The historical background of the district as available in Ain-E-Akbari records Saran as one of the six Sarkars( Revenue Divisions) constituting the province of Bihar, At the time of grant of Diwani to the East India company in 1765, there were eight Sarkars including Saran and Champaran. These two were later combined to form a single unit named Saran. Saran(along The historical background of the district- as available with Champaran) was included in the Patna Division when the Commissioner’s Divisions were set up in 1829. It was separated from Champaran in 1866 when it (Champaran) was constituted into a separate district. Saran was made a part of Tirhut Division when latter was created in 1908. By this time there were three subdivisions in this district namely Saran, Siwan and Gopalganj. In 1972 each subdivision of the old Saran district became an independent district. The new Saran district after separation of Siwan and Gopalganj still has its headquarters at Chapra.
Various hypothesis have been put forward about the origin of the name SARAN. General Cunningham suggested that Saran was earlier known as SARAN or asylum which was a name given to a stupa (Pillar) built by emperor Ashoka. Another view holds that the name SARAN has been derived from SARANGA- ARANYA or the deer forest, the district being famous for its wide expanses of forest and deer in prehistoric times. The earliest authentic historical fact or record concerning this district may perhaps be related to 898 A.D which suggest that the village of Dighwara dubauli in Saran had supplied a copper plate issued in the reign of king Mahendra paldevass.