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Districts comprising the Khandesh region of Maharashtra.

Khandesh (Marathi/Hindi: ख़ानदेश) is a region of central India, which forms the northwestern portion of Maharashtra state.[1]

Under British rule there was also a Khandesh District. Khandesh was the terminal territorial part under the rule of Mughals. The Start of Deccan region demarcated by the boundary of Khandesh. The terms "Khandesh" and "Deccan" thus connote historical and political affiliations, as well as geographical zones. Khandesh lies on the Northwestern corner of the Deccan plateau, in the valley of the Tapti River, and is bound to the north by the Satpura Range, to the east by the Berar (Vidarbha) region, to the south by the Hills of Ajanta,belonging to the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, and to the west by the Northernmost ranges of the Western Ghats, and beyond them the coastal plain of Gujarat.

After India's independence in 1947, Bombay province became Bombay state, which in 1960 was divided into the linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. East Khandesh became Jalgaon district, and West Khandesh was divided into the districts of Dhule and Nandurbar.

The principal natural feature is the Tapti River. Unlike the rest of the Deccan, whose rivers rise in the Western Ghats and flow eastward to the Bay of Bengal, the Tapti flows westward from headwaters in eastern Maharashtra to empty into the Arabian Sea. The Tapti receives thirteen principal tributaries in its course through Kandesh. None of the rivers is navigable, and the Tapti flows in a deep bed which historically made it difficult to use for irrigation. Most of Kandesh lies south of the Tapti, and is drained by its tributaries the Girna, Bori and Panjhra. The alluvial plain north of the Tapti contains some of the richest tracts in Kandesh, and the land rises towards the Satpura hills. In the centre and east the country is level, save for some low ranges of barren hills. To the north and west, the plain rises into rugged hills, thickly wooded, and inhabited by the tribal Bhil people.



Khandesh was ruled by the Faruqi dynasty from 1388 to 1601, who maintained their independence from the Bahmani Sultanate which ruled much of the Deccan from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Khandesh was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1601, and became a province of the Mughal empire. It was conquered by the Marathas in the early eighteenth century, and ruled by the Maratha Peshwas until their defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, when Khandesh, along with most of the Peshwa's dominions, became part of Bombay Province of the British Raj. The region was administered as Khandesh district, which was divided in 1906 into two districts, East Khandesh and West Khandesh. East Khandesh, headquartered at Jalgaon, had an area of 4544 mi², and a population of 957,728 in 1901, and West Khandesh, headquartered at Dhulia (Dhule) had an area of 5497 mi² and a population of 469,654 in 1901.[2]

Alluvial fertile soil of Khandesh is known as Black Cotton Soil as it yielded good cotton harvest. Apart from cotton, groundnut, Jowar, Udid, Mung and Toor are major crops. Cotton was the major cash crop till the trade of cotton was not monopolized by the Government of Maharashtra in late seventies.There were saveral ginning factories. Cotton seeds was cheaply available then which was the cattle feed of choice for milching cattles. Cotton seed fed cattles yieled excellent quality milk with high fat content. Extraction of Butter and Ghee(clarified butter) was a cottage/household industry in Khandesh.Sawda ghee was famous once upon a time.

Farmers of Khandesh are hardworking. There was no major irrigation facility in Khandesh before the Girana and Hatnur dams were commissioned. Most of the Khandesh is arid or semi arid. Despite limited water availability, Khandeshi farmers have mastered the art of cultivation of banana. Sixty percent of the total production of Banana in India is produced in Jalgaon district.Rawer, Yawal and Chopada are main Banana growing talukas. Intense agricultural activity has resulted in overall prosperety of Khandesh with respect to Marathwada, the Southern neighbouring region.

Due to the efforts of great freedom fighter and socialist leader venerable Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (popularly known as Sane Guruji) of Shahada, Maharashtra and generous donation of Pratap Seth of Amalner, Pratp College become an important center of education. Overall standards of education remain very high in Khandesh due to the spirit of service of society through education kindled by Sane guruji. Jalgaon has now the North Maharashtra University.

