Dindigul district, a part of Madurai division is a district of Tamil Nadu state with its administrative headquarters located at Dindigul city. The district got its name from its headquarters city, Dindigul. The name of the place, Dindigul is derived from two Tamil terms one is ti??u meaning pillow and another is kal meaning rock. Both the words together refer to the bare hill located near the Dindigul city. The history of Dindigul is mainly focused on the small rock hill and fort. At a very early period the three prominent kingdoms of South India namely the Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas bounded the Dindigul region from the three different sides. At that time many monuments of the place, Dindigul were made by the kings of these dynasties. During the 1st century A.D., the Chola king named Karikal Cholan took over the Pandya kingdom and Dindigul became a part of the Chola empire. Then in the sixth century, the Pallavas captured a huge portion of the provinces of Southern India. The place of Dindigul was under the rule of Pallavas until Cholas regained the state in the 8th century. During the 14th century, the southern places of India were invaded by the Delhi Sultanate. But at that time, Dindigul was safe in the hands of Vijaya Nagara. The rule of different monarchs from the different dynasties were came to end when in 1790, James Stewart of the British army invaded Dindigul in the second war of Mysore. Dindigul was under the control of the British till India got its independence on 15th August, 1947. Earlier, Dindigul was a part of the Madurai district but it was emerged as a separate district on 15th September, 1985.
Geographically, the district lies at 10036'N latitude, 77098'E longitude and 368 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 31.05% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 6,036 sq Km. and it is bounded by Erode district and Karur district on the North, Madurai district on the South, Tiruchirappalli district on the East, Theni district on the South East and Tiruppur district on the West. The climate of the district remains pleasant throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1047.9 mm in the year of 2018-19.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 9 taluks namely Dindigul East, Dindigul West, Palani, Athoor, Kodaikanal, Oddanchatram, Vedasandur, Natham and Nilakkottai. Moreover, it comprises 34 towns and 362 villages. The administrative language in the district is Tamil.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 21,59,775 out of which 10,80,938 are males and 10,78,837 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 998 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 12.31% including 11.65% were males and 12.98% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 87.02% of the total population. The population density in the district is 358 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Tamil with 91.52%. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 25,871 out of which 13,542 were males and 12,329 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 18,358 out of which 10,635 were males and 7,723 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are millets, cereals, pulses, sugarcane, groundnut, cotton, etc. During the period of British rule, it is renowned as an important centre of trade in tobacco and manufacture of cigars. Furthermore, the adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of its various agricultural items. Industrially, also the district is quite well developed. The district is famous for the manufacture of locks and steel safes. Even, the locks manufactured in Dindigul are sold not only in the national but also in the international markets. In the year 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Dindigul as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 17,89,912 lakh at current price and Rs. 11,44,806 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2012-13 was Rs. 18,58,185 lakh at current price and Rs 17,36,189 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the year 2010-11 was Rs. 47,812 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 76.26% including 84.23% are males and 68.33% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 14,81,834 including 8,16,180 are males and 6,65,654 are females.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Dindigul Fort is one of the best tourist destinations in the district. The construction of this fort was started in the reign of Muthu Krishna Naicker, a Madurai King in the year 1605 but it was completed during the rule of Mannar Thirumalai Naicker in the year from 1623 to 1659. Sirumalai, a small but beautiful hill station in the district is full of mesmerising natural sceneries. It is a perfect spot for the trekking and mountaineering lovers. Peranai and Kodaikanal are the two more notable hill stations in the district. St. Joseph Church, a prominent church built by the British in the period from 1866 to 1872 is located in the district.