Historical studies show that people from early Paleolithic age inhabited Dharwad district. A few places of antiquarian interest and several sites of historical importance are found in the district. The district was ruled by various dynasties from the 5th century onwards. Important among them are Badami and Kalyan Chalukyas, Rastrakutas, Vijayanagar, Adilshahi, Mysore kingdom and Peshawas of Pune. Due to the rule of Peshwas, influence of Marathi is seen in the early decades of the 19th century. During the British rule, Dharwad became the divisional headquarter of educational administration and Kannada the vernacular language of the people gained prominence
The major religions in the district are Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Christianity. The majority of Hindus are found in both urban and rural areas. The population of the district is divided mainly into 3 categories, viz., main workers, marginal workers and non-workers. In the district, dry farming is the backbone of the agricultural economy. Agriculture is even now labour-intensive enterprise. Hence the district has an above average proportion of workers in its population and offers opportunities to seasonal workers.
In 1962 the erstwhile towns of Dharwad and Hubli were amalgamated to constitute the Hubli Dharwad Municipal Corporation. Thus strictly speaking, the district takes its name from a portion of the pre-eminent town of the district. In 1830, the southern Maratha country was brought under Regulation VII and the territories were formed into one Collectorate called Dharwad District or Zilla. Before trifurcation of the district into Gadag and Haveri, the district consisted of 17 talukas.
Geographical Features :
Dharwad district is situated in the Western sector of the northern half of Karnataka State. The District encompasses an area of 4263 sq. kms lying between the latitudinal parallels of 15002’ and 15051’ North and longitudes of 73043’ and 75035’ East. The district is bounded on the North by the District of Belgaum, on the East by the district of Gadag, on the South Haveri and on the West by Uttara Kannada district. All these districts, which surround Dharwad district, belong to Karnataka State itself.
The District lies approximately about 800 mts above the sea level, which is why it enjoys a moderate and healthy climate. The District may be divided into 3 natural regions, viz., the Malnad, Semi-Malnad and Maidan. These regions, on an average, receive moderate to heavy rainfall and have dense vegetation. Kalghatagi and Alnavar area in Dharwad taluka in particular receive more rainfall than other talukas of the District.
On the agricultural front, the presence of black soil helps in raising crops like Cotton, Wheat, Ragi, Jowar and Oil seeds and that of red soil is more suitable for paddy
Socio-Economic and Cultural Characteristics
The district is a place for people belonging to various religions like Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Christianity. Hindus, in particular, are spread across rural and urban areas. The widely spoken language in the district is Kannada, while a thin population is found using languages like Urdu, Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati and Malayalam.
The district falls in Tropical Region, which is largely affected by monsoons. This explains that the district is an agro-based economy, and also that agriculture is the main occupation in the whole of rural area of the district. The prestigious University of Agricultural Sciences at Dharwad has discovered new species of cotton and chilies, which is the first of its kind in the world. The existence of this prestigious institution has boosted the agro-based industries in the district.
Therefore other activities of economy, i.e., trade and commerce are completely dependent on agriculture. As monsoon is highly uncertain in nature and as there is no major irrigation project or any hydel power generating station in the district, there is high degree of dry-land farming.
The mineral wealth is not quite impressive and forest wealth is equally unattractive. Manufacturing industry, particularly agro-based industry makes a significant contribution to the economy. Hubli-Dharwad are two of the major commercial centres in the State.
Of the total population, 39% makes up for working class. This consists of 26% of those engaged in agriculture sector. Till today, agriculture is a labour intensive enterprise. Many labourers largely depend on seasonal employment. The per capita income at current prices is Rs.14861 and at constant prices [93-94] it is Rs.10462. The State level per capita income at current prices is Rs.14909. The main kharif crops are cotton, chilies, sugarcane and groundnuts, and the main rabi crops are jowar, wheat, rice etc. Out of total cultivated land, only 12.10% is irrigated [as per the 4th Economic Survey – 1998]. On the industrial side, it is seen that there are 50602 industrial units existing in the district. The district has as many as 216 banks and 535 ration shops.
Transportation and Communication :
Dharwad District has 156 kms of National, 163 kms of State and 599 kms of District Highways. Apart from this it has 777 village roads, 437 TDB roads, 32 Forest Roads and 189 other roads. There are 12 big bridges in the district.
There are 151 kms of railway line, which has been converted into broad gauge. There are 21 railway stations on this line. There are 216 post offices, 167 telegraph and 73 telephone exchanges as means of communication for the general public.
Public Health and Family Welfare :
The public health infrastructure of Dharwad District consists of 26 Primary Health Centres, 3 Sub-Health Units, 5 Govt. Hospitals, 27 Private Nursing Homes and Hospitals and 6 Family Welfare Centres with 185 sub-Family Welfare Units.
Cultural Characteristics :
The district receives a special recognition on the cultural map of the state. It has enriched the cultural fields like music, literature and art by producing famous and memorable names. The prestigious Jnanapeetha awardee Dr. D. R. Bendre of Dharwad, has contributed to the field of literature, to the extent of infinity. Renowned classical Hindustani singers like Kumar Gandaharva, Smt Gangubai Hangal, Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt. Bhimasen Joshi, Basavaraj Rajguru and Sangeeta Katti, have not only contributed to the field of music but have also made the district proud. The well known artist Halbhavi also belongs to Dharwad.
On the religious front, the district being secular, has no. of holy places, like Muraghamath of Dharwad, Siddaroodhamatha and Moorsaviramath of Hubli, Amminbhavi Hiremath and Holy the Christ Church of Dharwad, which has celebrated its 150th year.