Historically, the Hassan district is named after the Goddess "Haasanamba" or Hassan-amma, the goddess and presiding deity of the town and means, in Kannada, a smiling mother or goddess. According to the Sthalapurana, the name 'Hassan' is derived from 'Simhasanapura', which is associated with janamejaya who was the Great grandson of the Pandava hero, Arjuna. The history of Hassan district is essentially the history of two of the well known dynasties that have ruled Karnataka, the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talkad (350-999 CE) and the Hoysala Empire (1000-1334 CE). It was under the rule of Vijayanagar kings in the 15th and 16th centuries. After the decline of Vijayanagar, it was also ruled by Adilshahis of Bijapur and Mughal Empire. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Hassan became a land of contention between the Nayaks of Shimoga and the Mysore Kingdom, finally emerged as an independent Mysore kingdom.
The district also has various famous personalities from different fields. Balakrishna (2nd November, 1913-19th July, 1995) was a Kannada actor. He had a hearing problem. He was popular for his comic and villain roles. Dhananjay is a Kannada film and theater actor. He got the debut actor award at the SIIMA Awards. Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath is an author, a politician an Indian entrepreneur, the founder of Air Deccan and a retired Captain of the Indian Army.
Geographically, the district has total 6,814 sq. km. and occupies the ranks 11th in State and 139th in India on the bases of this size. It lies on 13°01' N latitude, 76°09' E longitude and 972 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 21.70% forest area of total geographical area. It is bounded by Chikmagalur District to the North West, Chitradurga District to the North, Tumkur District to the East, Mandya District to the South East, Mysore to the South, Kodagu District to the South West and Dakshina Kannada district to the West. The Hemavathi River (a tributary of the Kaveri River) and Yagachi River (a tributary of the Hemavathi River), the Hogari (a tributary of the Tungabhadra River) and Netravati River drain the district. In 1981 the Hemavathi Dam was constructed. The Kaveri passes through the Southernmost part of the District. The climate of the district remains pleasant almost throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1262.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 8 sub-districts, 11 towns and 2,418 villages. Kannada is its official language. The district of Hassan came into existence on 1st November, 1956 in the state of Karnataka with an allotted district code of 574. Its district Headquarters is at Hassan which is located at a distance of 183 km. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to 2011 census, the district has a total number of 4,29,292 households with a total population of 17,76,421 out of which 8,83,667 are males and 8,92,754 are females. The density of population of the district is 261 persons per sq km. The sex ratio is pegged at 1010 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 973 (females per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the percentage of the religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu at 91.80% and Muslim at 6.76%. The population growth rate during the period 2001 to 2011 was 3.18% persons, of which 2.86% were males, and 3.50% were females. According to 2011 census, the percentage of the principal languages of the region is Kannada at 87.04%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 23,417 out of which 12,149 were males and 11,268 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 17,375 out of which 10,592 were males and 6,783 were females.
Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture mainly. It has a number of small scale industries. The Gross District Domestic Product during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 26,07,877 lakh at current price and Rs. 20,22,395 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Net District Domestic Product during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 24,00,877 lakh at current price and Rs. 18,45,539 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 1,27,229 at current price and Rs. 97,800 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Education wise, according to 2011 census, the literacy rate in the district is 76.07% out of which 83.64% are males and 68.6% are females. The total literate population of the district is 12,25,256 including 6,68,836 are males and 5,56,420 are females. The district has a number of primary, secondary, higher secondary schools and graduate, post graduate colleges. Government Engineering College, Hassan (GECH) and Malnad College of Engineering (MCE) are affiliated with the Visvesvaraya Technological University. They provide B.E in Automobile Engineering, B.E in Civil Engineering and B.E in Computer Science, Engineering, M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems (DECS), M.Tech in Computer Applications in Industrial Drives (CAID) and M.Tech in Computer Aided Design of Structures (CADS) etc. Rajeev Institute of Technology and Management (RITM) is also an Engineering college organizes similar courses. Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara College of Ayurveda and Hospital (SDMCA) were established in the year 1992 by Dr.D. Veerendra Heggade. The college is affiliated and recognized by RGUHS, Bangalore and Central Council of Indian Medicine, New Delhi. It provides courses B.A.M.S., Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, M.D (Ayu), Doctor in Medicine and M.S (Ayu), Masters in Surgery.
H. D. Kumaraswamy (born 16th December, 1959) was the 18th Chief Minister of Karnataka, from 2006 to 2007. The former Prime Minister of India H. D. Deve Gowda is his father. H.D. Revanna (Hardanahalli Deve Gowda Revanna) was born on 17th December, 1957. He belongs to Janata Dal (Secular). He is a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Indian state of Karnataka as a representative of the Holenarasipur Hassan district constituency. He also served as Minister for PWD (Public Works Department) and Energy Department. He was also the president of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) for 9 years.
The district has a number of famous historical and religious places to visit. These places are Belur, Halebid, Hassan, Sakleshpur, Sravanabelagola, Chennakeshava Temple Belur, BasadiHalli, Hoysaleswara Temple, Hasanamba Temple, Shravanabelagola, Chennakesava Temple, Shakaleshwara Temple, Manjarabad Fort Bili-Gola White Pond, Jain Pilgrim and GomateshwaraBahubali. During the year 2016, there were 56,523 foreign tourists and 22,42,438 domestic tourists who visited above places.