To the south of the Satpuras and extending along its base from west to east lie successively the Berar, Nagpur and Chhattisgarh plains.
The eastern part of the Nagpur country and the Chhattisgarh plain, comprising the Mahanadi basin, form the great rice tract of the province, its heavy rainfall and hard yellowish soil rendering it excellently adapted for the growth of this crop.
There are six main divisions of the people: the Dravidian tribes, who formerly held the country; Hindi-speaking immigrants from the north and north-west into Saugor, Damoh, the Nerbudda valley and the open country of Mandla and Seoni; Rajasthani-speaking immigrants from Central India into Nimar, Betul and parts of Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur and Chhindwara; Marathi-speaking immigrants from Bombay into Berar, the Mahratta districts and the southern tahsil of Betul; the Telugu castes in the Sironcha and Chanda tahsil of Chanda and the south of Bastar; and the Hindu immigrants into Chhattisgarh, who are supposed to have arrived many centuries ago when the Haihaya dynasty of Ratanpur rose into power.
Of these the most important was that of the Haihayas of Ratanpur, a family which, settled from time immemorial in the Nerbudda valley, had towards the close of the 10th century succeeded the Pandava dynasty of Maha Kosala (Chhattisgarh) and ruled, though from the 16th century onwards over greatly diminished territories, until its overthrow by the Mahrattas in 1745.
Chhattisgarh, or "the thirty-six forts," is a low-lying plain, enclosed on every side by hills and forests, while a rocky barrier shuts it off from the Nagpur plain on the west.