History of BetulThe ancient history of Betul is still a subject of great mystery. There is no reference of modern day Betul district in any of the ancient scriptures of India. Many historians though do suggest that Betul during ancient period may have been ruled by many great ancient dynasties like Vakataka Dynasty and Rastrakuta Dynasty, but there are no clear historical scriptures or any proof to prove this.
Betul popped up in the pages of Indian history only during medieval period, when the erstwhile Gond Kingdom seized the entire Central India. Besides, Betul’s medieval history witnessed few more important events which today have become part of region’s folklore. Below is a brief summary of Betul’s eventful medieval history.
Era of Gond Kingdom in BetulHistory of Betul is very deeply linked with Gond kingdom, the erstwhile advasi based kingdom that ruled Central India from 14th to 18th century. In fact historical records also suggest that Betul region was one of the birthplaces of Gond Kingodm. Kherla kingdom led by Narsingh Rai - founder of Gond kingdom – is believed to have been founded in and around present day Betul region. The famous Kherla Fort, located just 6 kms from Betul city, symbolizes the bond that Gonds shared with Betul region. However, during those days this place wasn’t referred as Betul but as ‘Gondwana’. Gondwana also encompassed other regions like present day Nagpur, Vidharbha, Jharkhand and all other parts of Central India that were under the rule of Gond kingdom.
After the fall of Kherla kingdom in the year 1467 at the hands of Bahmani king Firoz Shah, three more Gond dynasties rose during different periods of medieval era to rule Central India. These were Deogarh, Garha-Mandla and Chanda-Sirpur. Curtains finally came down on Gond kingdom after resurgent Marathas led by Raghoji Bhonsle swept across Central Indian region. Though there is a clear lack of historical record & details about skirmishes and war between Gonds and Marathas. Today the advasi Gond tribe, which flourished during the rule of Gond kingdom, constitute as a major part of Betul’s population. Their unique tribal rituals and culture, which has stood the test of time, is indeed reminder of Betul’s deep and historical association with Gond kingdom.