Narsinghpur District

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A part of the Jabalpur Division, Narsinghpur is a district of Madhya Pradesh. Its administrative headquarters is the town of the same name. Narsinghpur is bounded on the north by the districts of Sagar and Damoh, on the south by the district of Chhindwara, on the east by the district of Jabalpur, and on the west by Hoshangabad. To the district’s southeast is found Seoni District and to the northeast is the district of Raisen. Narsinghpur has a total area of 5,133 square kilometers with a population of 957,399 people, according to the 2001 census. The district has 5 administrative tehsils. They are Gotegaon, Gadarwara, Narsinghpur, Kareli and Tendukehda.

Pre-modern history, the area in and around the district has been occupied by ancient people, as evidenced by the discovery of animal fossils and stone implementations and tools in the village of Bhatra, located some 10 kilometers away from Gadarwara. Other artifacts are also found in neighboring areas of the district.

Historical records also show that the district was under the rule of the Satvahans during the 2nd century and, on the 4th century, the Gupt empire took over, led by King Samudra Gupt. Other kingdoms and empires followed during the course of the next couple of centuries, with the more prominent of them being the Gond Vansh empire, the Mughals, and the Marathas.

In early 19th century, the British came to the country and established their own rule. After the battle of Sitabardi in 1817, Narsinghpur district came under British rule; during this time, the area was called Gadarwara Pargana. In 1830, control of the area was given to a committee, and during this time, the area experienced improved administration, especially following the problems experienced under the Maratha Bhonsle rule before it. In 1836, the area was divided and was merged with the district of Hoshangabad. However, the Bundela revolt in 1843 caused this area to be reinstated. Narsinghpur eventually became a part of the Nerbudda division of the Central Provinces and Berar. When it eventually became Madhya Pradesh after India gained its independence in 1947, Narsinghpur became a district of Madhya Pradesh.

Narsinghpur has relatively fertile lands; the district, after all, sits on the basin of the Narmada River. Its black soil is suited for any kind of cultivation, especially since the place has adequate irrigation facilities. The crops are usually cultivated in two seasons, based mainly on the climate and conditions of the district. The two seasons are called Rabi and Kharif. Rabi crops are cultivated during October and November, with cuttings in April and May. The crops during this season include wheat, peas, and pulses. Kharif crops, on the other hand, are cultivated during June and July, and are cut in October. The crops during this season include paddy, bajara, kutki and jowar.

Tourist destination in the district include the Narsimha Mandir, a temple constructed by Jat Sardars in the 18th century in honor of Lord Narsimha. There is also the Jhoteshwar Temple, found on the route of the Mumbai-Hawrah Central Railway. Both attractions can be reached via land travel.

Sidhi District

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Sidhi District is a medium-sized district located at the easternmost portion of Madhya Pradesh. It has a total area of 10,536 square kilometers. As of the census done in 2001, the population of the district is 1,831,152, or about 3% of the population of the stat’s population. Of the overall population of Sidhi, about 11.9% of those are scheduled castes while 29.9% are tribal.

Since the district is located at the edge of the state, two of its boundaries are other states. To the east is the state of Uttar Pradesh while to the south is the state of Chhattisgarh. Most of the north is bounded by the district of Rewa, while the northwest is bounded by Satna district. To the southwest is the district of Shahdol. Sidhi district’s headquarters is the town of Sidhi. It is part of Madya Pradesh’s Rewa division.

The district forms part of the hills of Kaimour Range. Historically, it was known as Siddha Bhumi in ancient times. It has been ruled by three rulers during the 19th century, with each ruler occupying a different territory. They were the Chandela rulers from Bardi (also known as Katai), the Rajasahab of Madhwas and the Rajasahab of Singrauli. Early in the 19th century, the Rajput Baghelas came from Rewa and immigrated to Sidhi. They ruled the western part of of the district (specifically Churhat/Rampur) until India gained its independence. During the creation of Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 1956, Sidhi became a district of the newly established state. It was from the last ruling family of the Rajput Baghelas that the first chief minister of Madhya Pradesh was born.

Sidhi district enjoys a climate that is similar to most of Madhya Pradesh. The hottest months are May and June, with temperatures peaking at 40 degrees. The coldest months, on the other hand, are during December and January.

