were created out of Dharwad's former territory, and a portion of Dharwad district was
combined with lands formerly part of three other districts to create the new district of
The word "Dharwad" means a place of rest in a long travel or a small habitation. For
centuries, Dharwad acted as a gateway between the Malenaadu (western mountains) and the
Bayalu seeme (plains) and it became a resting place for travellers. The name is derived from
the Sanskrit word 'dwarawata', 'dwara'; meaning "door" and 'wata' or 'wada'; meaning "town".
A different theory suggests that during the Vijayanagara rule of Dharwad there was a ruler by
name "of Chaitnaya SP" (1403), and Dharwad got its name from Her. There are some
inscriptions that refer to Dharwad as Kampana Sthana, Now Its belived that chaitanya is
taken a birth again in the same place to rule the Vijayanagar.
Inscriptions found near Durga Devi temple in Narendra (a nearby village) and RLS High
School date back to the 12th century and have references to Dharwad. This makes Dharwad
at least 900 years old. Also, there is an inscription at Hanuman Temple at Bokyapur lake near
Garag (a village about 18 km from Dharwad).
The Chalukyas ruled Dharwad during the 12th century. A stone inscription indicates that
there was a ruler by the name of BhaskaraDeva in 1117. In the 14th century, the district was
first overrun by the Bahmani Sultanate, after which it was annexed to the newly established
Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, an official of which named Dhar Rao, according to local
tradition, built the fort at Dharwad town in 1403. After the defeat of the king of Vijayanagar
at Talikot (1565), Dharwad was for a few years practically independent under its Hindu
governor; but in 1573 the fort was captured by the sultan of Bijapur, Adil Shah, and Dharwad
was annexed to his dominions. Adil Shah built a fort in an area later called Manna Killa, and
later Nazratabad. With this fort, the strategic importance of Dharwad increased and it thus
attracted the attention of subsequent conquerors, including Aurangzeb, Shivaji, Aurangzeb's
son Mu Azam, Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and finally the British
In 1685, the fort was taken by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and Dharwad, on the break-
up of the Mughal empire, fell under the sway of the Maratha Peshwa of Pune. In 1764, the
province was overrun by Hyder Ali of the Mysore, who in 1778 captured the fort of
Dharwad. The fort was retaken in 1791 by the Marathas. After the final defeat of the
Peshwa by the British in 1818, Dharwar was incorporated into the territory of the British East
India Company's Bombay Presidency. During the early 19th century, when the British were
expanding their domains, they faced a lot of opposition from local rulers, including Baba
Saheb of Naragund and Kittur Chennamma.
Dharwad was the home to the movement to unify Kannada speaking areas that eventually
became Karnataka state.
Dharwad was peaceful for most of late 19th century. During those times, the British started
an English medium school in Dharwad in 1848. Later, in 1863, the Basel Mission
organization started another school. In 1867 the British opened another school, Varmal
school, which later on became known as a training college. In 1883, the municipality area
included Sidapur, Lakamanhalli, Haveri Pete, Bagtalan, Madihal, Galaganjikop, Malapur,
Kamalapur, Narayanpur, Saptapur, Atti kolla and Hosayellapur. The British government also
established a railway station in 1888.
The town had a station on the Southern Maratha railway. By 1901, the town had a population
of 31,279 and was home to several cotton gina, a cotton mill, and two high schools, one
maintained by the government and the other by the Basel German Mission.
After India's independence in 1947, the Bombay Presidency was reconstituted as India's
Bombay State. In 1956 the southern, Kannada-speaking districts of Bombay State, including
Dharwad, were added to Mysore and renamed Karnataka in 1972. Dharwad is home to the
Karnataka University and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) as well as numerous
In 1941, Dharwad had a population of 47,992.  In 1961, the town merged with the adjacent
town of Hubli to become a single municipality, Hubli-Dharwad. The population of the twin
cities is the second-largest in Karnataka, after Bangalore. Hubli-Dharwad's population
increased 22.99% between 1981 and 1991, from 527,108 to 648,298, and by 21.2% between
1991 and 2001. In the year 2008, a Circuit bench of the High Court of Karnataka was
established in Dharwad. In 2013, along with Gulbarga circuit bench, Dharwad circuit bench
was upgraded to a permanent High Court bench after president's approval. Very soon the city
is going to have a branch of Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) covering the entire
North Karnataka state.