Nagpur (Nāgpur) ( Marathi: नागपूर English: Nagpore) is a city and winter capital of the state of Maharashtra, a fast growing metropolis and third largest city in Maharashtra after Mumbai and Pune. With a population of 2,405,421 (2011) Nagpur Metropolitan Area is the 13th largest urban conglomeration in India. It has recently been ranked as the cleanest city and the second greenest city of India. In addition to being the seat of annual winter session of Maharashtra state assembly "Vidhan Sabha", Nagpur is a major commercial and political center of the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and is famous throughout the country for Nagpur Orange. Thus it is known as "Orange City" for being a major trade center of oranges that are cultivated in the region. In addition, the city derives political importance from being the headquarters for the Hindu nationalist organisation RSS and an important location for the Dalit Buddhist movement.
The city was founded by the Gonds and later became part of the Maratha Empire under the Bhonsles. The British East India Company took over Nagpur in the 19th century and made it the capital of the Central Provinces and Berar. After the first reorganisation of states, the city lost its capital status but, according to the informal "Nagpur Pact" between political leaders, it was made the second capital of Maharashtra.
Nagpur is declared "Tiger Capital of India" as it connects many tiger reserves in India to the world. It is among the important cities for IT sector in Maharashtra after Pune. Nagpur lies precisely at the center of the country with the Zero Mile marker indicating the geographical center of India.
Human existence around present-day Nagpur city can be traced back 3000 years to 8th century BC. Mehir burial sites at Drugdhamna (near Mhada colony) indicate megalithic culture existed around Nagpur and is still followed in present times. The first reference to the name Nagpur is found in a 10th century copper-plate inscription discovered at Devali in the neighbouring Wardha district. The inscription is a record of grant of a village situated in the visaya (district) of Nagpura-Nandivardhana during time of Rastrakuta king Krsna III in the Saka year 862 (940 CE). Towards the end of the third century King Vakataka dynasty#Vindhyasakti is known to have ruled the Nagpur region. In the 4th century Vakataka Dynasty ruled over the Nagpur region and surrounding areas and had good relations with the Gupta Empire. The Vakataka king Prithvisena I moved his capital to Nagardhan (ancient name Nandivardhana), from Nagpur. After the Vakatakas, the region came under the rule of the Hindu kingdoms of the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, and finally the Yadavas. In AD 1296 Allauddin Khilji invaded the Yadava Kingdom after capturing Deogiri, after which the Tughlaq Dynasty came to power in 1317. In the 17th century, the Mughal Empire conquered the region. However, regional administration was carried out by the Gond kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur in the Chhindwara district of the modern-day state of Madhya Pradesh.
Recent history ascribes the founding of Nagpur to Bakht Buland, a prince of the kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur. The next Raja of Deogarh was Chand Sultan, who resided principally in the country below the hills, fixing his capital at Nagpur which he made a walled town. On Chand Sultan's death in 1739, Wali Shah, an illegitimate son of Bakht Buland, usurped the throne and Chand Sultan's widow invoked the aid of the Maratha leader Raghuji Bhonsle of Berar in the interest of her sons Akbar Shah and Burhan Shah. The usurper was put to death and the rightful heirs placed on the throne. After 1743, a series of Maratha rulers came to power, starting with Raghoji Bhonsle, who conquered the territories of Deogarh, Chanda and Chhattisgarh by 1751.
In 1803 Raghoji II joined the Peshwa against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, but the British prevailed. After Raghoji II's death in 1816, his son Parsaji was deposed and murdered by Mudhoji II. Despite the fact that he had entered into a treaty with the British in the same year, Mudhoji joined the Peshwa in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1817 against the British but suffered a defeat at Sitabuldi in present-day Nagpur city. The fierce battle was a turning point as it laid the foundations of the downfall of the Bhonsles and paved the way for the British acquisition of Nagpur city. Mudhoji was deposed after a temporary restoration to the throne, after which the British placed Raghoji III, the grandchild of Raghoji II, on the throne. During the rule of Raghoji III (which lasted till 1840), the region was administered by a British resident. In 1853, the British took control of Nagpur after Raghoji III died without leaving an heir.
The non-cooperation movement was launched in the Nagpur session of 1920. The city witnessed a Hindu–Muslim riot in 1923 which had profound impact on K. B. Hedgewar, who in 1925 founded the RSS, a Hindu nationalist organisation in Nagpur with an idea of creating a Hindu nation. After the 1927 Nagpur riots RSS gained further popularity in Nagpur and the organisation grew nationwide.
After Indian Independence in 1947, 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. When the Indian states were reorganised along the linguistic lines in 1956, Nagpur and Berar regions were transferred to Bombay state, which in 1960 was split between the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. At a formal public ceremony on 14 October 1956 in Nagpur B. R. Ambedkar with his supporters converted to Buddhism starting Dalit Buddhist movement which is still active. In 1994, the city witnessed its most violent day in modern times in form of Gowari stampede deaths.
Nagpur is a city with great capabilities to grow and prosper in the coming days. It is very important for State and Central Governments to contribute to the growth, development, prosperity of Nagpur. Nagpur completed 300 years of establishment in the year 2002. A big celebration was organised to mark the event.
Also see: Nagpur state