1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kaira

KAIRA, or Kheda, a town and district of British India, in the northern division of Bombay. The town is 20 m. S.W. of Ahmedabad and 7 m. from Mehmadabad railway station. Pop. (1901), 10,392. Its antiquity is proved by the evidence of copperplate grants to have been known as early as the 5th century. Early in the 18th century it passed to the Babi family, with whom it remained till 1763, when it was taken by the Mahrattas; it was finally handed over to the British in 1803. It was a large military station till 1830, when the cantonment was removed to Deesa.

The District of Kaira has an area of 1595 sq. m.; pop. (1901), 716,332, showing a decrease of 18% in the decade, due to the results of famine. Except a small corner of hilly ground near its northern boundary and in the south-east and south, where the land along the Mahi is furrowed into deep ravines, the district forms one unbroken plain, sloping gently towards the south-west. The north and north-east portions are dotted with patches of rich rice-land, broken by untilled tracts of low brushwood. The centre of the district is very fertile and highly cultivated; the luxuriant fields are surrounded by high hedges, and the whole country is clothed with clusters of shapely trees. To the west this belt of rich vegetation passes into a bare though well-cultivated tract of rice-land, growing more barren and open till it reaches the maritime belt, whitened by a salt-like crust, along the Gulf of Cambay. The chief rivers are the Mahi on the south-east and south, and the Sabarmati on the western boundary. The Mahi, owing to its deeply cut bed and sandbanks, is impracticable for either navigation or irrigation; but the waters of the Sabarmati are largely utilized for the latter purpose. A smaller stream, the Khari, also waters a considerable area by means of canals and sluices. The principal crops are cotton, millets, rice and pulse; the industries are calico-printing, dyeing, and the manufacture of soap and glass. The chief centre of trade is Nadiad, on the railway, with a cotton-mill. A special article of export is ghi, or clarified butter. The Bombay & Baroda railway runs through the district. The famine of 1899–1900 was felt more severely here than in any other part of the province, the loss of cattle being specially heavy.