PLACES

SATPUDA HILLS

Geographical Position.

Satpuda Hills is a range of hills in the centre of India. The name, which is modern, originally belonged to the hills which divide the Narmada and Tapi valleys in Nimar, Madhya Pradesh and were styled the Sat Putra or seven sons of the Vindhyan mountains. Another derivation is from Satpud (seven folds), referring to the numerous parallel ridges of the range. The local interpretation placed on the Satpuda refers the word to the seven district ridges that a traveller from the Berar valley has to cross before he reaches the Narmada. Taking Amarkantak in Reva, Central India (20 40' N. 81 46' E.) as the eastern boundary, the Satpudas extend from east to west for about 965 km. (600 miles) and in their greatest depth exceed 161 km. (100 miles) from north to south. The shape of the range is almost triangular. The western prolongation of the Satpuda hills, which walls in the northern frontier of Berar, lies chiefly in Amravati district and is sometimes spoken of as the Gavilgad range, from the fort of that name which stands on one of its highest huttresses directly overlooking the plains below. The range is almost coterminous with Melghat tahsil so called not from ghat, a mountain, but from Melghat a small village and ford on its northern side; and forms the watershed between the Tapi on the north and the Purna and the Wardha rivers on the south. Its greatest length through the Betul, Amravati and Nimar districts is probably about 257.440 km. (160 miles). The hills rise abruptly from the plains of Berar on one side and from the banks of the Tapi on the other, the summits reaching an elevation of about 610 metres to 1220 metres (two thousand to four thousand feet). Plateaux, rather than isolated peaks are the rule, interspersed with precipitous ravines.

The most notable elevations locally are Khamla (now in M. P.) 1.128.560 metres (3,700 feet) and Bhainsdehi 795.745 metres (2,609 feet) in Betul. Bairat (3,866 feet), Cikhaldara 1,179.130 metres (3,664 feet) in Amravati and Narnala 625.860 metres (2,052 feet) in Akola. The last named though geographically part of the Melghat tahsil was handed over to Akola apparently with the idea that it should be a hill station for that district. Its inaccessibility, however, has largely prevented its use.

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