The boundary of the Bundelkhand region is formed by the Ganges Yamuna plain in the north and the Vindhyachal mountain in the south. It is high land with a moderate slope. The height of Bundelkhand is 600 meters above sea level. This region is situated between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Separate demand for Bundelkhand state
Since the early 1960s, there has been a demand to create a separate Bundelkhand state to promote its development. But so far it could not be separated. Before 1956, Bundelkhand was a state, but later it was merged with Central India to create Madhya Pradesh state and the remaining part was merged with Uttar Pradesh. Bundelkhand is rich in natural resources like red sand and diamonds but still, it is very backward economically and socially. soo many people of Bundelkhand are still living below the poverty line. The representation of this region in Indian politics is very low. Due to this,the attention of the governments towards this area has been very less. But at present, a separate package has been set for this area. According to the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, which is vigorously raising the demand for a separate state of Bundelkhand, 7 districts of Uttar Pradesh and 6 districts of Madhya Pradesh are to be merged to form Bundelkhand state. Making progress in this area, in the year 2011, Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati proposed in support of this state.
History of Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand has been famous for its glorious history. The history of Bundelkhand is described in the Puranas since ancient times. In ancient times, Bundelkhand was called many names. It is believed that due to Vindhyachal mountain, it got its name Vindhyelkhand. Its other names are Bhukti, Jujhoti, and Jujharkhand. There is also sufficient evidence of the primitive period in the Patha area of Chitrakoot district, Sagar, Chhatarpur, Panna, and Datia districts. In ancient times, it is said that the Aryans could not establish their hegemony in the Bundelkhand region. But later when the Aryans spread in the south, they were introduced to Bundelkhand. According to the Vedas, people living here were called Dasyus, Yatudhan, and Rakshasas. Due to the dense forest between the Narmada and Yamuna rivers, the ancient sages used to do penance here. There is a taposthali of many sages. When Lord Ramachandra was exiled, he spent 12 years in the ashram of these sages.
The Chera kingdom was founded in the Mahabharata period. Whose range extended from the Betwa river to the Yamuna river in the north. Whose capital was Chanderi and whose ruler was Shishupala. It is said that Lord Vyas had composed the Mahabharata in the Kalpi region of Bundelkhand. During the Mahabharata period, the Pandavas got cursed for killing the Kauravas. To remove that curse, he took a bath in the Arthmarshan Kund on the day of Ravi Saptami. It is located near Dharkundi Chitrakoot. During the Mahajanapada period in the 6th century BC, the Avanti kingdom was under the rule of the Vakt and Chedi rulers. Which was later conquered by Magadha. It was ruled by Ashoka till the 3rd century BC. Ashok’s inscriptions have been found in Gujarat, Sanchi, and Roopnath, Jabalpur. After the demolition of the Maurya dynasty, the Sunga Kanva Satavahanas ruled here. The Naga dynasty arose after the decline of the Satavahanas in the third century. The Vakatakas were the important rulers of this region in the 4th century AD. they had the kingdom up to Panna and Satna. During those dynasty periods, a strong economy emerged and urbanization was seen here. Coins of this period have been found in large quantities at Eran, 60 km from Sagar. The Bundelkhand region was ruled by the Gupta Empire from the 4th to the 6th century AD. Which started disintegrating in the fifth century AD. Here Harshavardhana’s rule extended from the Himalayas in the north to the Narmada in the south. One of the most famous temples of the Guptas is in Deogarh. After the Guptas, some rulers of the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty ruled here in some parts. After their downfall, the Kalachuri of Tripuri, the Parmars of Malwa, and Bundelkhand Chandelas emerged as rulers.
Nannu founded the Chandela dynasty here in the ninth century AD, whose descendants changed the name of the Jejjak kingdom to Jejjakbhukti. The most famous ruler of the Chandela dynasty was Raja Dhanga. Whose kingdom extended from Gwalior in the north to Vidisha in the south and Allahabad in the northeast. Most of the temples of Khajuraho were built during the reign of King Dhanga and his father Yashovarman. Chandela’s rule was from around the 10th to the thirteenth century AD. The last ruler of this dynasty was Hammirvarman.
