From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia
Former state and historical region
Dark Blue : Nagpur District, Blue : Nagpur Division, Grey : Amravati District, Sea Green : Amravati Division
Dark Blue : Nagpur District, Blue : Nagpur Division, Grey : Amravati District, Sea Green : Amravati Division
Map of India with Vidarbha highlighted in red
Map of India with Vidarbha highlighted in red
 • BodyGovernment of Maharashtra
 • Total97,321 km2 (37,576 sq mi)
 • Total23,003,179
 • Density240/km2 (610/sq mi)
 • OfficialMarathi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registrationMH-
Largest cityNagpur

Vidarbha is the north-eastern region of the Indian state of Maharashtra, comprising Nagpur Division and Amravati Division. Amravati division's former name is Berar (Varhad in Marathi).[2][3] It occupies 31.6% of the total area and holds 21.3% of the total population of Maharashtra.[1] It borders the state of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south and Marathwada and Khandesh regions of Maharashtra to the west. Situated in central India. The largest city in Vidarbha is Nagpur followed by Amravati and Yavatmal. A majority of Vidarbhians speak Varhadi and Zadi dialects of Marathi.[4]

The Nagpur region is known for growing oranges and cotton. Vidarbha holds two-thirds of Maharashtra's mineral resources and three-quarters of its forest resources, and is a net producer of power.[5] Throughout its history, Vidarbha has remained much calmer than the rest of India, especially during the communal troubles. However, there is considerable poverty[6] and malnutrition.[7] It is less economically prosperous compared to the rest of Maharashtra.[8] The living conditions of farmers in this region are poor compared to India as a whole. There have been more than 200,000 farmers' suicides in Maharashtra in a decade, of which 70% being in the 11 districts of Vidarbha region.[9]

There have been recent calls for a separate state of Vidarbha, due to perceived neglect from the Government of Maharashtra and incompetent political leadership in Vidarbha. Being culturally, politically and financially distinct from the rest of Maharashtra, the calls for a separate state rose to prominence only when the leaders from this region were sidelined by other political leaders in recent years.[10] Statehood demands have not been fulfilled mainly due to the opposition from the Shiv Sena, a major state political party.[11]


Ancient period

Coin of the Vidarbhas of the Deccan. Uncertain ruler. (1st century BCE)
Obv Linear cross with each arm terminating in pellet-in-annulet.
Rev Tree in railing.

Vidarbha was part of the Satavahana Empire (1st century BCE - 2nd century CE), as suggested by Satavahana coin finds in Pauni.[12]

Medieval period

Coin of King Jagadeva of the Paramaras of Vidarbha, 12th–13th centuries CE.

Nagpur was the capital of the Berar Subah, known as the Gulshan-e-Berar in the Medieval period, from the rule of the Khaljis to the Mughals, according to the Ain-i-Akbari and Alamgir Namah.[citation needed] In 1724, when Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah declared independence, the existence of Berar as a Mughal Subah came to an end. It became (though nominally) a part of Nizam state.[13]


Chikhaldara is the only hill station in Vidharbha
Wainganga river near Bhandara district

Vidarbha lies on the northern part of the Deccan Plateau. Unlike the Western Ghats, there are no major hilly areas. The Satpura Range lies to the north of Vidarbha region in Madhya Pradesh. The Melghat area of Amravati district is on the southern offshoot of the Satpura Range.[14] Large basaltic rock formations exists throughout Vidarbha, part of the 66-million-year-old volcanic Deccan Traps. Bhandara and Gondia district are entirely occupied by metamorphic rock and alluvium, making their geology unique in Maharashtra.[15]


Vidarbha region has 11 districts divided into two divisions (Amravati and Nagpur).

