Ballarpur, more properly Ballalpur, and also known as Ballarsah is a rapidly developing municipal town in Candrapur tahsil situated on the Candrapur-Madras railway route of the Central Railway, about 16 km. (ten miles) south-east of Candrapur. This ancient city, sited on the outer high banks of the Wardha river is essentially a colliery-cum-timber mart. In 1961 its population was 20,351. Though lately but an insignificant village Ballarpur was a royal city in ancient times and signs of its splendour and glory are still seen scattered in its environments. Today, however. Ballarpur is known not so much for its ancient glory as for its collieries having nearly 2,000 million tons of coal deposits and large quantities of fine teak and other varieties of timber that are brought here and sold from the  surrounding forests. It is perhaps the country's largest timber mart deriving its supplies from the south and west Candrapur divisions. The government have opened a timber depot here and timber is sold on auction. A wide variety of furniture is also manufactured by the local carpenters. There are also a few saw mills and the rich and inexhaustible forest resources have given rise to a paper mill known as Ballarsah Paper and Strawboard Mill. It is counted amongst the largest paper mills in India. China clay of a fine variety used in the manufacture of tiles and all types of crockery and pipes is also available here and in the vicinity in plenty and hence have sprung up the Dadabhai Potteries giving employment to a large number of people. However, it is the existence of coal deposits so vital for industrial development, more than anything else, that has enhanced the importance of Ballarpur. A thermal station located here, making use of the local coal production, supplies power to the district as well as the adjoining districts of Vidarbha. The existence of coal deposits was traced in 1871. In that year borings were undertaken and after several unsuccessful attempts it was concluded that the bulk of the coalfield lay across the river and work was therefore stopped. In 1901 it became imperative to find a substitute for the Waroda Colliery, which was then approaching exhaustion, and a survey undertaken at Ballarpur resulted in the discovery of favourable indications. In 1903 a trial pit was sunk and coal was found at a depth of 60.96 metres (200 feet). In 1906 a second pit was sunk to a depth of 78.33 metres (257 feet) and the seam of coal was found to be 15.24 metres (50 feet) and of better quality than Waroda coal. In 1907 the extension of the Wardha-Waroda branch of the G.I.P. railway, now called Central Railway via Candrapur reached Ballarpur. The colliery is connected with the railway station named Ballarsah by a line of about a mile long with numerous sidings. Ballarpur is now a prosperous mining town and the colliery has a great future. As has been already stated, the latest estimates put the coal deposits at 2,000 million tons. Due to the comparatively excellent means of transport and communications, both road and rail, Ballarpur, in course of time is bound to be one of the most important industrial centres in Candrapur.


The municipality was established here in 1949 and its committee is composed of twelve elected councillors. The president who presides over the meetings of the committee, is elected by the councillors from among themselves. The municipal jurisdiction extends over an area of 9 km2 (3.5 sq. miles).

Finance: In 1964-65 the municipal income derived from various sources excepting extra-ordinary and debt heads amounted to Rs. 2,88,551. It comprised municipal rates and taxes Rs. 1,43,800; realisations under special acts Rs. 2,422; revenue derived from municipal property and powers apart from taxation Rs. 11,471; grants and contributions Rs. 1,28,615 and miscellaneous Rs. 2,243. Income derived from extra-ordinary and debt heads was Rs. 18,755. As against this, the municipality  had to incur an expenditure of Rs. 2,90,346 on different heads,  but excluding extra-ordinary and debt heads. The expenditure items were general administration and collection Rs. 69,442;  public safety Rs. 7,259; public health and convenience  Rs. 55.526; public instruction Rs. 1,54,293; contributions Rs. 1,215 and miscellaneous Rs. 2,611. Expenses on account of extra-ordinary and debt heads stood at Rs. 24,412.

Health, Sanitation and Water. Supply: A primary health centre conducted by the Zilla Parisad and located in the vicinity of the municipal office building, meets the medical needs of the people. From time to time precautionary measures are also taken to check the outbreak of epidemics. It may, however, be noted that the town was not visited by any serious epidemic attack in recent years. There is also a veterinary dispensary conducted by the Zilla Parisad. Drains are all kutca ones. A few sets of public latrines have been installed in the town. Wells, private and municipal, form the source of water supply. However, the residential colony that has grown around the colliery is provided with piped water by the company at its own cost. This colony provides quarters mostly for the workers and other employees of the colliery.

Education: Primary education is compulsory in the town. It is implemented by the municipality. Besides the primary schools, one high school is also conducted by the municipality. There are about three more high schools in Ballarpur which are privately managed. The municipality is planning to set up a library. Most of the primary school buildings including that of the municipal high school are of municipal propriety.

On Camarghat alone Wardha river and by the side of the colliery, the municipality has maintained a cremation ground with shed and other necessary facilities There are four burial grounds located in different sections which, however, are maintained by the communities concerned.


