Jhalawar was founded by Zalim Singh in 1796 beside an artificial lake. At that time, Jhalawar was known as Patan or Jhalrapatan. It was the capital of the former princely state of Jhalawar and also an important trading center which exported agricultural products like opium, oil seeds and cotton. Historical accounts say that Jhalawar was ruled by the Jhala clan of Rajputs.
The topography of the place consists of rocky terrains as it is situated at the edge of Malawi plateau. Dense forests, abundant wildlife, red poppy fields and orange laden orchards in the outskirts of the city unite one with the serenity of nature. The lovely cave paintings and massive forts and monuments manifest the rich cultural heritage of Jhalawar.
The Indian Census report published in 2001 states that Jhalawar had a population of 48,049. Males and females account for 53% and 47% of the population. In Jhalawar, 15% of the population is less than six years of age. The average literacy rate of Jhalawar as given in the census report is 71%, which is higher than the national average literacy rate, which is 59.5%. To be specific, the male literacy rate is 78% and the female literacy rate is 63%.
The prime attractions in and around the town are the Jhalawar Fort (Garh Palace), Bhawani Natyashala and Chandrabhaga temples at a distance of 7 km., Bhimsagar Dam at a distance of 24 km., Government Museum, Gagron Fort and Jhalarapatan.