Khandesh has rich cultural and literary heritage. Mukta bai ,the younger sister of Dnyaneshwar lived at Muktai nagar(earstwhile Edalabad). Near Edalabad, lived the great yogi, Changdeva in the thirteenth century. Sizeable population in Jalgaon district are adherent of Mahanubhav Panth. There was also strong presence of Kabir Pantha in Khandesh due to the proximity of Burhanpur, the seat of Kabir Panth.

Bahina Bai Choudhary regarded as one the greatest poetess in Marathi literature belonged to a Khandeshi farmer family. Her son Kavi Sopandeo Choudhary was famous for his poetry with a touch of humor.Balkavi , Trambak Bapuji Thombre , the another great name in Marathi poetry belonged to Jalgaon district. Dr.V.B Kolte a noted scholar of Marathi hailed from Khandesh who was the top authority on Mahanubhav literature.

The well known Marathi writers from Khandesh region include Dr.Bhalchandra Nemade N D. Mahanor and Dr Sharad Rane. Dr. Nemade is known for his Novels "Kosala, Bidhar, Jarila and Zool and collection of poetry Melody. Dr Nemade belong to the Sangavi village in Yawal taluka and his novel Kosala is semi autobiographical account narrating his abbrassive experiences in Pune where he came for higher education.He has poignanty exposed cultural snobishness of people around him which, forces him to go into the seclusion(kosala). It is the story alienation. as has been described correctly by the another illustrious Khandeshi from Dhule, Comrade Sharad Patil. Poet N.D.Mahanor can be described as the true exponent of natural poetry who seemed to have adopted himself very ably in the shoes of Balkavi. Through his poetry on nature, Mahanor breathed fresh air in Marathi poetry in early seventies. Dr.Sharad Rane writes for children. Comrade Sharad Patil , one of the original thinkers in Maharashtra lives in Dhule. He is authority on Indology, Marxism, Ambedkarism and Marathi literature.His name is well known in the higher academic circle for his contributions. Khandesh provided many freedom fighters ....leaders to the country.Dhanaji Nana,Dadusinh,Vyankatrao randheer,Shivaji Patil,uttamrao patil,Lilatai Patil,Shirishkumar were the famous characters.Late Sonusingh Patil,Dadasaheb Raval,P.K.Patil ,Udesing Anna Pawar ,Pundlik Jibhau , KakaBaba(Purmepada) are the main faces who representated this area. Khandesh is also famous for Ravals and their historical Gadhis. A proud moment for all Khandeshi people was when Mrs.Pratibha Patil became the first lady President of the Republic of India. Born in a small village Nadgaon near Bodwad,she made to the highest executive post in the country. Another prominent politician is the late Jivaram T. Mahajan who was Home Minister of Maharashtra during the 1980s. He contributed greatly to the Khandesh region by founding an engineering college and engaging in other philanthropic endeavors. With respect to the Western Maharashtra, Khandesh could not keep pace of progress with the time. Most of the highly educated students of Pratap college have migrated and settled in Pune, Mumbai and rest of the India. In search of employment,many Khandeshis have migrated to the neighbouring district of Nashik. With the every new generation coming, the Khandeshi dilect and culture is fast vanishing. One doubts, how many young children of Khandeshi people knows the meaning of `ichya lehu', or utters it as frequently as the previous generation used to.


Ahirani is spoken in West Khandesh from Girana basin this language is the mix of Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati. Khandeshi is spoken in Eastern part of Khandesh.[3]

More history about khandesh can be found literature of Professor DR. Gajkumar Shah in his variuos books. He got his doctorate on "Peshwe kalin Khandesh" and has studied economical conditions during peshavas time with special reference to Khandesh.

Major cities


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