Great Britain. India Office.

Imperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 17) online

. (page 2 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pupils under instruction in 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1903 was 619, 3,093,
3,292, and 3,208 respectively. In 1903 there were 46 primary and 3
middle schools, with 390 girls under instruction. A small school is
maintained at Makhtal for the depressed castes. The total amount
spent on education in 1901 was Rs. 15,300, of which Rs. 12,200 was
contributed by the State and the rest by the local boards. The total
fee receipts amounted to Rs. 333.

In 1 90 1 there were 7 dispensaries, with accommodation for 22
in-patients. The total number of patients treated during the year was
26,912, of whom 116 were in-patients ; and the number of operations
performed was 606. The expenditure was Rs. 20,200.

To every dispensary a vaccinator is attached, but the number ot
persons vaccinated during 1901 was only 2,113, or 2 99 per 1,000 of

Mahbubnagar Taluk.— Ji^/z/y^' in Mahbubnagar District, Hyder-
abad State, with an area of 339 square miles. The population in 1901
was 54,563, including 'cigirs, compared with 52,888 in 1891. The
taluk contains one town, Mahbubn.-vgar (population, 7,605), the Dis-
trict and tdluk head-quarters; and 78 villages, of which 19 ^x^ jagir.
The land revenue in 1901 was Rs. 68,000. In 1905 the tdluk
was increased by transfers from Jedcherla and Koilkonda taluks. It
now contains 132 khdisa villages.

Mahbubnagar Town.— Head-quarters of the District and tdluk of
the same name, Hyderabad State, situated in 16' 44' N. and 77° 59' E.
Population (1901), 7,605. It contains the offices of the First Talukdar,
the District and Irrigation Engineers, the Police Superintendent, as
well as the civil court, mission school and other schools, a District jail,
a post offic^e, and a dispensary. It was formerly called Palmur.

Mahe. — French Settlement within the limits of Malabar District,
Madras Presidency, situated in 1 1"" 43' N. and 75'' 33' E., to the south
of the mouth of the river Mahe, about 4 miles south of Tellicherry.
Area, 26 square miles ; population (1901), 10,298. The history of
Mahe resembles in its essentials that of the other French Possessions,
and it is now a decaying place. Most of its chief buildings are pictur-
esquely situated on the bank of the river close to its mouth. The site


is hilly and covered with a dense mass of coco-nut palms, and it is
noted for the fertility of its soil and the salubrity of its climate. The
Settlement is in charge of a chef de service subordinate to the Governor
at PoNDiCHERRY. The place contains a Roman Catholic chapel, three
boys' schools, one girls' school, and a British post office. A long
wooden bridge maintained by the Malabar District board gives access
to British territory on the right bank. The railway line from Calicut
to Cannanore passes close to Mahe.

Maheji (or Chinchkhed). — Village in the Pachora taluka of East
Khandesh District, Bombay, situated in 20° 48' N. and 75° 24' E., on
the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, 240 miles north-east of Bombay.
Population (1901), 1,591. A municipality was established in 1871, but
abolished in 1903. The village contains a poorly attended boys'
school. The chief Hindu fair of Khandesh is held here annually from
January to March. The fair is held in honour of Maheji, a woman of
the agricultural class who became an ascetic in the seventeenth century.
So great was her sanctity that \ows were paid to her during her lifetime.
After a twelve years' stay in the hamlet of Chinchkhed close by the site
of the fair, Maheji buried herself alive. The fair has lately lost much
of its importance.

Mahendragiri. — Peak of the Eastern Ghats in (ianjam District,
Madras, situated in 18° 58' N. and 84° 24' E., 4,923 feet above sea-
level, being the second highest point in the District. This was once
proposed as a site for a sanitarium for Calcutta, but its steepness and
the want of sufficient water rendered it unsuitable. A bungalow near
the summit commands a magnificent view, as the hill is only 16 miles
from the sea and stands in the highest part of this section of the
Eastern Ghats. Two streams called the Mahendratanaya (' children of
Mahendra') rise in the peak. One flows southward into the Parlakimedi
za?nitiddri and joins the Vamsadhara, while the other flows through the
Budarasingi and Mandasa estates and enters the sea near Baruva. On
the top of Mahendragiri are four temples, built of enormous blocks of
stone, one of which has been badly shattered by lightning. They
contain inscriptions in Tamil and Sanskrit, which show that the Chola
king Rajendra set up a pillar of victory in this wild spot to com-
memorate his defeat of his brother-in-law Vimaladitya (a.d. 1015-22).
Below the Sanskrit version is cut a tiger, the crest of the Cholas,
and in front of it two fishes, the emblem of their vassal the Panuva