Name of Division
Districts Source
Amravati Division
Division Website
Nagpur Division
Division Website

Each district has a collector's office which is responsible for day-to-day administration.The District Collector is a Central Indian Government IAS appointee who is in charge of the governance of a district in a state.[16]


Vidarbha has a total population of 23,003,179 according to the 2011 India census.[17]

District Male Female Total
Nagpur 2,388,558 2,264,613 4,653,171
Amravati 1,482,845 1,404,981 2,887,826
Yavatmal 1,425,593 1,349,864 2,775,457
Wardha 665,925 630,232 1,296,157
Washim 621,228 575,486 1,196,714
Chandrapur 1,120,316 1,073,946 2,194,262
Akola 936,226 882,391 1,818,617
Bhandara 604,371 594,439 1,198,810
Buldhana 1,342,152 1,245,887 2,588,039
Gadchiroli 542,813 528,982 1,071,795
Gondiya 662,524 659,807 1,322,331


Religion in Vidarbha (2011 census)[18]

  Hinduism (76.91%)
  Buddhism (13.08%)
  Islam (8.34%)
  Jainism (0.44%)
  Christianity (0.34%)
  Sikhism (0.18%)
  Others (0.62%)
  Non religious (0.10%)

Religion in Vidarbha is characterized by the diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Vidarbha possesses six of the world's major religions; namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Christianity, and Sikhism.

Dragon Palace Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kamptee

According to the 2011 census, Hinduism was the principal religion in the state at 76.91% of the total population, while Buddhists constituted 13.08 of the total population. Vidarbha accounts for 45.91% of total Buddhists in Maharashtra.[18]

Religious composition Population Percentage
Hindus 15,866,514 76.906%
Buddhists 29,98,263 13.075%
Muslims 1,720,690 8.340%
Jains 89,649 0.435%
Christians 70,663 0.343%
Sikhs 37,241 0.181%
Others 127,516 0.618%
Religion not stated 21,170 0.103%
Total 23,003,179 100%

Language and culture

Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali and Dasara are celebrated throughout the region.[19]

  Marathi (73.7%)
  Hindi (8.3%)
  Urdu (6.2%)
  Lambadi (2.5%)
  Gondi (1.8%)
  Telugu (1.1%)
  Korku (1.1%)
  others (5.3%)

As per the 2011 census, 73.7% of the population speaks Marathi, 8.3% Hindi, 6.2% Urdu, 2.5% Lambadi, 1.8% Gondi, and 1.1% Telugu and Korku as their first language.[20]

The Nagpur Central Museum (est. 1863) maintains collections that are mainly from Vidarbha.[21]


Nagpur is the biggest economic centre of Vidarbha

Nagpur is a central hub for business and healthcare. Amravati is known for film distributors and cloth markets.Yavatmal is cotton city and it is exporter of cotton and Raymond UCO Denim Pvt. Ltd. is situated in Yavatmal. Chandrapur has a thermal power station which is one of the biggest in India and some other heavy industries such as paper (BILT Ballarpur), steel (MEL from Steel Authority of India, etc.), cement (UltraTech Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC Limited, Manikgarh Cement, Murli Cement) industries and numerous coal mines.[23]

An international cargo hub project, the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur, (MIHAN), is being developed.[24][25] MIHAN will be used for handling heavy cargo coming from South-East Asia and Middle-East Asia. The project will also include a 100 billion (US$1.4 billion) Special Economic Zone (SEZ)[26] for information-technology companies. This will be India's biggest development project.[27]


Farmland in Vidarbha region

Vidarbha has recently gained notoriety for the number of suicides committed by farmers. On 1 July 2006 the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh announced a ₹3,750-crore (37.5 billion rupee) relief package for Vidarbha.[28] The package is intended to help farmers in six districts of the region. However the package was not welcomed by most financial pundits and journalist P Sainath wrote in The Hindu that the package was destined to fail. Corruption was found amongst most of the officials involved with the packages and the government considered suspended more that 400 officials in the scam.[29]

Mineral wealth

Nagpur, Amravati, Yavatmal ,Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara is form the main mineral belt, with coal and manganese as the major minerals. Chandrapur district contributes 29% of all mineral output of Maharashtra.[30] Iron ore and limestone are identified as potential mining resources.[31]


Nagpur, Amravati, Yavatmal, Wardha and Chandrapur are Large Industrial center in Vidarbha resp. Ballarpur Industries, India's largest manufacturer and exporter of paper is located in Chandrapur district.[32]



Vidharbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur

Cricket is the most-popular sport in the region and Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground (VCA) has hosted international cricket matches.[33] It has been superseded by the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium,[34] built in 2008 in Jamtha.


