1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chhattisgarh

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CHHATTISGARH, a division of the Central Provinces of India, comprising a British division (21,240 sq. m.) and two small feudatory states, Raigarh (1486 sq. m.) and Sarangarh (540 sq. m.). In 1905 the five Oriya states of Bamra, Rairakhol, Sonpur, Patna and Kalahandi were transferred from the Central Provinces to Bengal. Chhattisgarh, or “the thirty-six forts,” is a low-lying plain, enclosed on every side by hills and forests, while a rocky barrier shuts it off from the Nagpur plain on the west. Two great rivers, the Nerbudda and Sone, take their rise at the side of the Amarkantak hill in the north-west corner of the division, the Nerbudda flowing nearly due west to the Bombay coast, the Sone ultimately falling into the Ganges in Lower Bengal. Protected on both sides by ranges of hills, the district was, until late years, the least known portion of the most obscure division of India, but recently it has been opened up by the Bengal-Nagpur railway, and has developed into a great grain-producing country. Its population is almost pure Hindu, except in the two great tracts of hill and forest, where the aboriginal tribes retired before the Aryan invasion. It remained comparatively unaffected either by the Oriya immigration on the east, or by the later influx of Mahrattas on the west. For though the Mahrattas conquered and governed the country for a period, they did not take possession of the land. In 1901 the population of the two remaining feudatory states was 125,281, Raigarh having 86,543 and Sarangarh 38,738. Much of the soil is still covered with forest, but it includes fertile rice land.

The British division of Chhattisgarh comprises the three districts of Drug (created in 1906), Raipur and Bilaspur. In 1905 the district of Sambalpur, together with the five feudatory states, was transferred to Bengal. In 1901 the population of the reduced area was 2,642,983.