Ballarpur in ancient times was a royal city, and in the ruins of the fort and its palace, still retains the memorials of its past greatness. It is said to have been founded by the Gond King Khandkya Ballal sah (1437-62) who succeeded to the throne on the death of Ser Sah, his father. He was also the founder of the Candrapur town. This king was so afflicted by tumours and boils that he was an offence to his wives as well as the court, only the wise and the beautiful Hiratalni, his queen remaining faithful to him and bearing him company. She induced him to leave Sirpur and erect a fort and a palace on the opposite bank of the river Wardha where in retirement she tended him with care till his happy recovery. An interesting legend is related about the miraculous recovery of the king which had defied every medicine, as also how Canda came to be founded. It is worth quoting here. The legend tells that one day the king went hunting north-west of Ballalpur and on becoming thirsty rode up to the dry bed of Jharpat. looking for water. He soon found some in a hole and after quenching his thirst washed his face, hands and feet. And that night for the first time in many years, he slept soundly. Next morning Hiratalni was gladdened to see that many of the ulcers had disappeared, for all parts touched by the waters of the previous day had become whole. On the king's relating the happening on the previous day she entreated him to take her there. Accordingly they proceeded to that spot and on clearing grass and sand discovered five foot-prints of a cow in the solid rock each filled with water, and the strange thing was that, take how much one would, the water would not diminish. Thus was discovered the Acalesvar Tirth which had been fixed to the spot in the Treta Yuga. Hardly had the king taken a bath with that water when all the ulcers and tumours disappeared. The Royal party encamped near the place that night and in the visions of sleep Acalesvar appeared to the king, and spoke comfortingly. On hearing the dream, the queen advised the erection of a temple on the spot and the king approving of the idea sent his officers to get skilled artificers for the work. He took a great interest in its progress and visited it daily. The legend about the founding of the city of Candrapur has been quoted under Candrapur town.

To return to the main story, the fort as well as the settlement that grew up around it came to be known after the king as Ballalpur or the city of Ballal. Though a new palace came to be built at Candrapur during the reign of Khandkya's successor, and the seat of government was transferred there, Ballarpur appears to have been a secondary royal residence for several centuries. Here in 1751 A.D. Nilkantha Sah, the last of the Gond Kings died in imprisonment, and in 1790 the palace was repaired by Nana Saheb Bhosle. Today the fort, with the exception of a few walls which still stand erect defying wind and rain for centuries, has fallen into ruins. The gateway is very picturesque and inside the fort the outlines of the ancient palace can be traced with ease. Within the palace are two tunnels with entrances a few feet apart which branching off in opposite directions, lead each to a set of three underground chambers, one of which communicates with the entrance from the river or the water gate. When these chambers were explored in 1865 A.D. some ancient copper coins and rusted iron rings were found. There is also a perpendicular shaft the object of which has not been ascertained. It is told that one of the tunnels communicates with the palace in Candrapur the entrance to which is said to be in a well in the courtyard. This tunnel has its passage virtually blocked at the entrance and now no one enters it due to pitchy darkness inside. From the water gate a staircase leads up the rampart wall where there are spacious stone platforms from where an enchanting view of the river can be had. The scene looks all the more beautiful when the river is in floods. The foundations of the ancient city can still be traced for a considerable distance in the surrounding jungle, indeed as far as the ruined palace on the tank band. Remains of old stone buildings are also round as far as Junona. North of the town is a large and elaborately constructed tank, which probably owing to the caving in of its under channels does not retain  water. On an islet in the Wardha is Rama tirtha, an exceedingly curious rock temple, which during several months of the year remains fathoms under water. In 1866 it was thoroughly cleaned and explored. In Sasti, a village in Rajura tahsil on the opposite bank of the Wardha are three caves cut in the rock, each of which contains a Siva linga. A leaden image of Kesav nath plated with gold formerly stood in a small house under a neem tree in front of the palace. In 1818 during the Wars of the British with Appa Saheb this idol was stolen. Four years later a Kamavisdar by name Pungpatel More presented a stone image in place of the stolen metal one, and Mr. Crawford who was superintendent sanctioned an allowance for the temple. East of the village by the side of the Sironca-Allapalli road, amidst overgrown jungles, lies the temple tomb of Khandkya Ballalsah in a neglected state. It is locally called the temple of Kharji and some ignorant fortune-seeker has removed the gravestones in the hope of striking buried wealth and left the hollow open. In front of it, at his feet, as is meet, is the tomb enclosing the ashes of his wife, the loving and the faithful Hiratalni, noblest and wisest of the queens of Candrapur. Near her lowly and unpretentious tomb is a stone on which are carved the representations of 84 feet arranged in pairs. These are said to be commemorating the 42 other wives of Khandkya, who made amends to their neglect of him in life, by performing sati at his death. Behind the monument is an unnamed tomb said to be that of a 44th wife. The tomb of Hiratalni is falling last into ruins. Some plants have already taken roots and all these remains may disappear altogether before long. Alongside the tomb of Khandkya Ballalsah is a plain platform without a superstructure or ornamentation. It is said to be the tomb of the unfortunate Nilkanth Sah, the last of the Gond Kings who ruled Canda. Thus here side by side in death, in one of the strangest ironies of history, lie the noble founder of Candrapur and his degenerate and dishonoured descendant from whose unworthy grasp the sceptre of the Gond Kings slipped.

Ballarpur has a police station and a post and telegraph office. Sunday is the weekly bazar day where cattle are also sold.