Maheshrekha. - Subdivision of Howrah District, Bengal. .SV^

Maheshwar. — Town in the Nimar district of Indore State, Central
India, situated in 22° 11' N. and 75° 36' E., on the north bank of the
Xarbada river. Population (1901), 7,042. It is usually called Choli-


Maheshwar, from the town of ("holi, 7 miles north of it. Maheshwar
occupies a most picturesque position on the edge of the river. Broad
ghats sweep upwards towards the fort and the numerous temples
which stud the shore, while behind them towers the lofty palace
of Ahalya Bai, the famous princess of the house of Holkar, temples,
ghats, and palaces being reflected in the wide stretch of deep quiet
water at their feet.

Maheshwar is the MahishmatT or Mahissati of early days, the name
being derived from the prevalence of buffaloes {rnaJiisha). It is con-
nected traditionally with the ubiquitous Pandava brothers, and is men-
tioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, while the Puranas refer to
Mahishas and Mahishakas, the people of Mahishmati. In Buddhist
literature Mahishmati or Mahissati is mentioned as one of the regular
stages on the route from Paithana (Paithan) in the Deccan to SravastI ;
these stages being Mahissati, Ujjain, Gonaddha, Bhilsa, Kausambhl,
and Saketa. Cunningham has identified the Mahishmati or Maheshwa-
pura of Hiuen Tsiang with Mandla in the Central Provinces ; but the
Chinese pilgrim states that he went from Jijhoti or Bundelkhand north
or north-east to Maheshwapura, which is a wrong bearing for either
Mandla or Maheshwar, and may be a misstatement for south-west.
Numerous places which the Mahishmati Mahatmya enjoins pilgrims
to visit can be identified in the neighbourhood.

The earliest historical connexion, however, is with the Haihaya chiefs,
the ancestors of the Kalachuris of Chedi, who, from the ninth to the
twelfth century, held much of the eastern part of Central India {see
Baghelkhand). Their reputed ancestor, Kartyavlryarjuna, is sup-
posed to have lived here. The Haihayas were subdued in the seventh
century by Vinayaditya, the Western Chalukya king, and Mahishmati
was incorporated in his kingdom. The Haihaya chiefs then served as
governors under the Chalukyas, and are always designated as hereditary
' lord of Mahishmati, the best of towns.' On the fall of Malwa to the
Paramaras in the ninth century, Maheshwar seems at first to have been
one of their principal cities. It lost its importance later on, and during
the time of the Muhammadan kings of Malwa was regarded merely as
a frontier post on the fords of the Narbada. In 1422 it was captured
by Ahmad I of Gujarat from Hoshang Shah of Malwa. Under Akbar
it was the head-quarters of the Choli-Maheshwar mahdl of the Mandu
sarkar in the STihah of Malwa, Choli being the civil administrative
head-quarters and Maheshwar the military post.

About 1730 it passed into the possession of Malhar Rao Holkar, but
did not become a place of importance until 1767, when Ahalya Bai, on
the death of Malhar Rao, assumed the reins of government and selected
Maheshwar as her capital. Under her auspices it rapidly became a
place of the first importance, politically and commercially, while its


appearance was improved by the erection of numerous temples and
palaces. Tukoji Rao, who succeeded in 1795, maintained Maheshwar
as the capital, but during the confusion which followed his death in
1797 its prosperity rapidly declined. In 1798 Jaswant Rao Holkar
plundered the treasury, and during his stay here lost his eye by the
bursting of his matchlock while sitting on the bank of the Narbada
amusing himself with firing at a lighted torch floating on the river.
Maheshwar continued to decline in importance, as Jaswant Rao on his
accession to power resided chiefly at Rampura and Bhanpura ; and,
after his death in 181 1 and the Treaty of Mandasor in 1818, Indore
finally became the real as well as the nominal capital. From 181 9 to
1834 Harl Rao Holkar was confined in the fort. Malcolm states that
in 1820 the town still had 3,500 houses, which would give a popu-
lation of about 17,000 persons.