After the decline of the Chandela dynasty, it was ruled by the Bundela kings between the 14th and the 16th century. In 1531 AD Pratap Bundela made Orchha his capital. Chhatrasal Bundela is considered one of the greatest kings of Bundela. He fought with the Mughals for the independence of Bundelkhand. In this freedom struggle, Bajirao Peshwa helped him. Various Maratha feudatories dominated here during the medieval period. Mainly among them were Sindhiya, Holkar, and Pawar.
During the British rule of 1802, the Marathas handed over parts of Bundelkhand to the British. Which is known as the Treaty of Bassein. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, the British completely occupied Bundelkhand. Which was later organized into Bundelkhand Agency.
Geography of Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand has a distinct identity of its own geographically. It is widely spread in some areas of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The northernmost part of Bundelkhand extends to the Yamuna and the southern part extends to the Vindhyachal Mountains. There is a narrow belt between the Yamuna River and the Chambal River. Which has been a stronghold from dacoits because of its ruggedness. To the south of the Yamuna river lies the plain of Bundelkhand In which mainly Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, and Mahoba, and some parts of the Chitrakoot districts. The soil quality changes from east to west as most of the western part of the Jalaun district is sandy. Some parts of the plains are irrigated by canals. The Banda plain is one of the most fertile regions of Bundelkhand. The soil is generally less fertile as it moves towards the Chitrakoot district. Towards the south, there are the high intermediate regions of Bundelkhand. Bundelkhand high land is also called Bundelkhand Intermediate in Jhansi, Lalitpur, Tikamgarh, and Chhatarpur districts. Which is suitable for high agricultural production. To the south of the central region of Bundelkhand has the plateau or uplands of Bundelkhand. Which covers the southern parts of Lalitpur, Tikamgarh, Chitrakoot, and Panna districts. This plateau is characterized by rocky barren land. There are many possibilities for water storage.
Two distinct forest areas are found to the east of the Bundelkhand plateau. A flat and hilly area in the Panna district, this region was once full of dense forests. But nowadays most of the forests are of poor quality due to administrative neglect. At present, it is the most forested area of Bundelkhand. The Path Plateau in the south is a rocky area. Which is cut by rivers in the form of deep valleys. It remains watery during the monsoon and later dries up in a few months. Most of the scrub forest is present in it. This is an unapproachable area of Bundelkhand. Most of the Kol tribals live here. Here a thin strip cover is found for agriculture.
The southernmost part of Bundelkhand is the Sagar plateau. Which is mainly the eastern part of the Malwa plateau. It is about 1400 feet high from sea level. In this region, Black soil suitable for cotton is found mainly. The hill ranges named Bharner and Kaimur are also found here. In this part, the area around the Sunar river is relatively flat in which Damoh city is located.
There is also a wide variation in the average temperature of the Bundelkhand region which is a hot and semi-humid region. The minimum temperature here is from 6 to 12 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature reaches 38 to 48 degrees. Banda is the hottest place in India. Every year many people die here due to heatstroke.
Rainfall in Bundelkhand is moderate. Which is around 75 cm in the North West and 125 cm in the South East but the distribution of rainfall here is uncertain. More than 95% of the rainfall occurs between June and September, although a small amount of rainfall is received between November and May. Which is important for agriculture. Here the problem of bad groundwater recharge increases due to impermeable rocks. The districts of Bundelkhand, Jalaun, Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, and Mahoba come under the category of drought-prone areas.
Due to the geology and topography of Bundelkhand and the rainfall pattern received, it is prone to both drought and flooding. Much of the entire area is covered by an impermeable rock layer in-depth, which poses a problem for groundwater recharge. The problem is increased by erratic rainfall and thin forest cover in many districts. For the above reasons, the problem of drought or flood persists in some parts of Bundelkhand for some years or others. According to a report by the National Rainfed Area Authority, Bundelkhand experiences severe agricultural drought every 2 to 4 years. This influences all 13 districts of the region. According to the report, there was a decline of 15 to 47% in the reservoirs in MP Bundelkhand and 28 to 64% in the reservoirs of UP Bundelkhand. More than 70% of groundwater recharge sources have dried up like ponds etc. Due to this, there has been a huge decline in groundwater. This resulted in a decline of up to 22% in grain production. Due to this an exodus of about 40% of the people was seen here due to starvation.
