Historically, Chitradurga is taken the name from Chitrakaldurga or picturesque castle since an umbrella-shaped lofty hill found here. Chitradurga was also popularly known as Chitradurg, Chitrakaladurga and Chittaldurg. Chittaldrug was the official name used during the British rule. Mahabharatha’s story of Hidimba and his man-eating Rakshasa brother is associated to this region. Timmana Nayaka, Obana Nayaka, Kasturi Rangappa and Madakari Nayaka III were the rulers of Chitradurga. Bharamappa Nayaka was the greatest of the Nayaka rulers. A rock cut edict of Emperor Ashoka found near Bharamagiri during the excavation has proved one thing clear that Chitradurga was a part of the Mauryan Empire dating to the 3rd century B.C. But after the downfall of the Mauryans, this area went into the hands of some notable royal dynasties likewise the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas. The hill fortress built by the Nayakas during the Vijayanagar era, became their stronghold later. In the year 1779, the fort was captured by Haider Ali, who along with his son Tipu Sultan, was responsible for its expansion and strengthening. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the hands of the British, the fort came under the rule of the Royal Mysore family. During the British rule, Chittaldrug was the official name. All well known dynasties ruled over the district.
The district has a number of famous persons from different fields. Harihar Gundurao Dattatreya, an Indian actor, was born in the year 1942. He is popularly known as Dattanna. He has won two National Film Award and two Karnataka State Film Awards. C.K. Nagaraja Rao was born on 12th June, 1915 and died on 10th April, 1998. He was a Kannada writer, dramatist, stage artist, director, journalist and social activist. He was awarded by Moortidevi Award in 1983 and Best Creative Literary Work award in 1978.
Geographically, the district has total 8,436 sq. km. area and occupies the ranks 9th in State and 88th in India. It lies at 14°22' N latitude, 76°40' E longitude and 732 m altitude. In the year 2021, the district had 7.20% forest area of total geographical area. The district is hilly, with lots of forts and villages. The district is bounded by Tumkur District on the South-East and South, Chikmagalur District on the Sout-West, Davanagere District on the West, Bellary District on the North, and Anantapur District (Andhra Pradesh) on the East. The district is rich in minerals including gold and copper. It is situated in the valley of the Vedavati River. The Tungabhadra River flows in the North-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 950.1 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 6 sub-districts namely Chitradurga, Hiriyur, Hosadurga, Holalkere, Challakere and Molakalmuru. Moreover, it has 8 towns and 948 villages. Kannada is its official language. The district of Chitradurga came into existence on the 1st November, 1956 in the state of Karnataka with an allotted district code of 566. Chitradurga is its district headquarters which is located at a distance of 203 km. from the State Capital.
Demographically, according to 2011 census the district has a total number of 3,54,143 households with a total population of 16,59,456 including 8,40,843 are males and 8,18,613 are females. The density of population of the district is 197 persons per sq km. The sex ratio is pegged at 974 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 947 (females per 1000 males). According to 2011 census the percentage of major religions practiced by the people of this region is Hindu at 91.63% and Muslim at 7.76%. The population growth rate during the period 2001 to 2011 was 9.33% including 8.33% were males and 10.37% were females. According to 2011 census the percentage of the principal languages spoken in the region is Kannada at 83.33% and Telugu at 5.39%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 21,227 out of which 11,014 were males and 10,213 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 15,542 out of which 9,206 were males and 6,336 were females.
Economically, agriculture is the backbone of the district. It is one of the districts receiving Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF). The gold mines are available in Halekal, Kotemardi or Bedimaradi, etc. Copper mines are available at Ingaldhal. The Gross District Domestic Product during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 26,91,928 lakh at current price and Rs. 17,84,384 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Net District Domestic Product during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 23,44,447 lakh at current price and Rs. 15,08,450 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during the period 2019-20 was Rs. 1,30,573 at current price and Rs. 84,013 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
Education wise, according to 2011 census, the literacy rate is 73.71% including 81.37% are males and 65.88% are females. The total literate population of the district is 10,87,392 comprising 6,07,188 are males and 4,80,204 are females. The institute Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale, a theatre institute, was established by Panditaaradhya Swamiji in the year 1997. SJM Institute of technology (SJMIT) was established in 1980-81. It is recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) New Delhi, approved by Govt. of Karnataka and affiliated to Visveswariah Technological University (VTU) Belgaum. It provides Bachelor of Engineering in different Disciplines and mater degree in computer science. There is also a private college namely Ranganatha Swamy PU College (SRS PU) College Ranganatha Swamy PU College. The district also has several primary, higher and secondary schools and colleges.
The district has several famous political personalities. C. K. Jaffer Sharief is an Indian politician from Indian National Congress in Karnataka. He is the senior most leader and the Railways Minister in the Government of India from 1991-95. Janardhana Swamy was native of the district. He represented the Chitradurga Lok Sabha Constituency in the 15th Lok Sabha Parliament from 2009 to 2014. Gowdara Mallikarjunappa Siddeshwara as (G. M. Siddeshwara) was born in 1952 and belongs to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and former Minister of State for Civil Aviation of India. He is representing the Davangere constituency in the 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha Parliament.
The district has a number of famous historical and religious places to visit. These places are Chitradurga, Holalkere, Jogimatti Hill Station, Doddahottrangappa Hill, Chitradurga Fort, Ashoka Siddapura, Aadumalleshwara and Brahmagiri. During the year 2016, there were 1,360 foreign tourists and 13,15,274 domestic tourists who visited the above places in the district.