Entrance of Anand Sagar, Shegaon, a holy place for Hindus and a popular picnic spot in Vidarbha.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is popular amongst domestic and International tourists for Jungle safari

The eastern region of Vidarbha contains Maharashtra's oldest National Park, the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve,[35] one of India's 39 Project Tiger Reserves.[36] Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary has large number of Tiger. Shegaon is good tourist place.


Representation in Lok Sabha

Vidarbha is represented at national level by ten Lok Sabha seats. Nagpur district which has the highest population density is split into two lok sabha seats, Nagpur and Ramtek, while districts with lower population density like Chimur and Gadchiroli are clubbed together,while Yavatmal-Washim is one of most important seat in Vidharbha as it include two district headquaters. Ramtek and Amravati seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates only while Gadchiroli-Chimur is reserved for Scheduled Tribes.[37]

Representation in Vidhan Sabha

Vidarbha is represented at state level by 62 Vidhan Sabha seats. Nagpur has the densest concentration of assembly seats with the city divided into six areas.While Amravati and Yavatmal are some of the important seat in Maharashtra. Certain seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates only, while others are open to all.Pusad seat in Yavatmal District is also important as it gives two Cheif-Ministers to Maharashtra [38]

Separate statehood movement

Politician and economist Dr. Shrikant Jichkar opposed separation of Vidarbha from Maharashtra, believing that it was not sustainable: "If Vidarbha is hived off, we will have no funds from day one to run the new State. The region's share is burdened by a deficit and Monopoly Cotton Purchase Scheme, Employment Guarantee Scheme and such activity will immediately cease since we would not have money to pay salaries." He noted that income from available natural resources could not balance Mumbai's subsidies, and that Mumbai's cooperation was vital to any development—in addition to the societal risks of dividing the Marathi-speaking state.[39]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Population". 31 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  2. Asian Review. 1898.
  3. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland By Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland—page-323
  5. [1]
  6. "Vidarbha profile on rediff". 12 October 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  7. "WHO declares Melghat as India's most malnutrition-hit area". Archived from the original on 30 August 2007.
  8. Sanjiv Phansalkar. "PM 2003 Schedule Irr Pov". IWMI-TATA Water Policy Research Program. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  9. "Opinion / News Analysis : Maharashtra: 'graveyard of farmers'". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 November 2007. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007.
  10. "Interview of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President-Mr. Ranjeet Deshmukh". 18 August 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  11. "Very few takers for a separate State". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 March 2004. Archived from the original on 23 June 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  12. Sarma, Inguva Karthikeya (1980). Coinage of the Satavahana Empire. Agam. p. 38. The latest site which contributed valuable numismatic evidence confirming, once and for all, ancient Vidarbha's early Satavahana affiliation is Pauni, in district Bhandara
  13. Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 7, p. 369
  14. [2] Archived 30 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "Gondia geology". Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  16. Districts Of Maharashtra Archived 12 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Vidarbha population 2011".
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Population by religious community - 2011". 2011 Census of India. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  19. "People And Their Culture". Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  20. 2011 Census of India, Population By Mother Tongue
  21. Nagpur District Gazetteer Archived 22 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Rukhmini Udana: The Flight to sri Krishna Reunion by Dr Hemant Bonde Patil Atlantic publishers & Distributors, India, ISBN 978-8126926886
  23. "Nagpur – Growth Nucleus of India". 24 December 2008.
  24. "Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited". Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  25. "Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited" (PDF). Press Information Bureau and Ministry of Civil Aviation. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
  26. "Nagpur stakes claim to lead boomtown pack". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
  27. "Mihan is biggest development". The Times of India. 22 May 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  28. relief package for Vidarbha
  29. Sainath, P (16 July 2006). "Politics of packages, packaging of politics". Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  30. "Demography". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  31. "Maharashtra Resources" Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  32. "Ballarpur Industries Limited- Bilt". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  33. "Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground profile". Cricinfo. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  34. "Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadiumprofile". Cricinfo. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  35. "Tadoba Tiger Reserve". Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  36. "Online Map". Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  37. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. "Vidarbha not viable economically". The Hindu. 9 September 2000. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016.

External links

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