1. The Nagpur District lies between 20° 35' and 21° 44' N. and 78° 15' and 79°
40' E. in
at the southern base of the Satpura
hills. It is bounded on the north by the Chhindwara and Seoni Districts, on the east by Bhandara, on the south and west by Chanda and Wardha, and along a small strip on the north-west by the Amraoti District of Berar. Its area is 3840 square miles, and it is divided into four tahsils, of which Katol lies north-west, Ramtek north-east, Nagpur in the centre, and Umrer south-east. The greater part of the District is an undulating plain, but it is traversed by low hill ranges. In the north a strip of the Satpura hills is included within its limits, narrow on the west, but widening to a breadth of twelve miles or more towards the east. Immediately south of them lies the western extremity of the Ambagarh hills, on which stand the well-known temples of Ramtek. On the western border another low range of hills runs down the length of the District and after a break formed by the valley of the Wunna river, continues to the south-east past Umrer, cutting oft on its southern side the valley of the Nand. A third small range, called the Pilkapar hills, crosses the Katol tahsil from north to south. There are several detached hills, notably that of Sitabaldi
in Nagpur city, which is visible for a long distance
from the country round. The hills attain to no great
altitude, the highest peaks not exceeding 2000 feet, but
vary greatly in appearance, being in places extremely
picturesque and clothed with forest, while elsewhere they
are covered by loose stones and brushwood, or wholly
bare and arid. The Wardha and Wainganga rivers flow
along a part of the western and eastern borders respectively, and the drainage of the District is divided between
them. The waters of about a third of its area on the
west are carried to the Wardha by the Jam, the Wunna
and other minor streams. The centre is drained by the
Pench and Kanhan, which flowing south through the Satpura hills, unite just above Kamptee where they are also
joined by the Koilar; from here the Kanhan carries their
united waters along the northern boundary of the Umrer
tahsil to join the Wainganga on the Bhandara border.
To the east a few small streams flow direct to the Wainganga. The richest part of the District is the western
half of the Katol tahsil, cut off by the small ranges described
above. It possesses a soil profusely fertile, and teems
with the richest garden cultivation. Beyond the Pilkapar
hills, the plain country extends to the eastern border. Its
surface is scarcely ever level, but it is closely cultivated,
abounds in mango-groves and trees of all sorts, and towards
the east is studded with small tanks which form quite
a feature in the landscape. The elevation of the plain is
from 900 to 1000 feet.
2. The northern range of hills extends along the whole
border, being pierced only in two places where The Kanhan and Pench
rivers have broken through. On the west it consists merely
of the outlying foothills of the Satpuras, the plateau proper
lying behind them in Chhindwara. But from the Kanhan
to the Pench, the Satpuras themselves enter the District,
and the ascent of the Khamarpani plateau is made in
Nagpur. Along this lenth the hills are well-wooded and
picturesque, and there is some striking scenery on the Pench river. The old Gond fort of Bhiugarh
stands on this range. The only large block of Government forest in the District
is situated on these hills between the Kanhan and Bawanthari. The cultivated villages are scattered here and there in the river-valleys, and the country is very pleasing and well-wooded, open glades alternating with patches of forest and clearings of cultivation. Mahua trees and tanks abound, and the Gond villages, with their clean little streets and neat back-gardens, have a far more picturesque appearance than the monotonous mud walls of the more imposing houses in the rich villages of the plain country.
A few miles to the south of the main Satpura range are two minor lines of hills to the west and east of the Pench. Those to the west lie between Bhiugarh and Parseoni, terminating in the peak of Tekari (1669 feet). East of the Pench are the Mansar
hills, both, these and the western range being now denuded of trees, and, after a gap of a few miles, come the well-known Ramtek hills, rising to 1400 feet at Ramtek. This range has retained its wooded character only owin to the intervention of Government. Three miles east of Ramtek the Sur river has forced a passage through the hills, but beyond it they continue as the Ambagarh range of Bhandara. The Ramtek hills terminate on the west in the form of a horse-shoe curve, its inner sides enclosing the beautiful and sacred tank of Ambala, one of the most charming pieces of scenery in the District. The temple hill at the extremity of the ranges, rising 600 feet sheer above the level of the plain, is at once a landmark to the surrounding country and a vantage ground from which the great Wainganga plain may be seen spread out below, its irregularities of surface softened into smoothness by the height from which one looks down upon it.