Agriculture is the occupation of majority of the district’s population. About 35% of the total land is agricultural although only about 17% of the total net sown area has direct irrigation. Most of the agricultural practices in the district are traditional.

99% of the villages have working electricity but only a small percentage of the households’ homes are electrified. There are also teachers and social workers but very few facilities to help them accomplish their jobs to the fullest.

In spite of this, the district’s potential for development is huge. Sidhi district is rich with natural resources, especially with the Sona river draining the district. About 40% of the land is well-forested, which gives the district a constant source of timber as well as non-timber forest products. There are also coal deposits in the area that feed what major industries the district has currently, and it also accounts for a major percentage of the district’s revenue.

Hoshangabad District

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Hoshangabad is a district that is located on the lower middle portion of Madhya Pradesh. It lies in the central Narmada Valley, and is just on the northern fringe of the state’s Satpura Plateau. Its district headquarters is the town of Hoshangabad, where the district also took its name from. The name itself came from Sultan Hushang Shah Gori, the second king of Malwa during the 15th century.

Being found near the center of the state, Hoshangabad is bounded by Madhya Pradesh districts all around. To the north, it is bounded by the district of Raisen while to the south, Betul district is found. To the direct east, one can find the district of Narsinghpur, while Harda district bounds it to the west. Chhindwara district is found on the southeast and Sehore district bounds it on the northwest. Hoshangabad district has a total land area of 5,408.23 square kilometers, with a population of 1,085,011 people as of the 2001 census. This is a 22% increase from the census done in 1991.

Hoshangabad is part of the Bhopal division. Topographically, the district has a soil that consists chiefly of black basaltic alluvium; along the banks of the Nerbudda river, the land is very fertile, making up for the relative tameness of the scenery. The west part of the district has level ground that is cut up by broken ridges and low, stony hills. This is contrasted by the spires, jutting spurs and ranges that are thrown up by the Vindhya and Satpura range. The south is composed of valleys that are locked in by the lofty range typical of good mountain scenery that are starkly in contrast with the Vindhyan chain in the north part of the district.

There are also a lot of streams that wind from the mountain range precipices down to the glens, flowing across the plains and into the sandy, jungle-covered banks and into the Nerbudda. While these streams are not significant, the Tawa is, since geologists have discovered that many minerals can be found along its course. Aside from this, though, the only bodies of running water that are of any importance are the Nerbudda and the Tapti.

The district is mainly agricultural since the lands are mostly fertile thanks in large part to the plentiful water supply provided by the Narmada River. The river also provides sands and tiles which the district export to other regions. The principal crops are wheat, oil-seeds and millets. Aside from agriculture, main trades include handicrafts, leather, silk and pulses. There is also one large industry in Hoshangabad, that being the Security Papers Mill which functions under India’s Ministry of Finance.

The district has 960 primary schools, 207 middle schools and 69 senior secondary schools. There are also 9 schools operated by the Tribal Department. As for colleges, there are 11 district colleges with 1 polytechnic college. All function under Bhopal University, in Bhopal. The district has a total literacy of 58.64%.

Rajgarh District

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Rajgarh is one of Madhya Pradesh’s smaller districts. It lies on the northern edge of the Malway Plateau and two rivers form the boundary on its sides; the Parbati River forms the eastern boundary while the Kali Sindh River completes the western boundary. The district is bounded by Rajasthan to the north, the district of Shajapur to the west and south, Bhopal to the east, Guna to the northeast and Sehore to the southeast. The zigzagging boundaries of the district make it look like a pear. Rajgarh district is part of the Bhopal division.

As of the 2001 census, Rajgarh district has a total population of 1,254,085 people distributed across a total area of 6,154 square kilometers. The district itself has 6 administrative tehsils. They are Rajgar, Khilchipur, Sarangpur, Biaora, Zirapur and Narsinghgarh.

Rajgarh was previously the headquarters of a state ruled by the Umar Rajputs; they enjoyed a Sanad Estate under Sultans of Delhi, and even with the Mughal emperor successors. The first capital was Duparia, which is now in Shahjapur district. It was later shifted to Dungarpur and then to Ratanpur, before finally being shifted back.

