History of Wardha District

Hindu Kingdom of Berar

Little or nothing is known of the early history of the District, but we have a mention of the river Wardha so for back as the 2nd century B.C. The early mention goes to Berar – the King of Vidharbha. The country of Vidarbha (Berar) was later divided into two (between Berar and his cousin Madhavansena), each ruling on one side of the riverv (Wardha).

Chalukya and Radhtrakuta Kings

Wardha with the rest of Berar probably formed part of the Chalukya Rajput dynasty whose capital was situated in the modern Bijapur District and subsequently at Nasik and whose rule lasted from about 550 to 750 A.D.
Copper-plate grants belonging to this dynasty have been found at Multai in Betul and at Deoli in Wardha. The Deoli plate is dated A. D. 940 in the reign of the king Krishna III; it records the grant of a village named Talapurumshaka in the Nagapura-Nandivardhan District to a Kanarese Brahman.

The Bahmani Kingdom

Wardha was subsequently included in the territories of the Bahmani kings of Gul barga near Solapur and Bidar, who established an independent principality in 1351, and were so called because the founder of their line, elected after the revolt from Muhammad Tughlak, was either a Brahman or a Brahman’s servant. Mr. Sir A. Lyall says : ‘We may venture to describe roughly the Bahmani province of Berar as stretching from the Satpura range southward to Godavari river, from Khandesh and Daulatabad eastward to the Wardha river.

The Imad Shahi Dynasty

There is and early mention of an invasion of Berar by the king of Gujarat in 1437 in which the Raja of Gondwana (across the Wardha) aided and abetted. This Raja must probably have belonged to the Chanda line. On the collapse of the Bahmani dynasty in 1518, Berar was ruled for a period by the Imad Shahi princes from their capital at Ellichpur, the founder of the dynasty being a Kanarese Hindu whom the governor of Berar had promoted to high office.

The Mughal Empire

The Ellichpur kingdom was crushed out of being by the king of Ahmadnagar in 1572 after a separate existence of ninety years, and in about 1594 Berar was ceded from Ahmadnagar to the Emperor Akbar.

The Maratha Invasion

The tract west of the Wardha included in Berar was finally ceded to Nagpur in 1822, the forts of Gawilgarh and Narnala and some other territory in Berar being retroceded by the Bhonslas to the Nizam at the same time.

The Bhonsla kingdom

In 1765 the allied armies of the Peshwa and the Nizam marched through Wardha plundering the adjoining country, and burnt Nagpur in retribution for the dishonesty displayed by Janoji-I in his conduct towards both of them.

Formation of the District

Wardha continued to form part of the Nagpur District until 1862 under the British, when it was made a separate charge chiefly on the ground that Nagpur as it then stood was too large for a single District, and that the interests of the vary valuable cotton industry in this part of the Wardha valley needed special supervision. The District headquarters were first located at Kaotha, near Pulgaon, but in 1866 they were removed to their present site, and the town of Wardha, named after the river, was built on the ground occupied by the hamlet of Palakwadi, the existing houses being levelled to admit of the new town being laid out on regular plan.