3. The second main hill tract extends along the south
east of the District from Khargarh
on the Wardha river, where there
are some fine falls, to the junction of Wardha and Chanda with Nagpur. They separate the valley of the Kar from that of the Jam up to Kondhali
and further south-east form the watershed between the latter river and the Bor.
Near Bori they become the Kauras plateau and here terminate to afford a passage for the Wardha river, continuing afterwards south-eastwards and dividing the valley of the Nand from the Wainganga plain. West of the Wunna the range is mostly well covered with picturesque valleys and ravines, among which are narrow strips of rich well-irrigated land of great fertility. But to the east towards Umrer the range is dwarfed and uninteresting, with low bare hills, grass-covered and boulder-strewn, except where, overlooking the Nand valley, some excellent teak, is grown. The third main range runs northwards through the Katol tahsil from Kondhali to Kelod, separating the Wardha and Wainganga valleys. The highest part of it is at Pilkapar. The hills are generally clear of trees, but there is a great deal of cultivation scattered among them, and here and there are found upland plateaus covered with stones, and with soil of varying depth, suitable only for the production of rain crops. Connected with this range is the hill system, which divides the Wunna valley from the Wainganga plain, and bisects the Nagpur tahsil. These hills in part striking eastward from the third range, and in front projecting from the Kauras plateau are low and bare. To them belong those dreary stone-covered downs which shut in the station of Nagpur on the west.
4. The Wardha valley proper includes but a small proportion of the District, consisting of
the rich Amner pargana in the
north-west of Katol. But its tributaries drain the bulk of the Katol tahsil, a half of Nagpur and a small part of Umrer. The principal of these are the Bor, the Wunna, the Jam and the Kar. The Bor rises in the hills near Bazargaon and rushes down a winding and rocky
channel between the Kondhali uplands and the Kauras plateau, passing into Wardha to join the
Wunna. Its narrow valley is very fertile and the high well-wooded cliffs on either side render it the wildest and most beautiful spot in the whole of the District. The Wunna rises near the hill of Mahadagarh in the Pilkapar range and flows along the northern base of the Kauras plateau past Hingna and Bori where it is crossed by the Great Indian peninsula Railway. It leaves the District at Ashta. The small Krishna river joins it at Bori and it was in this stream that the Reverend Stephen Hislop was drowned in 1863 while endeavouring to cross it in flood. The Jam rises among the hills south of Kondhali and flowing northwards into the centre of the Katol tahsil, takes a westerly turn past Katol and joins the Wardha at Jalalkhera. The Kar rises in the same range, but flows directly south-west, separating the Wardha and Nagpur Districts till it joins the Wardha river at Khargarh, the trijunction point of the two Districts with Berar. The Nand flows across a small strip in the south of the District and joins the Wunna beyond the border of Wardha.
5. The eastern two-thirds of the District belong to the drainage system of the Wainganga
and except for the northern range of the Satpuras consist of an undulating plain of cultivation, broken only by isolated hills and by the hollows and depressions marking the course of the innumerable streams, which traverse its surface and feed the larger rivers. The chief rivers of this tract are the Pench and Kanhan, both of which flow down from the Satpura range in the Chhindwara District, and meet at Kamptee where they are also joined by the Koilar. The upper reaches of the Pench among the hills and jungles north of Bhiugarh
afford some pleasing views. The Kanhan, entering the District near Baregaon, takes a south-easterly course past Khapa to Kamptee, where it receives the Pench and Koilar and is crossed by two bridges. In its subsequent course it marks the boundary
of the Ramtek tahsil, and after receiving the Nag river near the hills of Bhiukund, finally empties itself into the Wainganga at Gondpipri in Bhandara. The Koilar rises in the northeast corner of the Katol tahsil, and after passing through the rocky country of Lohgarh in the Pilkapar range, emerges into the fertile plain of Saoner and separates the Nagpur from the Ramtek tahsil until its place as a boundary river is taken by the Kanhan. Its bed is generally rocky. At Patansaongi it receives the Chandrabhaga, which brings in the drainage of the Kalmeshwar plain. It is bridged at Dahegaon, where it is crossed by the road from Nagpur to Chhindwara. The doab [Land enclosed between two rivers.] of Parseoni between the Pench and Kanhan, and the doab of Patansaongi on the narrow strip of
land enclosed between the Koilar and the Kanhan, are the most fertile and highly cultivated portions of the Ramtek tahsil.