The district as it is today was created in May 1948, after India gained independence. It included the former princely states of Rajgarh, Khilchipur, Narsinghgarh, and other parts of the states of Dewas and Indore. The district was originally part of Madhya Bharat and when it was integrated into the newly established state of Madhya Pradesh on the 1st of November, 1956, it became a district of the new state.

The district has fairly good cultivated lands, with about 412,714 hectares of total area that are sown. Of this, the total gross area being irrigated amounts to about 160,096 hectares. As of 2001, the district also has a total livestock of 794,122, and a total poultry of 138,649. Comparing this to the population of the district, it can be said that Rajgarh is a very good producer of farm and agricultural products. It is not to say, however, that the whole district is rural; as of 2001, the district has 11 registered factories and 3000 registered manufacturing units.

There are also several historical places that can be found in the district. The more popular ones include the 700 year old Chaturbhujnath Temple found in the banks of Ajnar River, in Biaora. Another temple, the 400 year old Raghunathji Temple, is found in the same area. Over at Talen, in the bank of the Ugal River, can be found the remains of the political places of Sindhia and Holkar. Also, at Chhagoda, some 15 miles away from Rajgarh, one can find several historical and famous caves. The most famous, however, is arguably the town of Narsinghgarh, with over 300 years of history, having been found in 1681 by Dewan Parasram. During autumn, the place becomes very picturesque and beautiful, especially if seen from the top of the Baijnath Mahadeo temple.

Bhind District

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Bhind district is located in Madhya Pradesh. Its district headquarters is located in the town of the same name. The district is found in the Chambal region, in the northwest of the state. As of the 2001 census, Bhind district has a population of 1,428,599 people. Since the whole district has a total area of 4,459 square kilometers, that makes the population density 320 people per square kilometer.

Bhind district is bounded by Uttar Pradesh ton the north and east. All are districts of the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. To the south is the district of Datia, while southwest and west are bounded by Gwalior and Morena, respectively.

The district’s name was taken from the mythological Hindu saint Vibhandak Rishi, who is also known as Bhindi Rishi. The region was under the rule of the Chedi King Shishupal, during the Mahabharat era. Later, the Yadav rule was established in the area by King Yadav Krishna. The Chedi continued having a prominent role during the Mahajanapada period. It was later that the Chandels took control of the area, but they lost their grip on it when they were defeated by the Chauhan dynasty, under Prithivi Raj Chauhan. Later, Bhind was under the rule of the Bhadorias (also known as Bhadaurias) in the north while the Jats took the south.

Bhind district’s modern history May 28, 1948, when the Prime Minister of India then, Jawaharlal Nehru, inaugurated the state of Madhya Bharat. It was then decided that the Union be divided into six districts, and Bhind was included among them. When the states were reorganized, Madhya Bharat was added to the state of Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 1956, and Bhind became a district of the latter.

The region has long been under the threat of armed robbery and banditry, by people known as dacoits, even during the Mughal times. A big reason for this is the fact that the yawning chasms and deep ravines of the Chambal River provide effective hideouts for the bandits. The ravines and chasms are the result of gully erosion and they are currently heavily under soil loss. Fortunately, this has not escaped the attention of the state government as watershed developments and aerial seeding of plants like acacia and prosopis are underway to control soil erosion and ravine expansion. The quality of the terrain still proves to be a challenge, though. In spite of this, the soil of Bhind district is very fertile, well drained by several rivers and extensive canal systems.

For the tourists and visitors, Bhind has several sites that are established tourist destinations. The more popular ones include:

1. The Jain Temple. In the tradition of Jains, this temple is among the Atishaya Kshetra, or a place where Lord Mahavira made a stopover during his journey after having received Ultimate Realization. The temple is located 14 kilometers from the Bhind town.

2. National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated on the Chambal River, this reserve is famous for its crocodiles, Ganges dolphins, gharials, and several migratory birds.

