Dharmapuri diocese is closely connected with Salem diocese from which it was carved. In 1623, Christianity came to the area through the famous Jesuit Father Robert De Nobili and his successors, and later on through the Portuguese Jesuits of Madurai missions.
In Dharmapuri diocese, the population was 3,386,652 as of 2016 end.
Tamil, Kannada and Telegu are the languages used in the diocesan territory.
In 1654, the Italian Jesuits of Mysore had their residence in Dharmapuri and began to preach in the region as far as Tirupattur in North Arcot district. In 1674, St. John De Britto visited and stayed at Dharmapuri. In 1687, Salem and Dharmapuri districts came under the influence of Mysore Church. In spite of the Pombal decree, suppressing the Jesuits, they carried on working under the jurisdiction of Cranganore.
In 1776, the pope handed over the Madurai and the Malabar missions to the care of the Paris Foreign Missions (MEP). In 1785, Monsignor Chapenois, MEP, superior of the Malabar mission, was given the responsibility to look after the entire Mysore mission, of which the old diocese of Salem formed a part. This region continued to depend on Coromandel missions, and later, on the apostolic vicariate of Pondicherry, which became an archdiocese in 1886. On Aug. 3, 1930, the diocese of Salem was erected.
Because of the vastness of the diocese, the district of Dharmapuri was separated and declared a diocese by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 24, 1997. Monsignor Joseph Antony Irudayaraj, a Salesian, was appointed its first bishop. This diocese is the 15th diocese of the Tamil Nadu region.
The towns are managed by municipalities. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats.
The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Bangalore.
The diocesan territory covers a land area of 9,643 square kilometers and includes two civil districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Hosur are the major towns in the diocese.
The per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs 14,585 ($313) as of August 2006. The diocese covers one of the poorest and underdeveloped areas in Tamil Nadu. Farming is the main occupation. Cash crops like cotton are widely produced. Automobile, heavy engineering and electronic goods manufacturing companies are operational in the diocese.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area, which is well connected by local cable TV networks.
61.39 percent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.