6. The only other rivers of importance are those draining the eastern half of the Ramtek
tahsil, the Bawanthari, Sur and
Gaotala-Sand, The Bawanthari only passes through the extreme north-east of the District, but it drains the country to the north of Chorbaoli and east of the Seoni road. The Sur, rising in the hills west of the Seoni road, follows a most erratic course, and after cutting its way through a narrow gorge in the Ramtek range, flows eastward past Aroli and Kodamendhi into Bhandara, where it joins the Wainganga. The Sur is remarkable for the shallowness of its bed, the level character of the land immediately on its margin, and the fertile properties of this land in producing, sugarcane and garden crops. The Gaotala-Sand issues from the Ramtek tank and joins the Kanhan at the southeast of the Ramtek tahsil near the hill of Sitapahar.
7. Most of the large rivers, where they flow through
plain country, are characterised by
high banks and rapid streams when
in flood, but in the hot weather they
are mere rivulets, with here and there deep pools where the bed is rocky and hollows among the rocks have been formed by the action of the stream. The wide wastes of sand which are exposed to the sun's rays during the hot weather months seem in the case of the larger rivers to neutralise the cooling effects of the small streaks of water in-the centre of the bed, and the influence on the country around of these rivers, though of course very great, is not directly discernible except in the rugged ravines with short scrub which mark their banks. But their tributaries, the numerous shallow streams with a fringe of vegetation on either side, or winding amidst sindibans or woods of date palm, exercise a more patently beneficial effect on the surrounding lands, which are generally fertile and are kept moist all the year round. Such streams are however only to be found in the most level plains, or in deep valleys among the hills. Over most of the great wheat tract of Umrer, where the more marked undulations of the country cause the water to be carried rapidly away, are deep water-courses absolutely dry during half the year, with bare banks devoid of all vegetation. These become small-torrents after each heavy fall of rain, and the fields in their neighbourhood are scoured out of all recognition, despoiled of their soils, and speedily rendered unfit for cultivation.
8. 'The ordinary resident of the civil station will not be
inclined to concede much recognition to the scenery of Nagpur. The
waste of dreary downs which hem in the city on the west, or confront him if he travels to Umrer, though forming the happy hunting-ground of the Nagpur pig-sticker when he does not wish to go far afield, present but little charm to the ordinary resident. They obstruct his vision at all times, and deprive him of sleep on the hot weather nights by reason of the heat which radiates from their barren sides. But if he
likes to tour out into the surrounding country, he still find
much to charm him. Let him go to Bori and side up the
Valley of the little river Krishna to Takalghat and into
Kanholi. He will find himself among wood-fringed streams
and amphitheatres of hills. Let him then ascend the Kauras plateau by the steep winding path from Kanholi,
and turn his steps down to the Bor valley at Aregaon
through the ravine of Mohgaon, and he will be amply
rewarded for his trouble. He may fancy himself in some
remote highland glen rather than within twenty miles of
the desolate Nagpur ridge lands. And so also if he follows
the valleys of the Jam or. Kar, or explores the upper
reaches of the Pench, he will be forced to admit that the
Nagpur country is not the dreary monotony which he had
imagined. Or again, he may visit the tanks of Bazargaon,
Kelod, or Dongartal, each reflecting on its surface the
setting of hills amidst which it nestles. I need not again
mention Ramtek, the beauties of which everyone who lives in Nagpur has heard of,
if he has not seen.
9. The elevation of the plain portion of the District is from
900 to 1000 feet. Very few levels
except those of the railway stations
are available for the open country. Nagpur post office is
1025 feet above the sea and the Itwari bazar 983 feet.
Sitabaldi hill is 1125 feet high. Kamptee is 1019 feet or
practically the same as Nagpur, Bori 865 feet and Dighori
918. In Umrer tahsil Umrer is 956 feet and Bhiwapur 852.
In the Katol tahsil only the heights of Pilkapar (1899 feet)
and Khurki (1997 feet) are known, but the general level is
probably a little higher than Nagpur. This is probably also
the case with the Ramtek tahsil, but the only elevations of
which information is available are those of the northern hills.
Nagdeo is 1931 feet high, Khapa 1916, Bakari 1882, Nagalwari 1739 and Tekari 1669. Tharsa railway station has an
elevation of 948 feet.