There are many buildings of interest, though none of any great age.
The fort, as it exists at present, is of Muhammadan foundation, but an
older structure must have stood there in Hindu days. Some mosques
with Muhammadan records, dated in 1563, 1682, and 1712, stand in it.
Among the numerous temples and shrines, the most important is the
cenotaph of Ahalya Bai. A fine flight of steps leads up from the river
to the richly carved shrine, which contains a lingam with a life-size
statue of Ahalya Bai behind it. An inscription records that this shrine
and ghat to the memory of xVhalya Bai, who reseml)led the Ahalya of
ancient days (i.e. the Avife of Gautama Rishi), and 'J'ukoji, who is
designated the great and generous sf/da/idar, were commenced b\'
Jaswant Rao Holkar in 1799 and completed in 1833 by Krishna Bai
his wife. Other notable buildings are the shrine of Vithoba or Itoji,
Jaswant Rao's brother, and the palace with the family gods of the

Maheshwar is famous for the manufacture of a special kind of
coloured saris and silk-bordered dhotis, which arc exported in some
quantity. It contains a school, a hospital, and a State post office.

Mahespur. — Town in the Bangaon subdivision of Jessorc District,
Bengal, situated in 23° 21" N. and 88° 56' E., on the Kabadak river.
Population (1901), 4,180. Mahespur was constituted a municipality
in 1869. The income during the decade ending 1901-2 averaged
Rs. 3,600, and the expenditure Rs. 2,700. In r 903-4 the income
was 3,400, mainly from a tax on persons (or property tax) : and the
expenditure was Rs. 2,600.

Mahi (the Mophis of Ptolemy and Mais of the J\'nphts).- River of
Western India, with a course of from 300 to 350 miles and a drainage
area estimated at from 15,000 to 17,000 square miles. It rises in the
Amjhera district of the Gwalior State, 1,850 feet above sea-level
(22° 52' N. and 75"" 5' R.), and flows for about 100 miles through the


southwestern turner of the Central India Agency, at first north, next
west, and lastly north-west, passing through the States of Gwalior, Dhar,
Jhabua, Ratlani, and Sailana. It then enters Rajputana and flows in
a northerly direction with a somewhat tortuous course, intersecting the
eastern half of Banswara State, till it reaches the Udaipur frontier, where
it is soon turned by the Mewar hills to the south-west, and for the rest
of its course in Rajputana it forms the boundary between the States of
Dungarpur and Banswara. It now passes on into Gujarat, and during
the first part of its course there flows through the lands (jf the Mahi
Kantha and Rewa Kantha States. It then enters British territory, and
separates the Bombay District of Kaira on the right from the Panch
Mahals and Baroda on the left. Farther to the west, and for the rest
of its course, its right bank forms the southern boundary of the State of
Cambay, and its left the northern boundary of Broach District. Xear
Bungra, too miles from its source, the Mahl is crossed by the old
Baroda-Nimach road ; and here the bed is 400 yards wide, with a stream
of 100 yards and a depth of one toot. The Kaira section of the river
is about 100 miles in length, the last 45 miles being tidal water. The
linu't of the tidal flow is V'erakhandi, where the stream is 120 yards
across and the average depth 18 inches. About 30 miles nearer the sea,
close to the village of Dehvan, the river enters Broach District from
the east, and forms an estuary. The distance across its mouth, from
Cambay to Kavi, is 5 miles. The Mahl is crossed by the Bombay,
Baroda, and Central India Railway at Wasad, and by the Godhra-Ratlani
Railway at Pali. During flood time, at spring-tides, a bore is formed
at the estuary, and a wall-like line cjf foam-topped water rushes up for
20 miles, to break on the Dehvan sands.

The bed of the Mahi lies so much below the level of the land nn
either side of its banks that its waters cannot readily be made use of
for irrigation. In fair weather the river is fordable at many places in
the Bombay Presidency — at Dehvan, Gajna, Khanpur, and Unieta, for
instance— and always in its upper course through Rajputana, except in
the rainy season, when its waters rise to a great height.

