Nawada district is one of the thirty-eight districts of the Indian state of Bihar. Nawada is its administrative headquarters. The district is the westernmost district of the Magadh division, one of the nine administrative divisions of Bihar. The area of the modern district was historically part of the Magadha, Shunga and Gupta empires. Koderma and Giridih districts of the state of Jharkhand lie on the southern border of the district; it also shares borders with the Gaya, Nalanda, Sheikhpura, and Jamui districts of Bihar.
Nawada is a part of the famous ancient Magadh division of south Bihar. The origin of the name Nawada is believed to be derived from the old name Nau-abad or the “new town” which was earlier known as ‘The Eliot Market (Bazaar)’. Before its acquisition by the East India Company, Nawada was ruled by the nearly independent Rajas of Hisua. After its acquisition, Nawada was the center of great disorder until 1845, when it became the headquarters of the newly created subdivision. The elements of disorder resurfaced again during the Mutiny of 1857, when Nawada was overrun by marauding parties. The local offices were destroyed, but Government records were saved by the native officials who hid them in a cave in a neighboring hill. These are the only available public records dating back to an era before 1857 in the district.Two miles to the north, there is a Jain temple standing in the middle of a large tank to the west of the public road, but the city itself contains no important buildings and has but little historical interest.
The main crops harvested in the district are paddy, wheat, pulses, and other vegetables. Industrial facilities in the district include bidi factories and silk handlooms. Formerly, sugar cane farming and processing also took place; the district’s single sugar mill, located in Warisaliganj, is currently non-functional. Kadirganj, located 6 km from Nawada, has a silk small scale industry where workers clean and weave silk.
Rajauli and Sirdala are emerging as significant market hubs for the hinterland regions bordering Jharkhand state, and have also produced many professionals including physicians, surgeons, engineers who are working in many parts of India. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India identified Rajauli as the possible site for creating an additional 2,000-mW of nuclear power capacity in the state.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Nawada one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).It is one of the 38 districts in Bihar currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme.
Historians believe this place was a reputed religious center for the Hindus in the period of Palas. Nawada has a museum called the Narad Museum which was established in the year 1974.Some other significant temples and religious spots within the city are Surya Narayana Mandir, Shobhnath Mandir, Sankat Mochan & Gonawa Jal Mandir. The Surya Narayana Mandir of Handiya is the earliest & it is supposed to be of Dwaparayuga. The Surya Narayana Mandir of Handiya is constructed by the King of Magadha Jarasandha, Jarasandha’s daughter Dhaniya was suffering from leprosy and used to stay at this holy place every day for devotion. The Myth goes, she used to have bath in the nearby pond and was cured.Soon after Dhaniya established a place of worship of Maa Bhagwati in a close to village and a Shivalinga at Dhaniya hill, which is just away from main temple .
Present time Handiya is the most remarkable place to visit for anyone. It is beautifully surrounded on the north side by Rajgir Mountain and on the south by river.Each year thousands of people come to visit this holy place. The Surya Narayana Mandir is also famous for betel nuts like Magahi Pan. Apart from these,famous tourist places like Kakolat Falls, Bodhgaya, Pawapuri, Nalanda , Rajgir can be reached by road within 1–2 hours.