Explore the Oldest Dioceses in South Asia

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

It is believed that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle,
who is said to have reached the Malabar Coast of Kerala in 52 AD.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when
Portuguese missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

History of a few oldest dioceses in India as the cradle of Indian Christianity
can be dated back to the 15th century.

Find out which is the first diocese in India here.

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Diocese of Daltonganj

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Diocese of Daltonganj
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In a land area of 12,950 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Palamau, Garhwa and Latehar in Jharkhand state.

The district headquarter of Daltonganj has taken the name from Colonel Dalton who was the commissioner of Chotanagpur in 1861. The main towns are: Barwadih, Chandwa, Deorikalan, Hussainabad, Latehar and Netarhat. Daltonganj is famous for its wildlife sanctuary. World's first tiger census was conducted in the Palamau forests in 1932.


The 2,459,950 people in the diocesan area belong mainly to the ethnic groups of Munda, and Oraons, besides Muslims and Hindus.


Languages used in the diocesan territory are Hindi, Mundari, Oraon, Sadri and other tribal languages.


The diocese of Daltonganj was part of Ranchi archdiocese. It was constituted as a separate diocese in 1971 and Father George V. Sauipn, SJ,  was selected as the first bishop. For the better pastoral care of the faithful, the diocese of Hazaribagh was established with the territory taken from the Daltonganj diocese on May 12, 1995.


National Highway 75 passes through Daltonganj diocese.


The annual per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs.23 361 ($518) as of December 2010.

Major industries are coal mines and bauxite.

Agricultural products are: maize, wheat and oil seeds.


The diocese is served by TV and radio stations.

People use mobile phones and landlines.


Literacy rate is 51 percent in the diocesan area.


Jharkhand has ebullient festivals like Sarhul, Sohrai, Karma, Christmas, Eid, Holi and Dushahra. Folk music and dances are part and parcel of the tribal culture.

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