|• Density||197/km2 (510/sq mi)|
|• Official||Hindi, Santali|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||JH 7A **** – JH 7Z ****|
Gumla began as a small hamlet. A week-long "Cow Fair" (Gau-Mela) took place every year in the town where items of daily use, utensils, ornaments, grain, and cattle were sold and exchanged. These items could only be obtained at the fair, so people would make a long list of items required during the year and buy them during the fair. People from distant places were drawn to the town to buy and sell these agricultural staples. People gradually began to inhabit the hamlet on a full-time basis, and it eventually grew into a village. The village was given the name "Gumla," a derivative of "Gau–Mela."
During the British rule in India, there was a revolt against the British in 1800. In 1807, the Oraons in Barway, west of Gumla, murdered their landlord from Srinagar. Soon the uprising spread around Gumla. During British rule, Gumla was in the Lohardaga district. In 1843, it was brought under the Bishunpur province that was later named Ranchi, which came into existence in 1899. In 1902, Gumla became a subdivision of the Ranchi district.
During the medieval era, the Chhotanagpur region was ruled by kings of the Naga dynasty. Baraik Devenandan Singh was given the right to rule over the Gumla region. It is said that during the Kolh Reble in 1931–32, Vaktar Say played a prominent role. Ganga Maharaj, who built the Kali Temple at Sri Ramnagar, played an active role in the Quit India Movement in 1942. For this great contribution to Indian independence, he was honored with a life pension by the Indian government.
On May 18, 1984, Gumla District came into existence. Sri Jagannath Mishra, then ruling Chief Minister of Bihar, inaugurated it, and Sri Dwarika Nath Sinha was appointed the first deputy commissioner of the newly formed district.
Gumla is located at Chota Nagpur plateau, which forms the eastern edge of the Deccan plateau system. Three major rivers flow through the Gumla area: the South Koyel, North Koyel and Shankh.. Geographically, Gumla is in the southern part of the
Gumla enjoys a pleasant sub-tropical climate which is characterized by temperate weather conditions. The temperature ranges from highs of 40° Celsius during the summer to lows of 3° Celsius during the winter. The annual rainfall is approximately 1450 mm.
As of 2001[update], Gumla had a population of 104,600. Males constituted 52% of the population and females 48%. Gumla had an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy was 80%, and female literacy was 70%. In Gumla, 15% of the population was under 6 years of age. The major languages spoken in this region of Jharkhand are Nagpuri (or Sadri), Hindi, Oriya, Bihari and Kurukh.
Education has long been a problem for Gumla. In 1986 Rakesh Popli and his wife Rama Popli, an expert in child education, established the first Ekal Vidyalaya (one-teacher) schools to bring education to the tribes of the Gumla region. Due to the lack of available good colleges, students are forced to go to Ranchi for higher education. The colleges here come under Ranchi University. There are three colleges:
- Kartik Oraon College
- Women’s College
- Karunavati Devi Memorial College
There are numerous schools in Gumla, many of which are very good and even produce state toppers. Some of them are:
- Saraswati Shishu/Vidya Mandir, Gumla
- Adarsh Vidya Mandir School, Pugu
- Don Bosco School, Bhamni
- St. Ignatius School
- Oxford Public School, Gumla
- Natro Dame School, Gumla
- D.A.V. Public School, Gumla
- St. Stephen’s School
- Ursuline Convent School
- S.S. High School, Gumla
- St. Patrick School
- Wescott Public School
St. Ignatius School is a Jesuit-run school which has produced international level hockey players. It was founded in 1935.
- Anjan – A small village about 18 km away from Gumla. The name of the village is derived from the name of the goddess Anjani, mother of Hanuman. Many objects of archaeological importance obtained from this place have been placed in the Patna Museum. Anjan is the birthplace of Hanuman.
- Baghmunda – Famous for its religious stone idols (Ajanta caves stone idols).
- Nagar - It is situated in Sisai Block. It is 9 km from Sisai Headquarters. A fort of the Nagbansi kings is the main tourist attraction. It is said that the Chhotanagpur name of this region was given by them. (The words son-Choota, NAG-Vansh.)
- Rajendra – A place of great scenic value, Rajendra is surrounded by beautiful hills on all sides.
- Dewaki – A place of religious importance, Dewaki is famous for a Shiv-Parvati temple. During the month of Sawan, devotees visit here to offer water to the Shiva Linga, and the place is transformed into a fair ground.
- Basudeokona – It is famous for religious stone idols (Ajanta caves stone idols). It is located 3 km east of Raidih Block headquarters.
- Taraloya is a charming waterfall. The local people call it "Perwahatt". It is located 30 km south from Raidih Block Headquarters.
- Hapamuni – Famous for an ancient Mahamaya temple that is the focal point of the village.
- Nagfeni – Famous for the Jagannath temple, and a large stone in the shape of the snake 'Nag'.
- Birsa Munda Agro Park
- Raidih – Raidih block is one of the eleven administrative blocks of Gumla District. It is famous for its scenic beauty.
Festivals and dances
Gumla is home to people of many different castes, creeds and sects. All festivals are celebrated with pomp, glory and in harmony.
This is a festival of brothers and sisters. It is celebrated in rotation from one village to another. Like other festivals it is also a way for the local population to make merry. This festival is divided into three categories:
- Raj karma.
- Budhui karma.
- Padda karma.
Raj karma is celebrated by the whole community in this region. Budhi karma is celebrated only by old women in the month of June in order to summon the god of rain. Padda karma is celebrated by the whole village.
Sarhul, a prominent festival of Oraon, is inseparable from its dance. People hold together in a chain and form a circle, then practice this dance along with music and song. Musicians with their traditional music instruments remain inside the circle. Men wear a white dhoti with a red border and women wear a white sari with a red border.
Dozens or more of young boys and girls gather at a particular place, form a chain by clasping each other's hands in alternate succession, and then perform the dance, which follows different postures with melodious traditional music and songs in rhythm.
- Rotary Club of Gumla
- Sarna Club, Gumla
- Nav Yuvak Sangh
- Inner Wheel Club, Gumla
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Dr. Rakesh Popli, Nuclear Scientist & one of Ekal's Visionaries, passed away on September 15, 2007". Newsletter October 2007 (Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation). Retrieved 22 March 2012.