Stretches of evergreen forest flank the western edge of the township of Kawardha. Towards the south flows the river Sankari. Baiga tribals form a significant segment of the district’s tribal population; although the erstwhile rulers of Kawardha were Rajputs there has been an assimilation of both cultures.
Italian, British and Mughal architectural styles are all represented in this regal palace of some 56 rooms with a splendid domed and filigreed Durbar Hall. Much of the ground floor of this palace at Kawardha has been converted into a heritage hotel run by the erstwhile royal family. Adding texture and depth to Kawardha’s history is its importance as an erstwhile centre for the movement of the followers of Sant Kabir, a late-15th century poet and revolutionary social reformer. Akbar’s architectural eclecticism coupled with his eclectic curiosity had far-reaching consequences. It was the Emperor himself who sponsored and supported dialogue between adherents of different faiths. Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, author of the imperial memoir known as the Akbar-nama, notes that Akbar was only 19 when he began to show an unconventional interest in the spiritual matters of his subjects. His pursuit of reason and the practice of open discussion to address problems of social harmony were welcomed by representatives of several new creeds.