Mandla is a district of Madhya Pradesh state in central India. The town of Mandla is administrative headquarters of the district. It is part of Jabalpur Division. Mandla is a tribal district of Madhya Pradesh.The district Mandla is situated in the east-central part of Madhaya Pradesh. The district lies almost entirely in the catchement of river Narmada its tributaries. A district with a glorious history, Mandla comprises of numerous rivers and endowed with rich forests. The world's famous Tiger Sanctuary, Kanha National Park located in the district, is one of the hottest targets for both the domestic as well as foreign tourists. The extreme length of the district is about 133 Kms. from north to south and extreme breadth is 182 Kms from east to west. It covers a total area of 8771 Sq.Km. and consists a total population of 779414. There are 9 blocks 4 Tehsils and 1214 villages in the district.Mandla district is surrounded by holy river Narmada.
Prior to May,1998 Mandla district was divided into six tahsils, viz., Mandla,Nainpur, Bichhiya, Dindori, Niwas and Shahpura. In was also divided into three sub-divisions for revenue and general administration purposees. Mandla sub-division comprised Bichhiya, Nainpur and Mandla tahsils, while Niwas sub-division had Niwas and Shahpura tahsils. Dindori was the eastern sub-division which had only Dindori tahsi. With the promulgation of Madhya Pradesh reorganisation of the district act, from 21st May 1998, Mandla district has been bifurcated into Mandla and Dindori District. The complete Dindori and Shahpura tahsils and mahandwani development Block formed Dindori District while the rest of the area existed in Mandla Districct.
Mandla district derives its name from the headquarters town, Mandla. Three traditions about the name Mandla are more or less prevalent in the area. Caption H.C.E. Ward recorded its puranic details relates Mandla to the Sanskrit word 'Mandal' meaning a circle; because the river Narmada almost girdles the town on three sides. According to another view, the real name of Mandla is said to have been 'Mahish-mandal', or 'Mahishmati' of ancient Sanskrit literature, which was the capital of Kartvirya of the thousand arms from whom where sprung the Garha-Mandla kings. Under the clear cold light of criticism, however, the weakness of the story becomes palpable; the Mahishmati of Sanskrit legend has been proved by Dr. Fleet to be Mandhata in Nimar disrtict, whereas our Mandla is probably a survival of the word, 'Mandla' or feudatory state. The Brahmans identify it with Mahismati which is said to have been one of the ancient seats of the Haihaya princes. The Mandla is not probably the name of a place, as it mean only a district. The original name might have been Mahishmati-Mandla, of Mahes-Mandla, which has now become simply Mandla. The third view of the probable origin of the name is that the word 'Mandla' is probably a survival of the word 'Mandal' or feudatory division of the kingdom of the Kalachuri kings of Tripuri.
According to the census report, Gonds and Baigas are most significant tribes in the district . In comparison to the other tribes, Gonds are well settled and economically better than any other communities of the area. Raja Gonds, Nagvanshi Gonds and Ravanvanshi Gonds reside mainy in this area.
KANHA TIGER RESERVE ( KANHA NATIONAL PARK ): The world's famous Tiger Sanctuary, Kanha National Park located in the Mandla district, is one of the hottest targets for both the domestic as well as foreign tourists. Kanha becomes a tiger land, a home for more than 100 tigers. The area of Kanha Tiger Reserve is 1945 sq. Km. Kanha is a destination for wildlife visitors from all over the world.
The Kanha Reserve is governed under the wildlife ( Protection) Act, 1972 and the reserve rules. Project Tiger, one of the largest conservation scheme in the world, was launched in India in 1973 with the objectives 'to ensure the maintenance of a viable population of the tiger in India and to preserve, for all times, such areas as park of our national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of future generations'. Kanha was among the first nine Reserves included in the Project Tiger Network in 1973. Kanha has distinguished itself by bringing back from an imminent extinction the Central Indian Swamp Deer also called Barasingha. Only 66 specimens of the sub-species were left in 1970. Scientific management and strict monitoring has recovered the population to around 330 specimens.