The geology and basin evolutionary history of the Dharwar Craton is discussed. The Dharwar Craton comprises western (WDC) and eastern (EDC) subdivisions (possibly separated by the Closepet granite), predicated on lithological contrasts and inferred metamorphic and magmatic evolution. A postulated genesis of the WDC comprises early, c. 3.5 Ga protocrust, which possibly formed as basement to the c. 3.35–3.2 Ga Sargur Group greenstone belts. The latter are thought to have formed through accretion of plume-related ocean plateaux. The approximately coeval Peninsular Gneiss Complex possibly originated from beneath plateau remnants, leading to metamorphism of Sargur Group belts at c. 3.13–2.96 Ga. At c. 2.9–2.6 Ga, the Dharwar Supergroup, comprising lower Bababudan (mainly braided fluvial, glaciomarine and subaerial volcanic strata) and upper Chitradurga (marine clastic, chemical sedimentary and subaqueous volcanic rocks) groups developed. This supergroup formed younger greenstone belts characterized by two distinct magmatic events, at 2.7–2.6 and 2.58–2.54 Ga; the latter was approximately coeval with c. 2.6–2.5 Ga granitic magmatism, which marked final cratonization of the WDC. The EDC consists of 2.7–2.55 Ga tonalite–trondhjemite–granodiorite gneisses and migmatites, essentially coeval greenstone belts (mainly volcanic lithologies), with minor inferred remnants of an older, c. 3.38–3.0 Ga crust, and voluminous 2.56–2.5 Ga granitoids (including the Closepet). An east–west accretion of EDC island arcs (or possibly of an assembled arc-granitic terrane) on to the WDC is postulated, and the Closepet granite perhaps accreted earlier on to the WDC to form a ‘central Dharwar’ terrane. A final voluminous granitic cratonization event affected the assembled Dharwar Craton at c. 2.5 Ga.