1. The District of Amraoti stretches from 21° 46' to 20° 32
N. and from 76° 38' to 78° 27' E. and
includes the northern and north-eastern
portions of Berar. It is divided into two widely different tracts, the first, an expanse of level plain lying in the rich valley of the Payanghat and almost square in outline, but for the long projection of the Morsi taluk eastwards; the second, a stretch of mountainous country extending along the whole north of Berar, producing little save forest and inhabited by few but aborigines; this is a continuation of the Satpura hills and has been known at various times as Banda, [In the Ain-i-Akbari.] Gangra and the Melghat. Along the north, western boundary for some distance runs the Tapti river and on the eastern side the Wardha, while the Purna flows through the midst of the District; to the north are the Nimar, Betul and Chhindwara Districts, and to the east the Nagpur and Wardha Districts of the Central Provinces; to the south and west the Yeotmal, Akola and Buldana
Districts of Berar.
The area is 4754 square miles, of which 3123 are in the plain; the population according to the 1901 census is 809,499 persons. The greatest length of the District from east to west is about 120 miles and from north to south about 90 miles. Its name is taken from that of the present headquarters' town and is said to be derived from the temple of Amba Devi situated there. This derivation, however, is a very doubtful one. There is a village on the Krishna river in the Madras Presidency also called Amravati (the word is the same) which is famous for a collection of sculptures now in the British Museum; and the name is said to mean in Sanskrit the abode of immortality or the Eternal City. Amraoti is also connected with the Hindu god Krishna to whom the river that bears his name is sacred, and it is conjectured that the derivation may be identical. The pronunciation Umraoti, though very common, seems to be a corruption.
2. The Gawilgarh hills, a part of the Satpuras, so named from the fortress situated on one of their southern spurs, lie between 20° 10' and 21° 47'N. and 76° 40'and 77° 53'E., and pass from the Betul District through the Melghat taluk to end at the junction of the rivers Tapti and Purna in Nimar. In the Melghat the crests of the range attain an average elevation of 3400 feet, the highest point, according to the most recent calculations, being the Bairat plateau of 3866 feet and Chikalda and Gawilgarh being only slightly lower. The foot hills bordering on the Tapti have a mean height of about 1650 feet. The range is composed of Deccan trap of the upper Cretaceous or Lower eocene group. The only other range is a low line of trap hills rising in the vicinity of Amraoti and extending eastwards to some distance beyond Chandur Railway with a general average height of two to three hundred feet above the surrounding country, or about fifteen hundred feet above the sea-level. Spurs from these hills extend northwards for some distance, and the barrenness of the land around them is in sharp contrast with the general fertility.
3. With these exceptions, the District is an undulating plain of black alluvial soil of a very
fertile description, its richest tracts
being perhaps those in the neighbourhood of the
Wardha and Purna rivers. It is watered by a number
of small streams which escape from the Satpura hills in
the north. The soil near the hills is shallow and requires
frequent showers to prevent the crops from drying
up. Though containing no large forests, the lowlands
in some parts are well wooded. Babulbans, small areas
of a few acres or square miles covered with babul, are
found all over the District. The mango grows in profusion
and small groves are common especially near Ellichpur,
but the tree does not, as a rule, attain to any great size.
4. The Puma, the largest river of the District, takes its
rise in the southern slopes of the Gawilgarh hills and flows partly through Ellichpur and partly through Amraoti taluks till it turns westward and forms the boundary between Murtizapur and Daryapur taluks, passing thence into the Akola District. The Chandrabhaga, after watering the western portion of the Ellichpur taluk, flows south-west past Khallar and Daryapur to join the Purna at Dhamni Khurd in the Daryapur taluk; its tributary the Sirpan flows past Ellichpur city which it formerly supplied with water through a now ruined aqueduct. The Shahnur and the Bordi are affluents of the Purna which water the Daryapur taluk; and the Pedhi runs from north to south through the entire length of the Amraoti taluk. Several considerable streams such as the Chundamani, the Bel and the Matu cross the Morsi taluk for a few miles on their way from the hills to the Wardha. The latter river supplies water to the villages on the borders of the District for over 50 miles. To the north of the Melghat lies the Tapti, which bounds the District for about 30 miles and receives, through its tributaries the Kamda, Kapra, Sipna and Garga, a large share of the rainfall of the Gawilgarh
hills. In former times it was used by the jungle people to provide cheap
transport for their timber to Burhanpur.
5. Apart from the Melghat which has already been discussed, there is little variety in the contours of the District. The height
above sea-level of the principal towns and stations is given
in the following table:-
Name of Town
Place where height taken.
Height in feet.
Railway Stn. Platform
D. C.'s Court house
Inner Fort, opposite to Nawab's Palace
Ellichpur Civil Station
Roof Artillery Mess
A village tree
Inspection Bungalow plinth
Railway Stn. Platform
Police Station plinth
Police Station plinth
Of these Nos. I-6 are heights obtained by the Trigonometrical Survey; the remainder by the Public Works Department. Of the taluks except Melghat, Morsi shows the greatest altitude, its highest summit, Surya Barad, an outlying spur of the Betul hills, being 1994 feet above sea-level, while Urwapathar stands 1716 feet. Both these are in the Mehdari reserve. Chincholi, Kassara, Pusla and Pusli are all over 1500 feet, the rest of the taluk varying from 1100 to 1400. Chandur ranges from 1500 feet at Kurha to 967 at Kazikhed, but the general average is from a thousand to twelve hundred. Ellichpur taluk varies from 1069 to 1273 and Daryapur slopes gradually from about
1100 in the north to about 900 close to the Purna. Amraoti shows a wider range of figures, the eastern portion of the taluk lying in the Amraoti Chandur hills being upwards of 1400 feet above the sea, while the remainder varies between 1000 and 1300.