Malwa is a natural region in west-central India occupying a plateau of volcanic origin. Geologically, the Malwa Plateau generally refers to the volcanic upland north of the Vindhya Range. Politically and administratively, the historical Malwa region includes districts of western Madhya Pradesh and parts of south-eastern Rajasthan. The definition of Malwa is sometimes extended to include the Nimar region north of the Vindhyas.
The Malwa region had been a separate political unit from the time of the ancient Malava Kingdom. It has been ruled by several kingdoms and dynasties, including the Avanti Kingdom, the Mauryans, the Malavas, the Guptas, the Paramaras, the Malwa sultans, the Mughals and the Marathas. Malwa continued to be an administrative division until 1947, when the Malwa Agency of British India was merged into Madhya Bharat (also known as Malwa Union) state of independent India.
Although its political borders have fluctuated throughout history, the region has developed its own distinct culture, influenced by the Rajasthani, Marathi and Gujarati cultures. Several prominent people in the history of India have hailed from Malwa, including the poet and dramatist Kalidasa, the author Bhartrihari, the mathematicians and astronomers Varahamihira and Brahmagupta, and the polymath king Bhoja. Ujjain had been the political, economic, and cultural capital of the region in ancient times, and Indore is now the largest city and commercial centre.
Overall, agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Malwa. The region has been one of the important producers of opium in the world. Wheat and soybeans are other important cash crops, and textiles are a major industry.
- Malwa, one of six historical regions that make up the modern state of Madhya Pradesh, India
- Malwa Plateau
- Malwa Agency
- Malwa Sultanate
- Malwa Union
- Malwa (Punjab), one of the three geographical regions that make up Punjab (India)
Malwa is the region of Punjab south of the Satluj river. People of this region are given the demonym "Malwai". In western parts of Malwa, Punjabi is spoken in Malwai dialect. It forms a dialect continuum with Pwadhi dialect, which is spoken in eatern districts of Malwa region. The Pwadhi speaking region is sometimes designated as Poadh or Pwadha.