Historically, Kishtwar was the part of Doda District before the year of 2007. The name of the district is derived from the name of the saint or rishi namely “Kishat Rishi". Earlier, it was also known as the name of Kishaswar and Kashthavata etc. For the first time during the rule of Raja Kalsa of Kashmir (1063-1089) Kishtwar is referred to in the Rajatarangini by the name Kashthavata, when the ruler of Kashthavata, Uttamaraja came to the court of the Kashmir King in company with several other hill chiefs to pay their respects to the King or Raja. Then the King of Kashmir gifted the lands of Kishtwar to the Mehta family. Their family temple "Hatta Wali Mata" and their heritage depicts the rich history of the Kishtwar. The founder of this family was the Commander-in-Chief of the Kashmir Army "Sip-E-Salar” named Sri Jiya Lal Mehta, well- known for his bravery and the way he fought against the Mughals and northern raiders who tried to invade the region. In 1821, A.D the place of Kishtwar merged with the State of Jammu and Kashmir. After sometime Kishtwar became a Tehsil of the Udhampur district and remained so until 1948, when it emerged as a significant part of the newly formed Doda district as a result of first re-organization of the state during the post-independence era. It is famous as the 'Land of Saffron, Sapphire and Shrines'. It has third least population in Jammu and Kashmir. It is also known for Medicinal Herbs and Waterfalls.
Darvesh Mohd. Ishaq Sahib was a Kashmiri Poet. He had worked for radio, TV and other literary organizations. He was more famous for his spiritual power. He also constructed and renovated many shrines and mosques. Kawaja Ghulam Rasool Kamgar was a famous writer from the district. He was awarded with Robes of Honour & Certificate of Merit in Persian by President of India, Robes of Honor from Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture & languages and Robes of Honour from Riasti Cultural Sangham J & K. He translated many works in Urdu and Kashmiri.
Geographically, the district has 8,179 sq km. area and occupies the rank 1st in State and 104th in India on the basis of the territorial size. It lies at 33°31' Nlatitude, 75°77'E longitude and 1638 m altitude. In the year of 2021, there was a total 21.80% forest area of total geographical area. It is bounded by the Kargil district in the North, North East and East, Himachal Pradesh in the South and Anantnag district, Ramban district and Doda district in the West. River Chenab is the major river of the district. National Highway 1B passes through this district. Kishtwar is famous for Sapprire and Saffron. The place is full of lofty mountains and sloppy hills. 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 364.6 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 sub-districts. Moreover, it has 1 town and 155 villages. Urdu is its official language. The district came into existence in the year 2007 with its allotted district code 18. Kishtwar is the administrative head quarters of the district which is located at the distance of 209 kms from the capital of the state.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total number of 44,517 households with the total population of 2,30,696 comprising of 1,20,165 are males and 1,10,531 are females which is leading it to the rank 20th in the state and 585th in India. The population density of the district is 140 (persons as per sq km). The district has a sex ratio of 920 (females as per 1000 males) and child ratio of 924 (females as per 1000 males). As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Muslim with 57.75% and Hindu with 40.72%. The population density in the district is 140 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Kashmiri at 68.59% and Hindi at 27.80%. During the year 2001-2011, the population growth rate of the district was 20.88% including 19.88% were males and 21.99% were females. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 4,174 out of which 2,117 were males and 2,057 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 1,133 out of which 650 were males and 483 were females.
Economically, the district has several small scale industries here. Tourism is also a source of income for the people of the district. Vegetables, pulses, peas are main agricultural products of the district. It is also rich in forest products. The district also has the hydroelectric power projects of Dul Hasti.
Education wise, the total number of literates in the district is 1,07,506 including 68,700 are males and 38,806 are females. According to 2011 census, the literacy rate in the district is 56.2% out of which 68.92% are males and 42.36% are females. The district has many educational institutes including schools and colleges. Bharti Vidya Mandir High School, Government Higher Secondary School, Government Higher Secondary School for Boys, Government Degree College, Islamia Faridia School, Green Model School, etc are some of the main educational centre here.
Om Mehta was a politician belonged to the National Conference. He served as the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Co-operative Society. He was the member of legislative council in 1957 and 1959 respectively. In 1962, he was appointed as the Director General of J & K Corporative Bank. In 1962, he was the member of the working committee of Bharat Sewak Sangh, Panchayti Raj Committee, Red Industries Board and Constitute Club New Delhi. In the year 1964, he became the Member of Parliament as the member of Indian national congress. He held the post of home minister from 1974 to 1977. He has great contribution for Dul hasti hydroelectric power, Batote Kishtwar national highway, Kishtwar manali boarder road, Kishtwar water supply and Bhadarwah Chamba road. Mr. Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo started his political career as Tehsil President Youth NC in 1996. He served as the District President Youth NC in 1998 till his death. In the year 2008, he was elected as Member of the Legislative assembly from Kishtwar.
The district has many famous historical places to visit. These places are Chowgan, Chingam, Paddar, Sinthan Top, Warwan, Jamia Masjid, Hudh Mata & Tr-Sandhya Yatra. Chowgan is a big, natural and attractive ground. It is situated in the center of the district. There is a Shri Gori Shanker temple in the North and a Shrine (Ziyarat) with the name of Asrar-Ud-Din- Bagdadi (Bun-Astan) in the South of the place. Earlier, it was called Goverdhansar. A beautiful lake was there. Paddar is a valley which is rich with natural scenes. The place also has sapphire mines. Many hot springs, great hiking, and river can be seen here. Every year a number of devotees come to Hudh Mata & Tr-Sandhya Yatra. The Jamia Masjid is the oldest in the district, biggest in the Jammu province and most beautifully constructed monument of the area. It was built before 1650 A.D.