Palamu, a part of the Palamu division is a district of the Jharkhand district with its administrative headquarters located at Daltonganj town. The origin of the name of the district, Palamu is quite unsure. According to one legend, it is taken from the Hindi term ‘palana’ meaning “a place of refuse”. On the other hand some other believe that the name of the place is the blend of two words Pala meaning “frost” and mu meaning “dead”. Both the terms together mean “dead from frost”. The early history of the place, Palamu is not clearly available. Originally, the place was ruled by the three prominent races namely kharwars, oraons and cheros. As per the kharwars, they are the suryavanshi Kshatriyas. Probably they came from Ajanagara or Ayodhya. The ancestors of Karusa were popularly known as Karusas who in due course of time came to be known as Karwars or kharwars. Traditionally, it is believe that they were the rulers of Rohtasgarh. The kharawars point to the days of the Pratapadhaval, one of the line of chiefs who ruled there in the twelfth century A.D., during the time of their greatest prosperity. The Cheros have been spoken in very high terms in the Aitareya Aranyaka along with the Vangas and Magadhas. They did not observe the Vedic sacrifices and still they are termed as revered cheros ‘cheropadas. Moreover, there is no full proof evidence to explain that the Cheros came to this region from Kumaun. Palamu as a separate district came into existence in the year 1928.
Geographically, the district lies at 23092'N latitude, 84029'E longitude and 366 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 27.33% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,393 sq. km. and it is bounded by Bihar on the north, Latehar district on the south, Chatra district on the east and Garhwa district on the west. The principal rivers in the district are North Koel River and Auranga River. The climate of the district remains extremely hot in the summers and fairly cold in the winters. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 725.4 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 sub-divisions namely Daltonganj, Hussainabad and Chhatarpur. Moreover, it comprises 20 sub-districts, 9 towns and 1,870 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 19,39,869 out of which 10,06,302 are males and 9,33,567 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 928 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 26.17% including 26.18% were males and 26.17% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 86.77% of the total population. The population density in the district is 442 (persons per sq. km.). As per 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 91.18%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 37,890 including 20,249 were males and 17,641 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 11,069 including 6,174 were males and 4,895 were females.
The economy of the district is mainly based on industrial sector. Caustic plays a significant role in different spheres of the day to day life. Bihar Caustic & Chemicals limited, located in the district is in the leading position in terms of manufacturing caustic as well as chlorine in India. Aditya Birla Chemicals India Limited, a profit making joint venture Company of versatile Aditya Birla Group was started in the district of Palamau in the year 1976. The main manufacturing products of the company are Caustic soda lye, Liquid chlorine, Hydro-chloric acid, Sodium Hypo Chlorite and Electricity. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. Some of its population are engaged in agricultural activities in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are maize, groundnut, pulses, paddy, wheat, barley, gram, peas, oat, sugarcane, mustard, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Palamu 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. 3,96,324 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,95,655 lakh at constant prices in the year 1999-2000. In the year 2008-2009 the net domestic product in the district was Rs. 3,44,545 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,68,636 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. 14,536 at current price and Rs. 11,333 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 DAV Engineering College, GLA College, Women’s College, BN College, Janta Shivratri College, Nilambar Pitambar University, Gyan Niketan, Zila School, Girivar High School, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 63.63% including 74.3% are males and 52.09% are females. The literate population in the district is 10,24,563 out of which 6,21,706 are males and 4,02,857 are females.
Bhishma Narain Singh, a veteran Indian politician who served as the Governor of Assam from 1984 to 1989 and Governor of Tamil Nadu from 1991 to 1993 was born on 13th July, 1933 at Udaigarh village in the Palamu district. He is a member of the Indian National Congress, political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Shahpur, a place located opposite to the Daltonganj on the west bank of the Koel River has a beautiful palace constructed by Gopal Rai, the Raja of Palamu in the 18th century. Betla, situated 25 km. away from Daltonganj is the tourists headquarter of the Palamu Tiger Reserve. Furthermore, it is most vital tourist place of the district since it has luxuriant Sal and miscellaneous trees and bamboo forests. Betla National Park, located in the district also draws many visitors from far off places and it covers an area of 226 sq. km. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Netarhat, Palamu Fort, Kanti Falls, Kechki, Kulka, Hanuman Mandir, Shital Mandir, Sriramjanki Mandir, Chitragupta Mandir and many more.