Chatra district, a part of the North Chotanagpur division is a district of Jharkhand state with its administrative headquarters located at Chatra town. Earlier, the territory enclosed by the present district of Chatra was a part of the Chatra sub-division of the Hazaribagh district. The Chatra district, the gateway of Jharkhand particularly of Chotanagpur, has a glorious past with an eminent historical heritage. Legends believe that during the rule of Ashoka i.e. 232 B.C. the “Atavi” or the forest states to acknowledge the supremacy of the Magadha Empire. It is also said that when Samudra Gupta was marching through the Chotanagpur, at that time he directed the first attack against the kingdom of south Kaushal in the valley of Mahanadi. During the period of Tughlaq, the place of Chatra came in touch with the Delhi Sultanate. Then for the first time the British came to this region in 1769 A.D. It is very significant to state that Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the prominent social reformer, worked as a ‘Sirishtedar’ at Chatra in 1805-06 and who lived both at Chatra and Ramgarh. It was emerged as a separate district in the map of Jharkhand state in the year 1991. The people of the district played an important role in the independence movement of India. The notable participants in the independence movement of India from this district include Chotanagpur Kesri, Babu Ram Narayan Singh and Babu Shaligram Singh. At present, the district is a part of the Red Corridor.
Geographically, the district lies at 24022'N latitude and 84087'E longitude. The altitude in the district is 613 m. In the year 2019, there was a total 47.80% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 3,718 sq kms. and it is bounded by Bihar on the North, Latehar district and Ranchi district on the South, Hazaribagh district on the East and Palamu district on the West. The climate of the district remains extremely hot in the summers and fairly cold in the winters. Most of the rainfall occurs in the rainy season. The actual rainfall in the district was 630.0 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 2 sub-divisions namely Chatra and Simaria. Moreover, it comprises 12 sub-districts, 2 towns and 1,471 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 10,42,886 including 5,33,935 are males and 5,08,951 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 953 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 31.77% out of which 32.14% were males and 31.39% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 86.60% of the total population. As per 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 92.11%. The population density in the district is 280 (persons per sq kms.). In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 24,291 including 12,947, were males and 11,344 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 2,079 including 1,222 were males and 857 were females.
The economy of the district is based on both the agricultural and industrial sectors. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agricultural activities in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are wheat, rice, maize, pulses, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Every year a huge chunk of revenue come from the agricultural products in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. Industrially, also the district is well developed. In year 2006 the Indian government declared Chatra as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2008-2009 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 1,46,161 lakh at current price and Rs. 1,05,665 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2008-09 was Rs. 1,26,864 lakh at current price and Rs. 96,294 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2008-09 was Rs. 14,192 lakh at current price and Rs. 10,772 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its most recognised educational institutions are Chatra College, Hunterganj College, Nazareth Vidya Niketan High School, Rose Bird School, Anil Vidya Niketan, DAV School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 60.18% including 69.92% are males and 49.92% are females. The literates in the district are 5,10,061 out of which 3,03,902 are males and 2,06,159 are females.
Sunil Kumar Singh, a veteran Indian politician and a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the Chatra Lok Sabha constituency in Jharkhand was born in the district. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Bhadrakali temple, located at a distance of about 35 kms. on the East of Chatra is a very famous temple surrounded by hill and forest. Moreover, it has a water reservoir which glorifies its mesmerising natural beauty. Kunda Cave in the district is in ruined state now. Kunda palace is still present in the district at a distance of about three-four miles from the present Kunda village. Legends believe that the palace might have been constructed either at the end of 17th or at beginning of the 18th century AD. Tamasin is a place full of forests which makes its area dark even in the daytime also. The term tamasin is a blend of two terms 'tam’ and ‘asin' which together means 'darkness prevails'. It is a perfect destination for nature’s lovers. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Kolhua Hill, Kauleshwari Devi, Duari, Khaya Banaroo, Keridah, Maloodah, Dumer Sumer, Barura Sharif, Bhaduli and many more.