The erstwhile Garhwa Subdivision of Palamau district consisting of 8 Blocks was separated from Palamau district as an independent district “Garhwa” with effect from 1st April 1991. It is situated on Southwest corner of Palamau division, which lies between 23060’and 24039’ N latitude and 83022’ and 84000’ E longitude. The district is surrounded by river Sone in the north; Palamau district and area of Chhatisgarh in the south; Palamau district in the east and Sarguja district of Chhatisgarh and Sonebhadra district of U.P. in the west. Garhwa district is a part of Palamau Commissionery consisting of 20 blocks and three subdivisions namely Garhwa, Ranka & Nagar-Untari.
The district is well-connected to roads and railways. Daily bus services are available from Ranchi and major districts of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Road communication in this district is not as good as in other districts of the state. It is connected to Rewa in Madhya Pradesh and Ranchi in Jharkhand by National Highway No. 75. There are 210 km of state highway, 55 km of national highway (NH-75) and 96.95 km of district roads. Link roads and corridors are altogether 190 km.