Betul is one of the main districts of Madhya Pradesh. It is bounded on the north by the district of Hoshangabad, the district of Amaroti of the state of Maharashtra on the south, the district of Chhindwara on the east, and the districts of Hoshangabad and East Nimar on the west.
The district covers an area of 10,043 square kilometers and it has a population of 1,395,175 (as per the 2001 census), making for a population density of 138 per square kilometer. Betul district is also particularly rich in tribal population; the main tribes inhabiting the place are the Gonds and the Korkus, although other castes include Kunbis, Kurmis, Chamars, Mehras and Rajputs, among others. As of the 2001 census, the tribal population of the district is 549,907.
There is not much history known about the district except that it is probably the center of the first four Gond kingdoms: Kherla, Garha-Mandla, Chanda-Sirpur, and Deogarh. These kingdoms flourished in 1398 until 1418, when the Sultan of Malwa, Hoshang Shah, invaded Kherla and reduced it to a dependency. Throughout the following centuries, various attempts were made to wrest the kingdom from the rule of Malwa, but they were wholly unsuccessful.
Eventually, the kingdom of Malwa was absorbed into the dominions of the emperor of Delhi. In 1743, the Maratha ruler of Berar annexed them to his dominions. This was eventually ceded to the East India Company as the Marathas payment for a contingent and was formally incorporated with the British possessions as stated in the treaty of 1826. When the territories were merged into the Central Provinces in 1861, Betul district was assigned as a part of the province’s Nerbudda Division.
The district of Betul has a mean elevation of 2000 feet above sea level. It is essentially a highland tract, divided into three distinct sections, differed by the soil characteristics, superficial aspects, and geological formation. The northern part has a distinct sandstorm plain formation. It is well-wooded and is highly reminiscent of charming English glades and parks, but it has very little in terms of population and is not well-cultivated.
The central tract of the plains, on the other hand, possesses a rich soil, with lands that are well watered due to the presence of the two rivers Machna and Sampa. The land is almost entirely populated by villages and is very well-cultivated.
The south is a rolling plateau of basalt formations. It extends over the whole of the district’s southern face, finally merging with the broken and wild lines of the Ghats, which eventually leads down the plain. This area consists mainly of stony trap rock ridges that enclose valleys or spots of fertile soils, where the cultivation, for the most part, is confined to. There are several major rivers flowing through the district. They are the Ganjal River (which is a tributary of the Tapti River), the Morand River, ad the Tawa River (which is a tributary of the Narmada River).
The district’s economy is primarily agragrian, based on forests since the district has a large forest cover. Industry-wise, Betul is well connected to the other districts by way of road and rail; the Delhi-Chennai Railway Line and National Highway 69 pass through the district. The district also has good telecom services. Due to these, Betul is primed to be a major industrially advanced district.
Balaghat is one of Madhya Pradesh’s districts, located in the southern part of the Jabalpur Division. It can be found on the upper valley of the Wainganga River, on the southeastern portion of the Satpura Range. The whole district has a total area of 9, 245 square kilometers. Its boundaries are the Mandla district to the north, the districts of Gondiya and Bhandara of Maharashtra to the south, Dindori district to the northwest, Chhatisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district to the east, and Seoni district to the west. As of the 2001 census, the total population of the district is 1,497,968 people. Of these, 1,236,083 live in the rural areas while the rest is urban.
The district was initially divided among two Gond kingdoms back in the 18th century; the district west of the Wainganga portion was part of the kingdom of Deogarh, while the eastern portion was part of the kingdom of Garha-Mandla. In 1743, the Deogarh kingdom was annexed by the Bhonsle Marathas of Nagpur. The northern section of the district, together with the Garha-Mandla kingdom, was annexed in 1781 to the province of Saugor, but in 1798 this was also obtained by the Bhonsles.
Following the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Marathas War in 1818, the Nagpur kingdom became a princely state of British India. It eventually became annexed by the British and became the new province of Nagpur. Balaghat District was included, and was then divided among Seoni and Bhandara. Nagpur Province was eventually reorganized into the Central Provinces.
In 1867, the Bhandara, Mandla, and Seoni districts were joined together to form Balaghat District. The headquarters was originally called “Boora” or “Burha” but disuse eventually turned it back to Balaghat, the district’s original name. It was divided into two administratively: Baihat tehsil to the north, and Balaghat tehsil to the south. After India gained its independence in 1947, the Central Provinces became the state of Madhya Pradesh. Balaghat district became a part of the Jabalpur Division in 1956 when the districts to the south of Balaghat were transferred to the Bombay State.
Geographically, the district can be divided into three distinct parts. The southern lowlands are composed of undulating plains, that are comparatively well-cultivated. They are drained by five rivers: the Wainganga, Bagh, Deo, Ghisri, and Son.
The second part lies between the hills and the Wainganga River, in the long valley that is known as Mau Taluka. The area is comprised of a lowland tract, irregularly-shaped and narrow. There are hill ranges and peaks that are covered with dense jungles that run from north to south.
The third area is the lofty plateau in the Raigarh Bichhia tract that generally runs from east to west. It is broken into numerous valleys and hill ranges that are often irregular.
For land travellers, Balaghat is directly connected by bus to several larger cities such as Nagpur, Raipor, and Bhopal. There is also the Jabalpur-Gondia section of the South East Central Railway of India. It runs north and south through the district, along the Wainganga valley. For those who are thinking of going to Balaghat by plane, the nearest airport is located in Nagpur.