Balaghat is one of Madhya Pradesh’s districts, located in the southern part of the Jabalpur Division. It can be found on the upper valley of the Wainganga River, on the southeastern portion of the Satpura Range. The whole district has a total area of 9, 245 square kilometers. Its boundaries are the Mandla district to the north, the districts of Gondiya and Bhandara of Maharashtra to the south, Dindori district to the northwest, Chhatisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district to the east, and Seoni district to the west. As of the 2001 census, the total population of the district is 1,497,968 people. Of these, 1,236,083 live in the rural areas while the rest is urban.
The district was initially divided among two Gond kingdoms back in the 18th century; the district west of the Wainganga portion was part of the kingdom of Deogarh, while the eastern portion was part of the kingdom of Garha-Mandla. In 1743, the Deogarh kingdom was annexed by the Bhonsle Marathas of Nagpur. The northern section of the district, together with the Garha-Mandla kingdom, was annexed in 1781 to the province of Saugor, but in 1798 this was also obtained by the Bhonsles.
Following the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Marathas War in 1818, the Nagpur kingdom became a princely state of British India. It eventually became annexed by the British and became the new province of Nagpur. Balaghat District was included, and was then divided among Seoni and Bhandara. Nagpur Province was eventually reorganized into the Central Provinces.
In 1867, the Bhandara, Mandla, and Seoni districts were joined together to form Balaghat District. The headquarters was originally called “Boora” or “Burha” but disuse eventually turned it back to Balaghat, the district’s original name. It was divided into two administratively: Baihat tehsil to the north, and Balaghat tehsil to the south. After India gained its independence in 1947, the Central Provinces became the state of Madhya Pradesh. Balaghat district became a part of the Jabalpur Division in 1956 when the districts to the south of Balaghat were transferred to the Bombay State.
Geographically, the district can be divided into three distinct parts. The southern lowlands are composed of undulating plains, that are comparatively well-cultivated. They are drained by five rivers: the Wainganga, Bagh, Deo, Ghisri, and Son.
The second part lies between the hills and the Wainganga River, in the long valley that is known as Mau Taluka. The area is comprised of a lowland tract, irregularly-shaped and narrow. There are hill ranges and peaks that are covered with dense jungles that run from north to south.
The third area is the lofty plateau in the Raigarh Bichhia tract that generally runs from east to west. It is broken into numerous valleys and hill ranges that are often irregular.
For land travellers, Balaghat is directly connected by bus to several larger cities such as Nagpur, Raipor, and Bhopal. There is also the Jabalpur-Gondia section of the South East Central Railway of India. It runs north and south through the district, along the Wainganga valley. For those who are thinking of going to Balaghat by plane, the nearest airport is located in Nagpur.