Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bundelkhand is the name of the geographical area of central India. The area is now divided between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with the larger portion lying in Madhya Pradesh. The area is distinguished by barren hilly terrain with sparse vegetation, although the region was historically forested. The plains of Bundelkhand are intersected by three mountain ranges, the Vindhya, Fauna and Bander chains, the highest elevation not exceeding 600 meters above sea-level. Beyond these ranges the country is further diversified by isolated hills rising abruptly from a common level, and presenting from their steep and nearly inaccessible scarps eligible sites for forts and strongholds of native kings. The general slope of the country is towards the northeast, as indicated by the course of the rivers which traverse or bound the territory, and finally discharge themselves into the Yamuna.
The principal rivers are the Kali Sindh , Betwa , Ken, Bagahin , Tons , Pahuj , Dhasan and Chambal . The Kali Sindh, rising in Malwa, marks the western frontier of Bundelkhand. Parallel to this river, but further east, is the course of the Betwa. Still farther to the east flows the Ken, followed in succession by the Bagahin and Tons. The Yamuna and the Ken are the only two navigable rivers. Notwithstanding the large number of streams, the depression of their channels and height of their banks render them for the most part unsuitable for the purposes of irrigation,which is conducted by means of ponds and tanks. These artificial lakes are usually formed by throwing embankments across the lower extremities of valleys, and thus arresting and impounding the waters flowing through them.
The mines of Panna have been famous for magnificent diamonds; and a very large one dug from the last was kept in the fort of Kalinjar. It was in the fort of Kalinjar that Sher Shah Suri, the only Indian king to defeat Mughals and sit on Delhi throne was killed during an assault over local Bundeli kings.
The area had been from historical times sparsely populated and home of outlaws and dacoits. The valley of Chambal river has been, till recently, feared for dacoits or "daakus". Famous dacoits like Phoolan Devi and Malkhan Singh once ruled the area. The major towns are Jhansi, Sagar, Panna, Banda and Chhatarpur. Bundelkhand's most well known place, however, is Khajuraho which has a number of 10th century temples devoted to fine-living and eroticism. Bundeli is the most common Hindi dialect spoken in the area. The Panna reserve forest boasts of tigers and a variety of other wildlife.
The area is economically and industrially one of the most backward areas in Indian mainland. Lack of resources, poor communication and infertile land are some of the reasons for under-development of area.
Bundelkhand agency was a collection of princely states ceded by the Maratha empire to Britain in 1818. The eastern portion was detached to form Bagelkhand agency in 1871. In 1901 there were 9 states, 13 estates and the pargana of Alampur belonging to Indore state, with a total area of 9851 sq. mi. and a total population of 1,308,326 showing a decrease of 13 % over the previous decade, due to the effects of famine. The most important of the states are Orchha, Panna, Samthar , Charkhari , Chhatarpur, Datia, Bijawar and Ajaigarh. After Indian independence in 1947, the princely states of Bundelkhand agency were combined with those of the former Bagelkhand agency to form Vindhya Pradesh, which became an Indian state in 1950. On November 1, 1956, Vindhya Pradesh was merged into Madhya Pradesh.
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