3. The Sun Temple.

Morena District

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Morena is one of the administrative districts of Madhya Pradesh. It is located in the northernmost portion of the state and is part of the Chambal division. The district is bounded by the state of Rajasthan to the north and west, the district of Bhind to the east, Gwalior district to the south, and the district of Sheopur to the southwest. Another state, Uttar Pradesh, bounds it to the northeast. The lower Chambal river flows to the north, forming a basin that consists mostly of an alluvial tract, cut by several ravines. The south sports a forested area. Morena district has a total area of 4,998.78 square kilometers, with a population of about 1,587,264 that is often widely dispersed. The district’s literacy rate is 65.58%, higher than the national average. Morena’s divisional and administrative headquarters is the town of Morena.

The district’s name is derived from a combination of “mor” and “raina”, which means “the place where peacocks are found in abundance”. It is touted as a rugged and untamed wilderness located in the heart of India, meant to be an attraction for those with the adventurous spirit. Historically, much of modern-day Morena was part of what used to be the princely state of Gwalior. When India gained its independence in 1947, the princely states were made to accede to the newly established government of India. Morena acquired its present boundaries, as well as the princely state of Pahargarh, located to the south of the district. A new state, Madhya Bharat, was formed and Morena was included as one of its constituents. On November 1, 1956, another reorganization of the states in India was declared and Madhya Bharat was merged with the other states to form a new state which is the present Madhya Pradesh. Morena acquired its present status and was made one of the new state’s districts.

The district’s main occupation is agriculture, with the district being mostly farmland. About 50% of the total area is available for cultivation, with more than half of that cultivable area already receiving irrigation. The major source of irrigation are canals, comprising about 42.94% of the total irrigated area. The most important grain product produced in the district is wheat while mustard is the most important oil seed cultivated; mustard production is pretty much what Morena is famous for.

The district is undergoing development in several stages. Under the Chambal Ayacut Development Project, a considerable part of Morena district’s topography is being gradually changed with the reclamation of the ravines for agricultural purposes. It is hoped that with this change, the district will be one of the most prolific and developed district in the whole of Madhya Pradesh.

Aside from this agricultural endeavour, several industries have also set up operations, a majority of which are in the Industrial Development Center in Banmore. Some of the more well-known of these industries include J.K. Industries Ltd which manufactures automobile tires and radials and Gwalior Milk Centre that manufactures butter and skimmed milk.

Morena can be reached by air via the airport in Gwalior, which is about 46 kilometers away. The district can also be reached by road via the Agra-Mumbai National Highway, and by railroad on the main trunk broad gauge railway that joins Delhi-Madras and Delhi-Bombay via Bhopal.

Dindori District

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Dindori is among the 48 districts that are within the jurisdiction of Madhya Pradesh and is situated on the eastern part of the state. To the east, it is bounded by the district of Shahdol while Mandla bounds it to the west. To the north is the district of Umaria while to the south is the district of Bilaspur from the state of Chhattisgarh. Jabalpur district completes the boundaries to the northwest. The district has a total area of 6,128 square kilometers, holding a total population of 580,730 people according to the census taken in 2001. That gives it a population density of 95 people per square kilometer — a very low number compared to the state and national average. About 95% of the total population are living in the rural area while roughly 5% are urbanized. 65.33% of the area is tribal. Dindori district is part of Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur Division. Its district headquarters is the town of Dindori.

The region used to be ruled by the Lodhi and Gond dynasties, during the time when the Gond dynasty renamed the whole region as Gondwana. As of recent history, Dindori used to be part of the district of Mandla, before it was separated on May 25, 1998 to form its own district identity, making it one of the more recent district additions to the state. Upon its separation, it had a total of 927 villages. Administratively, the district has seven development blocks: Dindori, Mehendwani, Shahpura, Bajag, Amarpur, Samnapur and Karanjiya. The setup is well-designed and is headed by the Collector and District Magistrate.

Dindori district has very rich natural resources; however, these are not fully utilized due to a lack of basic infrastructure and low literacy rate. The economy depends largely on agriculture and forest produce, since about 37.32% of the district’s area is covered by Sal forest. Some of the more common forest produce include mahlon patta, patt and char and they are collected every year. While the district is largely agricultural, only 1,569 hectares of land are under irrigation. Modern agricultural techniques are largely nominal, with the majority of the farmers still relying on traditional methods of farming. The main crops produced in the district include makka, dhan, kutki and oil seed ramtilla.