Soil and Forest resources of Bundelkhand
There are many types of soils in Bundelkhand. Most of the soil here is found up to a depth of 6 to 15 meters. Then comes the layer of impermeable rocks. Mainly, two types of soils are found here, red soil and black soil, but both types of soils have low organic matter. The variety of black soil is called Mar. Which is commonly called black cotton soil. This soil is prone to waterlogging and has a relatively high organic matter content. This soil is found in parts of the Jalaun, Hamirpur, Jhansi, and Banda districts. It is also found in small pieces in other districts like southern Lalitpur and parts of Sagar.
The amount of barren land in Bundelkhand is high. According to a report of the Department of Land Resources, an area of more than 11000 sq km here comes under barren land. The barren land of Bundelkhand has been classified in many ways. Lands affected by shallow, medium, or deep drains, scrubby wastelands in lowlands, degraded notified forest land, and barren rocky land which is completely unusable land. More than half of the total barren land of Bundelkhand is barren land with bushes. Some part of the Bundelkhand is found in the intermediate region and one-fourth is degraded notified forest land. It is mainly found in Bundelkhand Upland and Sagar and Damoh plateau. Due to extensive quarrying, land degradation is increasing very fast in Bundelkhand. The most impact of land degradation is visible in Tikamgarh. If the excavation continues like this, land degradation will become a widespread problem very soon in Jhansi, Chitrakoot, and Mahoba districts as well. The problem of soil depletion is arising in Bundelkhand due to soil erosion and land degradation. Due to land degradation, cultivable land is becoming unsuitable. The most affected districts are Banda, Hamirpur, and Datia.
Bundelkhand has been a dense forest since ancient times. Which has been described in many texts. From medieval times we get references to the hunting of elephants in Panna forests. In the British period, there are mentions of tigers, leopards, hyenas, deer, crocodiles, and many other wild animals. However, now there are very few dense forests left in Bundelkhand. Due to which the sighting of wild animals has also become almost very rare. Now the forest areas are left only in the designated sanctuaries and hilly areas of South Bundelkhand. In Bundelkhand of UP, less than 8% of forest land is left. These important forests are found only in some parts of the Lalitpur, Chitrakoot districts. UP Bundelkhand covers about one-sixth of the forest area of the whole of Uttar Pradesh. It has less than 6% forest area.
Minerals of Bundelkhand
Sufficient minerals are present in Bundelkhand. The most famous mineral is the diamonds of the Panna district. Which have been very valuable since medieval times. When this stone was found only in India. However, after the discovery of diamonds in Brazil and Africa, the value of Panna diamonds declined. There are a lot of basaltic rocks and sandstone deposits here. Limestone is found in Damoh, Chhatarpur, and Datia and basaltic rocks in southern Lalitpur, sandstone in Panna and Sagar. Granite has been found here since early times. Which are called Bundelkhand granite. Pink-red and grey granites are found in Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Banda, Datia, Chhatarpur, Panna, and Sagar districts. Multicolored and black granites are found in parts of Sagar and Panna. There are two prized varieties found in the Chhatarpur district named Jhansi Red and Fortune Red. Here white, buff, cream, pink and red sandstone are found in different layers of Vindhya hills. Which is mainly in Panna and Sagar districts. This sandstone is used to make various types of artifacts. Two major types of sandstone are found in Lalitpur. Which are called Lalitpur Gray and Lalitpur Yellow. Other varieties of sandstone are also found in Chhatarpur. A soft and light stone deposit called pyrophyllite is found here. Which is mainly in Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Tikamgarh, and Chhatarpur districts. It is mainly used for making decorative items. It is also used for industrial use by mixing it with Diaspore. A large scale of stone is found here for the construction of roads and buildings. Which is mainly in Sagar, Damoh, and Panna districts. Silica sand found in the Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand is a good source for glass manufacturing in India.