According to legend, the Mahi is the daughter of the earth and of
the sweat that ran from the body of Indradyumna, king of Ujjain.
Another legend explains the name thus. A young Gujar wcjman was
churning curds one day. An importunate lover, ot whom she had tried
to rid herself, but who would not be denied, found her thus engaged,
and his attentions becoming unbearable, the girl threw herself into the
pot. She was at once turned int(j water, and a clear stream flowed
from the jar and, wandering down the hill-side, formed the Mahi
or 'curd" river. A more probable derivation, however, is from the
name of the lake whence it springs. This is often called the Mau or
Mahu, as well as the Menda. It is regarded by the Bhils and the


12 MA Hi

Kolis as their mother, and the latter make pilgrimages to four places on
its waters— Mingrad, Fazilpur, Angarh, and ^'aspur. The height .of
its banks and the fierceness of its floods ; the deep ravines through
which the traveller has to pass on his way to the river : and perhaps,
above all, the bad name of the tribes who dwell about it, explain
the proverb : ' When the Mahi is crossed, there is comfort."

It is interesting to note that this river has given rise to the terms
mehivas, a 'hill stronghold,' and mehwdsi, a 'turbulent or thieving
person.' The word was MahivasT, 'a dweller on the Mahi,' and in
Mughal times was imported into Delhi by the army, and is used by
Muhammadan writers as a general term to denote hill chiefs, and those
living in mountain fastnesses. A celebrated temple dedicated to
Mahadeo at Baneshar (Rajputana) stands at the spot where the Som
joins the Mahi, and an important and largely attended fair is held
here yearly.

Mahidpur. — Zila and town in Indore State, Central India. See

Mahi Kantha, The (or ' Banks of the Mahi ').— Group of States
forming a Political Agency under the Government of Bombay, lying
between 23° 14' and 24° 28' N. and 72° 40' and 74° 5' E., with a total
area of 3,125 square miles. It is bounded on the north-east by the
Rajputana States of Udaipur and Dungarpur ; on the south-east by
Rewa Kantha ; on the south by the British District of Kaira ; and on
the west by the State of Baroda, Ahmadabad District, and the country
under the Palanpur Agency. The Mahi Kantha territory is subject to
a number of chiefs, of whom the Maharaja of Idar is by far the most
important. In May, 1877, these chiefs were classified into seven
divisions, according to the extent of their jurisdiction.

The Native State of Idar covers more than half the territory ; eleven
other States are of some importance : and the remainder are estates
belonging to Rajput or Koli Thakurs, once the lawless feudatories
(jf Baroda, and still requiring the anxious supervision of the Political
Officer. Statistics for all the States and estates riiat form the Agency
are shown in the table on the two next pages.

Mahi Kantha includes tracts of land diflering widely in charai-ter
and appearance. \n the north and east the country is rough and wild,
broken by ranges o'i steep well-wooded hills, of which
asoe^ct^ ^^^^ most notable are Ghahuns, Kalaroo, and Roj-

malno in Idar : Hoda Malvalo and Ghahuno in Pol ;
Arasur in Danta ; and Taranga and .\iuba \'ani in Ghodviida. To the
south and west the country is level, well wooded, and most of it culti-
vated. \\\\\\ a well marked fall from the north-east to the south-west,
the Agenc)' is thoroughly drained. The SaraswatT river, for about 40
miles, passes close to, antl almost parallel with, tiie north west boundary.


General Statistics of each State in the MahI Kantha Agency



Revenue (1903-4).



Caste, tribe,
or race of the


P "

. 1

14-/ CUis State.

ruling chief.

< 2






.\ mount.

To whom





Rajpui . . 1






30,340 Gaikwar.

znd Clan Slates. \

Pol j

Rajput .






( 514 1 Idar.

Danta . . . .1

" • •






J 2,371 j Gaikwar.
( 500 Palanpur.

yd Class States. 1

i 430 The British.

Malpur . . . . ;

Rajpui .






\ 280 Gaikwar.
1. 396 Idar.

Mansa ....







11,754 Gaikwar.


„ ■






1 4.750 „
1 2,245 Idar.

i,th Class fdlu/cas.

N'arsora ....

Rajpui .






1,583 Gaikwar.

Pethapur ....

., •






( 750 Idar.

Kanasaii . . . .

" • •






373 ' Gaikwar.
t 3 The British.

Punadra ....

Koll, converted
to Islam.







1 1.751
1 250


KhadSl ....

,, .







( 3,501


Ghorasar ....







f 488


• ■





I 26,617


( 428









! 20,982



I 17


Aniliyara ....