Dindori has its fair share of historical and important spiritual destinations. The Laxman Mandva, for example, is a famous tourist and pilgrim destination that is located some 7 kilometers from the town of Dindori. Legend has it that during Lakhsman and Lord Sri Ram’s exile, they stopped at this place. The district is also a part of the Kanha National Park, said to be the best national park in Asia.

Dindori can be reached via air through the district of Jabalpur, which has the nearest airport to Dindori. The nearest railway stations are Jabalpur, the Birsingpur Railway station at Umaria and the Annupur Junction Railway station. The Dindori Bus Station also connects the district with Mandla, Umaria and Balaghat.

Mandla District

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Surrounded by the Narmada River, Mandla is a district that is found in the central eastern part of Madhya Pradesh. It is bounded by the district of Jabalpur to the north, the district of Dindori to the east, Balaghat district to the south and Seoni district to the west. Since the district is surrounded by the Narmada river, most of it lies in the river’s basin. Mandla has a total area of 8,771 square kilometers, with a population of 894,236 people. It has a population density of 102 people per square kilometer. The town of Mandla also happens to be the district’s administrative headquarters. It is part of the Jabalput division, and lies in the Mahakoshal region.

Mandla was originally a part of Seoni district from 1818 to 1835. In 1840, it was transferred to the district of Jabalpur. It was upgraded to the status of district in 1849 but six months after, it was reverted back to being a tahsil. Finally, in 1851, Mandla together with two other constituents Ramgarh and Sohagpur were combined to form the independent district of Mandla. A deputy commissioner was put in charge of the new district.

In the 1857 Indian Mutiny, the chief of the three tahsils that constitute Mandla joined the mutineers. When the revolt was finally taken under control, Ramgarh and Shahpura were confiscated and Sohagpur was given to Rewa. The British took control of Mandla in 1858 and implemented several administrative and territorial changes to the district. When Balaghat was formed in 1867, 262 villages were transferred to Mandla from Seoni. The first Indian civil service officer was also placed in Mandla. In 1914, a third tahsil, Niwas, was added to Mandla. Later on, the tahsils were increased to six. These were Mandla, Niwas, Dindori, Nainpur, Bichhiya and Shahpura. On May 21, 1998, when Madhya Pradesh passed the act that reorganizes its districts, Mandla was split into two districts: Mandla and Dindori.

Mandla district’s physical features consist of a rugged high tableland in the eastern part of the Satpura hills. The southwest corner of the district consists of low altitude, compact blocks of about two hundred villages known as Haveli, which are also the rich and wheat-growing tracts around the Hirdenagar, and the open wheat plains around Nainpur. The extreme upper valley of the Narmada are undulating plains broken by flat-topped hills that enclose patches of fertile black soils. The southern portion of the eastern tahsils is covered by grass plains which house the forest sanctuaries that serve as the home of countless fauna. The northern part of the district is another tract of rugged and inaccessible tract, but contains two pockets of the rich block soil.

The district’s economy relies mainly on forests and natural resources, as well as tourism. Kanha National Park, in particular, is Mandla’s most famous tourist attraction. It is a tiger sanctuary, serving as a home to more than 100 tigers. It came about as a result of Project Tiger, one of the largest conservation schemes in the world, which was launched in 1973 in India. The park was one of the first nine reserves included in the Project Tiger Network and remains to this day one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

Shahdol District

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Shahdol is a district of Madhya Pradesh located on the southeastern-most portion. The district is tribal in nature, with the living standards of the tribes being relatively simple. The boundaries include both districts and a state, with the north bounded by the district of Satna (on the northwestern side) and Sidhi (on the northeastern side). The east and south parts are bounded by the state of Chhatisgarh. To the west, it is bounded by two districts, with Dindori on the southwest side and Umaria district on the northwest.

Shahdol is a medium-sized district, having a total area of 5,671 square kilometers. The 2001 census states its total population is around 908,148. Of those, 391,027 are scheduled tribes while 67,528 are scheduled castes. Shahdol district is part of the Rewa division of Madhya Pradesh and its administrative headquarters is the town of Shahdol.