The rock phosphate found in Lalitpur and Chhatarpur is used in the fertilizer industry. Lalitpur also has low-grade iron ore deposits. The clay found in Datia, Panna, and Tikamgarh is used in the cement industry. Dolomite is found in Banda and Sagar districts.
Festivals of Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand has a distinct identity in Indian culture. The festivals here have their own mythological and spiritual significance. There is a festival called Gangaur which takes place on Chaitra Shukla Teej. Which only married women celebrate. In which she worships Parvati. It is a festival of good luck. It has been celebrated in Bundelkhand since ancient times. A festival called Chaiti Poonai is celebrated on the Purnima of Chaitra month.
The main festival celebrated here for the accomplishment of work is Asami. It is celebrated on the Dooj of Vaishakh. Here Akti or Akshaya Tritiya festival has a great significance of its own. It is said that the Satyug started from this day and the doors of the famous Temple Badrinath also open on this day. This festival is celebrated on Vaishakh Shukla Teej. Vat tree is worshipped in Bara Barsaat or Vat Savitri Vrat. It is believed that by this fast, the life of the son and husband increases, and women are blessed with eternal happiness. The story of Sati Savitri is associated with this fast.
Brothers are worshipped on Ashadh Shukla Purnima. there does Kunghusu Poonai go for the festival. It is mainly done in honor of women. The Hari Jot festival is celebrated on the new moon of the month of Sawan, which is similar to the Kunghusu Poonai. In this, daughters are worshipped. The festival of Rakhi is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month as Rakshabandhan. This is a very holi festival for brothers and sisters. The festival of Har Chhath is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha of Bhadra month. It is said that on this day Lord Krishna’s elder brother Balarama was born. This fast is performed only by a daughter-in-law. Kanhaiya Eighth festival is celebrated as Janmashtami. It is said that Lord Krishna was born on this day. In Bundelkhand, fortunate women consider the Teej festival which is celebrated from every house in Bundelkhand. There is also a law of night awakening. Risi Panche festival is celebrated on the fifth day of Shukla Paksha of Bhadra to seek forgiveness of sins committed by humans. Other festivals celebrated in Bundelkhand include Mahalaxmi Naurata, Dasarao, Sharad Poon which is also known as Sharad Purnima. From this day, Kartik bath starts in Bundelkhand. According to the Puranas, on this night there is rain Amrit from the moon. It brings joy and happiness to the life of a person. Dhanteras is celebrated on Krishna Trayodashi of Kartik month. In this, Lord Dhanvantari, the Vaidya of the Devtas, is worshipped. It is also known as Narak Chaturdashi. The main festival considered in the biggest festivals of Bundelkhand in the month of Kartik is Diwari. Which is also known as Deepawali.
Folk Dance and Folk Songs of Bundelkhand
The main folk dances of Bundelkhand are the Rai dance, Sera dance, Dhimrayai dance, Kachhiya dance, and Moniya dance. Popular dances here are Kabir Panthi dance, Jogia dance, Jabara dance, Rawla dance, Dhola Maru dance, Dildil Ghodi dance, and Sapera dance. This art culture has a different and incredible mark on the history of Indian culture.
The major folk songs sung in Bundelkhand are Rai, Lori, Dhimaria, Languria, Rasia, Phag, Lamtera, Kajri, Devi Geet, Dadra, Bhajan, Sawan, and Malhar Alha.
Tourist Places of Bundelkhand
- Brihaspati Kund
- Shabari Jharna
- Dharkundi Ashram
- Rahila Sagar Sun Temple
- Kalinjar Fort
- Panna Ghati
- Khajuraho Temple
- Orchha, Temple
- Chitrakoot Dham
- Charkhari (Kashmir of the Bundelkhand)
- Chaturbhuj temple
- Jahangir Mahal
- Orchha Sanctuary