Location, Area & Administration:
The district of Baran extends from 24-25′ to 25-25′ North latitudes, 76-12′ to 77-26′ east longitudes and is located at altitude of 265 meters from sea-level. Baran is located on south-east corner of rajasthan and touches Shoepur, Shivpuri and Guna Districts of Madhya Pradesh along east side. Further, Baran is bordered in north-west by Kota and south-west by Jhalawar District of Rajasthan State.
Baran has an area of 6,955 Sq. Kms and is divided into 8 tehsils for purpose of administration namely Anta, Atru, Baran, Chhabra, Chipabarod, Kishanganj, Mangrol & Shahbad.
History of Baran:
Baran city was under Solanki Rajputs in the 14th -15th century. The area was named ‘Baran’ owing to the twelve villages under Solanki’s.. There are also saying that since the soils of the area is mostly ‘Barani’ so it is called ‘Baran’.
Before Indian independence in 1947, most of present-day Baran District was part of the princely state of Kota, although Shahabad tehsil was a discontinuous portion of Jhalawar princely state, and Chhabra tehsil was a discontinuous portion of Tonk princely state.
Post Independence, the rulers of the princely states acceded to the Government of India .On 31 March’ 1949, Rajasthan was reconstituted and Baran was converted into Sub Division headquarters of Kota district.
The present district Baran was carved out of erstwhile Kota District on 10th April 1991.
Historical Places of Baran:
Shahabad fort is one of the strongest fort in Hadoti area. It is located at about 80 km. from Baran. Shahbad fort was constructed by the Chauhan Vanshi Dhandhel Rajput Mukutmani Dev in the 1521 A.D. (Samvat 1577). This is situated in the dense forest area on the high mountain ranges and is surrounded by Kundakoh valley, waterfalls and a lake. The Topkhana (artillery) has Nawalbaan tope(cannon), Barudkhana and some temples in the forts are still secure.
Shergarh fort is situated in Atru tehsil, about 65 km. from Baran district headquaters. The fort is located atop a hillock on the bank of Parban river. Shershan named the fort as Koshvardhan. A stone edict of 790 AD proves the antiquity of the place.
Sitabari is situated in Kelwara kasba on National Highway road connecting Shivpuri- Gwalior. The place has mythological significance and worshipped as the area where ‘Sita mata’ lived after being left-out by Lord Rama. This place is also known as the birthplace of Lav & Kush. There are several Kunds in Sitabari namely Balmiki Kund, Sita Kund, Laxman Kund, Surya Kund, Lav-Kush Kund. Sita-Kuti is also situated in the forest area near the temple. The tribal Sahariya fair is held at this place in the May/June every year.
Ramgarh-Bhand Devra temples are situated about 40 km. from Baran. The Shiv Mandir of Ramgarh was built in 10th century on the Khajuraho style. Due to the Maithun Statues, the place is named as Bhand Devra. This temple is situated on the bank of pond and is now under the Archaeological department. This temple is known as Rajasthan’s mini Khajuraho. the best way to reach the temple is by a jeep or car.
Nahar Garh Fort
The fort is about 73 km. from Baran in Kishanganj tehsil. Fort is an impressive structure in red stone and a fine example of the Mughal architecture.
Kanya Dah- Bilas Garh
Bilasgarh is situated in Kishanganj tehsil. Bilasgarh was the big city during the Khechi kingdom which was destroyed to ruins by the order of Aurangazeb.
It is said that the daughter of the king Khechi was very beautiful and for her Aurangazeb send his force and ruined the city Bilasgarh. The princess ended her life in the ‘Bilasi’ river, the spot is now known as Kanyadeah. The ruins of the Bilasgarh is still situated in the lonely place inside dense forest area.
Festivals & Fairs of Baran:
Dolmela is organised at the Dol Talab (Pond) in the Baran city from Jaljhulni Akadshi. The main attraction of this festival is a big Shobha Yatra (procession) which have about 54 Dev Viman (The Holy Statue Carriers) which is also known as DOL, of all the major temples of the city. In this procession some Akhadas also demonstrates their Kartab (type of physical exercise). The procession started from Shreeji temple comes to the Dol Talab where all the Dev Vimans are worshiped and then these are sent back to the respective temples. This fair is organised for 15 days which is very popular among the local residents as well as the residents from the Rajasthan state. People from adjoining Madhya Pradesh also visit for this fair. This fair is the symbol of communal harmony in the area.
Sita Bari Mela
Sitabri is located near Kelwara kasba, about 45 km from the Baran city. A tribal fair is organised here on Jeshta Amavasya and is attended by Sahariya tribe in large numbers. Hence, it is also considered as Kumbh in the Sahariya tribe. The Swyambar (marriage function) of Sahariya tribes is organised in this fair where people comes from all over Rajasthan state and adjoining Madhya Pradesh A Sahariya boy drops the handkerchief for proposing Sahariya girl in the fair, if the Sahariya girl accepts the Handkerchief, it is said that they are agreed for marriage. The bride and grooms take the 7 rounds (sat phere) of the Barnawa tree and after the blessings of their parents they are accepted as married couple. This fair is also called animal fair where good varieties of Cow, Buffalo etc. selling-purchasing are made.
Phuldol is the one of the oldest folk festival of the Rajasthan state. The festival is organized yearly in the Kishanganj town on the occasion of Holi. As a part of tradition groom visits in-laws home with his friends to play Holi. On the day of Holi-Dulandi, lots of Swang (type of drama) is played. Some of the famous swangs are Gidh-Rawan-Yudh, Band-Bandi swang etc. In the night big ‘Shobhayatra’ known as ‘PhulDolo’ is taken out in the town. Lots of people from nearby places come to witness the festival.
Brahmani Mataji Mela
Brahmani Mata fair is organized in the old fort near Sorsan. The fair is organized on Magh-Shukla-Saptmi and is the only Donkey fair in the Hadoti region where donkey and kachhar are bought-sold in large numbers.
Piplod Christmas fair
This fair is organised in the only Church of the Baran district in the village Piplod in Atru tehsil. This fair is organised on 25 December every year. Though the fair belongs to christians, but locals belonging to hindu & muslim faiths also participate equally.
Geography of Baran:
The land in Baran slopes gently northward beginning from the high table land of Malwa in Madhya Pradesh. The land is generally fertile. There are hills in the South, North and Eastern portion of the district. The hills in the east of Shahabad tehsil, have the highest point, named as Mamooni (546 meters above mean sea level) in the district. These hills form part of Aravali Ranges. Their slopes are gently and steep and they are mostly covered by woods. The land of the district slopes gently from South to North and the drainage is through tributaries of Chambal, Parbati & Parwan.
Parbati or Parvati rises in Sehor area of Vindhyas and flows in North-West direction to enter Baran near Karayahat. It flows through Baran & Kota and meets Chambal at paliya village near Kota border.
Sorsan Wildlife Sanctuary
Sorasan Wildlife Sanctuary is located on a a flat stony plateau of uninhabitable scrub land with a number of small water bodies that can sustain variety of birds, animals, and reptiles. The sanctuary has area of 41 sq. km and lies between river Parwan, running on its western limit and villages with fertile, irrigated, arable land on the east.
According to the 2011 census, Baran has a population of around 12,23,921 of which 79.21 percent is rural & 20.79 percent is urban. Baran has a sex ratio of 926 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 67.38%. Further, Baran has a population density of 175 inhabitants per square kilometer.