Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition


a town and district of India, in Berar. The town had a population in 1901 of 4137. The district has an area of 3662 sq. m. The southern part forms a portion of Berar Balaghat or Berar—above the Ghats. Here the general contour of the country may be described as a succession of small plateaus decreasing in elevation to the extreme south. Towards the eastern side of the district the country assumes more the character of undulating high lands, favoured with soil of a good quality. A succession of plateaus descends from the highest ridges on the north to the south, where a series of small ghats march with the nizam's territory. The small fertile valleys between the plateaus are watered by streams during the greater portion of the year, while wells of particularly good and pure water are numerous. These valleys are favourite village sites. The north portion of the district occupies the rich valley of the Purna. The district is rich in agricultural produce; in a seasonable year a many-coloured sheet of cultivation, almost without a break, covers the valley of the Purna. In the Balaghat also the crops are very fine. Situated as the district is in the neighbourhood of the great cotton market of Khamgaon, and nearer to Bombay than the other Berar districts, markets for its agricultural produce on favourable terms are easily found. In 1901 the population was 423,616, showing a decrease of 12% in the decade due to the effects of famine. The district was reconstituted, and given an additional area of 853 sq. m. in 1905; the population on the enlarged area in 1901 was 613,756. The only manufacture is cotton cloth. Cotton, wheat and oil-seeds are largely exported. The Nagpur line of the Great Indian Peninsula railway runs through the north of the district. The most important place of trade is Malkapur—pop. (1901) 13,112—with several factories for ginning and pressing cotton.