Nāgpur (meaning City of the Snakes) is a city located near the geographical center of India, in the state of Maharashtra. Nagpur has a metropolitan population of 2.4 million (1998 est.), roughly half of them speak Marathi. It is known throughout the country as the "Orange Capital," due to its favorable climate for growing orangess.
Recently also awarded as the cleanest city of India, Nagpur is also the second greenest city of India. With growing infrastructure Nagpur will soon become a cosmopolitan city.
Nagpur is the capital of Nagpur District and Nagpur Division, and is the center of the historic Vidarbha region, which includes most of eastern Maharashtra.
Nagpur was founded by Bhakt Buland, a prince of the Gond kingdom of Deogarh in the Chhindwara District. In 1743 the Maratha leader Raghoji Bhonsla of Vidarbha established himself at Nagpur, and by 1751 he had conquered the territories of Deogarh, Chanda and Chhattisgarh. Raghoji died in 1755, and in 1769 his son and successor, Janoji, was forced to acknowledge the Maratha peshwa of Pune's effective supremacy. The Nagpur state, however, continued to grow. In 1785 Mudhoji (d. 1788), Janoji's successor, bought Mandla and the upper Narmada valley from the Peshwa, and between 1796 and 1798 this was followed by the acquisition of Hoshangabad and the larger part of Saugor and Damoh by Raghoji II (d. 1816). Under this raja, Nagpur covered what is now eastern Maharashtra state, as well as Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
In 1803 Raghoji joined the Peshwas against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The British prevailed, and Raghoji had to cede Cuttack, Sambalpur, and part of Berar. After Raghoji II's death in 1816 his son Parsaji was deposed and murdered by Mudhoji, known as Appa Sahib. In spite of a treaty signed the same year with the British, in 1817 Mudhoji joined the peshwa in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, but was defeated at Sitabaldi and forced to cede the rest of Berar to the Nizam of Hyderabad, and parts of Saugor and Damoh, with Mandla, Betul, Seoni and the Narmada valley, to the British. After a temporary restoration to the throne he was deposed, and Raghoji III, a grandchild of Raghoji II, was placed on the throne. During his minority, which lasted till 1840, the country was administered by a British resident. In 1853, on the death of Raghoji III without a male heir, The British took control of Nagpur. Nagpur province, which consisted of the present Nagpur region, Chhindwara and Chhatisgarh, was administered by a commissioner under the central government from 1853 to 1861, when it became part of the Central Provinces, ruled by a British governor, with Nagpur as its capital. Berar was added in 1903.
After Indian Independence in 1947, the Central Provinces and Berar became a province of India, and in 1950 became the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, again with Nagpur as its capital. In 1956 the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines, and the Nagpur region and Berar were transferred to Bombay state, which in 1960 was split into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Some facts about Nagpur in 1911:
The city is 1125 ft. above the sea; Pop. (1901) 127,734. The town is well laid out, with several parks and artificial lakes, and has numerous Hindu temples. The prettily wooded suburb of Sitabaldi contains the chief government buildings, the houses of Europeans, the railway station and the cantonments, with fort and arsenal. In the centre stands Sitabaldi Hill, crowned with the fort. Beyond the station lies the broad sheet of water known as the Jama Talao, and farther east is the city, completely hidden in a mass of foliage. Handsome tanks and gardens, constructed by the Maratha princes, lie outside the city. The palace, built of black basalt and profusely ornamented with wood carving, was burnt down in 1864, and only the great gateway remains. The garrison consists of detachments of European and Indian infantry from Kampti. Nagpur is the headquarters of two corps of rifle volunteers. It is the junction of two important railway systems, the Great Indian Peninsula to Bombay and the Bengal-Nagpur to Calcutta. The large weaving population maintain their reputation for producing fine fabrics. There are steam cotton mills and machinery for ginning and pressing cotton. The gaol contains an important printing establishment. Education is provided by two aided colleges, the Hislop and the Morris, called after a missionary and a former chief commissioner; four high schools; a law school; an agricultural school, with a class for the scientific training of teachers; a normal school; a zenana mission for the management of girls schools; an Anglican and two Catholic schools for Europeans. There are several libraries and reading rooms, and an active Anjuman or Muslim society.