As is most often the case with districts, the name of the district was derived from its administrative headquarters town of Shahdol. The name itself is thought to be derived from one Shahdolwa Ahir, who hailed from the village of Sohagpor. This came about because of a declaration by Jamni Bhan, the second son of Maharaja Virbhan Singh of Bagelkhand, who also happens to be the progenitor of the Ex-Illakadar family of Sohagpur. Jamni Bhan decided to settle in Sohagpur and proceeded to maximize facilities in the settlement. He also declared that places settled by clearing the forests will be named after the pioneer settlers, hence the settlement founded by Shahdolwa Ahir.

Later on, the place became the camp site for the Maharaja of Rewa and the British forces while both were on tour. In time, more villages were added on the Shahdol settlement until it eventually became recognized as a town. When the princely states merged in 1948, the district headquarters was shifted from Umaria to Shahdol. Eventually, when Madhya Pradesh was created via the melding of several existing states on November 1, 1956, Shahdol became one of the districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Shahdol district is located on the northeastern part of the Deccan Plateau, at the trijunction of the Maikal Ranges of the Satpura Mountain, Vindhya Mountain’s Kymore Range, and some of the parallel hills that extend over the Chhota Nagbur Plateau over in Bihar. The district may be divided into three physio-graphic divisions. They are the Maikal Range, the Eastern Plateau hills and the Upper Son valley. Geographically, the district is mainly a hilly region. It is also very rich in mineral resources, with the major minerals being coal, clay, ochres and marble. Bauxite is also found in large quantities.

The tribals living in the area still prefer the old and traditional methods of cultivation. The size of the fields are very small, with the tribals mainly marginal farmers. Since the annual yield of the fields are not enough for their home use, for the non-harvesting seasons, they mostly work on daily wages. The chief crops being cultivated are paddy, kutko, maize and kodo.

Umaria District

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Umaria is a district that is located to the northeastern side of Madhya Pradesh. The district has a total area of 4,548 square kilometers, with the greatest length of the district going to about 150 kilometers running from north to south. The greatest width is about 60 kilometers from east to west.

Umaria district is bounded by the district of Shahdol to the east, Dindori district to the south, Katni to the west, and the district of Satna to the north. Jabalpur also somewhat bounds it to the southeast. As of the census taken on 2001, the population of the district stands at 515,963, of which roughly 83% are living in the rural areas. Of the total population, 35,126 are from scheduled castes while 227,250 are from scheduled tribes. The district’s administrative headquarters is the town of Umaria. The district is part of Rewa division.

Umaria was a part of the district of Shahdol until 1998, when it was separated and was formed into its own district. This came about in the shadow of the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh division which happened shortly after.

The district is rich in some natural resources, particularly forests and minerals. About 42% of the district’s total area is covered with forests. The most important mineral in Umaria is coal; there are at least eight coal mines that are being operated by the South Eastern Coalfields Limited, the largest coal-producing company in all of India. The coal mines are a constant source of revenue and money for the district.

Administratively, Umaria has three subdivisions as well as three administrative divisions (or tehsils). They are Bandhavgarh, Manpur and Pali. When it comes to education, Umaria is a bit on the developing side, with an overall literacy rate of just 32.63%, which is below the national average.

The district is not without its places of interest for the tourists and visitors. Chief of these is the Bandhavgarh Fort, located on the Bandhavgarh hill, rising some 811 meters above sea level inside the Bandhavgarh National Park. The name means “Brother’s Fort” as it was said that Lord Ram gave the fort to his brother Lakshman to keep watch over Lanka. The fort is natural and is thought to be around 2000 years old. Because of this, it is both of archaeological and historical importance. Across Umaria’s history, various dynasties have ruled the fort such as the Mauryans, the Kalachuris and the Baghels. The last inhabitants of the fort deserted it in 1935.

Bandhavgarh National Park is also another popular attraction and is one of the most popular national parks in India. Having an area of 105 square kilometers, Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. The park has a diverse animal life, chief of which are the tigers; the density of the tiger population in Bandhavgarh National Park is one of India’s highest. Other animals that are also found in the park are panthers and various species of deer.

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