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 Jhabua

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Diocese of Jhabua
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In a land area of 21,366 square kilometres, the diocesan territory covers districts of Jhabua, Alirajpur, Ratlam, Mandsaur and Neemuch and Sardarpur tahshil of Dhar district.

Jhabua is a tribal district located on the western part of Madhya Pradesh bordering Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Situated on the National Highway connecting Indore and Ahmedabad, it is 155 kilometers from Indore and 264 kilometers from Ahmedabad. Delhi-Bombay railway line also passes through Jhabua district with a railhead at Meghnagar.


Jhabua district has 1,231 villages and 86 percent of the total population of the district consists of tribals. The villages are inhabited by tribals namely Bhils, Bhilalas and Patlias. The tribals live in scattered clusters with huts mostly in or adjacent to their own fields. The houses are mostly made of bamboo and clay.


Languages spoken are Hindi, Bhili and Bhilali.


Diocese of Jhabua was established on March 25, 2002, by bifurcating the diocese of Indore and Diocese of Udaipur with Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal, SVD, as its first Bishop. The diocese comprises five civil districts of western Madhya Pradesh bordering the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The first parish in the district of Jhabua was started in 1896 at Thandla.


The main occupation of the tribals is agriculture. The percentage of irrigated land is low. The main crops in the region are maize, soyabean, pulses, wheat and cotton. The land is undulated and soil is of poor quality. Due to lack of technology and poor soil conditions, the farmers’ economic status remains low.

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