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Bundelkhand Sub-regions

 
  The Banda plain is one of the most fertile areas of Bundelkhand

Bundelkhand has several distinctive sub-regions, which are partly defined by the region’s topography.

The northern most part of Bundelkhand, along the Yamuna, is a narrow ravine strip, which is thinly inhabited and traditionally infested with dacoits.

As we move southwards, we come across vast flatlands of the  Bundelkhand Plain, running across Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda districts and parts of Mahoba and Chitrakoot districts. (See 'Sub-regions of Bundelkhand’ in Bundelkhand in Maps).

Soil quality and topography vary as we move from west to east, and the plain can be divided into Jalaun, Hamirpur and Banda plains.

In the western most part of the Jalaun plain, the soil is sandy. The central and eastern parts of the plain are well served by canal irrigation. Agriculture productivity is relatively high.

In the Hamirpur plain, we see black cotton soil. The eastern part of this plain, around Mahoba,  is dotted with low hills; this feature was exploited by medieval Chandela rulers who built a large number of tanks.

The Banda plain is one of the most fertile areas of Bundelkhand. The eastern part of the Banda plain, which falls under Chitrakoot district, is however dissected by deep channels of minor rivers, flowing towards the Yamuna; here the soil is of poor quality and agriculture production is poor. 

Moving south, we come across an intermediate subregion between Bundelkhand Plains and Bundelkhand Upland.

Most of Jhansi, Lalitpur, Tikamgarh and Chhatarpur districts fall in this 'Bundelkhand Intermediate' region. Most of this subregion has light black soils; its eastern corner, in Chhatarpur district, is most suited for high productivity agriculture.

South of the intermediate region, lies the Bundelkhand Upland or plateau , covering southern parts of Lalitpur, Tikamgarh and Chitrakoot districts and Panna district.

This plateau is characterised by large tracts of rocky wastelands and undulating terrain, which enables natural or manmade storage of water. A large number of manmade structures, built several centuries ago, are found in Tikamgarh tehsil of Tikamgarh district, which thus boasts of relatively high agricultural productivity. 

In the eastern portion of Bundelkhand Upland, we see two different kinds of  forested areas. The first, in Panna district, is a narrow belt of flat-topped hill ranges with steep cliffs. This area was once thickly forested; it is still Bundelkhand’s most forested region, with a large tribal population, but due to decades of overexploitation and poor management, much of the jungle is of poor quality.

The other forested part is the Patha plateau in the central and southern part of Chitrakoot district. The Patha rises above the plains in two or three stretches of long, steep slopes, one above the other.

As its name suggests, the Patha is  a rocky region, cut by deep valleys of torrential rivers that are dry a few months after the monsoons. Much of the region is covered by scrub forests, is thinly populated and till the 1980s, was largely inaccessible. The majority of the population is of Kol tribals. Agriculture is done on  stretches of thin soil cover.

The southernmost part of Bundelkhand is formed by the Sagar and Damoh plateaus, which truly speaking do not belong to the region, as per the classification used by RL Singh and others in India: A Regional Geography (National Geographical Society of India, Varanasi; reprinted 2006).

The Sagar plateau forms the eastern edge of the Malwa plateau. It rises about 1,400 feet and is bound by the Narmada river. A good amount of black cotton soil is found in this subregion.

Black cotton soil is also found in the Damoh plateau, which belongs to the Vindyachal-Baghelkand region, and is part of a series of stepped plateaus girdled by massive hill ranges called Bharner and Kaimur.  A part of this upland, traversed by a river called Sonar, is relatively level. Damoh town is located in this portion.

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