(Last Updated on : 27-10-2014)
History of Wardha district has been rather difficult to trace since its early days. The earliest mention of the river Wardha has been made in the 2nd century BC. This early mention was made by Berar, the King of Vidharbha. The country of Vidharbha came to be divided into two parts, between Berar and his cousin Madhavansena, each ruling on one side of the river Wardha. Wardha, with the rest of Berar, probably formed part of the Rajput Chalukya dynasty whose capital was situated in the modern Bijapur district and subsequently at Nasik. Their rule lasted from about 550 to 750 A.D. Copper-plate grants belonging to this dynasty have been found at Multai in Betul
and at Deoli in Wardha. The Deoli plate is dated A. D. 940, the time of the reign of the king Krishna III
. It records the grant of a village named Talapurumshaka in the Nagapura-Nandivardhan district to a Kanarese Brahmin
Wardha was subsequently included in the territories of the Bahamani kings of Gulbarga
near Solapur and Bidar
. They established an independent principality in 1351, and were so-called because the founder of their line, elected after the revolt from Muhammad bin Tughluq
, was either a Brahmin or a Brahmin's servant. There is an early mention of an invasion of Berar by the king of Gujarat
in 1437 in which the Raja of Gondwana (across the Wardha) aided and abetted. This Raja must probably have belonged to the Chanda line. On the collapse of the Bahamani dynasty
in 1518, Berar was ruled for a period by the rulers of the Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar
from their capital at Ellichpur, the founder of the dynasty being a Kanarese Hindu whom the governor of Berar had promoted to high office. The Ellichpur kingdom was crushed out of being by the king of Ahmadnagar in 1572 after a separate existence of ninety years, and in about 1594 Berar was ceded from Ahmadnagar to the Emperor Akbar
. The tract west of the Wardha included in Berar was finally ceded to Nagpur
in 1822, the forts of Gawilgarh and Narnala and some other territory in Berar being ceded by the Bhonslas to the Nizam at the same time. In 1765 the allied armies of the Peshwa and the Nizam marched through Wardha plundering the adjoining country, and burnt Nagpur in retribution for the dishonesty displayed by Janoji-I in his conduct towards both of them.
Wardha continued to form part of the Nagpur district until 1862 under the British, when it was made a separate charge chiefly on the ground that Nagpur as it then stood was too large for a single district, and that the interests of the vary valuable cotton industry in this part of the Wardha valley needed special supervision. The district headquarters were first located at Kaotha, near Pulgaon, but in 1866 they were removed to their present site, and the town of Wardha, named after the Wardha River
, was built on the ground occupied by the hamlet of Palakwadi, the existing houses being levelled to admit the new town being laid out on a regular plan.